This past week, I was able to participate in an Ed Tech Conference organized by ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education). The conference was held in San Antonio, Texas. No, I didn’t attend the conference in person. There was no great trip to San Antonio for me. I attended the conference virtually. Before you ask, no I didn’t have a virtual ticket. How was it possible for me to attend? I was #NotatISTE. Through Twitter and a great group of educators on Google+, I was able to learn about resources, apps, websites, and tools that support the vision of using technology to provide personalized and equitable education for all students.
Even though I was not physically in attendance, I still ended each day fired up and exhausted but still felt excited to learn even more the next day. In addition to the resources that the #NOTatISTE Google group helped to assemble, I followed a Twitter feed of everything the actual attendees of the conference posted. I took my own notes using the Notes app on my MacBook as well as a physical notebook where I jotted down ideas. However, by the end of the conference, I felt overwhelmed with all that I still needed to explore, read through, and organize. I needed a plan.
Tackling the Impossible
First, I decided that there was no way I was going to get through everything in a day. This was going to be weeks long, maybe even months long, process.
I made a schedule and determined how long I would spend each day reviewing resources. I also set a timer because, well, it’s the internet, and it’s easy to get lost.
Next, I decided which resources I would explore first. I decided to go through my handwritten notebook first because I wrote so fast and furious at times, I was afraid that I would forget what my notes actually said. As I went through my notes, I made a singular line through everything I explored and made a new list of the things I thought I would actually use in the next school year.
My plan is to then look at the online resources that are in shared documents in case something happens to them since they were created by other people. Finally, I will look at the links and references I saved in my Notes app on my Mac.
New Resources Learned #NotatISTE
As I mentioned earlier, I took a lot of notes during the conference. Before I could do anything, I went through my notes and tried to decide how I was going to look at each resource. What this resource something I had to explore and act on? Which resources simply provided new information for me to make a note of and move on? This helped me to decide how much time I was going to spend on each item. Once I made a decision, it didn’t have to be permanent. My resources could live in many lists or move from list to list.
Once I sorted my resources, I then determined how I was going to implement them. Which would I share at work, which resources should I explore in this blog? Who was I going to follow on Twitter and add to my PLN?
Some Notable Items on My List So Far
- Seesaw – There are upcoming changes which will be released in August.
- Brainpop – There are new resources that have been added.
- Google Earth for Education – The education website launched during ISTE.
- Minecraft in Education – Not new, but I would like to explore the education version more.
- Microsoft Teams – Replacing Microsoft Classroom.
By breaking all of my resources down into manageable chunks, I did not leave this conference overwhelmed. I was able to make an action plan for the resources I accumulated.
Developing my PLN
One of the benefits of attending conferences besides learning new things to use in your career is having your bucket filled. Sometimes, when you have a vision you are excited about you also have some people who I like to call the naysayers. These people have lots of problems but rarely offer solutions. They think any, and sometimes every, new idea you have is ridiculous or impossible. The naysayers can bring down a person who has the best of intentions. In order to combat this, it’s important for you to have people who will encourage and support you when you want to try something new. When you attend ISTE, you are surrounded by these people. It makes you feel good. You realize that you are not on an island by yourself.
Believe it or not, Twitter has been a great resource for me to find these people. I have “met” a lot of educators through Twitter. Well, maybe not met in the traditional sense. I followed some new people on Twitter and gained some new followers. These are people with whom I intend to share ideas and from whom I can get ideas.
Going to a conference in person or virtually, doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience. Make a plan for after, take your time, and have fun.
How do you organize your resources after a conference? How you keep up the momentum? Leave a comment below to share your tips.