After years of being #notatISTE and staying up through the night to watch the live broadcasts in the middle of the Aussie winter (which does get pretty cold), I finally got my chance to attend the world renowned conference. It was as if Christmas had come early when my school handed me my ticket to Texas.
What's it like for a first time ISTE attendee? Did I think it is worth the almost 20 hours of travel there and back - not to mention the jet lag! What did I find interesting? Most importantly, would I go again?
Posters, Playgrounds and Panels - oh my!
Rapid Fire Learning
...and don't forget the Expo hall!
The expo hall is where companies come to showcase their latest and greatest. It's a dazzling display of everything that is exciting and there is plenty to see. Some make their ISTE mission about collecting swag, which there is plenty of. For those with luggage restrictions it wasn't a high priority - but I did get my fair share! In my three conference days, I cannot say that I saw everything. On the final day, I found myself dashing madly around the maze of displays looking for specific vendors. Entering the expo hall is similar to getting sucked into a time warp. A lot of the larger vendors offer their own sessions, so you can take a seat and very quickly loose track of time.
ISTE knows how to run a conference! They are organised and I cannot fault their communication about the event. For a first time ISTE attendee I felt like I was provided with enough information to enjoy the conference and find my way around. Downloading the app is high on my list of essentials, followed closely by wearing comfy shoes!
The really satisfying thing about this conference was that is was powered by teachers. The most engaging speakers and people who made this event worth coming to, were the people who are walking the walk out there in the real world. The real value of this conference comes from the connections you make and the conversations you have with others.
I think the important thing to remember is that you can't do it all. Plan ahead and build an experience based on your interests and needs. There is something for everyone and the conference makes an effort to provide a variety of ways to engage.
Do I want to go to Chicago next year? You bet! Fingers crossed.
Read all about my thoughts on teaching in the 21st Century, my experiences with technology in the classroom, running a Maker Space, launching STEAM and Design Thinking with students, coding, robotics and much more!
Click the button below: