I was prompted when I saw my colleagues have had time to reflect on ISTE 2014, that it was time for me to do so as well. This year topped every year that I have been able to attend or present at ISTE.
For me, the true power of ISTE has always been to recharge and refill me to better serve my local learning community.
I look back and realized I have been privileged to attend and present at several ISTE conferences in recent years. I remember my first ISTE (then called NECC) was in 2003. I remember reading the program and scheduling myself to be in a session every moment of every day. I made sure that I went to every single vendor on the exhibit floor and accepted every piece of paper they gave me. I drank in every possible learning opportunity – I was able to draw on those experiences for the next whole school year. While I treat ISTE differently now with a focus on networking and relationships, I know that I have been filled to overflowing in preparation for another amazing school year.
This year @LibraryMall and @CybraryMan were able to meet at ISTE. It is beautiful to see colleagues that know each other well through their virtual presence also have a F2F relationship as well.
I know that it is a privilege to attend a conference such as #ISTE2014. I make sure that I will use and share my ideas once back in Surrey. Twitter has grown to be a key part of my sharing with my local learning network as well. Here are a few of the tweets from the conference – https://storify.com/amboe_k/iste-2014-filled-to-overflowing
I love presenting and sharing my learning and my passions. This year I presented more than ever before and it was tiring. I happily prepare the presentations because I get to share my passion, but more importantly I meet and network with fellow educators with similar interests.
(More Info on my three presentations:)
Digital Storytelling – Putting Learning Above output
Enhanced Engagement through Geography – Integrating Google Earth
iTunesU: The Glue for iPad learning
I have done many presentations in the last 10 years as an Information and Media Literacy Coordinator in the Surrey School District. My first Ignite was part of our Engaging the Digital Learner – Dinner Series. Doing an Ignite presentation at ISTE pushed me outside of my comfort zone. Unfortunately the venue on the vendor floor was not the greatest, but thanks to Josh Apter and his Padcaster I am able to share with you the video of sharing my passion about Digital Footprints and Digital Tattoos.
While I spend less time on the exhibitor floor than previously, I tell all new to ISTE to plan to spend an entire day there. There are hundreds of vendors covering several football fields of space. You can talk directly to the companies, and developers of products we use regularly – Google, Comic Life, MakerBot, LittleBits, just to name a few.
My personal favourite was a technology I had never seen before but had set up a stationary version for a student that missed a lot of school due to a medical condition. This device allows a student to physically be with a class and move / interact including on field trips.
Posing for photos is not one of my favourite things, but I did pose for two this year. As I have worked extensively with Discovery Education Network (DEN) in Surrey this year, it seemed appropriate to pose with Fin.
The second was the 6th annual MindShareLearning.ca hosted event at the Canadian Embassy in Atlanta. It is pretty cool to share with about 100 (of the 300 attending ISTE) some appies and to sing O Canada in Atlanta. Kudos to Tricia Anton from Nanaimo as one of the winning classrooms in the Mindshare contest.
I did attend several sessions including several of the other IGNITE’s. I enjoyed them, but I have learned I prefer to have more relational contact than sit and git. Most of my time was spent talking with people.
What an amazing team from Surrey was at ISTE this year. Normally I do know about 10 people from BC that are awesome educators and I try to meet up with them. (Ironically I often see these other leaders and innovators more at conferences than in district). We usually have diverse enough interests that I may share only 1 meal with them.
Having the experience this year – a team is absolutely critical. The evening events, conversations and meals exponentially improved the experience. We were able to share, reflect and dream immediately about what we experienced. I know that we were all impacted and I am pretty sure we were all filled to overflowing.
Kudos to Surrey
This year was amazing representation for Surrey. Not just in physical presence but also in showing the world who we are. The work that Surrey does is known internationally and we had opportunities to showcase the incredible talent.
Our team included last years Kay L Bitter Award winner (Karen Lirenman) and this year’s Outstanding Teachers of the Year(Linda Dyck) and 5 Apple Distinguished Educators. This powerhouse team was involved in 5 Workshops 2 Presentations, 2 Ignites, 2 Panels, a BYOD workshop, the Apple Playground. I know those that were not as involved next year would be perfect to take on more showcasing of the good work that happens in Surrey next year. (Applications are submitted in September.)
Boiling it all down – I have two recommendations:
First – Send a team to the conference. The critical mass will greatly enhance your return on investment. This year was by far the best and will likely have the greatest impact over the next year for me. Empower the team in September to make sure that they can apply to present, get involved, and to highlight the incredible work that we do
Second – Go to the HackEd pre-conference. (http://wiki.isteunplugged.com/) This follows an Ed Camp model where you have contributors globally in F2F conversations. The collegial atmosphere having meaningful conversations with many well known speakers and thought leaders sets the stage for hastag mindblown (#mindblown – thanks @librarymall for the emphasis) The App Smackdown is a great feature. This year there were so many to share, that you had to share in 90 seconds your favourite app, tool, or feature.
ISTE 2014 was a fantastic conference. I hope that I can make it to ISTE 2015 in Philadelphia some how.