Halfway through Monday of ISTE 2012

Holy cow, what a day it has been here at ISTE. Already I have met Mayim Bialik, received a free TI N-spire CX CAS from Texas Instruments, and rekindled old connections and made new ones, and it's only 2:30 (wait, I haven't eaten since breakfast)!

I started the morning In the Texas Intruments session, as I was invited as a VIP to the session for submitting a question for TV's Blossom/Amy Farrah Fowler (Big Bang Theory) and was wowed by a demonstration from two educators that work extensively with the N-spire in their classes. Jeff Lukens, a math teacher, said it great when he said, "The first thing that you have to look at on a graph is WHAT is being graphed. That is literacy." Talk about really getting it, and how he was able to use the technology to get the hook into his students is definitely a plus. Of course, Dr. Bialik had a better quote in her response to Lukens' question, "How did you get the temperature to go down?" when she said, "Took it out of my armpit." of course, Lukens had mentioned that many of his students will place the probe in all sorts of places to record temperatures just before that.

After getting my picture taken with Mayim, I headed for the vendor floor. My first stop was at the booth of my favorite find from last year, the crew from Desmos, home of the wonderful free online graphing calculator. If you still have not checked them out, do it! They also have take to the many pieces of art that users (mostly students) have created using the calculator, so if you're looking for a way to hook kids on math, look no further. Did I mention it's free? And that CEO Eli Luberoff is one of the most enthusiastic entrepreneurs you'll ever meet, and that I have the privilege of presenting with him and Team Desmos at the Edmodo booth tomorrow?

And speaking of Edmodo, they were my second stop of the morning. I learned my lesson a few years ago that if I want the new Edmodo shirt, I had to stop there early! The booth was packed, and that has to be tantamount to the great service they offer and continue to expand on. Have you been able to explore the apps that they are integrating into groups?

After Edmodo, I zipped across the vendor floor to the booth of one of the tools I have been using the longest. Poll Everywhere has finally come to ISTE! It was great being able to connect with the great people And hear about some of the new ideas they're bringing, including a wonderful way to moderate responses on open text responses. Make sure to ask them about it.

And of course I couldn't forget the amazing people at PartStock Computers. They sell reconditioned PC's as well as HDTV’s, projectors, and other accessories, but being from an Apple district, we haven't been able to give them any business. What's that?! I learned this morning that they have reconditioned MacBooks and iPad 2s (wifi only), so I have some paperwork to pass off to my tech department when I get home!

There's always a surprise on the vendor floor, too, so I was happy to run into ChromaGen, a company that Helps those of us with dyslexia and color deficiencies. And an even bigger surprise was how interested so many other attendees were in learning about them.

I've made it about halfway through the vendor floor, and I'll be doubling back to revisit all of these booths and better learn about others that I missed in the next two days. I highly recommend that everyone that can either stops by the booths for these companies or visit their sites to learn more about them. They're all on twitter, too, so you can connect with them that way, too!

For now, it's time to refuel with some food, and remind myself that I'm only halfway through the day!

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