Thursday, June 30, 2016

ISTE 2016: A Reflection

My favorite thing about ISTE is #NotAtISTE16. This might sound a little strange...because I'm at #ISTE2016 so let me explain.

Some background:

Being my first time at ISTE, I'm glad to have learned from others who had tips and resources. One thing I know from my experience connecting face-to-face and attending conferences locally is that it is the starting off point, the beginning of a journey. When the conference ends, it's up to you to keep it going.

Last year, I was #NotAtISTE. I watched and learned from afar as people I knew (in "Twitter only") had a blast connecting. I made the decision that I would attend the next ISTE no matter what. It is a decision I stood by even when it meant paying my own way and figuring out how to make it work financially. Even when it meant I was the only person from my district. It is a decision I am glad I made.

I attended alone, but I have not been alone. I volunteered several hours in the Welcome Experience, handing out ice cream and encouraging aspiring DJs on the Mash Machine. I met many members of my PLN in person for the first time. I rubbed elbows with Edu Rockstars and generally had the time of my life.

The #NotAtIste16 hashtag led me to pay it forward to those who were learning from afar. As a (former) special education teacher, I also see this in a more powerful way to continue this connection after week leave. While many tweeted #ISTE2016 with things they learned, I also tweeted #NotAtIste16 with intention, adding nuggets of information as well as links to presentations so those #NotAtISTE16 could be part of the action.

I love the idea behind the concept and hope you will pay it forward as well. If you tweeted resources, consider retweeting your favorites (or all of them) with #NotAtISTE16. So yes, my favorite thing about ISTE has been #NotAtISTE16, because it doesn't have to stop here. Remember that while you were #ISTE2016 this week, next week we area all #NotAtISTE16.

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