Archive for Conferences

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

The Question You Need To Ask …

During the summer & fall of 2015, there will be several (hopefully MANY) opportunities that you will have to participate in conferences and edcamps.

Right now, many people are getting ready to share at these conferences/edcamps — getting their powerpoints/keynotes/slideshares/prezis/google docs/etc finetuned for sharing words of wisdom with you.

Some will be seasoned speakers — some will be first time speakers — some will fall somewhere in between.

You will also run into people sharing at poster sessions, birds of a feather, after parties, meal meetups, tours, lounges, hall ways, etc…..

Whatever the case —
I encourage you to be bold and raise your hand or turn to your neighbor and ask the following question (even in they don’t have a time for questions).

Please  — ask WHY?
*  Why is this important to learning?
*  Why is this important to my campus?
*  Why is this necessary?
*  Why does this make a difference?
*  Why will this change what we already do?
*  Why will my teachers be more effective?
*  Why should I care?
*  Fill in your own WHY

and when you get your answer — ASK WHY again….and again….if you need to.

Don’t do this to be annoying, pompous, or judgmental — but ask to get clarity, deeper thought, honest reflection, alternative options, and more.

You are going to be overflowing with ideas — with suggestions — with “you must” and “bells and whistles” and “shiny” and opportunities that will make you say “OH YEAH” —
but stop first — and Ask WHY.

Because the WHY needs to be driving the decision.
Why will this make a difference on our campus?
Why is this difference important on our campus?

The WHY needs to lead to a firmer understanding that what you are doing is not a WHIM or just “ohhh pretty”….but will be the right choice for you, for your students, for your campus, for your staff, for your district….etc.

The why will clarify “WHY” whatever is being shared, might be something you need to investigate further.
Just my thoughts today

Please feel free to add yours …