Sunday, June 30, 2013

Soak It In

It's Over
Isn't it amazing how fast time passes when you are engaged in something you enjoy doing. The ISTE conference is one of those things that always seems to go by a bit to quick for me. It's that one session that you just could not squeeze in, the byod session that you didn't register for early enough, and most importantly that last opportunity to talk with someone from somewhere else. But that is the great thing about making all those connections, they are so engaging and refreshing, that you can't wait to plan for next year's trip.

Not A Commercial
I know that sounded like a paid advertisement for the conference, but that is not my intentions. The point that I am trying to make is very simple, we enjoy taking part in engaging activities. The range of those activities are all over the board at the conference, lectures, panels, byod's, keynotes, poster sessions, the list goes on.

The Magic
So what is the piece that makes all the different varieties of presentation so engaging, wait for it...the presenter(s). The great ones are able to use a variety of ways to engage us and keep us glued to their words, but more importantly, creatively finding ways that allow us to participate, collaborate and create, all within a small window of time. A good presenter quickly makes a connection with the audience, has us involved in communicating with one another and often leaving with something we have created. Hmm, this is sounding very similar to what a teacher does on a daily basis. Maybe start over and replace conference with classroom and presenter with teacher, any similarities? Good teachers, like good presenters, use a variety of approaches to make the magic happen and technology plays a very meaningful part. Take some time and review your ISTE notes, reflect on the experience, and share all the magic with others.

Monday, June 24, 2013

ISTE 2013!

World Stage 
The best way to describe the start to ISTE in San Antonio this year for me is, global. From the moment you arrive at registration,  the global presence is felt. There are thousands in attendance from over 70 countries, almost staggering to think that one conference can bring so many together. ISTE even presented their new logo at the opening keynote, which contains a global flare.

Global Collaboration
To reinforce the global connections that were happening, I attended the Global Collaboration Projects session. This session is a poster session with 30 different booths setup with a small display area. All the projects in this session followed the theme of global collaboration and the highlight is the students that have come to share what they have developed to connect themselves to the world. I met a number of amazing young kids that were so excited to share what their teams have been working on. Yeah, they used technology in their projects to connect with the world, but it wasn't about the technology. It was refreshing to see the shiny gadgets take the back seat as the students described how they developed their ideas, collaborated with others and continue to share their success with the world.

It is easy to get wrapped up in the glitz and glamour at ISTE, with all the corporate involvement, the giant tablet giveaway this year, shiny new gadgets, and free pens being handed out :-). I don't have a problem with it, it is part of the show and must exist. Just try and keep things in perspective and remember the students at the global collaboration session over the shiny object.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Social "Media" Bigfoot

Here are a few questions that I often hear when social media is being discussed that deserve some attention.

  1. What is a social media footprint?
  2. How big should it be?
  3. Why do I care?

The Numbers
From a pure numbers perspective, it seems to make sense that jumping into the social media landscape can be a benefit to the professional growth model. Facebook currently has over a billion active users a month alone, even if you discount that 100 million of those users are pets, objects, or brands, 900 million is alot of humans. Twitter has 554,750,000 active registered twitter users that tweet on average 58 million times a day according to Statistic Brain.  As of January, 2013, Linkedin reached 200 million users, "LinkedIn now counts over 200 million members as part of our network, with representation in more than 200 countries and territories. We serve our members in 19 languages around the world." Google+ is a bit harder to get a true read on numbers, but even if we go with 135 million users actively posting to Google+ Pages, that is no small number.

Why Do I Care
All the numbers above can be dissected, debated and manipulated for company purposes but I see them as an opportunity to connect with others that run in the same professional circle as myself (no pun intended). I care about growing as an individual and bringing new ideas into the workplace and sharing my successes with others, which is easily done through social media.

                                        How Big
The size of your social media footprint depends on your comfort level in this arena. Some can juggle multiple feeds while others feel overwhelmed with more than one. My suggestion is take your time and find what works for you, and use technology to help you organize. There are a number of programs out there that will help you streamline your feeds and better manage the large amount of information coming in and out of your busy day. HootSuite is one that I have found to be very helpful for me and worth a look if interested in managing multiple streams.

Give It A Try
We often hear the saying that you have to get out of the four walls of your classroom or office to see what is happening out there. That is a true statement as we all know that sharing, collaborating and having an open mindset will help us grow as individuals. To grow professionally you have to care, why not use social media as one option to step outside those walls.