No, I was not at ISTE.
I was some place better: my house!
Yes, some of you are rolling your eyes thinking “come now, Darin really” but it’s true. To be quite honest, before this year, I really never knew what ISTE was (Internation Society for Technology in Education) before this summer. Thankfully, I was not alone in not being at ISTE. In fact, something quite amazing happened during those days, a number, a great number in fact, of us who weren’t there started tweeting about the fact that we’d not made it. Well, pretty soon, a hashtag popped up, #NotAtISTE, a Google community, and Google Hangouts (GHO) started happening as well.
For me, the Google+ and GHO were totally foreign. I’m still in that learning stage with Skype and found that it was easy to get my Google+ profile and account up and working. For whatever reason, I was not able to get a GHO working. I know that we are transitioning to a new domain name because of our whole grade sharing, and I’m hopeful that once that happens, I can start to play with that aspect of Google as well. But, all was not lost as I was at least able to watching and participate via Today’s Meet on a couple of different topics.
No, I was not at ISTE, however, I gained so much during those days from my #NotAtISTE PLN! It’s quite amazing that a conference that size can generate it’s own hashtag with people who are not actually at the conference. Atlanta is on the docket for next year, and while I may not be there, I know that I can have an incredible experience following the conference hashtag AND by conferencing with those who aren’t going to be there.
It’s all about how you frame your learning and how you find your where to learn. I stumbled over this quite by accident, but it was a perfect teachable moment that I plan on sharing both with staff and students as they school year begins. Learning doesn’t have to be limited to a certain place and time, it’s all in how you make it, frame it, and finally make it personal to you. So, while you may not make it the mega-conference, fear not my online friends, you can find those just like you. And who knows, the learning you create together may be just what you need! 🙂