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ISTE Atlanta Wrap Up

I made it back safely from Atlanta a few days ago and what an adventure!  I saw many of you there and heard that Hawaii sent more than 230 people to ISTE!  This is a big showing for such a small state!

I wanted to share some of the things I heard and did at the event.  First of all, you can click here for a slideshow of pictures I took at the event.  If you have other pictures you want to share, please feel free to send them to me and I will add them to the slideshow (make sure you have permission if there are others in it).

While everyone's ISTE experience is unique because there are so many different things to choose from, here are some of my biggest takeaways:

  • The theme from this conference seemed to be the "maker" revolution.  Led by people like Gary Stager and Sylvia Martinez and their book, "Invent to Learn", this is a movement of bringing students back to learning through hands-on building.  From 3D printing to robotics to open source circuit boards to building with materials like cardboard and even gingerbread, a wave of change is upon us.  You can learn more about Maker Faire's here and even experience it locally in Honolulu when the next Mini Maker Faire arrives in March of 2015.

  • The exhibitor hall continues to be a place of wonder and surprise for me.  In my slideshow, you will see that they are now building two story vendor exhibits where people can actually go up above the action and see the whole vendor area!  I continue to be blown away by the number of vendors, more than 500 this year, and the amount of different offerings from each.  You truly must experience this sometime.  While I have learned to navigate the many sales people and target my time to specific vendors, I talked to many teachers who use this as an opportunity to see all the different products they just can't see anywhere else.  This is especially true of educators from Hawaii and Alaska where there aren't stores to actually try out the products before having it shipped.

  • The personalization of learning continues to be a driving force in education.  With ISTE renaming their SIG (Special Interest Groups) to Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) and the wide range of companies and classes on how to individualize learning, it seems as if the world is finally realizing that every learner is different and they each need a unique education that draws upon the passions and strengths as a learner.  I enjoyed spending time talking to Barbara Bray and Kathleen McClaskey about their journey in education.  They were nice enough to share some of their thoughts at the ASTE/ISTE Meet and Greet event.

  • For those of you who were involved in the Schools of the Future Grant initiative led by Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF) and Hawaii Association for Independent Schools (HAIS), I was lucky enough to participate in a panel discussion about the transformation of schools around Hawaii because of the grant. Dr. Mark Hines from MidPacific Institute led the panel and it was attended by more than 40 people.  Along with Mark, Lori from Hongwanji, and Karen from 'Iolani, we took the audience on a "journey of change" over the past five years.  The grant has inspired so much throughout the islands and led to the creation of this organization, HSTE, as well as the huge gathering of educators every year at the Schools of the Future Conference.

  • I also got to meet, Jessica, from Kaua'i.  Jessica is the Project Manager for a new grant for Kaua'i educators that is helping to fund professional development and grow the capacity for excellence in technology on the island.   If you want to get involved and possibly get funding to attend professional development, check out the Kaua'i section of the website.

  • Finally, I want to thank everyone who attended the ASTE/HSTE Meet and Greet at Alma Cocina in Atlanta.  I am still looking for someone who took pictures at the event, if you have any, please send me them at  I think, we had more than 50 people there and it was just a great opportunity for sharing and learning from each other.
With Aloha,

Mike Travis, 2014 HSTE President

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