7/3/19

Inspired at ISTE, 2019 version!

sketchnote of 5 points from my ISTE conference
It is a privilege to be able to attend conferences, and I feel with that opportunity comes the responsibility to reflect and to share what I learned.

With 20,000+ attendees, the ISTE conference definitely qualifies as a mega-event, and now that I have attended four of these conferences, I have a (slightly better) grasp of how I "do" ISTE.

I've been able to share some key takeaways with my colleague Ashley, and I'm still sorting through my notes and other Tweets I curated, but here's a quick summary to explain my sketchnote and to help me document what happens next.
Takeaway #1:
Since reading Make It Stick in 2015, I've been so interested in the learning sciences, and now my interest has turned into a mild obsession. 😃 (Read more of the story here!) I was surprised that there weren't more sessions about this topic, but I found one presentation and added the presenter's book, Design Ed: Connecting Learning Science Research to Practice to my TBR list. I also learned about ISTE's new initiative called Course of Mind. It includes a podcast, blog, research, and coming-soon a course.

The other presentation related to learning was Dr. Scott McLeod's session and exploration of his 4 Shifts Protocol. (Here's a recent blog post about understanding one of the 4 domains: deeper learning.) He walked us through a couple scenarios, and we worked through a (re)design pivot to "up" the learning experience. I've looked at his 4 Shifts protocol several times, but his explanation and our practice during the session really opened my eyes. I can't wait to explore and implement his work! (And it added his book Harnessing Technology for Deeper Learning to my book pile, too.)

Takeaway #2:
The other big idea on my mind is equity. ISTE definitely made progress this year with more diversity in their keynote speakers and the number of sessions with "Equity" or "Cultural Responsiveness" in their titles, but there is still a long way to go for all of us. (There was some Twitter backlash about some glaringly un-diverse panels.) I think it was also at the forefront of my mind because the week prior to the conference, I worked in districts with vastly disparate device "situations." (In one district, the high school has been 1:1 MacBooks for 5 years. The next day, I was in a district where teachers were hoping for Chromebook carts in the rooms...but they had heard that for the past two years.) I also caught some Twitter discussions about the expense of the conference...how many districts or schools have the funds to send teachers to these kinds of learning events? Travel to Philadelphia and conference fees definitely added up. $$$

I attended the session Constructing the Culturally Responsive Citizen: Moving Beyond #DigCit, and I loved that one of the session norms was to "Be Brave" -- to step outside your comfort zone and to be willing to have harder conversations. We went through scenarios to analyze what bias was present and how to respond. We also had thoughtful discussions about how we equip our students with the language and skills to navigate these sensitive situations. Powerful conversations.

Takeaways #3-4:
Take time for creativity! I've been interested in sketchnoting for at least 4 years now, so it's time I do more with it! Several of the featured speakers emphasized the importance of risk-taking and sharing your failures, so I'm on it! I've sketchnoted conference takeaways from TCEA and now 2 ISTE's and I plan to do more sketchnotes as reflections.

I also enjoyed (more than I expected) our weekly podcast format, and I did almost all of the editing and "producing" of the episodes this year...but I know that can be better. I'm working on that, too! I attended one session about podcasting for students, and it gave me great ideas for our podcast, too. I'm ready to get more creative with our podcast. Stay tuned!

Connections
Like other conferences, the hallway conversations are often the best. Conferences like these often turn into reunions, and I also enjoy opportunities to expand my PLN. I also love supporting other #R10tech friends and strive to stop by their presentations.




Takeaway #5:
More about this news and process later, but I've spent about 6-months working on the ISTE Certified Educator process, and it was fun to be able to celebrate that accomplishment at this conference.


Bonus:
I'm a huge fan of the podcast Note to Self, and it was awesome to be able to hear Manoush share her Bored and Brilliant ideas (and other work).

Reflections for another day: I'm glad to see more conversations on topics such as teacher wellness, mental health issues, device distraction, and the importance of unplugging.

Attending a conference is a perfect example to apply John Dewey's quote:
We do not learn from experience... we learn from reflecting on experience.
Always learning!
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