First ISTE Convention – Denver 2016

Post originally published June 28, 2016

I’m at my first ever ISTE convention, and I want to make sure I remember as much as I can.  I’ve also told myself I want to get better about blogging, so what better time to start than when surrounded by 14,000 educators!

Sunday evening I enjoyed walking all around the conference center and getting a clear lay of the land.  It helped tremendously for yesterday.  I was able to touch base with Kitty Tripp from our own SC (and she’s a social media superstar for ISTE this year).  I liked the keynote from Michio Kaku. He had everyone thinking about how quickly things are changing and where we will be in the future.  As a physicist, he shared predictions of what we will see in the near future.  Big changes coming in education and medicine.

Monday was the first full day.  I’d read a lot about ISTE and follow many people who are attending, so I felt like I had a good idea of what to expect.  I started the morning with Lezlie Fisher’s session – Apps, Tools, Tips + Gadgets You Can Take to Class Tomorrow.  I was not disappointed.  Lezlie is a phenomenal presenter, full of energy and enthusiasm about learning.  While the tools she shared were not new to me, I appreciated seeing them in a new light and being reminded of the what they can do for our teachers and students.  I also liked hearing from Clara Pena about how she uses the tools in her classroom.  Great blended of how to and why!

I had been told that one of the best things about ISTE is making connections.  After the morning session, Formative reached out to me, so I was able to have a one-on-one with them later in the day. I also got to say hello and take quick pics with some of my favorites in edtech – Lezlie Fisher, Kathy Shrock, and Matt Miller.  While I have not pushed myself as much as I probably could have to truly connect in person with other educators, I still appreciate being surrounded by people who have the same passion I do.

Thanks to encouragement from Kitty Tripp, I had signed up to be a volunteer.  I was supposed to volunteer (in my lovely yellow shirt) at the Welcome area, but they asked me to move to the poster session.  This ended up being great.  I’d already been in the poster area the evening before to connect with some of the ISTE PLNs, so I had learned what a great area this is.  I met several volunteers who love ISTE and edtech.  Being able to help a little by answering questions and directing people also made me feel like a real part of ISTE.

I also spent some time in the exhibit hall looking at displays and talking to some vendors. The options for hardware, software, etc are amazing.  Some of my favorite stops of the day were Peardeck, LucidPress, Pond, Google, and Gradecam (although there were many more).  I haven’t ventured to the Nearpod booth yet, but it was super popular due to the VR goggles they were handing out.

I am so glad I made George Couros’s session a priority for the day. I first heard him at the Midlands Summit in Richland 2 and loved his message about what we need to be doing with our students.  His talk yesterday made us think, as well as laugh and cry (and I’m not exaggerating – it was very emotional).  I think I’ll need another post to share all his best lines and moments.

I finished off the day with the Ed Tech Coaches Network Annual meeting.  I am new to this group and have not really participated before, but I know this will be a great PLN for me.  While everyone here at ISTE is “my people” – this group of people specifically does what I do!  It was interesting to hear how similar, yet different our jobs are.  I am thrilled to make these connections and know there are people I can reach out to for new ideas.

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