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Top 5 Magic Making Moments from ISTE 2014

Duplicating an amazing event is often impossible; so I attended this year's ISTE convention with high hopes, but was totally prepared to be somewhat disappointed. Last year's ISTE convention was phenomenal, and I felt like I'd discovered the secret wardrobe into a mystical world full of excitement, opportunity, and ideas... for all intents and purposes, it was my Narnia.

So for this year's ISTE, I had to be prepared. If you know me at all, it should come as no surprise that I bought a composition book (to appease my love affair with paper) and divided it into different sections. (Yes, I am well-aware there are many great apps and platforms for this... but the physical act of writing calms I go with it.) In my little ISTE Convention 2014 Book, I had a section with a quick sketched outline of the days I'd be there, along with any sessions I'd heard people talking about that sounded extremely interesting, as well as the BYOD sessions I'd pre-registered for ahead of time. 
Getting to hang out w/ friends from Twitter

After reading Holly Clark's (@HollyClarkEDU) "Must Have Guide to Networking at ISTE" I decided to suppress my inner lurker, break out of my introvert shell, and push my own zones of comfort. I made a list of several educators I actively follow on Twitter and/or personal blog that I would love to say hello to in person. Some names seemed more approachable than others, but I decided to take Holly's advice to heart and use it as a networking opportunity. I also added a section right after that with all of the names of people my class and I had collaborated with this school year, on the off-chance that some might be attending ISTE also. Surprisingly, I soon discovered that Karin Stadler (@ICT_Integrator) would be attending to present a poster session on her Traveling Rhino Project. I had recently received one of the little rhinos to hold him for safe keeping until school starts and was able to bring him with me to ISTE and arranged for us to meet up at the Meet and Greet. 

The remaining bulk of my book was left for taking notes, doodling while I listened, and quick lists in the margins when I had a brainstorm of ideas. 

I am excited to say I was pleased with my participation in this year's ISTE events. Stacy Hawthorne (@StacyHaw) reminded us that "the true magic happens outside of people's comfort zones" in her inspiring Ignite session, and with that- I was determined to make magic.

So- here are my Top 5 Magic Making Moments from ISTE 2014 with an emphasis on connecting with others:
    Susan & Anibal
  • Hack Education 2014- a type of "un"conference the day before ISTE officially starts where educators gather to discuss topics of interest. The entire day is made up of networking and discussions- both in large groups and smaller groups. And even though I didn't arrive to Atlanta until after 1 PM, I still managed to push myself beyond my little box of comfort and attend. While there I officially met Timonius Downing (@techmonius). During EdCamp Home 2.0, I ended up in a GHO session with Timonius about gamification, but 5 minutes into the call, my server crashed and I lost the call. I was also able to have an impromptu visit with Susan Bearden (@s_bearden) and Anibal Pacheco (@anibalpachecolt). I learned about Susan's new app (TweechMe) to help new Twitter users navigate the platform and get better connected. (Which is AWESOME! Highly recommend.) But we also chatted about life, with Anibal sharing how he got into the ed-tech field to begin with. 
  • #CoffeeCue with Alice Keeler (@alicekeeler) at SIX in the morning. (Yes- the time DOES matter. I am NOT a morning person, but decided Alice would be worth it.) We discussed ideas for getting buy-in from reluctant/defiant students. Amy Burvall (@amyburvall) suggested finding technologies the students are already using as a foot in the door with a low-risk assignment as a starting point. (On a total side note- if you haven't seen her history videos, check them out! Wowzers! Check out her YouTube channel- historyteachers.) So happy I met her, along with the Amazing Keeler. I have so much respect and admiration for her. It was great to be in a learning environment with all of the CoffeeCue peeps.
Kristen Magyar (@mrsmagyar)
  • Attended a social gathering sponsored by Class Dojo where I met many awesome educators and/or people working in the edtech field. I learned more about additional tools and resources I have available to me through my MS Office365 subscription and also had some questions answered. I learned about 81Dash, a collaborative back-channel that provides teachers more options to truly be in control of a room that he/she creates for use with students created by Carlos Fernandez (@fernandezc4) who will go out of his way to find solutions and is also certified as a Microsoft Innovative Educator- which was very helpful for me since my district is rolling out M365 with all of the MS tools this year.
Rodney Turner (@techyturner) One & Only
  • I was brave enough to leave my introvert shell in the hall while I mingled and chatted with Twitter peeps as if they were long-lost friends, as well as make new ones. And while there were times I wanted to be the strange lurker in the background, I found being social isn't as awkward as I sometimes feel it may be. 
  • And my #1 Magic Moment would be the underlying theme I found interwoven in all of the sessions I attended- my voice matters and what I share with my students matters. Bringing this to the classroom is vital because students need to know they are heard. My students need to know the world expects their contribution, and it is my job to fuel that desire; that belief that their "learning is bigger than adult agendas." (Quotes from #YouMatter panel session & also the session on #Genius Hour.) It sets the stage for an epic learning adventure in the school year ahead and sets the bar high (in my opinion). While this pushes me to rethink some routine activities and look at rearranging how I do some things, it also pushes me beyond my comfort zone... but that's ok... because I'm making magic. 
Relationships, Collaboration, Being Brave, Sharing, Learning... Epic.


  1. Aw! Love your #1! Great reflections!

    1. Thank Amber! I've yet to meet you f2f but hopefully one day we'll catch up with one another. I've enjoyed following your new adventures in admin!

  2. Loved your post. Wish I ran into you at ISTE this year!

    1. I KNOW! Whaaat!!! There were so many Twitter friends I missed this year. Total bummer. I won't get to go again until it is back in San Antonio. Hope you're doing well!


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