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Last summer I hacked the ISTE conference in San Antonio. Now before you send the federal agents, windbreakers and all to seize my Macbook Air, let me explain what I mean by “hacked”.
I didn’t hack into any computer system or manipulate any records. I would have no idea where to even start that process other than with some eleven-year-old’s instruction video on YouTube. Just think of my “hacking” as attending the massive educational technology conference in a non-traditional way to meet my own personal needs.
San Antonio was my third ISTE but I never did register for the 2013 conference. I still learned as much, if not more than I did in Denver and in San Diego. I saved between $300 – $450 and had an amazing learning experience. Here is how.
ISTE has gotten so big that I liken it to the Super Bowl. The game or in this case the conference sessions are just one piece of the overall circus. At the Super Bowl there is the NFL Experience which is an interactive fan zone of displays and activities. There are often celebrities and players signing autographs as well as countless other ways to have fun. The NFL’s corporate sponsors also descend on the host city and put on tons of parties and promotions open to anyone and not just ticket holders for the game. ISTE is the same way now. The exhibit hall is easily the biggest single gathering of edtech resources anywhere in the United States and free evening receptions will keep anyone stuffed all week. Just don’t check your cholesterol for a couple of weeks. Other user-organized, non-affiliated events like the Apple Distinguished Educator photo walks also abound. The 2012 walk in San Diego was my single favorite part of the trip.
ISTE does charge $50 for exhibit hall passes but comped ones can be found quite easily by checking vendor websites. Thanks to the great people at Spelling City for the two days of passes they sent me last year. By camping out at some of the bigger booths like Google’s and Adobe’s I caught session after session from people like Kyle Pace and Leslie Fisher, all of which were of the same quality state conferences run up as featured classes.
Most valuable though at ISTE is the chance to spend face-to-face time with some of the most incredible people in the world of education. During the previous two conferences I attended very few sessions because the social area conversations and networking opportunities were too compelling to leave. In San Antonio I didn’t have that dilemma. Lunch with Rushton Hurley and Ken Shelton (yep…name dropping) was worth the hassle of flying through O’Hare on a stormy day.
Let me state for the record that I truly appreciate all ISTE does for education in general and all the organization puts into their annual epic nerdfest. Without such a tremendous conference program, all of the ancillary benefits I am describing wouldn’t exist. That goes also for all who give presentations. These people still endure a significant amount of cost and give their time to make the event what it is. For thousands upon thousands of educators every year the conference provides exactly what they need and if you have never been I highly recommend doing the full boat. I should also add to that record that I was careful in San Antonio to respect physical conference boundaries accessible to full-paying registrants. There was no sneaking past or “just acting like I belong”.
I have gotten some kickback from a few people in the edtech world who state that I am missing the “intent” of the conference. To me the intent of ISTE is to bring educators together and help them grow professionally. That is exactly what I get from it. The irony lies in the fact that most of us, including the critics take great joy in mastering a digital tool and then McGyvering it to meet our own needs in a special way. Isn’t that all I am doing by attending ISTE this way?
Right now I have a few factors up in the air and may or may not make it to Atlanta. I am hopeful a few pieces will fall into place and I can spend a few days with all who will be on their own learning adventures. Make the most of your ISTE experience, however you choose to do so.
Action Movie FX and Extreme FX are tremendously fun apps….especially if you are forced to kill time in a Children’s Place while your wife and daughter shop.
Don’t limit the destruction to just what you can capture on your phone. Filming nothing but a green background allows these clips to be downloaded and dropped into any footage on iMovie using the green screen effect.
I am super excited that our school district has replaced Microsoft Office with iWork ’09 on our student laptops. As a teacher, the more simplified interface in Pages and Keynote makes teaching so much easier compared to trying to navigate the many toolbars in Office.
Here are some of my favorite techniques that make Keynote such a valuable tool. It is fabulous as a presentation maker, but the true magic comes out when we explore the layout and design capabilities as well as Keynote’s potential as a video editing application.
Here are 21 minutes of how-to instructions. Have fun with Keynote. Your only limitation is your own creativity.
“What if?” I excitedly asked myself, “I pulled out the silly JJ Abrams created Action Movie FX app and instead of filming an object to flood or explode I just filmed green?”
Would it work in iMovie (iLife ’11 not iOS version) as a green screen layer?
I frantically raced around looking for green construction paper and to my assistance came Kyle Schutt and Chad Lehman. They pulled a piece out of a supply case and I was off to try it.
I recorded the effect and saved to camera roll.
Next I imported the effect clip over green I had saved to iMovie and created a new project. I dragged a clip up onto the project timeline of Dean Shareski who was one of the lead facilitators of the institute. Another group of guys and I had been working on a silly mashup video and we had a fun clip of Dean acting surprised.
The next step was to drag the effect clip of the flood directly on top of the Dean clip until an options menu appeared. You have to be using iLife 11 and you need advanced tools selected in your iMovie preferences.
Next I selected “Green Screen”.
After getting the effect clip in the right place, I tested it and the water was coming in too high. I simply used the crop option and tweaked the effect oh so slightly. This tweaking was a Dennis Grice idea and really speaks to the increased flexibility that creating the effects on green provides over trying to do everything with the iPhone.
Below is the final product.
Sure…this is silly. Just think though of the creativity that students can generate. Think of the fun. Think of all of the language arts that can be fostered by creating “What if…” video writing prompts like “What if dinosaurs invaded the Obama inauguration?” or “What if Justin Bieber was trapped under a rock?” and kids had to write about how the problem was solved. Seems like pretty good pedagogy starting out with an anticipatory set like that.
What I plan to do for my students is record all of the different effects on green paper and then place them on Google Drive in a folder students can access. For appropriate use, students can then download effect clips and import them into iMovie projects. There is then no need for them to all have devices with the app on it. Since the app is free I also feel good that we aren’t skirting any process that would be outside the ethical bounds of sharing. We can apply to an endless amount of footage which expands the app’s capability exponentially.
See what other cool ideas you can think of. I would love to hear them in the comments.