Recently I have been on a professional development roll. From attending to delivering, this year is shaping up to be a non-stop drag race to the finish line. This weeks travels take me to the first ever EdTechTeacher iPad Summit USA. With a norEaster rolling through New England, several hundred visitors from across the country made it to Boston for this two+ day event. I missed the pre-conference fun, but wanted to share some great insights from my experience of day 1.
My top 10 of day 1
10. Tech breakdowns. Don't get me wrong, these aren't moments of joy, but satisfaction. If a professionally run, Harvard hosted, tech summit can have techy glitch moments (and talk about them openly in their sessions) then so can the rest of us!
9. Meeting people facing the same challenges from every corner of this country and beyond. San Francisco, Canada, Cleveland, Cambridge, and those were just the people I bothered to ask.
8. iDiary - While I saw plenty of apps, this one was one of the best creation tools I saw today that was geared to the lower elementary group. As a father of, and a provider of PD to teachers of this segment, it was nice to come across this tool today.
7. Something I heard today that sums up the difference between iPads (or similar) and more traditional hardware: "iPads get technology out of the way."
6. Having a realization: The last time there was a revolution of this magnitude in education was probably when Apples were first brought into schools, or maybe back to calculators. Not only is this revolution bigger, it is more impactful, more widely adopted, and it is happening much more rapidly. Tablets in the hands of millions of students is occurring in the educational equivalent of the blink of an eye. And we are all going to better for it.
5. Brushes - With some art study, an animation course in my daily routine, and as the liaison for my high school art department, finding a new art app was a little appealing. I was not amazed by the ability to draw on an iPad, I just appreciated the simplicity, the price, and the ability to watch the development of the piece of art as an animation when done. Not convinced you can make art on the iPad, watch this.
4. In a day of innovative ideas, this non-tech one stood out to me: Why not get rid of AP courses and develop our own rigorous Advanced Topics Curriculums and get away from standardized testing that is not helping to develop critical thinking skills. Imagine the freedom this could create! Shared by the AM keynote, Tony Wagner (@drtonywagner), author of "Creating Innovators" - watch the book trailer
3. A presentation by Vince Delisi (@ipadvince) on iPads in project based units. From week long field trips journaled in Notability, to urban planning with SimCity, Vince covered a lot of ground in a small amount of time. For me, this is valuable use of my time.
2. Session with Beth Holland (@brholland) on how we don't all have to agree on a 'Best' tool, and that every situation may result in a best tool of its own. "It's not about which one, it's about which one When, and Why, and How."
1. After lunch keynote with Greg Kulowiec (@gregkulowiec). He spoke to the heart of the matter: The iPad is just another tool at the end of the day. In the right hands, it blends seamlessly into the environment.
I also wanted to give a little honorable mention to the staff at the center today. Food moved in and out seamlessly, the place was cleaned constantly and their were unlimited cookies to end my day :)
That's all for day one. Follow me, Chad McGowan, on Twitter @ahstechteacher and follow the summit at #ettipad to see what happens on day 2 or to read through the archive after the event.