If you are still at ISTE, make sure you keep an eye out for our EdTechTeacher team members: Jen CareyCarl Hooker, and Don Orth.

Here are there Carl’s thoughts and reflections from Day 1.

One thing I’ve learned from attending several ISTE conferences is that it’s real easy to be overwhelmed.  There is such an abundance of quality sessions, speakers, and so many gadgets that your head starts spinning by about noon on day 1.  A trick I learned a few years back is to take a day, or part of a day, to decompress, reflect and network rather than sit through a formal session.  I usually pick a significant part of the second full day of an event like this because that’s usually about the time my brain feels like it’s going to short circuit.

Poster sessions

One way to take a break from the formal sit-down presentations is to go to the many poster sessions that ISTE offers. I visited many of them, including some actually run by students which is always energizing. I also helped out with a poster session from a my staff this morning that discussed our 1:1 implementation in our middle school. Having conversations with fellow educators trying to decode the riddle of 1:1 devices in the classroom is great because I learn as much from them as they learn from me. 

The concerns from those whom I met seem to point to significant trends and consistently the same questions.

  • How do we insure our devices?
  • What’s our loss/damage rate?
  • What about parent issues?
  • How do we manage all of this?

While there are several answers for those questions, the bottom line is it’s different for everyone. An event like ISTE, with hundreds of sessions on every one of these topics, is a great starting resource to make connections, get ideas, and hopefully solve the 1:1 riddle for your school district.

Blogger’s Cafe

Today I spent pockets of the day hanging out in the Blogger’s Cafe meeting twitter rockstars from my PLN in person. While this may seem to be non-productive, some of the best conversations and “A-ha’s” happen in this area. I made some connections today in a face-to-face setting that I know I will carry on throughout my educational career.  Here’s a list of just a few of those folks and what they do:

Michelle Cordy – (@cordym)

Michelle and I had many conversations via twitter prior to meeting in person. I got to “see” her for the first time during her opening Ignite! session on Sunday, but today we actually interacted, including bantering about things from zombie runs to figuring out how to fix public education. Michelle’s website HackTheClassroom.ca is a great resource for personalized learning in the classroom and keeping education authentic.

Holly Clark – (@HollyEdTechDiva)

Holly introduced herself to me after recognizing me from my twitter avatar.  She is a dynamic speaker/leader from California that has eerie similarities to the same ideas that motivate me. We spent about a half-hour in a very lengthy Starbucks line having a deep conversation about the future of education in both of our states. We were so engaged in conversation that the barista had to clear her throat to get our attention.

Don Orth – (@finddonorth)

Don is another great educator for the state of California. Don and I had met on twitter and via a google hangout. Within minutes of officially “meeting” we had collaborated on an hacked rap song with Holly and Michelle that would represent our experiences at #ISTE13.  (As of this post, we had hoped to debut it at EdTechKaraoke on Tuesday night).  Don, Michelle and I also discovered another connection in that we will all be in Austin for the Apple Distinguished Educator institute next month.

The face-to-face connections I made today with these folks, and the many others whom I’ve met during my time here, will have tremendous impact on both myself and my district. Dean Shareski once said that the smartest person in the room is the room itself.  While I didn’t attend as many “sit & get” sessions today as Day 1, I feel like my “room” got smarter today as a result of making these connections.