Why go to a Conference? Should you go? I went to ISTE, take a look!! Just a bit of the experience here.


186097-geo-globe-wall-marquee-rwd.jpg.rendition.intel.web.720.405A Conference?

is usually defined as a large official meeting, usually lasting for a few days, at which people with the same work or interests come together to discuss their views and to share their knowledge.
The space is used for exhibitions, workshops, demonstrations, playgrounds, and social events.
in a conference room/centre/hall or building. These days, a conference sometimes has a virtual component and a social media component to link the people with interests in the topics.The ISTE conference also had a couple of sassy electronic aids that replaced usual booklets of information, but the traditional book and map were also available as well as human helpers with “Ask Me” sign.

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June 28 through July 1
ISTE 2015
Pennsylvania Convention Center

ISTE promised “Groundbreaking ideas to be shared, new learning technologies being unveiled and seeds are planted that will impact education for years to come. ”

Who attended 2015 ISTE? Unofficial reports of those in physical attendance , 21,000.

A most important part of this conference is the keynote. The keynotes bring a lot of the conference attendees together for important messaging. The keynotes are framed in ideational scaffolding that help to frame new ideas and share philosophy.

Soledad O’Brian started us off.Even though you can find her keynote , and parts of it online, the excitement of being in the crowd, with the music, and the roar of the crowd,finding or making friends in the audience is a rush. She was electric!! She spoke to digital equity and social justice with outstanding examples to share. This is a snippet. It was a thoughtful delivery and sharing of ideas. http://www.educationdive.com/news/monday-at-iste-2015-googles-cardboard-what-works-in-11-and-fed-talks/401486/ Soledad O’Brien is an award-winning journalist, documentarian, news anchor, producer and television personality. In June 2013, she launched Starfish Media Group (SMG), a multiplatform media production and distribution company dedicated to uncovering and producing stories that delve into the often-divisive issues of race, class, wealth, poverty and opportunity through personal stories.

Jack Gallagher,  his keynote, “Insight into Autism: A Father’s Perspective,” shared a moving portrayal of a parent struggling to understand a child who he comes to realize is truly amazing. Drawn from his personal experience and training as an educator, his story illustrates that sometimes when pushed to the limit, we learn new lessons and discover new ways of approaching complex situations. His inspiring story underscored how parents and educators, when working in unison, can build understanding, perspective and celebration. I cried.. not for him, but for students that have been in my life, in my class, in my heart. Teachers that I knew in the crowd afterwards, shared stories and ideas and shared tissues.

Josh Stumpenhorst, the 2011-12 Illinois Teacher of the Year and an ISTE Emerging Leader, was electric in his keynote.A junior high history and English teacher, Stumpenhorst is an influential blogger whose innovative ideas have challenged the status quo and produced outstanding student outcomes. Stumpenhorst discusses his often unorthodox educational philosophies, such as his belief that homework and grades actually harm student learning and his emphasis on building relationships with students based on trust and respect rather than fear and punishment. He resonated with the crowd because he is one of us . A teacher. Yeah!!

I am sure that to newbies, in a way , the conference was overwhelming, there was something for everyone, more than enough for the innovators, and visionaries, and a wash of playgrounds, an expo hall and meetings of birds-of-a-feather. So attendees got a voice even if they were not presenting at the conference. In a year when teachers have been cast as the “enemy” in many ways, we felt as if he was our cheerleader. Well leader and we loved him.

THE EXPO HALL

I never found a shark hat. but there were some great surprises on the expo hall. Breakfast. Seriously. I could pay attention and not be distracted by the Reading Market. I found lots of technology that I had read about, and some that I have not experienced.

I never had funding to do First Robotics. I am a member of CSTA so at the conference I did meet with some “experts” in this field, and work on the playground. I also found some affordable robotics.I have a personal network of IT friends , some from around the world , some from my state, and some who are leaders of national prominence. The conference had so much to offer that I did not play until it was almost over. Yes, I went to the Reading Market, to the Science Museum to a luncheon and to the Barnes Museum. I also found a free bookstore, and met informally with PLN leaders.

I don’t know how the virtual experience can match actually being at the conference. so I suggest you save your money and your points, and look forward to Denver next year.

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