Saturday, June 28, 2014

Day One–ISTE 2014

I actually got here on Friday but things started for real this afternoon. More or less. I was not able to get into one big session of mini talks because the room (and overflow room) filled up. Poor planning I think. I was not impressed by a very long line outside a door that apparently didn’t open until minutes before the session was supposed to start. On the upside, that caused me to go to my backup session.

I spent some time in a group with Vicki Davis (AKA Cool Cat Teacher) talking about a student directed MOOC project. I’m not sure I would call it a MOOC the way many think about it but it was interesting hearing about anyway. One of the end results of the project was evaluations of some 70 “educational games.” You can see some of the project including the evaluations at A good use of a wiki.

One of the conclusions that her students came up with was that most serious games were either educational or fun. very few were much of both. This is not news to anyone who has been paying attention to research on serious games. I heard much the same thing at the Games 2 Learning Institute in NYC two years ago. Thought honestly to hear about 9th graders coming to the same conclusion after their own independent research was reassuring to me.

I’d like to see more students work on their own educational games. They know about about what fun is like at least. And they also know when they are learning or not.

Talking about student initiated learning. I talked to Vinnie Vrotny for a while about the maker spaces he has been setting up in schools. Wow! Kids are getting fired up making things across the curriculum. I hope to get some more ideas along this line over the next couple of days.

The opening keynote was by Ashley Judd and I’d tell you all about it except I skipped it. I’m sure it was interesting and all but nothing in the write up make me think it would be worth waiting for an hour in a huge line to hear. I would rather have had Hadi Partovi from Code.Org give a keynote. ISTE needs to move a little back to its roots and do a lot more to encourage computer science in schools.

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