I was lucky enough to be able to attend the ISTE conference in Atlanta this year. I have been to various state conferences before but never to a conference of this magnitude. I was taken aback by how large the conference is, both in terms of people and events/sessions that take place. According to the numbers state in the closing session, there were over 16,000 participants there. There was so much going on that there is no way that I can write down all of my reflections as one blog post. I decided to do three posts to hopefully cover all of my reflections from this great learning experience.
Part 1: The People
Part 2: The Sessions/Events
Part 3: The Action
I will start with the part that most people told me was the most important aspect of this conference; the people. I went into this conference hoping to meet some people for the first time that I had met online before. I was able to finally meet and thank Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams for their work on the flipped classroom, which helped get me started flipping my classroom back in 2011. I was also able to finally run into Brian Bennett who I had talked to online multiple times about the flipped classroom. I was also lucky to run into again Kristin Daniels who has done some great work with flipped PD up in Minnesota, and who I had met at Edcamp Twin Cities earlier this year. The flipped classroom changed my teaching career and I have been carrying over some of what I learned into my role as a technology integrationist.
There were so many others that I was happy to finally be able to see in person and listen to them speak passionately about education. After watching last year’s ISTE keynote online by Adam Bellow, I knew he was someone I wanted to see in person this year. I went to two of his sessions early on and was very happy with what I got to hear. I was also able to listen to Brad Waid and Drew Minock talk about augmented reality in the Blogger’s Cafe and they were very passionate about what you could do with this with students in the classroom.
There were just so many others that I was happy to meet for the first time face to face or that I got to meet for the first time ever, virtual or real. It was amazing that in a place that had over 16,000 people at, I was able to run into so many people that I knew from online or past experiences. The great thing about these meetings is that they increase the size and effectiveness of my PLN so that I am better connected to help myself and others in the future. It is very hard to teach today without having connections to others who are able to assist or push you along the way. These connections are key to our personal growth as educators and we should be open to connecting to as many people as we can. While I am not as connected as many others there, I feel like I have a good group of people who are willing to lend an idea or resource when I need it.