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Monday, May 19, 2014

ISTE: What It Is and How It Changed My Life

This week I am giving some guest bloggers the opportunity to share their ideas and experiences. This is a post from Beth Still. 

If you’re an educator and you spend any time at all on Twitter it is likely that have heard someone mention that ISTE is just around the corner. ISTE is the International Society for Technology in Education, a professional organization with over 100,000 members from around the world. Their mission is to “empower learners to flourish in a connected world by cultivating a passionate professional learning community, linking educators and partners, leveraging knowledge and expertise, advocating for strategic policies, and continually improving learning and teaching.” ISTE provides numerous valuable resources including books, webinars, technology standards, and a variety of networking and advocacy opportunities. I will argue that the most valuable resource ISTE provides is their annual conference.

Each year around 18,000 educators from around the world make the trek to ISTE which is held in a different major city in late June. This summer it is going to be in Atlanta from June 28 to July 1. Attendees will be able to select from hundreds of sessions which are delivered in a variety of formats including poster sessions (similar to a science fair), workshops, lectures, panels, and BYOD’s. Attendees can also visit the vendor floor to meet with any of the the 4500 reps from over 500 hundred companies.

I had no idea how large of an impact attending ISTE would have on my life when I first attended in 2008. While the sessions and the speakers are fabulous, the one thing that keeps me coming back year after year is the opportunity to network face-to-face. I went from being lonely and isolated to having a huge network of colleagues from around the world!

I selected the image from Adam Bellow’s ISTE13 keynote because it is significant to me. Some of the people in this picture (including Adam) have had a huge impact on my professional learning over the years. George Couros, Summer Howarth, Beth Gross, David Warlick, John Spencer, Lee Kolbert, Scott McLeod, Paul R. Wood and Bob Hastings are just a few of the people who are in Adam’s network as well as mine. Attending ISTE allows me to build deeper and more meaningful relationships that I am connected to online. ISTE is a fantastic place to solidify friendships and create memories that will last a lifetime! The collage below contains my most memorable ISTE moments. I hope you will be able to attend ISTE in Atlanta so you can start making your own memories, but if you cannot make it then you might want to consider attending in the future:
  • ISTE2015 - Philadelphia - June 28-July 1 
  • ISTE2016 - Denver - June 26-29 
  • ISTE2017 - San Antonio June 26-29

Beth Still is a social studies from teacher from Nebraska. She has been an active member of the ed tech community since 2008. She will be putting her skills to good use next year as she begins her new journey as the Technology Integration Specialist for Gering Public Schools.