Last year when so many members of my PLN were excited to be landing in Austin and heading to iPad Palooza, I was getting on a plane, with my family, for Orlando and volleyball “nationals” – that’s just a fancy name for ‘really expensive volleyball tournament, & you don’t have time to go to Disney World’. As I sat in the convention center with crazed volleyball parents thinking their 14 year old was going to be recruited by the University of Texas, I realized that I could have just taken my daughter to Austin and killed 2 birds with 1 stone. Later that summer I got to see Mr. Hooker @MrHooker (insert joke here) do a presentation in Chicago, and I vowed that I would not miss iPadPalooza again.
In February, I submitted my proposal for a workshop using StripDesigner & Tellagami as tools to assess student learning. When I found out I was accepted, I couldn’t wait to get there and experience everything I had read about on Twitter. Thanks to everyone that attended my session, I truly appreciate the energy and everything else you brought into the session. Also, a HUGE thank you to the teachers at Marian Catholic who gave up a morning of their summer to help me prepare for this opportunity – your suggestions were well received in Austin.
The Keynote speakers this year were Adam Bellow @adambellow, Guy Kawasaki @GuyKawasaki, & Eric Whitacre @EricWhitacre. This made the opening and closing of the conference beyond memorable. Normally while the Keynote speaker is getting started, I’m making the turn & heading out on the back 9, but I didn’t even bring golf clubs to Austin. The passion and insight they brought to the stage was amazing. I feel as if everyone in the audience was inspired to not only keep their own dreams alive and take risks without the fear of failure, but to inspire their students to do the same. On Wednesday we had the pleasure of watching a Mini-Keynotathon with 13 speakers for 3 minutes each. Watching these talented speakers express their passions in only 3-4 minutes exciting. Getting to hear a rap for the 2nd day was a huge bonus! Thanks Michelle Cordy @cordym & Mr. Hooker @mrhooker.
The App-Mazing Race, with its top prize of Apple Watches, brought people together from all over the country. Our team consisted of Natalie and Emily from Louisiana, Adam from New Hampshire, and myself from Chicago. We had a great time connecting, but we didn’t exactly win. Probably because I was too busy going to every session I could, and didn’t exactly post a lot of pictures to help our cause – but I digress (as usual). The App-Mazing Race was a very powerful way to get people to connect before, during, and after iPadPalooza, and next year I promise to bring my A game. #benchwarmer
With the focus on “Keeping iPads Weird”, sessions stretched how you thought about education, and how you could do things differently. The best part about this, was the presenters didn’t encourage you to do it differently for different sake, we did it differently so our students could benefit from this new train of thought.
Richard Wells @iPadWells said it best when he said “I come to you from the future”. This is not only because it’s already Friday in New Zealand, but because the New Zealand educational system focuses on both students and teachers demonstrating their progression. It’s not about a standardized test there, it’s about getting better at what they do. They are preparing their students to adapt and prepare for change. We are preparing our students to fill in bubbles. That will not come in handy during the Zombie Apocalypse when we have to problem solve and critically think how to survive. Yes, this was actually a session led by Chicago’s very own – Jenny Magiera @MsMagiera.
I thought I was going to ‘take one for the team’ back home by attending multiple MATH sessions with Kyle Pearce @MathletePearce But with the way he taught math, I learned more about slope intercept in 45 minutes than I did in 3 years of HS math, and I felt bad that I couldn’t attend his final session on Thursday.
Let’s play “Did you ever?”
Did you ever see an EdCamp built into a conference? We did on Thursday. Did you ever see food trucks pull up to feed almost 1,000 people? We did all week. Did you ever see Guy Kawasaki learn how to say ‘suck’ in ASL while trying to embrace the unicorn in the audience? We did on Wednesday. Did you ever get to sit in movie theatre while eating dinner & judging a student film festival? We did on Wednesday.
Did you miss iPadPalooza? You won’t next year.