Ahhhh, ISTE. That great big magical conference with all things edtech. Overwhelming as it is inspiring, it is the highlight of this tech coach's year! If you’ve never been to ISTE before, imagine the largest conference you’ve ever been to filled with a football field sized expo floor, thousands of edtech sessions for everything your heart could desire, and 19,000 educators from around the world just as jazzed up as you are. Yeahhhhh!
Now that I’ve been back from Denver for a little bit, I wanted to reflect on some common themes I found throughout the conference. Know that if you attend ISTE, burnout is real and decompression time is needed! However, when you can wrap your head around it all, you’ll realize what an experience it was!
- Find Your Tribe. Education has its isolating moments. Finding your in school tribe AND online tribes can reinvigorate your practices and lend a support in difficult situation. For me personally, feeling like I’m not making an impact can really get me down. I look to my PLN for encouragement and advice. Change alone is a ripple, change together makes waves.
- Hello, Digital Citizenship! There was a HUGE emphasis on digital citizenship of all kinds this year at ISTE; something I didn’t necessarily see last year. As educators, we have to have professional online presences that demonstrate our abilities to collaborate, network, and model true life-long learning. Then we need to help students do the same. When they leave our classrooms and schools, they should have a professional, positive digital tattoo.
- Try Sketchnoting. There were 4 or 5 sessions alone on sketchnoting, bringing together some big names like Sylvia Duckworth. So many expo floor exhibitors worked this into their demonstrations, too. Popular, fun, and another way to reach visual or artistic learners. Next time I do a larger scale PD, I’m going to ask someone to sketchnote for me!
- The 3 R’s of Edtech. AR, VR, and QR were everywhere from the expo hall, to sessions, even student presentations. I engaged in many conversations about the use of Google Cardboard expeditions to enhance student learning experiences. A great STEM connection was viewing landmarks with Cardboard (VR), sketching with a 3D program/by hand the then 3D with Aurasma (AR), printing/making a model, and then presenting with a QR code in a “classroom museum”.
- My Personal Reflection. Good teaching is, and always will be, good teaching. At ISTE, it’s easy to get caught up in the latest, greatest, shiniest new toy or idea. As educators, we know kids, we know what works, and we see past the glitz factor. For me this year, that was hyperdocs. Now, I’m not opposed to hyperdocs at all. In fact, I used the concept for years without ever calling it a “hyperdoc”. And that’s okay, because tech trends come and go, but solid pedagogy is a constant.