Monday, July 6, 2015

ISTE Take 2: Connecting and Learning

In ISTE Take 1 I blogged about "The Bigger Picture" and how ISTE is more than just another edtech conference. In this post I'm trying to tease out a little more about what the experience is like. I think perhaps by the time I get to ISTE Take 3 I might be ready to dive into specific take aways from individual sessions or experiences. So here are a few things that have been percolating over the past few days...

  • The size of a conference matters. Clearly large conferences like ISTE have the ability to draw diverse participants from all over the world, and that is truly wonderful.  It allows us to engage with others with vast experiences, different skill sets and expertise around issues in education and the integration of technology in education.  For me, it was also an opportunity to finally meet face to face with colleagues that I have connected with and collaborated with online, an opportunity that may not have happened otherwise. At the same time, the sheer volume of people, exchange of ideas, and the pace can be overwhelming. Trying to balance learning as much as you possibly can in four days, with connecting with friends and colleagues, with taking time to reflect on what you've experienced is tricky. 

  • Personal learning matters. No two people will walk away from a given session, experience, and certainly an entire conference with the same learnings. What drives you may not be the same as what drives someone else. We are all different. Our learning journeys are different, our experiences are different, and what drives us is different too. What we learn is as much dependent on our personal frame of reference and experiences, as it is on a given presenter's message or expertise. It's one of the things that I love about reading the blogs and tweets of others; seeing how similar and how different our responses to a shared experience can be.

  • Connecting matters. We are relational beings. At our core we desire to be known by another. Taking the time to connect with others is important to us. While large conferences like ISTE pull many of us together, its sheer magnitude can make it difficult for us to connect in the ways we would like or the ways we find most meaningful.

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