140 Characters is all that we get to communicate daily. In those characters you can’t possibly fit all that ISTE is. I’ve followed the ISTE timeline for years. By following, I mean that through twitter and yes, edmodo…I was #naiste10, #naiste11, #naiste12 and every derivative of it. You cannot possibly understand what this conference is about without actually living it…being there…breathing it…capturing moments. 140 characters isn’t enough. I am blessed to have experienced #iste13 firsthand.
It’s kind of tough for me to write an ISTE reflection without including the horrific events of Saturday and Kristy Vincent’s place in my ISTE journey. We were both incredibly excited to head to the “Disney Land” for Edtech Nerds! Unfortunately real life intervened and Kristy had to return home on day 1. While it was not an easy task to do, I understood my place in our tech two-some and knew that I needed to enjoy iste for the both of us. Thank you Paul Wood and Paula Naugle for the reminder. Thank you also Dean Mantz for stepping in to make sure that what she needed, she received. Moments like this definitely show who we are as a community. In addition, the ISTE staff went above and beyond the call of duty to offer any and all support. I have never experienced this in my life at any other event. 140 characters couldn’t possibly capture this.
For most of #iste13, I spent my time connecting. I connected with friends from twitter, new voices and voices that I’ve admired from afar. To be able to have meaningful conversations, ones that spark fires within, are what events like this should be about. ISTE is more than just the technology. It’s about the people who share and the students who are forever changed because of it. You can’t get that in a session alone nor can you get it in 140 characters. It comes from real conversations…ones where you can ask questions, debate, listen and reflect.
Yes, I took tons of pictures with many that I admire, mostly goofy selfies, which will be in my Haiku Deck. I met a group for lunch, where ironically we took a picture and I’m not even in it! I had amazing dinner conversations with real people…not twitter personas. I am not one of those people who thrives on number of twitter followers. To each his own if that is what you like to do. I want to talk. I want to listen and I want to be engaged by the passion behind your voice which cannot be contained in 140 characters.
In the span of 5 days, I feel as if I’ve been welcomed into a community. I’ve made life long friends and have built a readily available support system that I can go to in those times when I need it. I can honestly say that for the first ime in my career, I feel as if I am not being judged by how I look but by the words that I say and the actions that follow. I participate in twitter chats everyday of the week and have learned much from it. However, there is no greater lesson than knowing that regardless of the lesson that you teach, the tool that you use or the state/country that you are from …there will always be a stream of people waiting to support you. This was my biggest takeaway from #iste13 and one that came beyond 140 characters.
What was your experience like? Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts!