I’ve read reflections on ISTE 2011 from a good number of people and I’ve begun to conflate their thinking in my mind. That’s unfortunate because it means I can’t give credit to individuals who pushed my thinking here.
Someone wrote about a sense from some participants of smugness or superiority. That hit home for me because I could easily have come across that way (may even have been feeling that way and be unwilling to admit it to myself).
I spent a good amount of ISTE with a colleague who was there for the first time. We heard Peter Reynolds speak first thing Monday morning and that was an excellent way to start off the conference. Energetic and inspirational.
However, our next session was a bit disappointing. While we walked away with a few small nuggets, we felt most of what was discussed and shared was old hat to us. My takeaway and comment to my colleague was that many of the sessions would be that way.
Believe it or not, I didn’t mean that in a sense of feeling superior or smug. I realize that conference attendees all arrive at different points and are looking for different things. My colleague and I spend plenty of time keeping up with the edtech world throughout the year so many of the “next big things” were not new to us.
Plus, we aren’t too interested in the tools. I’m glad there are people who are interested in the tools and who spend time exploring and experimenting with them. I gain immeasurably from their efforts.
But I want to talk about the teaching most of the time. What does this all mean? How does it impact my students? How can I help my students more? I want to have those conversations at ISTE.
Fortunately ISTE set up many opportunities for those conversations. We spent time in the bloggers’ café talking with many different people about education and technology in education. We had wonderful discussions with people during poster sessions.
I walked away with a sense of excitement about teaching – always a good thing just after the year has wound down and I’m mostly exhausted. I also walked away hopeful. There are so many fabulous things happening in schools and classrooms around the world and we’re working hard to build on those. At a time when education, at least in this country, seems to be at a low point, it was wonderful to sit on the train coming home feeling good about it.