Mixing Work and Play

Philadelphia's City Hall (taken from the main entrance to the ISTE conference)

After three full days of fun in NYC, I arrived in Philadelphia this afternoon for the ISTE conference (my first). It’s overwhelming. For someone who is distracted by shiny objects easily, there’s so much to do and see here, Times Square would be considered tame. The opening Keynote tonight was John Medina (author of Brain Rules) who gave a different and thought provoking talk from the one I saw him give last year. I felt lucky that I got there in time. The largest conference room at the convention center (and it’s massive) couldn’t accommodate the attendees. I learned later that there was a large screen where people who were turned away from the conference room gathered to watch the keynote. I also learned that the sound didn’t work. Well, that’s the first lesson everyone should learn about tech: it doesn’t always work. Despite the hiccup, I have to give ISTE credit for having an app for this conference that has the entire program (it’s massive too) available at your fingertips.

Later, I joined a large group of independent school educators for dinner. I met people from New Orleans and Michigan, and people in that group came from as far away as Australia. It was an interesting coincidence that I ended up sitting next to a large group of teachers from a middle/high school that’s less than a 10 minute drive away from where I teach: Seattle Academy. I also noted that most schools sent their tech teachers, tech directors, CTOs, etc. Classroom and subject teachers, apart from me and the seven or eight from SAAS, were not well represented. How are schools going to get teachers to change and arrive at their own aha moments if they don’t send classroom teachers? I’m not a big networker, but I learn from others all the time. One of the best ways to do that is to read, see, hear, what others are doing (whether they be the teacher down the hall, or one halfway around the world). Another thing I noted was the age group. Technology and education isn’t an age thing. I’m 41, and I would assess myself among one of the youngest in the group.

Finally, if there’s one lesson I’ve learned about technology over the past few years, it’s learning how to turn it off and be present in the moment. I’m going to try and share as much as I learn here, but my posts and tweets will come either at the end of the day or between posts. There was a administrator at this dinner who is dedicated to maintaining 4 blogs on education. I’ll do my best to keep up with this one.

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