On March 20, 2012, I attended the Instructional Technology Strategies Conference in Portland. I had a great time and learned a lot, so I thought I’d share some random thoughts about the conference and my experiences.
I’m probably behind the times, but this was the first paper-free conference I have attended. Everyone was supposed to bring a connected device. It was strange, but liberating. No fumbling through folders to find the agenda. No not getting around to filing notes or handouts until they eventually get thrown out. Links and notes are stored on the device, along with any presentations, so I can find them later. Carrying around a computer is much less cumbersome than the folders, notebooks, or God forbid, those big bags full of stuff you get at some conferences. I loved it.
As I visited with various people at the conference, I was interested in the number of classrooms that now have iPads for their students. Some have a mobile lab of iPads while others had their own classroom set. It’s exciting to think of the opportunities that students have with these devices, particularly the ability to move beyond the essay or paragraph to show their learning.
On the other hand, I noticed quite a few shortcomings of my iPad as my connected device at the conference. Of course, I knew I couldn’t use Flash, but other web sites didn’t display correctly which was a problem. The next time I’ll take a regular laptop.
One more piece of iPad news. A woman at one of the sessions I attended had a great gadget that she uses all the time. The Airstash is a USB-like drive with an SD card that plugs into the iPad and allows you to transfer files to and from the device. The gadget, a little bigger than a traditional flash drive, has built-in wifi, so people with connected devices can access its files. This makes it great for presentations. You can read a review by someone who actually used it.
Participants and presenters shared some great tools and resources.
This site is a great place for students to collaborate online.
Educator Web Tools
A person at one of the sessions I attended, whose name I apologize for not getting, accumulated this great set of resources for teachers and students. Check out the top row of tabs.