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Sunday, March 2, 2014

ASTE 2014

Well another ASTE has come and gone. If my count is correct, this is my 7th. I remember my first trip out when I was a teacher back in Togiak, AK. I was stir crazy and aching for a restaurant dinner, a cold beer, and a trip to the mall to just mingle with the faceless crowd. I was eager to help out around the conference and asked my coworkers for a chance to meet all the brilliant minds that put ASTE 2007 together. I ran around plugging in projectors and extension cords every morning and collecting them every afternoon. I mingled with people I considered to be celebrities, shared my successes and challenges with educators from around the state, and solidified my decision to become a life-long Alaskan. The Alaska Society for Technology in Education became a lighthouse for my career. It guided me through challenging times as a teacher, taught me the skills I needed to become a technologist, and gave me a focused goal. I wanted to embody the ideals of ASTE in all that I did. I worked tirelessly to gain new insights about educational technology and infused it in all of my lessons. 

The conference was the highlight of my year every year. I knew if I could make it through to Christmas I would survive. Then I poured my heart into the second semester and held nothing back until that wonderful long weekend 2 months later... ASTE was the network I needed to understand my job and my worth. It was a professional development mecca with experts congregating to discuss anything my heart desired! After a few years of attendance as an educator, I then experienced ASTE as a vendor. I was a consultant for a technology firm and presented several sessions over the course of the busiest 4 days of the year. Once again joining the public world, I attended ASTE 2012 and 2013 as the Educational Technology Coordinator at LYSD. It was wonderful to feel the warmth and camaraderie of fellow educators once again. 

This year I worked ASTE for the first time. I was proud to be a part of what I consider to be the best ASTE yet! Never before have I seen such a purely educational, nature-focused, and synergetic conference. It was inspiring to say the least. 

Here are some highlights of ASTE 2014: Nature, Technology, and Learning.  

Leadership Summit

  • 106 participants from 30+ districts
  • Superintendents, Directors, Teachers, Support Staff
  • Tech Plan assistance, leadership topics, advice from experts
  • Dr. Edwards, V. Oliveri, Com. Hanley, UAS, UAF, EED 


Steve Edwards: 21st Century Leadership and Distance Learning

  • Dr. Edwards inspired the group to think differently and turn the established norms on their head. I don't know if the teachers in attendance appreciated the comments about "a little chaos in the classroom is okay," but the support staff certainly did.
  • "Students should go home tired at the end of the day, not teachers."

Nainoa Thompson: Hawaiian Culture Bearer

  • Executive Director of the Polynesian Voyager Society; leading to movement to revive Hawaiian culture and way-finding.  

Chris Morgan: Conservationist, Ecologist, TV/Movie Personality

  • BBC, NatGeo, and PBS documentary filmmaker and wildlife biologist; currently completing work on 'Bear Trek' and teaching all who will listen about the importance of wilderness stewardship.

Kes Woodward: Professor of Art Emeritus

  • Art is often the impetuous for change in the world, especially in terms of conservation  

Richard Nelson: TV, Radio Personality & AK Writer Laureate

  • Listen to the world around you and you will hear; be still, look, listen, and learn. 

Favorite Session

The Polynesian Voyager Society
Hawaiian Voyaging Traditions


Commissioner Handley
Review of legislation, initiatives, direction
Dedication to ASTE, possible invites to Juneau/policy meetings

New iTunes policies for Students; Under 13 y.o.a. now granted institutional account.
Redeem code policy changes; Redeem codes now mobile and revokable between Apple IDs. 
Focus on education and NOT vendor driven; Move all timelines forward

“Students should be tired at the end of the day, not teachers” (Or administrators)
“Every teacher has an online presence, only sometime their students are in the room”
"Do less, better."


I was so proud of my LYSD team this year! We did a wonderful job representing our communities and won some cash in the process.

Isaac Poulsen – First Place iDidaTune
Brittnay Bailey – First Place iDidaPodcast
Peter Werts – First Place iDidaMovie
9 LYSD submissions total

Favorite Resources Discovered