This year, the DigitalJLearning Network (DJLN) sponsored 15 educators from 15 different institutions to attend the annual International Society for Technology in Education Conference (ISTE 2015), which took place from June 28-July 1 in Philadelphia. The premier educational technology conference, ISTE brought together thousands of educators from around the world to learn about this exciting area of growth in the world of education.
Following the conference, DJLN has been featuring a variety of helpful resources and perspectives on their blog. Here is a roundup of these engaging and informative posts:
- How to Take Blended Learning to the Next Level: This post is by Lisa Dadush, History Teacher at Magen David Yeshiva High School and one of 15 day school educators who went with DJLN to ISTE. She is also a teacher participating in the AVI CHAI-sponsored BOLD program to implement blended learning in established day schools. Lisa reports, “I felt that I had finally gotten the hang of how to manage my BOLD classroom, and now I wanted to challenge myself further for the upcoming year. How do I bring technology into my classroom beyond my students learning the content through a computer? How can I use technology to collect data on my students that would benefit them as learners?” In this post, she shares the tools, resources, and tips she learned about at ISTE that will help her do just that.
- My Top Ten Exhibitors at ISTE 2015: Bryna Leider, Director of the Day School Collaboration Network at The Jewish Education Project, offers her top picks of exhibit hall favorites – out of 500+ exhibiting companies! The list includes an LMS (Chalkup), interactive and multimedia supplementary content (Global Oneness Project, Cogent Education) game and assessment apps (Teachly and Zipgrade), and even physical objects like cubes, blocks, and furniture (Modular Robotics, Sumblox, and Steelcase). Another interesting resource is Common Sense Media, which aims to help educators make wise choices when it comes to tech and internet safety.
- 6 Ways to Use GIFs in the Classroom: In this post, Yonah Kirschner, DJLN Program Manager, describes an ISTE session he attended, “The Future will be GIF’ed: Flipping Learning Using Animated GIFs.” A GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is an image file format which can be animated so as to produce a short video clip. While you may know GIFs from more frivolous contexts, they can be put to good practical use in the classroom – Yonah enumerates applications including to call attention to something important; to break down a process into steps; and to make content memorable.
- Getting Digitally Inspired at ISTE: Tamara Grunberger, Director of the Middle School at Netivot HaTorah Day School, shares how she networked and attended sessions that helped her explore two different topics. First, she was interested in tools and tricks to integrate technology into professional development, particularly to differentiate the learning. For instance, an administrator can create a website or online platform to share resources with faculty and staff. Second, she wanted to learn more about digital portfolios to help middle school students curate and reflect on their work. After viewing real-life examples of digital portfolios, she came away inspired both by the competitive edge which they provide students as well as the fact that one district was able to roll out this strategy to 20,000 students!
- Brains, Breaks, and Balance: Tatyana Dvorkin, Associate Director, DJLN, reports on a session entitled “Surviving the Digital Zombie Apocalypse.” The focus was on how educators and students can avoid becoming technological “zombies” who are overly enmeshed in technology by paying more attention to the balance of the workflow. Strategies to do this include avoiding haphazard multi-tasking, incessantly checking phones, and long stretches of digital engagement without breaks to move around and refocus.
- Why Students Must Make Media: In this post, Kirschner reports on the session “Creating Media with iPads Across the Curriculum,” and the general cultural trends which have transformed us from consumers to producers of media. The session explored the possibilities for students to demonstrate their learning and understanding through media creation, a “rigorous academic exercise that requires planning, storyboarding, script writing, production, and post-production.” Though the session focused on iPads, the emphasis was not actually on technology, but about the skill cultivation and content production that technology makes possible.
You can view a Storify visual representation of the DJLN ISTE experience here.