Preparing for #ISTE19 - Advice from the Veterans

If you’re attending the International Society for Technology Education (ISTE) conference, you'll want to be prepared. Here are a few go-to articles and a few takeaways that will help you get the most out of this, or any learning activity, this summer. 

Lisa Nielsen at conference

(Image credit: Lisa Nielsen )

What Will You “Be” at ISTE?

Angela Maiers reminds us that what’s more important than what it is you plan “to do” is who you want “to be” at ISTE.  She tells us to be...  

  • prepared
  • rememberable
  • tactically serendipitous
  • reflective
  • a sharer
  • a question asker
  • courageous
  • kind
  • a learner
  • patient
  • persistent

What I like the most in her advice is to be rememberable.

She says:

Each time you introduce yourself, you are not just handing them your business card; you are telling them your story. Your introduction is what can make or break a great first impression, so your story needs to be brief, bold, and “rememberable.” Leave them wanting to know more. The key is to stand out for the right reasons; your strengths, your unique talents, and perspectives.

We should all consider our introduction.

For this ISTE, I think mine will be this:

I am working to ensure staff in NYC schools know how to develop content that is inclusive of everyone, including the world’s largest minority group: Those with disabilities, as well as people who speak all languages. Where I work 50% of families speak a language other than English at home.  

What will yours be?

12 Tips for Connecting at Education Conferences

This post has helpful tips such as, attend with intention and work the line after keynotes. My favorite piece of advice is a tip about business cards Select four intentions or goals i.e. 1) Accessibility experts 2) Those who use ISTE standards 3) Twitter chat moderators 4) Podcasters.

Once you’ve selected the four intentions, have each corner represent an intention. Then after you meet the person, fold the appropriate corner. It is possible to have none or all corners folded. This will give you a quick way to visually see and sort your cards. You should also consider writing a quick note on the back with anything that is important to remember or follow up actions.

Where Have All The Powerful Ideas Gone?

The article points out that 1967 was the year educational computing was born. It was the year Alan Kay gave birth to the concept of a ‘laptop’ computer for kids, which he sketched on a flight back to the US after working with Jean Piaget, Seymour Papert, and some young students.  In 1967, Kay wasn’t simply thinking of his ‘laptop’ as a new medium of expression, or way of doing things more efficiently. Rather he saw it as a place where young people could create and explore new, powerful ideas. Where they could do things that were simply not previously possible, at levels of complexity never before imaginable. As an instrument whose music is ideas.

The article challenges ISTE attendees to find more examples of what Kay envisioned and focus less on things like monitoring students, using tech to test prep or deliver instruction.

What to expect at ISTE19

 Get advice directly from ISTE. Highlights from this article are:  

  • Have learning goals
  • Use the right hashtag #ISTE19 and handle @ISTE
  • Dress for comfort (lots of walking) and sometimes cold rooms (bring a sweater)

Your turn

These are some of the tips and pieces of advice I like to keep in mind before attending summer learning events like ISTE. What do you think? Are there ideas that resonate with you? Anything missing? 

Lisa Nielsen (@InnovativeEdu) has worked as a public-school educator and administrator since 1997. She is a prolific writer best known for her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator. Nielsen is the author of several booksand her writing has been featured in media outlets such as The New York Times,The Wall Street Journal, Tech&Learning, and T.H.E. Journal.