I attended the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference last month at the Denver Convention Center. I was one of 12,000+ people in attendance. Being able to attend the conference was a wonderful opportunity and an energizing experience. I am not a technology wizard, as my colleagues will attest. I often felt like a neophyte among the tech savvy attendees and presenters. But I have an enthusiastic curiosity and keen interest in learning and this was the perfect venue for total technology immersion.
ISTE was a remarkable experience and kept my brain humming and feet moving as I ran from session to session, from conversation to conversation. I know I’ve never seen so much digital equipment in one place. There were iPads, iPods, netbooks, notebooks, airliners, hundreds of Smart boards and 1282 exhibitors anxious to showcase their wares across an exhibit area that was the equivalent of five football fields. The entrance to the Google exhibit was flanked by two enormous faux Greek columns festooned with GOOGLE in bright primary colors. According to the iste DailyLeader, the conference newsletter, here are a few staggering facts: there were 19,000 concurrent users on the WIFI network; 57 countries represented, with the contingent from New Zealand travelling the furthest- 7,700 miles; 998 sessions and 1,561 presenters.
The message was clear, it is critical for students to be producers of technology, not just consumers. Leslie Connery, ISTE’s deputy CEO writes, “ISTE’s mission is to advance excellence in learning and teaching. Our vision is focused on creating a future in which all learners can achieve their creative and intellectual potential. We focus on this through innovative and effective uses of technology”
The poster sessions, student showcases, keynote addresses, model lessons, etc. all provided opportunities to experience and discuss the ways in which the tools of technology are used in education and the potential they have to produce 21st century thinkers and problem solvers.
I am anxious to incorporate some of my learning into the work I do with coaches and schools. In future blogs I will share how the ISTE experience has unfolded in my work with schools and in my own creative life.