Sunday, March 12, 2017

Reflections on ICE Conference 2017

I was really lucky this year to attend the ICE (Illinois Computing Educators) Conference not one, but TWO days this year. Special thanks to the folks at WeVideo, who sent me in exchange for doing a presentation at ICE all about WeVideo, which is seriously (in my 100% honest opinion!) the best video creation site for education.

Why do I feel so strongly about WeVideo? Well, the winning element for me is the fact that it's cloud-based and cross-platform! I can use it on my Mac, my PC, my Chromebook, my iOS device, or an Android phone! Because it's all stored in the cloud, I can access it anywhere, any time. Oh yeah, and I can share projects, too. So if I'm working on a project with a partner and he/she is absent, I don't need his/her device OR login, because it's shared with me and I can access it, too! I can't think of any other service that gives me this much freedom!

My other favorite thing about WeVideo is of course, green screen, which I talked about here, and presented at the Google Summit here.

Our keynote speaker on Thursday was Eric Sheninger, who I think is awesome and have been following for several years now via Twitter, so I was pretty excited to hear in person. Friday was Joe Sanfelippo, who was equally awesome! I want to buy both of my administrators his awesome book, Hacking Leadership.

Side note: Eric Sheninger is part of the group that created the "Rigor-Relevance" framework chart, which I cannot look at EVER without picturing the "Conjoined Triangles of Success" from Silicon Valley. Does anyone else have this problem?

You can view my whole presentation here, if you like!

My presentation was first thing Thursday morning, which was excellent because it meant that I was able to get it over with right away (I get super ridiculous nervous), and then relax and enjoy the rest of the conference.

My department chair was there with me on Thursday (Thanks for taking pictures, Deb!), which was awesome because I had a friend to walk around with. We went to a poster session - something that I had never experienced before - which is like a 4 (or more) in one session: there's a table for each concept or presentation. Each group gives a quick summary up front, and then you can travel around to each table for more info... kind of like a professional development science fair? It was a cool concept, but way too crowded and I couldn't even get to the table I wanted to see, which was all about flexible seating arrangements - something I'm very into and have talked about before here.

We walked around the vendor booths (The swag was excellent this year, by the way! I like to collect stickers from vendors...) and saw another session from Eric Sheninger. I ended the day with a presentation on microphones, which I was hoping would be helpful for audio recording for our video projects, but was really technical and covered mostly microphones too expensive for my school budget. Ah well, you win some, you lose some. It was still cool to hear about though!

On Friday after Joe Sanfelippo's keynote, there was a block of time devoted to teachers perusing the vendor booths, so I hung out at the WeVideo booth with John Kline and Jaime Hernandez, who were super rad and gave me my favorite new WeVideo hoodie:

But more importantly, I got to talk with a whole bunch of educators about WeVideo and answer questions from a teacher perspective. It was really great to get to share and help others in their tech education journeys!

The vendor hall closed just before lunch, so after hanging in the booth and answering questions, I went to a session on textiles and circuitry, which is a project that I've been dying to try out! I'd love to start a "Tech Girls" club specifically focused on STEAM concepts, but just for girls at my school. Not only would we do a light up circuit bracelet project, I'd love to try the "ArtBot" machines I observed at the station next to the one I was watching:

Must. Get. Conductive. Thread... and make these super-sweet bracelets!
I feel like it would be pretty easy to adapt our current stash of LittleBits to create these ArtBots with marker legs!

I love getting to participate in professional development like the ICE Conference because it's so relevant and immediately useful to my daily responsibilities. I always leave with a ton of awesome new ideas to implement and share!

What's your favorite professional development activity?

-Mrs. L.

p.s. Did you notice? I finally bought my own real web address! I decided on, and for now I'm just forwarding it to my Blogger address. I've been playing around with the idea of switching to another blogging platform, but that's all still TBD... 

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