Reflection Time – #ISTE19 – #EduFamily

ISTE 2019 – Philadelphia, PA – Pennsylvania Convention Center

Another conference is in the books, but it was far from ordinary- not ‘just another conference’. This was a conference of firsts and a conference of EduFamily. Appropriately, let’s first talk about the firsts:

  • First time creating and delivering an ignite talk. This consists of 20 slides, timed at 15 seconds each for a very dense 5-minute talk. If you mess up or forget to make a point, just keep going! My notes/slides here. I’ll post the video when it’s available.
  • First out-of-state conference representing Martin County Schools and the Florida Council of Instructional Technology Leaders. I was proud to represent the great work going on in both of these fantastic organizations.
  • First time winning an international/national award for my work as a leader in instructional technology. The ISTE Making IT Happen award, more info here.
  • First time saying ‘no’ to all invitations/events and staying in my hotel and just reading/relaxing/recovering from the long days of a conference. This might be the best decision I made all week. Felt fresh and ready to go each morning.
  • First time taking off the day before and after a conference to better prepare and better recover from the travel. This is an absolute must if you have the days available.
  • First time seeing quotes from my own presentation on Twitter. Very cool, thank you to those of you who were present and posted quotes/videos/pictures.
  • First time having someone recognize and approach me the day after a presentation to talk to me about it. Thanks, you made me feel like an education pseudo-celebrity for a brief moment in time!

It was also a conference for EduFamily.

On Saturday evening, there was the ISTE Affiliate reception for leaders from ISTE Affiliate groups from around the world. While I met people from many different states and countries, it was the first or second group that sat down at my table which made a mark. The three team members (Shane and CC and then met Janet at the awards luncheon Sunday) from the Hawai’i Society for Technology in Education (HSTE) were very warm and welcoming and turned out to be great new members of my EduFamily for the rest of the conference. We shared a few meals and some ideas about the differences between how our states run our groups, etc.

In prepping my ignite talk (based on this article), I noticed that a member of my PLN (Jennifer Casa-Todd) was also presenting and we were able to sit backstage and be nervous together as we waited for our opportunity to share our work with the audience. It was great knowing that there was support waiting when you wrapped up the talk and went back behind the curtains.

After I finished my ignite talk on Sunday, one person asked if I had ever considered writing a book. I definitely had not, but I knew who to ask about it! Jen Williams, who I met 4 years ago at an edCamp event in Melbourne, FL, was at the conference speaking and promoting her book that she had just finished writing and it is being released in the next few months. Despite not having seen each other in 4 years and only staying connected on Twitter, she took the time to sit down with me to discuss the process she had gone through and also talked about some of the other people she knew who had gone through the process recently with different publishers. A mutual connection of ours, Bryan Miller (who I had presented at FETC with in 2016 and now works at Wonder Workshop) was also there and has a book coming out in November. We talked for about 30 minutes as if three and a half years hadn’t passed between our last two conversations and he shared a lot of information on the process that he and Katrina Keene went through in publishing their upcoming books. I was also able to reach out to another few people who are members of my PLN that either publish books themselves or have gotten books published in the past. I was able to draw on the valuable experiences of them digitally, so another thank you to Dave Burgess, Sarah Thomas, Dene Gainey, Tom Murray, and Susan Bearden.