I’ve mentioned ISTE, the International Society for Technology in Education, before in a couple of blogs, more for following their hashtag than anything else.  I cannot believe though that I’ve not mentioned the #notatISTE hashtag, something that I will remedy with this this post!

Last year, I followed the hashtag, #notatISTE, for the simple fact that, while a lot of cool stuff was going on at the conference, I wasn’t there!  It’s a monster conference and it’s held in locations that aren’t in Iowa (go figure). However, something kind of fun happened last year, that hashtag kind of took off.  There were Google Hangouts, there were Twitter chats, there were a lot of very cool people and things that took place with those of us who were not at the conference itself.

Fast forward this year, and wow!  There’s a Google+ page with ALL this awesome stuff in it, there’s a Voxer group that is just crazy, and there’s the hashtag, #notatISTE15.  Of course, the year this all starts to really take off, I can’t participate as much because my own life has been crazy, but I’d like to give you a couple of my takeaways. I know ISTE don’t finish until tomorrow, but we are heading on a much needed vacation, so I won’t be around! 🙂

1) Relationships matter.  Gee, is there a theme here? And it’s not just with the students either! This year, I’ve “met” so many awesome people, added them to my PLN, and talked with them.  Yes, I spoke in a Voxer group! *cue dramatic music*  True, I will offer up some things in the #moedchat group, but this group, holy smokes, this group just rocked.  It was too fun trying to keep up with all the different messages going out.  And the tweets, such great sharing of information about different sessions. My favorite story, as I was tweeting, I get one from a pastor who’s following me.  He’s just started working with Remind and wondered what tips I may have to offer.  Wow!  This is why my PLN is the way it is, because it’s not always about the educators in my group, it’s about all the people: farmers and gardeners and pastors and coaches!  If we continue as educators to build those relationships, we will right our own ship!

2) The tools are there.  So much was made about the different things about the different tools that are our there for us to use.  I had the chance to watch Jeff Bradbury (@TeacherCast) do his thing with the TeacherCast TV, and it was awesome! Not only did I have a chance to see him in his element, he had many great vendors on, talking educational technology!  Plus, two of the three EduTriplets found their way on the screen as well! You can find all of the sessions Jeff did at ISTE at his website, http://www.TeacherCast.net.  I know he’ll be editing and posting in the next few days!

3) People matter. Like I said, I was in a Voxer group that rocked, my Twitter feed was jumping with #notatISTE15 tweets about all sorts of cool things.  But it was the people, the personalities that made those things come to life.  I don’t even know where to start in terms of who to thank, but I know that many hands were involved in this group.  And if you don’t have anything to do today, jump into the Voxer group, find the Google Hangout that someone was doing, click on the Periscope link and see what’s going on.

It’s hard NOT to be excited with something like this, remotely being part of the largest educational technology conference in the world. But it’s even more hard not to be excited when you can do it laughing and smiling at the people who’ve made connections with you.

#notatISTE15 – a success in my book, and I barely scratched the surface of the whole thing.

Before I sign off, a few great things shared:

A Livebinder of resources shared

A Google Doc of people who’ve shared their notes on sessions

The “Unofficial ISTE Google Guide”

Check out the hashtag for more cool stuff and thank you all for being part of my PLN and forcing me to see outside of my own box!