ISTE 2015: The Workshops Were Great, But It's About The People

ISTE 2015: The Workshops Were Great, But It's About The People

I was lucky enough to attend the ISTE 2015 ((International Society for Technology in Education) conference this week in Philadelphia. As someone who considers themselves a beginner in a lot of tech areas, I was a little apprehensive as to how I would fit in or even if I could understand what was going on. I was very interested in connecting with some of the people who I have gotten to know through twitter and finally meeting them face to face. I was very interested in learning some new things to bring back to my school.

All I can say is WOW! What an amazing week of learning and connecting. The keynote speakers were amazing and inspirational. Soledad O'Brien opened the conference with great stories and a real call to action. Jack Gallagher spoke about his relationship with his amazing son, Liam, who has autism. Finally, Josh Stumpenhorst @stumpteacher, who did the closing keynote, really said it all at the end of his closing keynote when he said, "I'm a teacher and I'm damn proud of that!" What a way to end the conference. Wow!

There were so many highlights to #ISTE2015 for me but I had to write this blog to document a few and because I couldn't wait to tell people. If you ever get the chance to go to ISTE.... do it!

One of my favorite highlights was finally meeting Jessica Raleigh (@TyrnaD), who is such an inspiration with the morning twitter chat #BFC530. I'm sure people know it, but she is pretty freaking smart and fun and amazing and any other descriptions of AWESOME! Jess, was kind of in charge of ISTE from what I could tell.

Seeing Pernille Ripp (@PernilleRipp) and Erin Klein (@KleinErin) talk about authentic and purposeful writing in their "Set Their Voices Free: How Students Can Share Their Stories" talk was amazing. "If you want kids to do meaningful writing, you must provide a meaningful purpose." Wow! Both of these amazing educators were awesome throughout the week.

Matt Miller (@jmattmiller) who wrote Ditch That Textbook, did two sessions that I attended and he shared some great tools for establishing a paperless classroom. His Sharing Is Caring Session was filled with fun and engaging activities. I can't wait to share with my staff. Better yet, I got the chance to connect with him and he is the REAL DEAL! Such positivity and passion!

I have to thank Nili Bartley (@nbartley6) for her energy, positivity and introductions. Wow! This was the first time I met Nili F2F and she is a fireball. She rocked the BrainPop booth and workshops and she was in constant motion throughout the whole conference. She introduced me to powerhouse educator, author and inspiration Angela Maiers. Again, Wow! Watching Angela interact with so many people and seeing her mind work was amazing. is going to be a staple in our school. Nili also introduced me to rockstar and inspiration Lourds Lane (@LourdsLane). Lourds may be the most positive person I have ever met and she is so cool. Her SuperYouFundation has a SuperYou curriculum that helps kids find their inner super hero. You can see it work right here in Nili Bartley's Class . Nili is truly a superhero to so many kids. I could watch this video a 1000 times and still be inspired. Lourds wrote and sang the song. It is awesome and I can't wait to work with Lourds and her Fundation.

Look at this powerhouse team: Angela Maiers, Lourds Lane and Beth Houf
The best part of #ISTE2015 was re-connecting with Beth Houf (@BethHouf). We met last year at NAESP14 and have collaborated on many projects throughout this year. Her passion, brains and personality continue to inspire me to be better at what I do. Without her, I would never have met so many amazing people. I had a great time helping her in her presentation and I learned a ton too (as always).

I could go on and on about #ISTE2015. I feel that I have neglected so many amazing and inspirational people. Each session that I went to was amazing. The Ignite Sessions were incredible. Each person I met I was able to learn something from. I hope to connect with all of you some more and work together in the future.

Jay Billy is the Slackwood Elementary School Public Schools Administrator. Read more at