Saturday, July 18, 2015

ISTE 2015 - A Reflection

I attend ISTE this year for the first time in about 12 years and it has really changed. The Expo floor was amazing and there were definitely way more people. During the opening keynote, I believe that it was stated that there were 20,000 in attendance.

So I was asked, by an ed tech friend who was unable to attend, what was the big buzz at the conference. I believe that the big push is for visual literacy. What is visual literacy you ask? It is the ability to interpret, negotiate, and make meaning from information presented in the form of an image. Have you noticed the explosion in infographics and other images on the Net? It's the reason Instagram is so popular! A picture is worth a thousand words. Meaning we can convey complex ideas through a single image. In order to navigate the Net kids will need these skills to be able to read and create in a visually rich media. We need to teach these skills. Making good visuals and pairing it with reliable information will be so important to our students in the future. 

What the Journey to Success Really Looks Like - Carl Hooker

I attended quite a few sessions. Seems like I was always running somewhere. I don't know how you can work for a school district, and justify going to a conference if you don't attend at least some sessions. 

They are in no particular order. Opening Keynote: Soledad O'Brien; Digital Parenting: Carl Hooker; ISTE Ignites Round 3; The Changing Role of the Cheif Technology Officer: Kevin Honeycutt, Brad Waid, Susan Beardan, Alice Keeler, Matthew Miller, David Maline; 1 in 3 Session: Round 3; GripCase SAMR Session: Shannon Soger; Successful Parent/Educator Partnership in the Inclusive Classroom: Luis Perez, Shannon Soger, Christine Southard, Jack Gallagher: iPad: An Out of the Box Look: Tim and Kathy Yenca; Developing an Innovator's Mindset: George Couros: Closing Keynote: Josh Stumpenhorst. 

from George Couros's Session

I presented at the conference. It was a phenomenal experience. My session was called Tech Coach Therapy. The session was a Birds of a Feather. Basically, this a round table discussion format. I prepared a very short presentation about the way I feel about the power of coaching, how I coach teachers and the resources that I use to support my craft. I prepared a Google Slide presentation, but I'm not sure that too many of my 23 attendees used it. Instead they just talked to each other about their jobs. I was able to give the attendees a framework to support meaningful conversation around their job titles. That doesn't always happen when you are sitting in the Blogger's Cafe at ISTE. There is so much power in telling your story. People want to connect by their similarities and even their differences. This group was able to learn what works and what doesn't in other districts, and make connections with other educators that will support them in their mission. They can continue to connect through social media or email to share and grow. I heard and participated in discussion in all the groups. The talk was very powerful, very productive for all of them.  I was shocked when one group stayed about ten minutes past the sessions end time, especially since it was the last session on Monday afternoon. Sometimes we, as coaches, are like the therapists in a school. Even real therapists need therapists. 

The other lens in which I viewed ISTE was through that of someone who has planned and hosted an ed tech conference, ie iEngage-Berwyn. After all, ISTE is the grand daddy of them all. They do it right. I found myself looking at traffic patterns, floor layouts, signage, maps, all the small details that make a conference user friendly. I made a few notes to share with the iLead team. 

The fabulous Jordan Garrett working the Swivl booth

One final note - the social events in the evening are another great way to connect with those that you can learn from all year long! I met a lot of my #edurockstar heroes too. I wish I could follow all of the great people that I met at ISTE, but I'm in Twitter Jail. So if you have a Twitter account and you are not following me PLEASE do so, @rmbtowner_tech or click on the follow link at the right. 

Drew Minock, Brad Waid, George Couros, Kevin Honeycutt

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