The ISTE conference is a spectacular reminder of why teaching is one of the best professions. It is incredible to talk to so many educators, administrators, district-level technology coordinators, and others from around the world. Each one is so passionate about what they teach and learning new things to help their students. The stereotype of teachers over the summer is that they want to be as far away from the classroom as possible. This is far from the truth, as evidenced by the passionate teachers at ISTE. Each one thinking of how to improve lessons, practices, and materials for their next class.
I was lucky enough to travel to San Antonio this year to talk about the Dexter Industries robots and how I have integrated robotics into my lessons and classroom culture. This year there were over 20,000 exhibitors and attendees at ISTE, each one passionate about what they do.
ISTE 2017 for me started out with facilitating a workshop for Dexter Industries at the Mobile Learning Network
Megashare Pre-Conference workshop. This was a great opportunity for teachers to get hands on with the newly launched GoPiGo3 robots and DexterOS software. Just like with students, the best way to learn about something is to work with it hands-on. Much of the discussion with other educators at ISTE revolved around student engagement and ownership. Through increased engagement and investment, students learn to better problem solve and tinker, develop a growth mindset, and learn how to use mistakes to learn. This is not easy. It can be difficult for teachers as well as students. If students are not used to having flexibility and options, they do not know how to react. Teachers want so badly that their students understand and are successful that we sometimes help too much. It requires teachers to release more control so that the students can lead their learning. It is incredible what students will do when given fewer constraints. I am a much different teacher today than when I started 10 years ago. I have embraced teaching methods that allow my students to build, create, and have much more ownership in their learning. Each year I am more and more impressed with the abilities and growth of my class
The expo hall at the ISTE conference was an overwhelming experience. There were so many different organizations and companies showing off what they believe is the new, best thing in education. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the latest trend and newest product on the market. Where do you start? What now? I wanted students to understand how things work and to have experience building. That is what led me to using Raspberry Pi’s and robots in my classroom. Raspberry Pi’s and the GoPiGo robots have become a staple in my classroom over the past three years. Not only have I integrated these computers, robots, and programming into my class lessons, the students also work on independent projects during lunch bunch and after school.
The highlight of ISTE this year was sharing all of the awesome work my students have done over the past two years using robotics in content areas during a poster session. You can see the poster about Engaging Students in Core Curriculum Through the Use of Robotics here.
I am looking forward to the next school year to start and to learning with my students once again.
Check out Lisa Rode’s webinar on “Integrating Robotics in Content Areas” to learn how she’s implemented robotics into social studies, language arts, and more…