ISTE 17 Reflection
This time last year, I was leaving my first ISTE excited, overwhelmed, and afraid that I had missed some session or poster that would positively rock my world. Today, leaving my second ISTE, I can appreciate the week knowing that the conference provided me with an incredible experience.
Here are my three biggest takeaways from #ISTE17:
Power of Poster Sessions
At ISTE, they have poster sessions that take place throughout the entire week. These posters are an incredible opportunity because (as stated by Kim Calderon) “It’s like 50 sessions in 2 hours.” If you are curious how these poster sessions work, just think high school science fair on steroids.
These educators have posters (and/or monitors) to display their ideas, projects, or research in order to inspire other educators. Then, other educators wander throughout the the space, stopping to take pictures, scan QR codes, or talk to the presenters. The coolest part of this is the ability to talk individually about the processes that the poster presenter went through as they implemented their ideas. Not only does that help the inquisitive educator learn something new, it also helps provide the poster presenter with other ideas.
Mari Venturino (@MsVenturino – ISTE Emerging Leader 2017) had this to say about doing a poster session, “I loved the opportunity to present a poster session at ISTE17. It’s a unique experience to be able to present to small groups of people, and answer individual questions about the topic. Not only did I share with attendees, but also I learned a lot of great ideas from then!”
Connecting With Awesome Educators
An incredible aspect of ISTE is the sheer number of educators that descend on a convention and share all their tips, tricks, and ideas. This year’s ISTE had nearly 20,000 educators from 8,000 different schools from around the world. Many of these people may have been previously connected from their Professional Learning Network (PLN), or from past conferences. But the opportunity to meet Face-To-Face (F2F), provides another level of collaboration and sharing. This could include the various booths where educators would congregate, such as the Google For Education Booth or the EdTechTeam Booth (two of the booths I spent quite a bit of time at this year).
For example, while hanging around the EdTechTeam booth, I started talking to Kern Kelley (@kernkelley)about a new student help desk program he helped me to establish this year. Through our conversation, we were able to develop another level of collaboration for our students in the coming year!
Another common area where teachers would connect could simply be in the hallways, lounges, and restaurants, (or Riverwalk since we were in San Antonio) as educators strike up conversation with those with whom they came into contact. It’s amazing the similar interests/visions/goals/expertise that others have to offer and the fact that they are so willing to be a resource for other educators.
Tuesday morning’s keynote can be described in one word… “Epic-Emotional-Awesomeness.” (I know, that is more than one word, but the hyphens makes it one word still, right??) This should not be any surprise because the speaker was Jennie Magiera. While her resume is impressive, her ability to share a story that captives and resonates moved the crowd into action.
Her keynote centered on the idea of telling the untold stories that surround us everyday. She encouraged us to find our own identity as an educator and through that we must make sure we are working to help our students find their own identity as well. Everyday we must seek to meet every student’s need, provide them a safe place to learn/grow, and challenge them to be the best versions of themselves.
Here is a more thoughts on the Keynote by Jennie: ISTE 17 Keynote Blog
ISTE Final Thoughts
So as we finalize our reflections of ISTE, or the past school year, we must consider the lessons we have learned. How have we been challenged by these experiences? What must we personally do different in order to be the best versions of ourselves? How can we connect with other educators more consistently in order to challenge and encourage us? And most importantly, what can we do this next year to empower students to write a new story about themselves that will be the defining moment to their future success?