Wow. I have finally made my first pilgrimage to the Ed Tech “Mecca”, ISTE. If you are a “newbie” like me, you may not know what it stands for; ISTE=International Society for Technology in Education. It is the premier conference for educators using technology in the classroom. I have been selected to receive 15 iPad 2s for my class next year, as well as a set of 32 ActivExpressions, alphanumeric “clickers” for students to text answers to questions I ask in class. One of the main reasons I came to ISTE this year was to learn some innovative ways to use the equipment I currently have and the new tools I am getting next year. However, as I embrace a personal lifestyle defined by minimalism, I can’t help but crave “less stuff” in my classroom. For this reason, I am trying to avoid hanging out in the exhibit hall, where I am sure to find some cool new tech tool that I “cannot live without”!
If you enjoy exhibit halls at conferences, you would lo-o-o-o-ve ISTE!!! There is no exhibit hall that I’ve seen that even comes close to ISTE. It is overwhelming, bustling, and chock full of everything you go to exhibit halls to see– new ideas, free giveaways, and every vendor you’ve never heard of! I was a little taken aback by the sheer magnitude of the vendor presence at this conference, and frankly, a little turned off. I get it, people come to conferences like this to connect with vendors to find tech solutions for their schools, but for me, it is a gross display of the commodification of our kids’ education. Every one wants a piece! That said, I will continue to avoid the exhibit hall, but if this is your thing, ISTE is the place to be!
Please do not let my rant about the exhibit hall lead you to believe that I am not enjoying this conference. Every interaction, session, and just passing through the tremendous halls of the Pennsylvania Convention Center has made this one of the most enriching experiences of my professional life. I plan to attend next year and in years to come. There is sooo much that I am getting from this conference, that it would be impossible to share in one post, so stay tuned! I have been taking really detailed notes and plan to share what I learn right here very soon! For now, I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite quotes from sessions I’ve attended so far:
“What is OBVIOUS to you, is obvious to YOU!” -Dr. John Medina, author of Brain Rules
“Leadership is communicating people’s worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves.”-Dr. Stephen Covey, author of The Leader in Me
“Treat a man as he is and you make him worse than he is. Treat a man as he has the potential to become and you make him better than he is.” -Goethe