Tuesday, July 2, 2013

iSTE for me

It has been a few days since I have gotten home from #iste13 and I have been marinating in the information. This was my second trip to iSTE as an attendee, but also my first experience as a presenter. That level of being inside the conference does make a difference in the experience, even though I didn't want to admit it at the time. I was nervous, anxious, but now I am so glad that I did participate at that level, it was exhilarating. Going to this conference with one year under my belt, I knew what to expect: total brain overload. I knew to take it easy, absorb what I could, connect where I could, share everything I could, and go with the flow. Now 4 days later, the information that has been marinating in my brain is starting to take form into action steps and a to-do list, and even better: a to-learn list.

Some of my highlights cannot go unmentioned.

Definitely on this trip Adam Bellows was my NorthStar. I ended up in 2 of his sessions learning about various tools, discussing pedagogy behind the tools, and then he was the closing keynote speaker as well. I have yet to process all of the tools he shared, but his message has sunk in: Know the tools that are out there, use them to suit your students needs, but the focus is the student and the learning; the tool is a tool, not a secret weapon in the battle against illiteracy.

Presenting with a friend, Cathleen Petty, on a subject that we have worked passionately on, appropriate placement in high school English Language Arts, is also a highlight. We have presented together before and as friends and colleagues we complement each other in such a role. We got a HUGE compliment on our presentation from Principal William King and many others who came through and listened to our information, then asked question after question. The fact they had questions told me we were on the right path.

I also had the opportunity to present in the Google Booth on the Exhibition Hall floor. This had me nervous. Those nerves were NOT alleviated in any way having my presentation follow that of Shree Bose, Google Science Fair Winner. I presented to the crowd on my use of Google Voice as a great tool for educators that is highly under utilized, and I got a good response from the crowd. I was happy. Those 15 minutes went by very fast!

I cannot go without mentioning that I got to see in person (or f2f) many members of my PLN and expand that PLN as well. It is at iSTE that I get to come into contact with many people that I have been following for years. I cannot even attempt to name them all here, so I will not name any. I will say again, I tweeted it the first time, that it is humbling to meet these people, and it is shocking when they are just as excited to meet me. But that did happen a couple of times on this trip as well. I didn't know what to do with that.

And finally, my own geeky adventure in collaborative notes. I have yet to transcribe my paper notes from the conference (it is a very long story as to why a geek like myself was on paper for a geek conference), however, my notes have been shared and added to and shared some more by many. I hope they continue to develop as others do as I have done, and continue to marinate, reflect, and learn.

And, I got to try out Google Glass! Whoo hooo!!

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