I’ll admit it—I’m a newbie. I am a year out of my teacher education program and on the cusp of my teaching career. I feel like the world of edtech has exploded into my life and left me with a whirling mind and tons of questions.

I went to ISTE hyped up and excited about the vendors. Four football fields of edtech...seriously? What techie enthusiast wouldn’t dream of seeing this sight in person? It was overwhelming, actually. Walking into the vendor area was like nothing I had seen before at a conference. Everything from spinning signs, the ticking sound of a prize wheel, and the hum of edtech company pitches. It was awesome. I made my rounds, talked to some companies, filled up my swag bag, and left.

While at ISTE, I had the pleasure of really getting to know a leader in the field of edtech, Zoe Branigan-Pipe. We were sitting in the Bloggers’ Cafe and started talking about pedagogy, building relationships with students, and inquiry. I learned so much about not focusing on all of these tools surrounding us and instead focusing on our own skills and pedagogy as teachers. I started to realize that I should not be so overwhelmed with all of the edtech in the vendor area. I discovered that edtech companies need to be around to help solve problems and meet certain needs in our lives. Overall, the biggest realization I had was to take a step back from the spinning signs, prize wheels, and pitches to sit down and meet someone new. You never know where the conversation will lead you.