I am sure that I could write countless posts about ISTE 2014 (and I might just do that). It was an amazing experience which I am still trying to fully process. I’m really not sure I will be able to process it all, in fact. It was just so much to take in, connect with and then try to respond to. I am truly not sure I will be able to able process the whole event.
One post that really got me thinking of my experience was a recent post by Bill Ferriter on his blog, The Tempered Radical. In his post, Bill reflected on some of his tweets he posted during his time at ISTE 2014. Bill’s thoughts made me think of some important reflections of my own.
When I first registered for ISTE 2014, we were able to preregister for three session. At the time, because I registered late, many of the sessions I would have liked to register for were already full. So, I chose three sessions I thought I would learn a great deal from and be able to implement these strategies in my daily teaching or pass along the ideas to educators in my school and district (click on the links below to get the resources from these sessions):
- Special Education Resources: Technology Tools for Exceptional Learners
- Students as Mobile News Reporters using Videolicious iOS app (recording of the session here)
- Personalize Learning for Struggling Students Using iPad’s Multimedia Recording Features (Back channel here and website here)
These are only a few of the sessions that I attended. They were good, however, they left me wanting more. I wanted stories. I wanted to hear the why behind these “apps”. I know my “why” and value that, but I would have liked to have heard about the learners, the motivation and the meaning behind these “tools”. Now, mind you, each presenter only had an hour to present their material and these stories take time to resonate with people. I think that sharing stories, sharing struggles and how certain tools helped specific individuals, would have brought real meaning to the presentations. Without these stories, the presentations were, unfortunately, more of a list. The why. The story. The struggles. The children. Those are what truly motivate and inspire. Not a list of apps/tools.
Were some of the tools mentioned useful? Absolutely. I may even share some of them here in future posts on my blog, but the stories provide so much more. The stories are what provide the connections. The stories are what provide the purpose and the meaning. The stories are what ISTE, I have learned, is all about. The connections are what make ISTE the amazing conference it is.
I found that I didn’t tweet that much while at ISTE. I actually, sadly, didn’t even keep up on the #ISTE2014 twitter stream (need to revisit it now that I am home). I was living in the moment. I was experiencing what ISTE is all about – connecting with educators around the world. I was able to meet and talk with people who have inspired me over the past 3 years. I was able to connect with, thank, laugh with, and chat with many people who have had such a great influence on me and my thinking over the past few years. Some of these people include, Bill, Philip, John, Kathy, Steve, Todd, Michelle, Steve A., Tom, Adam, Matt, and Nitesh (founder of Padlet), to name a few. It was also amazing connecting with the team from our own #sd36learn: Iram, Shelley, Karen, Hugh, Linda, Dee, Kevin, Diana, Robyn, Lisa, Glenda, and Orwell (although I didn’t see Orwell until the airport on the way home). I was also fortunate to connect with others from our province: Bryan, Petra, Victoria, and Tricia.
I was not able to connect with everyone I would have like to, however. Unfortunately, I missed connecting with Shelly, Angela, Justin, Jeffery, Erin, and Tina, to name only a few. I know, as our future conversations transpire, we will meet face to face when we get the next opportunity.
For me, ISTE 2014 was all about the connections – from the airport, to the sessions, to the lineups (even the line up to the bathroom), from the meals, and even in the taxi ride that almost killed me (bus vs. taxi would not have ended well). I listened to some amazing keynotes, attended many excellent sessions, and chatted with countless inspiring educators.
ISTE 2014, thank you for a wonderful experience.
Atlanta, thank you for your incredible hospitality.
I can’t wait for my next ISTE experience!