Wednesday, June 30, 2010

#ISTE10: LOL at ISTE10

I went to my favorite session of ISTE10 yesterday. It was called LOL @ ISTE: Bring Popcorn and an Open Mind. The session was run by Saul Rockman, Michael Jay (Who needs to get a twitter account ASAP!), Heidi Rogers, Ferdi Serim, Elliot Soloway and surprise guest Gary Sager. I have to tell you that my words here will not do enough justice to the comedy that took place in this session. So I'm not going to re-tell all of the jokes in the hopes of being half as funny as those guys, but I'm going to write a little bit about the importance of humor in what we do.

The panel got ready to go and Saul Rockman started off with the introductions and we were off. The jokes and quotes were flying faster than anyone could tweet them. Even on my magical iPad, I had a hard time keeping up. :-) The panel sat there exchanging barbs and snide remarks as if they have spent the past 30 years together on panels. @AmandacDykes said that was going to be me in 30 years. I can only hope that I'm nearly that smart, funny and important to sit on a panel like that. I really thought about that though and wondered who I would sit on a panel with and realized that I would be honored to sit on a panel with any of the people I have met this past week and some I still only know from Twitter. That type of connection that was on stage for LOL was evident and important. As teachers, we all have to work together and play nice. It's not easy all of the time, but find those people that you see eye to eye with and get together. From there, all thing are possible. Connections are part of what makes education work. We are told to make connections with our students, but it is equally important to make those connections with your fellow educators. So, @Tgwynn @ you game for some panel action next year?

The session continued on at a furious pace after the intorductions and Gary Stager would play his vuvuzela app when he felt like giving another speaker a hard time. They all acted like it was cast reunion of Monty Python. Some funny NYC report card quotes were placed on the screen and shared with the audience. You can find all of them here. Here are a couple that really stood out to me; "The Wheel is still turning, but the Hamster is dead." When your daughter's IQ reaches 50, you should sell." "I would not allow your students to breed." Those quotes are hilarious and we all wish we could use them for some of our students. Even though we can't, it's important to share those ideas with others. Our profession is not an easy one. I think everyone that reads this knows that to be true. Some teachers I know do not think that it's ok to laugh at the situations we encounter. I feel that if we don't laugh, we would spend too much time crying. Many of us are in districts or buildings that are dealing with so many different problems at once that is hard to choose which fire to put out first. We need to joke and laugh at some of the things that come across our desk because we need a coping mechanism. Well, a coping mechanism besides heavy drinking. I'm not saying teachers should go around making fun of students, but teachers should feel ok joking about the situations we encounter to let others know they are not alone in the absurdity. I think that this session really showed that part of education.

Michael Jay passed out 3D glasses so we could look at the important data found in grade books. Large charts of numbers were placed on the screen and nobody could read them. After putting on the glasses, we saw different words pop out at us. One that stood out was, "More Tests!" The point that he was trying to make, was that we can all read data how ever we want. It was an important idea to discuss and is worthy of it's own post, but the delivery is key. We were all able to laugh at the fact that schools are moving toward this data driven collection concepts, but the process is incredibly flawed in many cases. We needed to get a good laugh a t a serious issue and that made as all think, in 3D.

Gary Stager is awesome. Follow him on twitter at @garystager. That is all.

The LOL session ended with a group sing along. We were rolling. Oh, I should say ROTFLing right? I have never laughed so hard at a conference, keynotes excluded (Too soon?), in my entire life. It was so great to be in a session with people that shared the same sense of humor. It was even better to see some veteran educators talk about education with a comedic tone. We all need to change the educational world we live in, so why not do it while putting a smile on everyone's face?



  1. Sounds like you had a great time. Sorry I missed all the fun at #ISTE! I think the lesson learned and the message of your post is so important: "Connections are part of what makes education work." Not just those with our students, but with fellow educators. Thanks for sharing this experience with those who were unable to be there!

  2. Yeah, so I just laughed out loud in the Social Butterfly Lounge as I read the line about laughing at a Keynote (too soon?). Awesomeness. And of course I'm game for a panel next year.

  3. Hey, I was a twit long before twitter! You can find me on Twitter at MichaelEJay although my personal bandwidth significantly constrains how much I use this mode of communication. Glad you enjoyed the session.


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