Reflections

ISTE 2018 Reflection

I am currently in Post-ISTE Recovery Mode, and finally have enough energy to reflect on the past 5 days. When I think back to my ISTE 2016 and ISTE 2017 experiences, I realize just how crazy these adventures are.

Spent a great morning with Martha, my YEN Scholarship Mentee! 

One of the coolest parts of ISTE this year was being a Young Educator Network Scholarship Mentor. Each year, ISTE awards 10 conference registration scholarships to local teachers. Mentors are paired with these scholarship winners, and we spend Sunday morning getting to know each other, orienting our mentees to the overwhelmingness of ISTE, and pass along some advice. I emailed with Martha before ISTE, and loved finally meeting her! For those of you attended ISTE or followed along with #notatiste18, please take a minute to fill out this form–I’d love to collect your advice and takeaways for ISTE 2019 newbies!

When I attended ISTE 2016 in Denver, that was my first time meeting many of my friends. Reflecting back, I’ve come so far both personally and professionally. It’s hard to attend these conferences, and not feel many new feels–some of which are uncomfortable. Since my past 2 years’ reflections have covered a lot of the ISTE basics, I’m going to take a different spin this year. Below are some of my growth areas over the last 3 ISTE conferences.

Be in the Moment

Life goal, achievement unlocked! I got to be the Pear Deck pear for 5 mins!

There is always so much going on at ISTE! When we say “yes” to one session or social, we’re saying “no” to at least one other thing we really really want to attend. Remove FOMO (fear of missing out) from your vocabulary, and enjoy where you are, and who you’re sharing this experience with. If you’re #notatiste, celebrate that social media allows you to learn along with us at the conference.

A big shift for me this year was I didn’t worry about finding all the people, only to run off to find someone else minutes later. I enjoyed some smaller group adventures and even some one-on-one adventures! I loved this quality time with great friends!

I’ve learned not to stress about what I’m missing, and instead focus on hugging the people I’m with! And, I’m so grateful I did. I have fewer pictures from this trip, and more happy memories.

It’s Ok to Feel Impostor Syndrome

Every single person presenting at the conference is a human, just like me. Some get gigantic stages, and some are attendees. We all bring value and expertise in our own ways. And, we all had to start our learning process somewhere. As I have shifted my classroom to mastery-based grading, I have also shifted my outlook on my own learning to mastery-based.

Presenting on #PottyPD at the EdTechTeam booth.

I had the opportunity to present at the EdTechTeam booth for 20 minutes on #PottyPD. Even though I’ve presented and keynoted around the US, this made me super nervous. The night before, I had a dream that I had to go up completely unprepared. Typical teacher, right? I’m grateful for a few people who offered words of encouragement and hugs before I took the stage.

I have to remember that when someone has The Microphone, they have put hours and hours of work into learning and preparing to get themselves where they are today. I can’t compare the start of my learning journey to the middle of someone else’s! In the past (ok, honestly, happens all the time now, but I’m better at identifying it!), I my inside narrative would tell me that I’m not good enough. With a shift in my mindset, I realize it’s all about putting in the hard work.

Tired and Happy

One cool part about joining a bunch of friends in a different city is spontaneous adventures! A highlight of ISTE sightseeing was visiting the Willis (Sears) Tower and taking fun pictures in the glass boxes. The wait to get up was long, and thankfully I had some great friends to chat with.

Willis Tower SkyDeck with incredible friends!

With all the fun and adventure comes balance. I packed a healthy lunch for myself each day, plus extra food to give to friends. It brings me so much joy to keep my friends fueled. I didn’t do a great job of staying hydrated, but got better as the week went on.

Now, I’m home and excited to enjoy my 3 weeks of unscheduled summer!!

Reflections

ISTE 2017 — aka the Wizard Convention

“Words are in my not-so-humble opinion, the most inexhaustible form of magic we have, capable both of inflicting injury and remedying it.”

— Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows)

I love ISTE. It feels like a wizard convention.
Jennie Magiera – Tuesday keynote!

I just got back from ISTE 2017, now know as the Wizard Convention (thanks to Jennie!). Now that I’ve taken a full day to sleep and recover, I can properly reflect on my ISTE 2017 experience.

This is my 2nd ISTE, and it was even crazier than last year at ISTE 2016. Crazy, as in I want to hug as many friends as possible and have great conversations. Needless to say, it’s 5 days where I have to suspend my introvert self, and be a social butterfly.

I spent a lot of time being present with the friends I saw and met, that I really didn’t have much time for Tweeting, Instagramming, Snapping, or taking selfies. I’m ok with this, knowing that the memories are more powerful than internet likes and photos.

Friends!

ISTE is like one big family reunion! I loved seeing my #COL16 family (Google Innovator cohort), and knowing that I always had cheerleaders coming past my poster & playground sessions. Plus, I saw a bunch of friends I’ve met at other conferences and on Twitter.

Some of my COL16 Innovator cohort.
COL16 Family!

One of my ISTE highlights is I got to spend some quality time with my mentor and good friend, Crafty! It’s amazing to think I met him a year ago at ISTE, and then the Innovator Sorting Hat assigned us together after COL16. Lucky is an understatement!

I loved cheering on Jennie Magiera (Go #TeamYoshi!), the Tuesday morning keynote. Since I received an award (see below), I had a front and center seat for her keynote. Jennie inspired us to tell our stories, and to believe in ourselves and our experiences as teachers. While keynotes are generally inspiring, it was even more powerful knowing Jennie is my friend and Innovator coach, and she is 100% transparent–thanks for living and sharing your story.

Another awesome part of ISTE was helping the one and only Sylvia Duckworth win her epic Demo Slam at the EdTechTeam booth. I was a backup dancer for her rendition of “Come and Get Your Chrome”! Watch us rock on Periscope!

Trailblazer Academy aka Keynote Camp aka Confidence Camp

On Sunday, I was beyond lucky to attend the full-day Trailblazer Academy, really though, it was keynote camp! I spent the entire day working with critical friends to develop stories and structure for my future (and finally in progress) keynote, and learning from Molly Bennett and Jennie Magiera. A few days later, when talking with Jennie, Crafty, and other friends, Jennie said she noticed how much my confidence level went up by the end of the day. The best part is that I felt that happen! In reality, it was confidence camp more than keynote camp.

Poster Sessions, Playground, and Expo Hall

Receiving my Emerging Leader 2017 award
Receiving my Emerging Leader 2017

award

One of my favorite parts of ISTE is the poster sessions and playground. The general sessions require me to wait in line, and there’s a good chance I might not get in; with such limited time, I honestly don’t have the patience to wait in line for an hour, stuck in one spot. Instead, I wandered through the poster sessions, learned from friends at the playgrounds, and perused the expo hall–all while walking and chatting with friends.

Emerging Leader 2017 Award

Most of my friends told me “why didn’t you tell us?!” when they found out I received an award…hint taken, friends. So, I’m happy, thrilled, honored, and humbled to announce I am selected as one of the ISTE Emerging Leaders of 2017! I received my award at a fancy lunch on Monday, and it was also announced before Jennie’s keynote on Tuesday morning.

ISTE Pro Tip

Snacks and peanut butter & jelly supplies ready for ISTE!
ISTE breakfast & lunch!

My big ISTE (and other big conference) advice is pack food! If a conference doesn’t have food provided to all attendees, then your best bet is to pack some food. Why wait for an hour(s) for expensive subpar food, when you can sit down and eat a packed lunch? There are enough socials, mixers, meetups, and friendventures to handle dinner options.

I got a lot of eyerolls when I told friends I devoted a whole section of my suitcase to food: bread, peanut butter, jelly, applesauce, granola bars, cuties, and candy. Plus, other essentials like ziplock bags, plastic knives, napkins, and wet wipes. The best part is I made extra PB&J sandwiches for my friends! I was flexible to eat breakfast & lunch when I was hungry, wandering the expo hall, or sitting on a bench chatting with a friend.

See you all in Chicago for ISTE 2018!

PSA — Remember to create a more accessible internet by adding in alt text to pictures and closed captions to videos! Learn more from Melissa Oliver (@maoliver17) at www.createaccessibility.com.

Uncategorized

ISTE 2016 Reflections

[This post was originally featured on Kids Discover on July 6, 2016, Teacher Tips: How I survived ISTE 2016.]

There’s something powerful about being in a location with over 16,000 people who share your passion for technology in education. The annual International Society for Technology in Education conference took place from June 26 – 29, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. There was a wide range of learning opportunities, including sessions, workshops, panels, poster sessions, keynotes, and an expansive expo hall.

As an ISTE first timer, I downloaded the ISTE app and immediately realized I was in over my head with the whole experience. I found myself very overwhelmed with the experience, and relied on the advice from friends.

Here’s what I learned from my first ISTE:

1. Get connected on Twitter
Even those who were not able to attend ISTE in person benefitted from the learning opportunities by following the #notatISTE16 and #ISTE2016 hashtags. If you’re not already on Twitter, sign up! It is the best place to share and learn with other teachers and educators from all over the world. Following the #ISTE2016 hashtag gives you access to presenters’ resources and the incredible learning opportunities at ISTE. When introducing yourself, exchanging Twitter handles is a must. This allows you to keep your ISTE learning going long after you arrive back home. I loved meeting many of the people I’ve connected with online.

2. Go to a meet-up
It’s ok if you’re an introvert, I am too. Find a meet-up for something you’re passionate about or interested in, and attend. There are plenty of meet-ups each night at a variety of local locations. Introduce yourself to at least one person, and ask them about that shared interest that brought you to the meet-up. Better yet, find your extroverted friend and tag along with them. Face-to-face conversations are often the best way to dive deep into your interested and learn more from others.

3. Don’t be afraid to make your own sessions on the floor
One of my favorite ISTE sessions this year wasn’t an official session, but instead a group of people sitting on the floor in the Bloggers’ Cafe learning about creative thinking and sketchnoting. Multiple other pop-up sessions occurred throughout ISTE in the Bloggers’ Cafe and on Twitter; the easiest way to learn about these is through Twitter or word of mouth. I was lucky to be in the Bloggers’ Cafe to watch Sylvia Duckworth, sketchnoting master, give a short impromptu session. Gather a few people, sit down, and share something you’re passionate about!

4. There’s a lot going on, don’t fear the “fear of missing out” 
The official ISTE schedule is massive and there’s always at least a few things I wanted to attend during each session. I prioritized sessions and activities based on my current energy levels and which resources I could peruse on my own. Sometimes I found it more beneficial to browse the poster sessions with one or two in mind, then spend thirty minutes in the Bloggers’ Cafe recharging my laptop and my brain.

5. Differentiate between cool and engaging
At any technology or education conference, there seems to be an endless supply of cool things to learn about. There’s nothing wrong with going to a session to play around with something you’re interested in. Ultimately, you must ask yourself “how will this increase my students’ learning.” It was often difficult to prioritize which sessions to go to. Luckily, many presenters post their resources and I was able to preview their session and determine which I’d get the most out of. If you attend ISTE with a friend or colleague, it’s easy to attend different session and share resources via Google Docs.

6. Rest your brain! 
This is probably the most important takeaway from ISTE–you must give yourself time to process everything you learned. I hit the ISTE wall on Monday at 4:30pm after moving a million miles per hour for the first two days (I came early for pre-conference activities on Saturday); I took some time to relax in my hotel room before venturing out again. Find something to do that is not conference-related, such as going on a walk, sight-seeing, or eating with a group of friends with a strict no conference talk agreement. This helps give your brain a needed break to recharge and get ready to learn more.

Overall, I’m thankful for my experiences at ISTE 2016, all the new people I connected with, and all the incredible learning that took place over 5 days. Hope to see you all in San Antonio for ISTE 2017!