Staying Home, But Being There

This past week (June 27th to July 1) was the ISTE conference in Philadelphia.

I very much enjoy going to the ISTE conference — but it is usually at least a $900 investment to go — and well, that just isn’t part of my budget right now.    I have been blessed to win awards or received funds to attend 6 ISTE’s (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013) in the actual location.

But for the past 2 years, I have attended it from home — via the NOTATISTE group.

(I wrote about this adventure last year here:

and also wrote a HOW TO HOST A NOT AT here:


So, here are my thoughts from this year:

First off, gotta love — Love — LOVE Tony Vincent — BIG TIME.
He was gracious enough to pretty much DRAIN his phone battery for us daily and wander through the poster sessions letting us truly feel a part.

On Wednesday, I was telling my ADMIN about being at a poster session and what I learned, and he said, where were you, and I said the ISTE conference in PA, and he said when, and I said 10 minutes ago…and he said how — and I said “oh Tony was using periscope.”   IT WAS like we were really there.

He probably does not remember but I met Tony at a TCEA a few years ago…we briefly said “hey” but moved on.   This year, I felt like we were buddies wandering and learning together — and I am grateful — beyond grateful — this WAS one of my top 10 moments of ISTE 2015.  THANK YOU

Huge Shout Out to Kyle Pace and Sarah Thomas and Cori Coburn-Shiflett all shared periscopes too.   I loved listening to the comments during the keynotes — it was as if I was sitting right next to you!!  And thank you to Jerry S for opening a 81Dash for the opening and closing keynotes.

ALSO — the guys from TeacherCast that opened their podcast and invited us in.  Very very kind.  We shared a few door prizes with them to raffle off.  And every day they mentioned out group.  THANK YOU!
Another top 10 moment was when Steve Dembo and Adam Bellow were being interviewed and it was not TECH — it was STAR WARS and then they sang “Everything is awesome”.  OHMIGOSH!!   Oh Yeah!

Our community was FANTASTIC.   Well, our communities.  We have 2 — I tried to urge the NOTATISTE group to merge to the NOTATEDTECHCONFERNCE group — but pretty much everyone wanted to be NOTATISTE — so I relaxed and let it be so.  The conversations were plentiful — the sharing was huge — and everyone had a great time.   It is hard to keep track of all the conversations and make sure that people don’t go unnoticed, so next year — having a team to watch this area will be crucial!!

The day before NOTATISTE began, I put out requests for door prizes. And as I hoped and expected, they came piling in.  If you want to see a list of the companies and the winners — please click HERE!
The generosity of so many to give freely always humbles me.  So thank you — to all the companies who helped with door prizes.

The reason we need door prizes is because we have a challenge — and this year over 100 signed up to play.  It is a wee bit silly — but we try to replicate a lot of the conference — so when the badges (page 1 and page 2) and the pictures of eating philly cheese steaks started appearing, and photo walks — I knew those involved were having fun!!   Huge thanks to Heidi and Vicky for all your help with badges.

We had a VOXER group — thank you to Craig, Sue, and Lisa for heading that up — and ALL who participated.   Though it still overwhelms me a bit — it was nice to chat with so many on my drives into work.  We shared a lot — A LOT — and learned a lot!   For many, this was their “go to” spot for NOTATISTE!!  They also had a Karaoke night on voxer but someone else will have to blog about that….I was unable to attend.

So all in all — what did I learn — what worked — what could work better?

What did I learn — not a great deal techie wise but much relationship wise.  People want to (1) feel included, (2) feel they are being heard, (3) participate!   I believe we were able to help people achieve all 3 with NOTATISTE15!

What did I learn — people want to share.   This year — for the first time, we had IGNITE sessions and they were TERRIFIC.  We did not know exactly what to do or what was going to happen — and thankfully 2 of the presenters hosted the IGNITE’s themselves – THANK YOU!! – but everything worked out they were great.  You can find their links by clicking HERE!  And we will have even more IGNITES next year.

What did I learn — techie wise — there are MANY people hosting quality Online Projects that I need to take a look at….and my OHMIGOSH — CLAPPING — HAPPY DANCE is: – already added it to symbaloo for students to use ASAP!

What did I learn — Even the experienced are learners.  Without going into much detail – both myself and Shelly — both pretty seasoned with presenting — found ourselves on the learning curve.   I think it is VERY important to have people see people learn all the time.   And I learned that I need to learn a lot more about google hangouts…..especially google hangouts on air.

What worked — letting people handle what they did best.  I walked away from Karaoke (it was in good hands).  I walked away from Voxer leadership (it was in good hands).   I walked away from badges/badge ribbons (it was in good hands.)  I trusted people with things I was not good at — and let them shine….and they did.

What also worked — not having ONE watering hole but many.  Some loved voxer, some followed the twitter feed, some only used the community — there was not One Size Fits All.   Everyone learned at their comfort level — some learned new comfort levels — everyone had options.

What also worked — being creative!  Having the badges — where people introduced themselves was HUGE!!!   Having them displayed on a google presentation — GREAT IDEA, Heidi!  It was a WIN WIN WIN for sharing.  Clapping !!!

What will I do better — You have to step back and decide what to worry about and what to let go.  NOTATISTE15, in our 2nd year, is now established and I hope respected.  As we grow, we will have to make a list of who handles what….what gets approved….what needs no overseeing….etc.   There were a couple of times I had to take deep breathes, there were a few times I had to say “wait a moment please” — and there were also times I thanked God for Google Revision.   :)   But I still worry way too much — and need to chill a bit.

What will I do better — Too many things got lost because there were too many things.   Next year, we will have a REMIND group (however, we will have to figure out how not to send reminds every moment!) — but we need a way to remind people of EVENTS (such as IGNITES, KARAOKE, etc)

What will I do better — Instead of the Buzz Word Bingo, we will make it a more collaborate and picture bingo — where you are teamed with 1 or 2 people at ISTE and you both work on the bingo (maybe visiting a booth, taking pictures w/ presenters, etc)  More collaborative.

What will I do better — Let someone else chair the door prize chair.   Smiles, I don’t mind finding the door prizes — but passing them out, keeping them organized, etc…..yep, I can let that one go.

Finally, what will I do better — I failed — BIG TIME — at managing ET time.  By the time I was up – and to work — and had time to log on to see what was going on — it was almost already 11AM ET.  Next year, we will have people/members sign up for shifts….of watching twitter, watching the backchannels, etc.  Many more people, many more eyes.   This way — more involvement — more ownership!!

So — smiles, this is my reflection of #NOTATISTE15
I am sure I will think of more tonight — especially when I am sound asleep — but for now — I shall hit SUBMIT!

And as always — feel free to share your thoughts







Connecting But Not Committing

I woke up this morning — and noticed this blog post by Amanda (

and this blog post is written primarily as a response to

““why are things staying the same?”

I know that I am in the cheap seats of ISTE15 — sitting far away from Philadelphia — but through the power of voxer, twitter, google+, and periscope — it is almost like I am there ……

and yet, I know exactly what she is talking about.

And I believe that one of the reasons that things stay the same is that people are connecting — but they are not committing.

All the sessions that I was able to listen to — HackEd, IGNITE’s, KEYNOTE, & some this morning already — are still leader driven — to ignite thought — but not always to ignite action.

There is a question — often asked at the end — what will you do next?

— but then “thank you for coming, enjoy ISTE” and poof — everyone rushes off to the next event.

There is no time to formulate an action because everyone is moving on to the next thing.

I wonder what would happen if EVERY speaker at ISTE stopped 5 minutes before the session was over and said “turn to the person next to you, get their email address, share yours, and you both email each other your plan of action — and then you keep in touch — often, throughout the year.  You are now accountability partners.  Don’t let each other down.”

I wonder what would happen if EVERY speaker at ISTE stepped away from the microphone and let people share what THEY are doing and listen – and not use that time to plan a response but truly listen.

I wonder what would happen if REAL conversations took place with people sharing their successes — and their struggles — and people did not over talk each other….but listened, and pledged to work together.

I wonder what would happen if EVERY attendee at ISTE took the time to visit the POSTER sessions — where people are committed — and not only listened, but signed up to participate.

I wonder what would happen if EVERY person at ISTE and NOT AT ISTE would not just nod their head, but stood up and took action and said “this year will be different because I am going to……………………” and then do it.

I think things are still staying the same because it is easier to HOPE than it is TO DO.

Maybe this year will be different?   So, hopefully, next year we will talk about the things that are NOT the same.

Just my thoughts
From #notatiste15





Getting Ready to #NOTAT

A few years back, ISTE was happening (however, I was unable to attend) and my pal Dennis Grice came up with this brilliant event to host a #NOTAT group….which inviited many to “virtually” be a part.

With his blessings — I took his idea the follow year and ran with it (you can read more here:

Well, it is almost time for ISTE again — June 27th — ( and the #NOTATISTE group is beginning to plan ideas again.

We have our “official” google community:
Our “all #notat community”:

We hope to replicate some of last year’s events —
#NOTATISTE Challenge
and add a few new ones:
#NOTATISTE Ignite (we are looking for a few NOTATISTIANS to give 5 minute ignite sessions via google hangouts – (let me know if you would like to help out)
#NOTATISTE Morning Coffee Meetups
and I am sure a few more ideas will be shared.

One of my favorite parts of #NOTATISTE are the badges and Ribbons that Vicky S. created and shared.

Here is mine:

(you can see more badges by clicking here.)

And – it would not be a #NOTATISTE event without doorprizes, so please view our list here of donations.

We depend on the “AT ISTE” participants SO — please share photos, links, etc — so we can all enjoy learning together.

ALSO — ISTE has put together a VIRTUAL event — “ISTE LIVE” — just in case you wish to be able to STREAM into events such as keynotes, etc.
You can read more about that here:

And as soon as the NOTAT ISTE is over — I start preparing for the NOTATDENSI event (the Discovery Education Summer Institute) — for those of use who cannot be in Washington, DC.
The link to that group is here:

Twitter Tips

My very first ISTE was in Philadelphia in 2005.  I had won 2 awards/prizes that paid my way to the conference.

I was a scared little bunny — overwhelmed, shy, out of my comfort zone, and left inspired — but still left a scared little bunny who had met no one new.

I even went to the NEW to NECC session but pretty much — I was wondering alone.   (my fault — perhaps — but in a conference with well over 13,000 people — it is easy to fade into the woodwork, it is easy to go unnoticed, it is easy to be invisible — if you choose)

So — today — as I thought back to what I wished I had know — I started to share tips out on twitter.  And thought, I would also share them here as well.

Though they are numbered 1 – 30 — they are not ordered by importance, just by thought.



Tip #1 — Bring a multiple plug usb charger — Great way to make new friends.

Tip 2: Look for ribbons on badges— Say “hey” to First Timers and ask advice from returnees.

Tip 3: If you have no one to eat a meal with — head over to the Welcome Lounge in the Grand Hall & invite someone to join you

Tip 4: If you see a speaker ribbon, follow them — see what session they attend (or are leading) OR ask what they are sharing

Tip 5: Attend Attend Attend the POSTER sessions — ALL of them. You learn much in a short amount of time

Tip 6: Wear layers…..the conference rooms can be chilly. (Sun and Wed might have rain)

Tip 7: If you need a opening question: ask someone what Educational Book they would recommend and why

Tip 8: Don’t miss the keynotes — and especially don’t miss (real teacher/real stories)

Tip 9: Don’t be so busy that you don’t notice your surroundings — notice what might not be noticed yet

Tip 10: Be bold to ask a question of a speaker — not to be pompous — but to stir the conversation 

Tip 11: Don’t be quick to judge…you have not taught that persons class, worked at that persons school, lived that persons life

Tip 12: Wear comfy shoes …Yet, go ahead and be amazed at the ladies who are able to wear high heels all day

Tip 13: Eavesdrop often…..there are many conversations — tune into some. If comfy, join the conversation too. 

Tip 14: Download the ISTE app

Tip 15: Get to starbucks line early….get to keynote sessions early…..get to any session that says google or apps early

Tip 16: Participate in Global Education Day, June 28th: 2-5 PM: Room 103BC 

Tip 17: Bring munchies and water. Bring extra to make new friends

Tip 18: Visit the Bloggers Café on the Level 3 overlook – hopefully meet other bloggers — & take the time to write a post too!!

Tip 19: Take advantage of the AFTER HOUR events — Karaoke, Tweetwood Mac at Hard Rock Cafe, etc

Tip 20: Do not leave without making contact with 5 people that you will keep in touch with throughout the next year.

Tip 21: Visit the exhibit hall and watch for ideas of substance – talk w/ vendors, ask good questions

Tip 22: Be on the lookout to meet (part of DoInk Green screen team) and say “THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU” –

Tip 23: Be on the lookout to meet (host of Global Read Aloud) and say “THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU”

Tip 23a: Be on the lookout to meet and wish him well on his move to Shanghai (missing him already)

Tip 24: Use the ISTE hashtag when sharing —

Tip 25: View as much as you can with the vision of your school campus and not only YOUR classroom needs

Tip 26: Join the the conversation at this Birds Of a Feather session:

Tip 27: Go learn about ISTE Iron Chef and perhaps be chosen to share:

Tip 28: Introduce people you know — to people they don’t know yet

Tip 29: Bring business cards/ qr code cards / something with your info on it — to share when people ask:

Tip 30: Enjoy the conference — be sure to LEARN something that IMPACTS your classroom far beyond the conference

So what would you add to the list — please share