ISTE as a Newbie
ISTE 2014 in Atlanta was a memorable and reflective experience for me. As an “ISTE Newbie” I had mixed emotions as to what I should expect. I was prepared to be overwhelmed and that was definitely my initial feeling upon arrival. This feeling did not change; however, the networking, learning and enthusiasm that radiated throughout the conference trumped any overwhelming feelings that lingered.
Networking was a huge part of ISTE for me. Attendees were constantly connecting via Twitter, PLN Lounges and the ISTE Network game. These connections not only opened up learning opportunities during my time in Atlanta, but provided lasting opportunities for learning and collaborating from this point forward. I felt that I gained a new idea or tool in every line I stood in. Whether I was waiting for my morning Starbucks, for the rain to subside or just waiting in line for a session, I had engaging conversations with complete strangers that were always full of ideas, tools and things I couldn’t wait to share.
It took me some time to sort out my notes and all that I “took away” from ISTE. I felt like a sponge in an ocean. I would absorb a bunch of new ideas or tools in a session, squeeze them out on Google Document and then soak up more greatness from sessions, playgrounds, poster sessions, vendors and attendees, all while continuing to squeeze the greatness onto my Google Document. My sponge was quickly filling up and curating the greatness seemed overwhelming at times. In my recent read, “Teach Like a Pirate” by Dave Burgess, I was reminded the importance of curating my ideas. My sponge was filling up with links, apps, extensions and ideas that I must sort and share. As a technology integrationist/coach, I took away several Google, web, and app tools to use and share with teachers. I love learning new tools that give that “ohhhhhhh” response.
Beyond helpful tools, sites and apps, I felt drawn to sessions focused on tech coaching. It was great to listen and gain ideas from other districts as Technology Integrationist/Coaching positions continue to grow and develop. Relationship, Relevance and Reflection, or the Three R’s of tech coaching, really seemed to summarize the mission behind this growing position. As technology advances and those in education are forced to stay on top of the technology trends, tech coaches are vital. I truly feel that it is the Relationships, Relevance and Reflection that guide the success and validity to this position. As we work together to stay on top of the latest and greatest with technology and engaging children, we must work as an education team as well. Building Relationships, finding Relevance to technology tools and ideas and truly Reflecting on the process is key. As the summer comes to an end and I start “squeezing” my sponge of knowledge, I look forward to sharing and growing with others in the changing world of education.
Until next ISTE…