Why I Still Like ISTE

Why I Still Like ISTE

Chris Lehmann wrote a blog post a couple days ago about why ISTE still matters to him and I just wanted to follow up with a thank you to ISTE and the conference organizers for their continued effort in trying to make this the best conference experience they can.  I for one have a new found respect for conference organizers as I’m sure Chris does as well after organizing our own conferences. Ever since I helped to start the Learning 2.0 in Asia I complain less about conferences. I know what it took to put together a conference for 400 and can’t image what it takes to put a conference together for 15,000ish people all of who expect to have all 2 or 3 of their devices online and working. Just thinking of the bandwidth, IP addresses, access points, and everything else needed to run the online portion of the conference blows my mind. So thank you ISTE for trying…I for one appreciate the effort.  I had a few ISTE newbies come up to me and ask my to recommend sessions and presenters to see or attend. They all had ‘bad experiences’ with going to sessions that looked good on paper but ended up being sale pitches for a product or just weren’t what they needed or wanted in the session. It is a good thing to remember to “vote with your feet” at a conference. If something isn’t meeting your needs walk out. I know that’s hard to do at ISTE when your #2 or #3 choice is probably full already but don’t waste your time sitting in a session that you’re not getting anything from. Go network, go reflect, go do some browsing. (I wonder if we told students to vote with their feed how many would get up and walk out of classes that weren’t meeting their needs?) ISTE is a hard conference for first timers. It’s big and overwhelming and you have to have a plan going in or you’ll get swallowed up in no time at all.  I for one enjoy ISTE, a couple sessions I went to made me think and the conversations at the Blogger’s Cafe were good…but this year I found my most productive conversations were away from the conference over dinner and drinks reminding me how important and powerful the social setting is to a conference and to learning in general....

Read More

ISTE 2010 – Reflections

I have 30 minutes before I leave for the airport and head back to Seattle for what’s left of my summer vacation. As I reflect on this years ISTE conference a couple things come to mind. WiFi:A HUGE shout out to the organizers and the Convention Center. By far this has been the best WiFi access at any ISTE conference since I’ve been coming (this is my 5th). It was slow at times, but overall the ability to keep a connection running among 13,000+ geekie educators was very smooth. I hope it stays this way in the future. iPads:They were everywhere! I know they sold 2 million in the first two months, but I swear half of those were here at the conference! I’m not sure what the future holds for this device, but all I heard about was battery life, battery life, battery life! Looking forward to seeing how they are used in schools next year with students. My first ISTE presentation:This year I finally made it in the program and gave my first ever ISTE presentation. I hope it was useful to those who attended. You can find the handouts here along with the videos that people seemed to enjoy. Conversations:Once again I’ve been reminded on what’s the real reason we still fly to conferences like this. It’s for the conversations. Those planned like the ones at EduBloggerCon and those unplanned like the one’s we have here at Blogger’s Cafe. In the end, we like being with others in person, we like the human factor of sitting and chatting with those we learn from year round. I spent more time offline rather than online this conference just enjoying being here with others. I’m online with them the rest of the year…..I only get three days of being with them in person. Where do we go?I keep asking myself if anything has changed in the 5 years since I’ve started attending ISTE (NECC) conferences….and I’m not sure if anything has. There are more people hanging out at the Blogger’s Cafe, there are more blogging educators and that’s fantastic. But looking through the sessions I didn’t notice much of a change. There was no sessions on RSS this year, yet some educators I talked to who are attending for the first time had never heard of RSS. The theme of “Mobile” and “Global” were prominent and I’m seeing the...

Read More

Don't try to control it

A comment left by Dan Christian yesterday on my post about the changing landscape of blogging. Has me back here thinking about my job as an educational technologist. First I think we need to understand how I view my job and what I think the job of an educational technologist should include. First and foremost we are educators. Our job is to educate. Our students range in age from 60+ to less than 5 years old. Our mission is to teach them how to use technology to learn, create, be more productive or make a task easier. The only way we can do that is to have a solid understanding of what is out there, that tools exist both as part of the computer’s operating system and on the web that allow us to do our job easier, to learn differently, or connect us to people, thoughts, ideas that we never had access to before. Our job….is to explore! Our job….is to understand! Our job…is to motivate! Our job…is to change habits! Our job…is to support! Our job…(leave your thoughts in the comments) So when Dan asked the question yesterday: How do we keep from continually dividing/splitting off conversations? Answer: You can’t! You can’t control the web, you can’t keep the conversation from splitting into different parts; into niches. That’s what the web is so good ate. Yes….having one big conversation would be great…but at the same time overwhelming. The splitting of conversations on the web allows each individual to choose the conversation they want to follow (aka network). On Twitter for example, you follow the conversations you want. You create your niche (or personal) network on Twitter. You don’t want to hear about the group around dogs….or maybe you do. Only you can decide that. Twitter allows the conversations to be split. We see it in the use of Nings as well. There is a Ning site for almost any niche in education. Sure we could all benefit from one large Ning, but then again…it would be to “noise” for me and I wouldn’t be able to find my place. I don’t have the answers…but whereas I realize we need to be using multiple tools as technologists, that is not such an easy sell to get faculty, teachers, instructors on board with using yet more tools… And this is the ultimate role of the educational technologiest. Our job...

Read More

Barbara's Fund

The power of the network at work. Clarence Fisher and Jen Wagner brought this to my attention. Barbara Barreda, the principal of St. Elisabeth’s school has lost her house do to the wildfires in LA. Two years ago a class at Barbara’s school skyped a class in Shanghai to talk about the differences between our schools and cities. How global are we? I didn’t even know there were wildfires going on in LA, yet I am able to give and help a friend in need and learn about the needs of others through the network. A thanks to Clarence and Jen for bringing this to our attention. When a part of your network is in need it feels good to know you can help out in some small way. Clarence and Jen have set up a paypal account to help Barbara out. We have set up a paypal accountwhere every single penny will be given straight to Barbara to meet herexpenses. Currently she is staying with a friend but literally has theclothes on her back and the few items she could throw into her car. The power of the...

Read More

'07 The Year of the Network, '08 The 'Live Web'

I can’t believe it’s been that long since I posted and yet I’m glad I took the time off. It is good to disconnect once in awhile, to reflect on ones life and to spend time with family. My mom and dad flew in on Dec. 14 for their first visit every to China. Of course I set up a blog for my mother so she could write about her experience and family members back home could follow their journey through Shanghai, Bangkok, and Beijing. It was a great two weeks of spending time off the grid. But I missed it (not sure if that is a good thing). The network is where my friends are. It’s the daily connections, the Skype chats, the reading and writing. That is what 2007 will be remembered as. For me it was the “Year of the Network”. 2007 saw networks flourish. Looking back to what I wrote last year (Jan. 4, 2007): Today, I woke up looking forward to tackling the long list of e-mails that awaited me from my 2 weeks of being disconnected (OK, I checked e-mail twice while in Vietnam). I made it through 2 e-mails, but instead was part of 3 Skype chats, 2 Skype calls, 4 Google Chats, and 1 more Skpye call tonight. Is this 2007? The year when chat and VoIP take over the world, when e-mail finally does not do justice to the conversations we are having? If so I’m excited. Little did I know then that I was talking about the learning network that would defined what 2007 was for me. It was the year of the network. The year of my Skype contact list becoming to long, having 400+ people on twitter, and trying to define the difference between a learning community and a learning network. As I reflect back over the past year it’s been an interesting one both personally and professional. Leading me down a path that ultimately saw me resign from my current position for something “different” (yet to be defined). Does that mean a different school? A different job? Or something more like what Clay and Will write about? One thing that I do know is that it will be my network that will help me find what “different” is either directly or indirectly, I believe it will be the network that leads to my next road in...

Read More