Monday, June 27, 2016

How I "Didn't" Attend #cuerockstar But Will Implement What I Learned Next Year...or Maybe Run My Own Beta Test Tomorrow...#notatiste2016 Karaoke Party!!

This not attending conferences thing could catch on!  If only I weren't already getting in the habit of "not" attending one conference while sitting in another...but that's a post for my other blog...on another day...probably...

So, I had a vague awareness of Cuerockstar through my Twitter PLN, but to be honest, I never really paid much attention, because since the title of the conference ended with "rockstar" I simply assumed it had nothing to do with me.

*sidebar -- This post in my other blog that I wrote after attending the EdCamp Organizers' Summit addresses a bit of my process of "letting go" of being constantly starstruck (it's a process...not gonna lie...I totally geeked when I realized my picture was on the wall at ISTE...still human...) and always feeling "less than" some of my better-known colleagues is worth a look if you ever feel that way.

One of the amazing members of my PLN, Sarah Thomas, put out an all-call to the EduMatch Voxer group for volunteers to help with two Cuerockstar sessions on EduMatch Bingo that she was offering.  These sessions were something Sarah referred to as "beta tests" of the concept (read: highly experimental, and somewhat risky...depending how you define risk).

I participated in the Voxer group in both sessions, and in the Google Hangout as well in the second session.  I can tell you that Sarah is a master of reflection, and the changes she made between the two sessions were impactful.

As a result, though I did not technically attend Cuerockstar, I was there virtually, and consequently I have a deep context with which to understand Sarah's blog post, which I am reading and re-reading in preparation for my own beta test...

#notatiste2016 Karaoke Party!

I am a 20 year karaoke addict.  Please don't recommend a 12-step program.  I am not interested.

I joined the volunteer group for #notatiste2016 and lo and behold...there was a spot for a virtual karaoke host! (no, really, I'm not making this up).  I did a bit of inquiring, and found out (now it seems erroneously) that last year's party took place via Google Hangout.  So I created a Google Hangout.  Then...someone suggested that we start a Voxer group.  I thought, great!  The possibility for asynchronous karaoke! (If you're a karaoke fan, check out the Smule App).  Then, somehow, spontaneously, I think it might have been through the Oh Snap Snapchat Voxer group, (wherever it came from I am hereby publicly crediting/blaming Cynthia Day and Dan Kreiness #shenanigans) the idea of the LipSync Battle was born...which is appealing to ANOTHER segment of people who want to have fun, but don't want anyone to hear their voice ( I can't relate, but to each his/her own!).  We have some other surprises planned as well...but never having done ANYTHING like this before, I'm relying on my tendency to fly by the seat of my pants and what I learned from Sarah's sessions and reflections.

As with all things, my end game is to see how I can make this work in my classroom.  The differentiation possibilities are clear.  The language use possibilities (Presentational Speaking, Presentational Writing, Interpersonal Communication, Interpretive Listening, Interpretive's all there, folks.) are absolutely ENDLESS, which means it's not just another flashy use of tech for its own sake, but can truly transform learning into something we've never before experienced.

And I can't wait to meet the students who blow my mind with ideas I haven't even thought of yet.


Is "Not at ISTE" Really Even a Thing Anymore?

So, ISTE has always been kind of like the "Holy Grail" of conferences for me. Total "bucket list" kind of thing, registration fees so outrageously expensive I can't even consider it at this point, this year it's in Denver...which might as well be the although I've dabbled in following the #notatiste Twitter hashtag in past years to (sort of) soothe my #isteenvy this is the first year I really am diving in and taking major advantage of #notatiste16:

  • Google + Community
  • Voxer group
  • Collaborative Notetaking for Periscope sessions
  • Hosting the virtual Karaoke Party (OK, so that's maybe not a stretch...)
  • Hosting my first Ignite session
  • and of course Twitter
But truly, the innovative - and in many cases "on-the-fly-innovative" uses of technology in tandem -- app-smashing if you will -- has made it seem like I might as well have been there. Or maybe I WAS.

I volunteered to be a collaborative note taker for Tony Vincent who is an educational Periscope journalist. Yes, this is really a thing. They get media passes (that really work) and everything. The first session I helped him cover was Global Collaboration -- a passion of mine. There were early bandwidth issues, and things got off to a rocky start, but once Tony was rolling, his scoping was entertaining, informative, and simply on point.

So as I'm watching Tony's scope, furiously taking notes, I hear him say "I know people on this screen..." and then he gets distracted by another colleague.

*sidebar: Tony always asks permission before scoping anyone.

He is several minutes into his interview where I'm listening...'re reading this blog, and perhaps figure out my point sooner in the video than I even did...

But I hear Tony's excited shout-out and see Sarah Thomas on the screen. I'm equally excited, because Sarah is a valued member of my PLN, and I'm furiously giving her some periscope love on my phone (#tapgamestrong -- post to follow) and giving a shout-out to her via comment on Periscope...while taking notes on my chromebook.

Lightbulb! I realize the poster presentation she's giving is the Humans of Education project that I got involved in with some absolutely adorable third graders after Sarah put out a request in the Edumatch Voxer Group (ANOTHER post...). I jumped on that, because I am all about Global Connections, and am in the midst of a project involving just that (yup...more posts...#bloggameweak but I'm getting on that!).

THEN I see the actual poster behind her with the pictures of the actual Humans of Education, and immediately start geeking to the other notetakers. Holy Flat Bradylady, I WAS AT ISTE!! On a wall, being scoped live!

Now obviously the individual educators weren't the point, it was the scope of the project being scoped (see what I did there...?) that made the poster session exciting to ISTEgoers, but I had my semi-private fleeting moment of feeling pretty special.

But wait...believe it or not, there's more...

In (you guessed it) another post, I will expand on the journey that is the #passthescopeedu special edition International Day of Peace project (September 21) that Valerie Lewis, organizer of #passthescopeedu has agreed to allow me to connect with #passthescopeedu so I can finally make a meaningful connection with the International Day of Peace event, gain some traction, and make something happen! (The September date has always been a struggle because it is so early in the school year!).  Totally by accident, as I was struggling to find Tony's scope amid all of the connection issues they were having out at ISTE, I stumbled into Valerie Lewis's scope - also from the Global Collaboration poster sessions...and BOOM!!  I was back at ISTE!

Thrilled that Valerie gave the project a shout-out, actually more thrilled at the possibility that I can finally make this dream a reality after struggling to find a project that could be a good fit.

So back to the title of my post:  Is #notatiste really even a thing anymore?  Well, yes...and absolutely no.  I have heard over and over from my peeps in the #notatiste crew about how intense the learning experience has been even from afar, and I can only agree.  The amplification via technology and the way it becomes exponentially more accessible each year to ALL EDUCATORS is simply...


So if your not at ISTE, definitely take the leap and be #notatiste!  Who knows, you might find yourself at ISTE after all!!