The ISTE conference 2014, held in Atlanta, Georgia, was an amazing experience! The conference kicked off with keynote speaker, Ashley Judd. Although I was skeptical and unsure what she had to do with education and technology, her speech was outstanding. She explained her rough journey with her family and proceeded to praise the educators who saved her life, along the way. She made a point to express how much she believes that educators influence students emotionally and socially. There were several moments that both she and the audience were in tears. This was an uplifting start to the conference and it created a positive and motivated atmosphere for the rest of the conference.
There were also several moments that I would like to highlight. A couple of exhibitors that had some great information to share were Course Kicker and Virtual Field Trips.org. Both of these exhibitors would best assist and complement our online learning environment. Course Kicker allows educators to share and search lessons, PowerPoints, worksheets and videos in any subject/grade, for free. Virtual Field Trips.org is another great resource for a small cost. This site allows you to search for field trips by location, grade and subject area. They also suggest inspirational ideas to make virtual field trips more memorable. Lastly, I would like to share some great moments from one of the sessions I attended; Online Learning and Students with Disabilities and Struggling Learners. Their main stress was parent involvement and the importance of it. At My Virtual Academy, we are continuously trying to find new ways to involve parents/guardians. During the session, they suggested referring to the parent as a learning coach. This title gives the parent a distinct role in their child’s education. As we already know at MVA, the parent needs to be even more involved in online learning, than brick and mortar schools, which the session emphasized as well.
It was an honor to be able to be a part of ISTE 2014. I am excited and motivated for the upcoming school year. I cannot wait to utilize the resources from the conference!
Written by Nicole Taite