I went to an event on Tuesday called the New Teacher Academy. It was sponsored by Amazon Education and featured Lisa Dabbs, Shelly Sanchez Terrell, Erin Klein, and Tanya Avrith. I have an opportunity to work with new teachers and was looking forward to what these ladies would share.

Unfortunately there are no recordings from the session. This is a link to the notes I took.

Erin did a fantastic job talking about classroom spaces. She has spoken about this in many online spaces. Here is a link to 2015 Designing Brain-Friendly Spaces for Blended Learning. This link starts at 3.5 minutes in as she begins speaking. She has really good ideas for uncluttered, gender-neutral classrooms with flexible seating and workspaces.

Shelly shared different was to include parents in the work of the students. It is part of her 30 Goals for Teachers book.

Tanya spoke about digital citizenship. I was so happy to see Tanya after her BYOD session on Chromebooks. We ended up having  a Google Hangout of over an hour to talk about the pedagogy of using Google Classroom/Google Apps for Education about a month later.

Lisa closed the session by speaking about virtual mentoring and personal learning networks. She does so much work with pre-service teachers at the college level as well as through #ntchat and related sites.

WIELISTEI enjoyed spending time with Debbie Campbell and Marie Coleman as well as meeting a few new teachers at our table group. Debbie, Lisa, and I have been chatting in a Voxer group over the last year. I look forward to learning more with them as we explore our common interests.

The closing keynote was with a teacher, Michelle Cordy. This is a short 3 minutes from the keynote on YouTube. This is what I’ve been trying to encourage over the last two years with the technology integration specialists in the schools in the Archdiocese of Newark. There was so much more to what she shared. Perhaps I will be able to share some of it as we continue our work next year through the videos shared on the ISTE site. It’s not always who we know directly. It’s about who they know too and how that cross-over supports a larger network of educators and their students, too.

The ISTE Conference was so important because I got to meet and re-connect with so many people I’ve gotten to know over the years. One of the truly magical moments was waiting for the closing keynote, talking with Kristen Hokanson and Chris Champion from Pennsylvania, looking up and recognizing Darren Draper. We’ve connected and collaborated for almost 10 years. I told him it was like a scene from Harry Potter…he just appeared out of no where. Darren walked me over to meet Kelly Dumont, his co-worker. I really wish we had time to have some coffee or lunch but they were heading out.

I look forward to getting to know Tanya Avirth. Our Google Hangout is leading to us sharing resources we’ve developed separately to help people back at the schools we serve. She’s even looking forward to joining the Monster Project with Anna Baralt this year.

I go back to the new school year with so many new ideas and resources, but it is the person-to-person connections that will have a greater impact in the months and year s to come!