Friday, June 30, 2017

San Antonio Days 2

It's Friday, June 30th, and I'm now typing all of this from home.  Ahhhh, there's no place like home.

For Monday, June 26th, my day started off crazy.

I set my alarm for 5:30 am, but found out that my iPod Touch was still set for Arizona time as I usually keep the Location preferences turned off.  In other words, it didn't know I was in Texas, so instead of 5:30 am Texas time, I was waking up at 7:30 am Texas time.  And my first class was at 8:00 am.  Believe it or not, I still made the class with a few minutes to go.

It was a fantastic class on Google Drawing, which I wasn't sure about taking, but I'm so glad I did.  I learned a lot of new tricks about using Google, not just drawing, but across their other apps as well.  It was a great way to start the ISTE Conference as far as I was concerned.  It was taught by Andy Mann, who is a certified Google Teacher/Trainer, who, unfortunately was asked to do this and another class on Google products due to the original teacher passing away.  Very, very sad.

After that, I decided to go into the Expo Hall to see how that was.  I kept hearing about it, but I didn't know what to make of it.

Big.  Really, really big.  You could spend your entire conference in here, and you wouldn't be able to visit every booth.  I spent a few hours in here (they also had some danishes for a continental breakfast here, so that was where I ate after the Google Drawing class.  I did visit several booths, including the one for Smart Technology, which makes the Smart Notebook software to work in conjunction with their Smart Boards.  I told them of an issue we were having with their software, so they have since contacted me on my work email and I'll follow up with them next week.

I couldn't find Apple, though, at the Expo Hall and had to ask to find out where they were.  They weren't in the Expo Hall at all, but had segregated to a location where you had to jump through hoops to get there if you were coming from the other end of the Conference Center, like I was.  Leave it to Apple.  They had already been sending out messages that you had to be at their booth at 7:00 am each morning to pick up the tickets for their classes, as their classes had limited seating.  They were hands on classes, and Apple had brought their own stock of computers to use, so this made sense.  I went over, though, after the Choose Your Own Adventure class and was still able to get a ticket into the class I wanted, so I was very thankful for that.  The class I wanted to take had a time change, it was now at 4:00, so it worked perfectly with my schedule.  While at the counter, I had heard they were going to be presenting at the EdTekTalks at 2:30, which meant I would need to cut out early to make my Apple class, however they also said there was going to be a surprise for those attending, but they wouldn't say what it was.

The Choose Your Own Adventure class was not what I was thinking about.  It wasn't about Choose Your Own Adventure Stories, it was about Choose Your Own Adventure Teaching.  It was outstanding and I've already been talking about and sharing what I learned from it yesterday at the office with a teacher who came in discouraged and in need of some technical help.  The lesson was taught by Aaron Sams, who is a former chemistry teacher who was able to do more than flipping his classroom, but was able to utilize technology to make learning experiences while still covering the mandatory curriculum.

After this, I went to the big ballroom where the EdTekTalks was being held and saved some seats for people who indicated on Google Hangouts they wanted to attend.  We all sat together and watched a presentation, much like the keynotes you see at the WWDC for Apple, with a video from Pharrel on there talking about the impact teachers made in his life and how he was now working with some collaborators and Apple to make the iBook, Tuniversity, to teach teachers and others on how to use the newest version of Garageband with students using the Pharrel song Happy.

After that, it was time to go to the Apple Class, but by that time my head was pretty much filled up with all of the other great stuff I was learning, so I felt like I was falling behind in the class.  I did, however, use my district issued laptop for the class, as they had more people there than the computers they provided.  They just instructed me on where and how to download the materials and data needed for the class and I enjoyed it immensely.  I want to do more to learn the XCode and Swift and possibly find ways of making some apps as part of my job.  I also did hear from the Lego booth that Lego is working with Apple to allow Swift code to work on the EV3 robots produced by Lego.  Great stuff, I'll probably be hearing more about Swift in the weeks and months to come.

After all of this, between the heat from Sunday and all of the walking I did on Monday, I needed some rest, so I stopped off at the quick mart they had in the lobby of the hotel and picked up a turkey sandwich to go before I headed to my hotel room to eat and relax for the rest of the night.  A good dose of several medications and I was off to dreamland.

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