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.

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.

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.

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 same trends in conferences around the world. Everyone is talking about mobile devices and how do we help students become more globally minded.

I believe it starts with teachers. We need more teachers to think globally. The tools are here, the ideas and lessons and connections are out there….now we just need to do it.

We need to help teachers to learn to reach (shameless self-promotion) out and create connections that they can bring back into their classrooms in supporting kids.

We can’t help students be globally minded if we are not globally minded ourselves.

So there’s your focus this year. How do you become or help others become more globally minded? How do we help students teach students the power of connecting and understand the networks that this new digital landscape is made of?

Those are the questions I’m walking away with this year from ISTE.

I’ve been thinking the last couple weeks about the culture of technology. What got me thinking was Kim Cofino’s K12online Pre-Conference Keynote: Going Global: Culture Shock, Convergence and the Future of Education

Flickr ID: Barnesworth Anubis
Flickr ID: Barnesworth Anubis

In her presentation she discusses Third Culture Kids (TCKs) and you hear from many different individuals who live and work internationally. Many of them talk about living in different cultures, learning to adapt, and learning to become part of that culture as you learn and work within it.

I know the Digital Native vs Digital Immigrant debate has been raging for years, but I wonder if it’s not a debate between those who were born into a time with computers and those who were not, but rather those that have adapted to the digital culture.

Age is not a factor when it comes to adapting to a new culture, but rather your willingness to adapt. Your willingness to change, and to appreciate differences. Each individual decides for them self to what degree they are willing to adapt.

For example, here in Thailand I speak enough Thai to get home in a taxi. I took lessons last year but have not kept up with them and am comfortable with that level of adaptiveness to this culture. Could things be easier if I learned more Thai? For sure, but at the moment I have what I need to get by in this culture.

The same would hold true to the technology culture. You learn just enough browsing skills to find information, learn just enough computer skills to get by.

Or we fully adapt, like many that read this blog, we fully adapt to the culture, the culture intrigues us and we want to learn more about it, and become part of that culture.

I encourage you to watch and listen to Kim’s Pre-Conference Keynote. If you’ve already watched it, watch it again and be thinking about technology as a culture and see if you see similarities to how people adapt to this digital age.