The Way ISTE Should Be Attended #iste17 #iste18

How do you think we build a future? I think we build it by investing in our kids and investing in education.
~Elizabeth Warren

Everyone has now returned from the beautiful chaos that is ISTE. I’ve been to ISTE several times now, and it still feels just as massive as the first time. However, this year was different in one big way. How was it different you ask? No, it wasn’t a product or app that I saw, it wasn’t a vendor party, and it wasn’t a particular presenter (way too many great ones to list anyway).

This is the first time I’ve attended ISTE as part of a group from my school district. In the past, I’ve always gone as just me; I attended on my own. This year, however, I was fortunate enough to attend with 10 other fantastic educators from my district. Our Director of Curriculum, one of our instructional technology coaches, 6 high school teachers, and 2 middle school teachers. This is a really great group with a great desire to be better for kids and a desire to help their colleagues be better too. It was such a pleasure to help them experience their first ISTE and learn from so many of my excellent friends. I was able to hear about their excitement first hand after listening to my friend Jennie give a standing ovation-worthy keynote, I watched them post selfies with other presenters that I knew they’d love learning from. I felt like a proud parent! 🙂

I just kept thinking, “Every person that attends ISTE should get to attend this way.”. I know many do, but I also know many that wish they could. That’s not to say attending solo cannot be impactful; just want to make sure that’s clear. And yes, many have a tribe of people that they only see at ISTE each year that they’ve become connected to through Twitter, blogging, and other connected means. Those connections are important too and a huge part of who I am. I love getting to see so many amazing friends that live all over the world…it’s the nicest feeling ever!

However, if you work for a school or a district and you have the means to take a group, please do it. Take your district leaders, school leaders, and certainly your teachers. As many as you can take. Plan now for 2018. It’s worth the investment I promise.

ISTE 2018 in Chicago

8 thoughts on “The Way ISTE Should Be Attended #iste17 #iste18”

  1. So very true. I so often attend conferences solo… and would love to have an experience like what you had!!

  2. #ISTE17 was a wonderful experience. This was my first experience and just came away with so much information. As principal of an elementary school, I was able to bring 6 other team members with me. Of course, they all have a large wish list. The time was definitely worth the every penny we invested!

    1. That’s great to hear Kari! All of the teachers from my district that attended it was their first time at ISTE also. Kudos to you as the leader of your school to see the importance of attending as a team!

  3. I attended for the first time this year and I went solo. At the end of the first day I texted my principal and told her that she absolutely must go next year because this isn’t just a conference for tech teachers. And someone else needs to see the great ideas and have that light bulb moment when you figure out how you can use it at your school. Because I look and I just see how it applies to my little corner of campus. It’s hard for me to see how ELAR and math could really use things. What might help the kinder teachers. Definitely looking forward to having someone else go with me next time!

    1. Thanks for reading Danielle! I also texted my assistant superintendent and told her, “Wish you were here!”. 🙂 It really is a lot for one person to have the responsibility of absorbing and taking back to their school/district.

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