Sunday, August 16, 2015

iPadPaloozaSTX 2015

iPadPalooza South Texas was a one day event that was held at  McAllen High School in McAllen, Texas. This learning festival was a celebration of the cultural shift that iPads and other technology have brought about in education and the world.  This event focused on creativity, social collaboration, engagement and the compelling ways schools have integrated technology into their classrooms. The local cultural theme for this year was: DAY OF THE TECH (DAY OF THE DEAD.)  iPadPalooza South Texas collaborated with the origInal iPadPalooza that started in Austin Texas.  The Godfather of iPadPalooza, Carl Hooker,  was a keynote at this event; as well as, Todd Nesloney and Felix Jacomino.  All three keynotes were dynamic and inspirational.

There were a multitude of sessions offered utilizing different platforms like iTunes U, iPad Apps, Google Apps for Education and Microsoft Office.  McAllen ISD wants its teachers and students to feel comfortable with any platform they choose.  iPadPaloozaSTX was fortunate to offer a variety of sessions.

The hard working committee and I never imagined the feedback would be so positive.  We had a little over 500 educators participate in iPadPaloozaSTX.  There were presenters from Dallas, Houston, Austin, Navasota, Miami, Edinburg and McAllen.  Locally raised Aaron Stephens sang blues music for our participants and McAllen High School's Pop Music group sang a variety of pop music.  There were also 6 local food trucks that served a variety of food from tacos to BBQ.  Participant feedback mentioned the ambiance and local flavor was a definite highlight of this tech festival.

Another wonderful addition to iPadPaloozaSTX was Katherine Torrini, a graphic recorder.  She brought magic to our festival.  Take a peek at her amazing work.   

We used a local start up company, QLUE, to assist with our AppMazing Race.  Participants had such a great time with this scavenger hunt that forced them to use a variety of apps and online tools to participate.  There were over 30 teams that participated with a group from Los Fresnos winning iWatches.

My instructional technology specialists, Rosie Fluegel, Raquel Cantu, Daniel Galeana, and Gonzalo Sandoval worked tirelessly for the last 8 months to make everything a success.  Other committee members also helped make iPadPaloozaSTX a success, you can find out about them here: committee.  Our closing survey gave us a wealth of knowledge on how we can make next year even better.  Participants want longer sessions that are more hands on, shade when waiting for food truck orders, and for us to be an annual festival.  The Rio Grande Valley culture allowed us to be bright and fun! 


We even had LoTECHeria where participants looked for Bingo cards on twitter to get BINGO! The winner received an iWATCH.

I can't leave without thanking ALL my wonderful SPONSORS who gave us wonderful prizes to share with our educators!  They all ROCK!

Next year, iPadPaloozaSTX  will be held August 4th and 5th of 2016.  We are working on a killer line up of keynotes and have already added a student film festival to take place.  As I sit back and reflect on the whole festival, I feel blessed.  We all worked extremely hard and it paid off.  If you are looking for a unique tech learning festival, join us next year for  iPadPaloozaSTX16!