Presenting at #ISTE2014 was a great experience, I was lucky enough to be able to do three presentations, granted they were all on Sunday. My first one was in the morning and was an Ignite session. I will admit, I was very nervous about doing this. I had 5 minutes to explain 20 slides at 15 seconds per slide and the slides automatically advanced. I do have to thank a new friend I made, Tanya (@TanyaAvrith), who was also doing an Ignite session, because we were able to practice together on Friday night, and that helped. When I arrived to present, I was happy to see two more members of my Sunday night Google Hangout Group, Nancy (@NCarroll24) and Jennifer (@JennRegruth ), both of whom had come to support me. It meant a lot to me to have them there cheering me on. Not only did they come to support me, but several other members of my Twitter PLN, who I was meeting for the first time face to face, came as well, sending me messages of encouragement. (Thank you @JennRegruth, @ncarroll24, @Kitty_Tripp, @techgirljenny , @Smithke1, @LPralleKeehn and anyone else I forgot). A special thank you to fellow New Jersey educator @ipadqueen2012 for recording my Ignite session so I could see myself. Getting up on the stage and presenting was one of the most astonishing experiences I have had thus far as an educational presenter. It was thrilling and energizing and seemed to fly by in seconds. Of course I did have to do a selfie up on stage to have proof that I really did get up and do it.
Later on that day I did a workshop with Jerry and Paula (@cybraryman1 @plnaugle) - “Connecting Your Students to Collaborate with the World”. We decided to do this low tech, knowing what happens when you have a large number of people on a wifi network. We split the group in two and had them practice a “Mystery Location Call” in the room. The groups had to decide which state they were going to represent and then face each other pretending they were on a video conference call. We had assigned the various jobs that are part of a Mystery Location Call and we explained what each participate needed to do. We then did a simulated Mystery Location Call together. You can learn more about all of this here. Having presented on this topic a number of times before in other venues, I must say this had to be my favorite format.
Now we had a very short amount of free time, and I happened to have won 2 tickets to see LeVar Burton (who was at the conference), so I brought Bruce, yes, another member of my PLN who is a principal in New Jersey, and co-moderates #NJed with me. Bruce has become a close friend during this trip and I was happy to take him with me. It was great to hear LeVar Burton live, and just remember, “Take a Look, It’s in a Book“.
My last presentation of the day was with my Sunday Night Google Hangout Group: The Global Collaborator Network (GCN). Jennifer had shirts made up for us which we all proudly wore. It was great to be able to promote the collaborative projects the GCN has done and encourage others to start connecting their students to the globally community. Being able to have facilitated discussions with those gathered for the Birds of a Feather (BOF) Session on Global Collaboration reaffirmed my commitment to my work in this area. I truly enjoy working and collaborating with my GCN group every Sunday and it was great to share our work with everyone gathered for the BOF.
Presenting at #ISTE2014 was an amazing experience, one that I will truly not forget anytime soon. I truly am grateful to my PLN for being there to support me throughout the day. The people in my PLN are truly special, whether I’ve been associated with them for a long time or just recently met them while I was down in Atlanta at ISTE. It just goes to show you the power of your PLN.
While I was at #ISTE2014 I was asked by several close friends, “Why do you like going and why is it so great to go?” Hopefully, this post will answer those questions. First of all, I was so excited to be at my second ISTE conference with members of my PLN that I have met over the last several years that I had to create this blog post while I was on the plane going home. Amazingly, there was so much to say that I was not able to finish it on the two hour ride. Maybe that was because ISTE 2014 covered over 50 miles of walking and interacting with an enormous amount of people; one reason why ISTE 2014 was a phenomenal event.
To put is simply, it was the ability to have Face to Face conversations with members of my PLN whom I interact with all year, that made ISTE so great. These members are people who are like-minded and passionate about education. This year I started by meeting with someone I met back in 2011, Paula Naugle (@plnaugle), who has not only been a Twitter mentor to me, but has become a close friend. ISTE2014 was special because it was the first time my Google Hangout Group, that I have met with every Sunday night for the past two years, would all (well, almost every single member of the group) be in the same physical location at the same time. Again, it is being able to actually have a Face to Face conversation with these people that makes going to ISTE so special. We have become a family, and finally the family got together.
Thursday, I arrived and met up with my roommate at the Airport. I was rooming with Jerry Blumengarten, otherwise know as @Cybraryman1 to the Twitterverse. But to our Sunday night group, he is just Jerry. From the moment we met, the conversation and adventure did not stop. After getting our bags I turned to Jerry and said, “Let’s be adventurous”, so we took the MARTA to our hotel. While on the train, Jerry started a conversation with a few people and found out that they were students, so of course Jerry told that he had a page for any subject and anything they could think of. This would be the theme of our whole trip, because Jerry does have a page everything.
After figuring out how to get to the hotel, and getting there, we met up with another member of our group, Paula. I was so happy to see her since she helped change my view of education by introducing me to all the different Twitter chats. Jerry and I then took a walk from our hotel to scout out the area and see where we would be doing the live #Satchat on Saturday. We met up with Paula again, along with a few others, had dinner and enjoyed live jazz band entertainment. (Picture)
On Saturday after two twitter chats #Satcaht and #NTChat we had some free time. There were a number of us who connect on #NJed (Kate (@KtBkr4) , Liz (@liz1544), Kyle (@kcalderw) & Bruce (@PrincipalArc) chat, so we decided to take a trip to the Georgia Aquarium. It was a little crowded, but that gave us an opportunity again to have a great conversation while walking through and seeing one the world’s largest aquariums. After that, we went our separate ways, as the conference was about to start, there were many different events, and everyone had their own agendas. That night we were able to meet up again, meet other people who we follow on Twitter, and have Face to Face conversations. (Two Pictures Vicki and Group Dinner)
I can’t stress enough that these conversations are what makes ISTE a great conference. Though by Saturday, it was getting very crowded with all the educators who would be at the conference: over 12,000. A conversation highlight happened on Saturday night when I was talking with Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher) and telling her all about a great new app called Voxer. Later, on a group of us enjoyed a nice dinner out and just got a chance to have a conversation over some great BBQ food.
Monday night there was a group of us heading to the Braves game, since I am a huge baseball fan and they just happened to be playing the team I root for, the New York Mets. Before the game I met up with one of my PLN member Amanda (@amandacdykes) who is from Alabama we had a great conversation and were able to share ideas for our classroom. She even taught me about a new app called Uber, which we used to get a taxi to the game and back to the hotel. At the game I was sitting with a number of PLN members and Beth Still had a idea to bring a baseball and have everyone sign it. I am considering this my All Star PLN and placing it in a case.
After the game I met up with Jerry at EdTech Karaoke. He, of course, was sporting his cape and taking pictures with everyone. He is right, again, you need to have fun and talk with people. As we walked back to our hotel we could not believe we would be leaving the next day but we had an amazing time with one another while at the conference.
ISTE 2014, was one of the best conference experiences I ever had, I owe it to my PLN Family. Making connections and having Face to Face conversations is what makes #ISTE2014 one of the best conferences. Rooming with Jerry who I connect with on weekly basis, hanging out with my Sunday Night Google Hangout Group in person was unbelievable experience. We are more than friends we are a close family.
A few Takeaways are:
Your PLN is Family!
Don’t be afraid to go up to people you’ve only seen online and introduce yourself to them. The face to face conversations are priceless.
There are people you know nothing about but could find a connection with by talking to them F2F.
This is the first of a few blog posts about my experience at ISTE 2014, starting with my favorite activity #Satchat.
Every Saturday, I wake up early for #Satchat which is a conversation that takes place on Twitter for current and future administrators along with any other educator who wants to partake in an amazing conversation. I am one of the co-moderators of #Satchat along with the founders Scott Rocco and Brad Currie. #Satchat on June 28th was different because I would be doing it live from ISTE without Brad and Scott because unfortunately they were unable to make it to ISTE 2014. We have been lucky enough to occasionally do #Satchat live from different conferences around the state of New Jersey and various other locations.
Instead of Brad and Scott (who did join us virtually), I had the privilege of being joined by two close friends and amazing educators Jerry (@Cybraryman1) and Tom (@thomascmurrary). Jerry and I scouted out the best location when we arrived on Thursday and decided on the Welcome Lounge in the Conference Center. We figured it was the best location for others to find plus there was also free WiFi. Jerry and I arrived early to set up and make sure we were able to get both Scott and Brad onto the live stream. I had brought a webcam, a microphone and a new wireless speaker from JBL that sounded great.
As we were setting up, the area started to fill out with some educators who follow #Satchat but I have never met in person, so we introduced ourselves and I gave out the famous #Satchat stickers to those who showed up. Among the people who showed up included: @Kitty_Tripp, @jdferries, @s_bearden, @kcalderw, @adambellow, @2footgiraffe, @plnaugle, @ncarroll24, @JennRegruth, @janwells. @JoAnnJacobs68, @ugafrank, @elissamalespina and many others. I apologize for not putting everyone in but I could not remember who else showed up.
These were just a few of the over 70 educators sitting around having a conversation - both face-to-face and online. Never would I have thought we would have so many educators waking up early on a Saturday to join in a live Twitter conversation. The topic was a perfect one - “How to Start a Technology Revolution”. Thanks to @Cybraryman1 for thinking about the topic.
At the start of the live chat I asked everyone to participate in the conversation, put down all devices, and have face to face conversations with those seated near them. This was something I took from the book of Tom Whitby who unfortunately was unable to attend the live chat since he was on his way down to Atlanta.
The dialogue was fantastic and diverse, as we had educators from all over the United States and a few from other countries participating. The conversation was archived both on a Google spreadsheet (http://goo.gl/N27J3h) and the live recording can be found here: http://youtu.be/Bk4X5vIkkTo .
Both of these are great resources from the amazing conversation that took place. Remember you can join #Satchat every Saturday at 7:30 AM EST, or #Satchatwc (West Coast) at 7:30 AM PST. Also don’t forget about #Satchatoc (Orange County) that happens at 8:00 PM, Friday EST.
After the live #Satchat, I went and helped out a good friend and fellow New Jersey educator, Kyle Calderwood, with #nt2t chat (New Teachers to Twitter). We left the live setup for him to use because he thought it might be a great way to do a #nt2t, and it was. Kyle has actually started a Twitter Mentor Group to help out educators who want to get onto Twitter (en2t.weebly.com).