It’s been several weeks since ISTE 2018 and I finally find myself in a place where I can share my experience. Not only was this my first ISTE conference, but I was also fortunate enough to be a presenter and a student in the first ISTE Certification program! All of which has been so overwhelming, I am not even sure how to put it in writing. So, I will try by chunking it out…
I had the unbelievable honor to be chosen as one of the 30 lucky people to attend this inaugural class. We all gathered early Saturday morning (the day before ISTE officially began). My four colleagues and I were in a room with two amazing facilitators and 25 other phenomenal participants. We went through an information-packed day, and I can say that we were all pretty drained at the end. There are two online modules to complete and we each have a portfolio due in February.
I have now finished the online modules and I learned so much that I will be posting those thoughts separately.
The Conference & Exhibitor Floor
Before heading to Chicago a colleague warned me that it would feel like being at Disneyland. When he said that I thought “oh sure, I’ve been to Disneyland so many times, whatever”! Little did I know how correct his statement was. The expo hall was so amazing (I regret not taking any pictures!), it actually almost felt like being at a circus. There were so many banners and contraptions flying overhead I could have amused myself for hours just looking at those.
Knowing that I might become overwhelmed I spent some time preparing so I knew the exact vendors I wanted to “hit”. My first stop was Microsoft. Their purchase of Flipgrid raised a flag in my mind that they are trying to become a larger presence in the education world, so I wanted to see what they might be offering. Honestly, their booth was the best thing I “saw” at ISTE. There I got to see the collaboration that has happened between Microsoft and BBC. There is so much there that I won’t even begin to describe it, just click on over for yourself and see the plethora of amazing things that are offered for free.
Unfortunately, when it came to seeing presentations I was rather thwarted. I was only able to attend three presentations (besides those that my LAUSD colleagues presented). There were far too many people and the rooms were not large enough to accommodate everyone. The few sessions I was able to attend were only because I waited outside the rooms for an hour or more. That was disappointing. However, I was able to see my favorite Ed Tech “mentors”: Vicki Davis, Kasey Bell, Matt Miller, and Eric Curtis.
This is what really made the whole trip incredible. In January 2018 I began what is literally my dream job of being a technology coach with LAUSD. My #ISTE2018 presentation was a collaborative effort with four other coaches and myself sharing what we do, based on the ISTE standards. We practiced over and over again and I think it was a very successful presentation. We were in a small room, but it was full of people and when it came to the Q & A section we had some really good questions. In fact, we were finally asked to leave because the next session needed to set-up. Presenting was truly the highlight of my career, and has inspired me to present at other conferences (fingers crossed for CUE Spring, 2019)
Overall I was disappointed with the lack of access to sessions (and don’t get me started on the terrible food and very unfriendly workers at the conference center), but, being part of the new ISTE Educator Certification and presenting made it all worthwhile.
I would love to hear from others about their #ISTE2018 experiences. Maybe you had better luck with the sessions?