Saturday, June 29, 2013

Brain Dump - Sat., June 29

Here is a recap of the past nine days and today (so far). It may take two or three blogs to write it all up! If you're a gamer, you may want to read below about Jane McGonigal, the keynote speaker at the ISTE 2013 convention. (Hint: It's under Opening Keynote Speaker.)

First, my schedule:

Thursday, June 20: Work ten hours in RV park office

Friday, June 21: Work ten hours in RV park office

Saturday, June 22: 10K (6.2 mi.) Volksmarch at Mitchell Lakes Audubon Center. Four miles into the walk I received a text message from Snelling asking if I can work today. I told her I was in the middle of a six mile walk, what time did she want me to work? She said, "Noon." It was 10:30 a.m. Nope noon wasn't going to happen. I told her where I was and that I had two more miles to walk, then I needed to shower. She said we were just being trained and it didn't matter if I was a little late. Finished the walk at a brisk pace, went home, showered and made it to the convention center at 12:30 p.m. Luckily the training was easy and I was up to speed in no time. Then they had us WORK the Exhibitor Registration Desks. Worked 12:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Sunday, June 23: Work 12-1/2 hours doing Exhibitor Registration at ISTE (International Society of Technology in Education) 2013 Convention in San Antonio, TX. I should note, we actually PRINTED the Exhibitor badges when exhibitors came to the window. If there was an error in their name or company, we could correct it immediately and print a new one. Also, on the badges is a QR (Quick Response) code. They could have their personal cell phone number and e-mail coded into the QR code (which we did on the spot) and it printed on their badge. If anyone wanted the company or salesperson information, they could take a photo of, or use a hand-held scanner, to scan the QR code on the badge and they would have the person's name, company, email and cell phone number. Again, pretty high tech stuff.

Monday, June 24: Work 11 hours doing Exhibitor Registration. This afternoon Shaina of the Exhibition setup company asked me what time I was scheduled to work Tuesday morning. I told her 6:45 a.m. She said, "Good."

Tuesday, June 25: This morning I showed up at 6:30 a.m., signed in with Snelling, and went to my registration station. At 7:00 a.m., Shaina came up to me and said I wasn't supposed to come in until 11:00 a.m. Crap! Even my written hours from Snelling showed I was supposed to be there at 6:45 a.m. I admit I was tired and cranky. I went home and slept for two hours then went back to the Convention Center at 11:00 a.m. I asked Snelling if they planned to pay me for the hour of time I used driving in and back to work from 6:15 to 7:15 a.m. She said she'd see what they could do. This was Snelling's or the Convention staff's error. I should be paid for my time for driving in earlier in the morning. Worked 11:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. (plus one hour).

Wednesday, June 26: Worked the convention exhibitor registration from 7:15 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Convention ended. Bob and I went to see the movie "Now You See Me" (review forthcoming) at 5:15 p.m.

Thursday, June 27: Worked ten hours in the RV park office. At night we watched our Netflix selection, "The Big Year" (review forthcoming). We went to dinner at Texas Roadhouse. We had leftovers to take home. I was so happy to have leftover salmon, rice and sweet potato to take for lunch tomorrow. Bob had leftover salad and bread with cinnamon butter.

Friday, June 28: Started to pack my left-over food for lunch. I took the Styrofoam container out of the fridge, opened it, and found...SALAD and BREAD! What? Bob took my left-overs by accident when he went to work this morning...he didn't look in the Styrofoam container!! $!@%#&! Oh man, I was REALLY looking forward to my salmon lunch. Ended up making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and had some baby carrots. Blah. Worked ten hours in the RV park office.

Happy birthday to my brother, Frank. [Frank, I hope you checked your PO Box and got your birthday card!]

Saturday, June 29: Walked 10K (6.2 mi.) in the Brook Hollow neighborhood. The LoneStar Walkers AVA (American Volkssport Association) group sponsored the walk this morning. They had us do the usual route in reverse order. It was nice to see the neighborhood from the other direction.

It's time to blog about it all...

The Exhibitor Registration at the ISTE Convention was high tech. No more alphabetic lines with A-D, E-H, etc., no siree! We all had Apple Mac laptops and exhibitors could go to any open window, no matter what their name. Believe me, it confused them at first because it's always been done the alphabetic way.

Have you been to register at conventions only to stand in long lines because your last name is Allen or Smith and A-D and R-U lines are long? Believe me, I've been on the other side of that registration counter trying to pick up a badge at many a convention over the years.

At this convention, when someone came to our window to pick up their "Exhibitor" badge, they could give their first or last name or their company name as we could search by any of those three options. The computers were so fast, I could type in three or four letters of their last name and all last names or company names with those three letters, in that order, would populate my screen. It was so fast to register people that I usually had their badge printing before they could get their I.D. out. (Everyone had to show picture I.D., with a few exceptions to that rule.) This convention was the roll-out of this new technology to register people. (How apropos this was introduced at an International Society of Technology in Education conference!) People were very impressed.

In the past when registration badges were on pre-printed paper and people's names were alphabetized, the registration lines would snake around the convention area. Badges would be lost because they weren't in alphabetic order, names were spelled wrong, all kinds of mishaps occurred that slowed down the process. With the new technology, even at the busiest times with all 12 windows open, the line was, at most, three to four people deep. Even then, they were cleared out within minutes!

What will be even more high tech is when the conventions go paperless and people have an App on their smartphones that can be scanned on entry to the convention, opening keynotes, classes, exhibit hall, banquets, etc. Apparently they're not quite there yet. For one thing, not everyone has a Smartphone, myself included.

More technology at the conference: Attendees' ISTE 2013 Command Center was an official conference app attendees could upload onto their smartphone or tablet. The app had everything they needed to navigate, sync, gamify, and discover all about what the convention offered:
  1. Updates on conference news, updates to program, and social media.
  2. Play the conference game to compete for a trip to ISTE 2014 in Atlanta, GA.
  3. Browse all conference sessions, speakers and exhibitors.
  4. Build a conference schedule online or in the app and sync with all their devices.
  5. Discover new contacts and introduce themselves via the attendee messaging center.
  6. Review all program content with individual surveys of each session.
  7. Download a PDF of the final printed program (so they could leave the paper copy at home.
  8. Find recommendations for local restaurants and activities in San Antonio.
Opening Keynote Speaker: I wish I could have heard the opening keynote speaker, Jane McGonigal, who presented "Learning is an Epic Win." Did you know computer gameplay is good for you? McGonigal is today's leading speaker on games and the application of game-design to education. She discussed the powers of gameplay to solve real-world challenges, and to teach 21st-century skills like resilience, urgent optimism, and extreme-scale collaboration. According to her content listing for the opening keynote address:
In the best-designed games, our engagement is perfectly optimized: we have important work to do, we're surrounded by potential collaborators, and we learn quickly and in a low-risk environment. When we're playing a good online game, we get constant useful feedback, we turbo-charge the neurochemistry that makes challenge fun, and we feel an insatiable curiosity about the world around us. None of this is by accident.

McGonigal will explore the concepts of resilience, how character evolves through gaming, and how gamers, constantly presented with the prospect of failure in-game, develop an ability within their real lives to attempt multiple avenues for solving problems. Like 21st-century learners, their solutions are built on an appreciation for change and collaboration.
McGonigal has a book on modern gamification called Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World.

So many high-tech topics were covered at this convention: global collaboration projects, music collaboration projects, paperless classrooms, cinematic storytelling with iPads and iPhones, changing technology 'tudes: web tools anyone can use, reinventing math instruction with technology, mega makeovers: five global tech trends that'll change everything educational. It sure looks like the newest trend in education is global collaboration; basically the world is your classroom.

On the last day of the convention, I finally got to explore the Exhibit Hall and take photos. (By the way, our "uniform" was white shirt, black pants and black shoes.) I asked if photo taking was allowed and was told yes. Here's what I saw...

Robotics is hot. Here's my new friend, Mr. Roboto.
Adobe seminar: held at their booth.
Bretford - look how comfy this booth is!
Samsung seminar at their booth.

Learning games - this is the new whiteboard!!
Many booths had footstool-type seats. Everything looked so modern.

Okay, maybe you've heard of this: BYOD. It was everywhere at this convention. Class descriptions said BYOD, advertising used BYOD. What is that? Scratching our heads, some of us guessed as to what it stood for: Bring your own desktop...nope; bring your own drink...wrong again. By now you may have guessed, it means, bring your own device (smartphone, tablet, laptop; although some classes required a laptop, those classes were designated in the class description). 

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
Google's learning the bright colors!
eBeam - you can write on the board and send to students' devices!

Software MaKiev booth seminar.
As you can see, the booths had a lot of action. The exhibitors we talked to at the show had such good interest and sales they immediately signed up for the show in Atlanta, Georgia next year. They said this was exactly the audience they wanted to reach (teachers).

Lego education booth.
Robotics were highly visible. This is the Lego Education booth.
Lego robotic dog.
Lego robotic elephant.
Lego calls robots motivators.

Stilt man at adventure camp booth.
Interactive HD screens called IWBs (interactive whiteboards)
Like the company name. That's the way my brain felt!
Teacher's lessons on the smartboard in photo below. Smartboard is connected to students' laptops or tablets. Teacher can view one particular student's tablet from her smartboard and put it on the board in front of the class. This was so fascinating!

You can see the rapt attention of the teachers are as they watch.
Newbie and Social Butterfly Lounge.
In addition to the Newbie and Social Butterfly Lounge were:
  • Doctor is In Kiosk (for help with technical difficulties like network issues or equipment problems)
  • Press Office for credentialed media
  • Presenter's Lounge (where presenter's could go to practice, work with a smart board, make copies, store equipment during the day, get a cup of coffee, or relax)
  • Blogger's Cafe (nope, didn't have a chance to check it out)
  • Bookstore
  • Information Booth (with lost and found)
I'm not a teacher, but I was so impressed by the things I saw. One smartboard had all the furniture and classroom dimensions onscreen. The teacher could use the smartboard to re-arrange the classroom to her liking on the smartboard before she physically moved furniture. Wow.

This was an international conference. I checked in exhibitors from China, South Korea, Japan, Spain, Malaysia, New Zealand, France, Canada, Czechoslovakia, and the U.S., of course.

The job was a lot of fun. I hope I can work more conventions (especially if they have registration by computer)!

Welcome to our newest follower, Janet Shaw, of Seize the Day RV Adventure. Janet enjoys walking, hiking, bird watching and lots more. Thanks for joining us, Janet! Enjoy your RV Adventures.

TravelBug out.