In about 2 weeks — many of my friends and colleagues will be descending upon Denver to attend the ISTE conference.
Alas, I will not be able to join them there…..
but if I were — this is what I would do.
Usually, at the conference, I am moving from session to session. In fact, sometimes sitting in a session just to get a seat for the next session. It is an exhausting conference because it is a “have to get to” conference.
What I would do, if I were there, would be to linger more. Not move onto something else before I took to time to think about what I have just done. Not dash from a conversation I am in….just to join another….but take the time to linger in a conversation. To not give importance to what is “NEXT” and perhaps miss what is “NOW.”
As a seasoned educator, who has my feet wet in a lot of “techie” opportunities, I tend to sit back and say “impress me.” So instead of listening, I am critiquing.
What I would do, if I were there, would be to listen more. Remove myself from being an expert and put myself into a the role of a learner. Not always judge the content based on what I already know and what how I already use — but be impressed by what someone else might be doing or might already know. Look for something NEW to learn rather than always having the silent checkmark of “did it, did it, did it.”
There is A LOT happening at the conference and there is a great deal of dashing happening at the conference. And because of this, a lot of things get overlooked. As simple as the decorations in the conference hall (which usually are quite interesting) to someone sitting alone in a session room to what book someone might be reading to the t-shirt someone chose to wear.
What I would do, if I were there, would be to watch more.
Keep my eye open for opportunities of vision. Notice things that perhaps are unnoticed. Call attention to things others might wish to see. Look to see what someone else might be looking at. Take the time to look.
#4. BE A MEGAPHONE
Many times at the conference, people go to be heard. For many, what they are doing on their campus is unnoticed at their campus and finally they can share this with others who not only understand but will also acknowledge their hard work.
What I would do, if I were there, would be to share out stories from those who stories often remain silent. Take the time to blog or facebook or twitter out someone’s great idea (giving them full credit) — and putting them into the spotlight.
#5. BE FEARLESS
Though many think I am an extrovert…..I am not. I can be quite timid and often will sit back and wait to be approached rather than approach. I have this silly insecurity of not fitting in, so I set myself up to not fit in.
What I would do, if I were there, would be to join into conversations, walk up to someone who I might be afraid to walk up to, not head to my hotel room at 6 but join some after parties, and be brave to sit by someone I don’t know at a session and say “hi.”
For the time you are at ISTE, from the moment you get up each day to the moment your head hits the pillow — you have an opportunity to learn…..MUCH. To the point that your brain will be tired each day by the overload of information.
What I would do, if I were there, would be to set aside at least 1 hour of each day to reflect and share out what I learned.
Whether it be during a dinner conversation with friends, or a blog post, or links placed on twitter or a google doc, I would take time to process, reflect, and then share what I learned.
In the last few years, educational conferences have taken a turn from providing “listen to me” sessions to much more “hands-on” opportunities.
What I would do, if I were there, would be to look for the “fun” opportunities. The breakout edu area, the minecraft room, the robotics session, anything that allows me to touch, to explore, to experiment, to learn. Personally, I would make sure that at least 60% of my learning options involved being able to “touch.”
#8. RAISE MY HAND
ISTE presenters have known now for several months their topic — and many have been fine-tuning what they will say and are ready to share. Also, many of the ISTE presenters are no longer in the classroom and have ventured (or hope to venture) into the world of consulting.
What I would do, if I were there, would be to ask more questions from those who are presenting. Not to challenge — but to understand more. If someone has left the classroom and is giving me ideas to use in my classroom — I would ask them to share examples from teachers who are using what they have just suggested. If someone gives a quote or proven data, I will ask for the link to research it later. I would try hard to not be a passive attendee but engage more.
I would like to be at ISTE, but alas, I cannot.
But if I were to go — I would try to make this ISTE count — for me, for my teachers, for my students.
Please let me know, if you are attending ISTE (or any other conference) and perhaps some goals or plans you hope to put into place.