Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Reflection on ISTE 2013 - I'm Proud

The ISTE conference is one of my favorite events of the year and this year's conference did not disappoint.  As each day progressed I learned, I presented, I connected, I was inspired, I questioned, I challenged, and, above everything else, I was proud.  Be forewarned, I'm about to roll out a bulleted list of some of the things I was proud about:

  • I was proud because our district was able to send at least five teachers to the conference for the fifth straight year.
  • I was proud because our district was able to send our two instructional technology coaches to the conference for the second straight year and just that we now have instructional tech coaches in our district.
  • I was proud because one of our principals, Jason Markey, attended the conference for the third straight year.
  • Heck, I was proud just to know Jason Markey (@JasonMMarkey) during the conference and learn first-hand how connected and respected he has become in just a few short years as Assistant Principal and now Principal of East Leyden High School.  He hates when I say this, but I do really want to be him when I grow up.
  • I was proud because the more I experienced the more I became convinced that we are doing things right in our district.  We eliminated the obstacle of access by issuing a Chromebook to all 3,500 of our students last year and have truly started moving teaching and learning to the Web.
  • I was proud because so many people from across the country now know about Leyden Community High School District 212 and are interested in what we are doing and how we are doing it.
  • I was proud because I know that the big topics of promoting creativity and collaboration that emerged out of every session I attended IS happening in our district.
  • I was proud because many of the tools that were shared are being used by lots of our teachers.
  • I was proud because a few people I met actually jotted down or even tweeted out some of the things I said... like "Don't print.  Publish, post, and share."
  • I was proud to be among so many passionate educators that really understand what a modern education should really consist of.
  • I was proud that much of what I learned will actually help me be a better father in addition to a better Director of Technology.
  • I was proud just to be a member of ISTE.
  • Oh yeah, one more, I was proud because my hometown Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup and I was able to be with so many friends, both old and new, when those glorious 17 seconds transpired and victory was ours!  By the way, I'm still looking for someone that has a good picture of those of us that stormed the Alamo and took a group photo there.
I still have some considerable work to do to organize what I learned this year from all my notes so that I can best answer the question "now what?" and share everything with the teachers and administrators at Leyden  (I'm sure I'll be proud of that, too, if it ever gets done).  However, so much of the "goodness" from ISTE is available online that even those that couldn't attend can still benefit greatly from many of the sessions and keynotes that took place.  A perfect place to start is with the ISTE 2013 Conference Playlist on YouTube.

Attending the ISTE conference is an experience I wish for every educator.  If you haven't yet had the chance to go, you need to find a way to get there.  Start planning now for ISTE 2014 in Atlanta from June 28-July 1, 2014!