I attended my first ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference this year in Chicago. The weather was nice and cozy, even on the days it rained. People were EVERYWHERE, yet it still didn’t feel like they were in a rush. The girls (team) and I really had a nice time. Dr. Miyoshi “Doctor J” Juergensen, Aishia DaffinCherelle Young and I presented during the poster sessions. Our presentation entitled “Practicing What We Preach: Best Practices for Technology Coaches in PK-12” was on Tuesday, June 26 from 1:15 to 3:15. We had a great turnout and was so humbled by the people who stopped by to speak with us. I encountered people who gave me encouraging words, compliments, motivation, and asked questions. I felt empowered.I attended tons of sessions, spoke with vendors, played at #edtech playgrounds, engaged with like-minded people, and met one of my favorites from my Twitter #PLN, Maria Galanis. Meeting Maria was sincerely the highlight of my #ISTE18 experience because we have been following and conversing with one another on Twitter for over a year. It felt like I was seeing a family member after years of distance.Top 5 Experiences from #ISTE18

  1. Coaching Trumps PD: The first session I attended was Coaching Trumps PD and it was a game changer. From there, I decided to make a small list of goals for the upcoming school year. I learned so much from that session, presented by Adam Juarez and Katherine Goyette. What stood out most to me from their session is the “walking coach” concept. Spend 80% of my time in classrooms and 20% of my time at my desk. Being that I served 13 schools last year, it was challenging to visit every classroom. There was another nugget they gave, but I don’t want to give that away (just in case one of the teachers I support reads this). Haha! Contact me for the gems if you want more information from their session.
  2. Mixed Reality: Microsoft is changing the game. Not only are their products being updated daily (you can embed a 3D model in your powerpoint), but the Mixed Reality experiences they’re bringing into classrooms is amazing! Mixed reality is the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time. A grant program was annouced in the Digital Transformation in Education by Margo Day. Unfortunately, it ends on July 9 so if you’re interested… get to work!
  3. Exhibit Hall: The Exhibit Hall was FILLED with #edtech venders. Google for Education, Microsoft, Apple, Flipgrid, Frontline, GoGuardian, SAM, Texthelp… the list goes on! And, the swag? Oh my! I brought my “traveling office” (inside joke… Haha) with me just so I would be able to bring EVERYTHING back home, from t-shirts to bags! Someone even won a Chromebook from EdTechTeam. My goal while in the Exhibit Hall was to get items and information I could bring back to teachers and the rest of my team. I was in #edtech heaven!
  4. Keynote Speakers: Dr. Nadia Lopez was the closing keynote speaker and boy was she the perfect end to the conference. She left us inspired and motivated. She made us turn and talk to our neighbors (if you’re in elementary, you know what this looks like… Haha) and motivate them with words we repeated from her. She told us about her parents who are immigrants (mom-Guatemala, dad-Honduras) who came to the United States seeking a better life. Dr. Lopez also told us about her rise within education and how it sparked from her not wanting children to feel less than based on their circumstances. Dr. Lopez is a champion of education. I thoroughly enjoyed her speech. Thank you, Dr. Lopez! If you want to know more about her story, check out her TED Talk.
  5. TED Masterclass: TED Talk has given ISTE members access to TED Masterclass, which is an online course and platform designed to help educators share their best ideas in the form of TED-style talks. This was announced before Dr. Lopez’s speech and it had all of us educators clapping and screaming with excitment. A platform for students to tell their stories in the form of a TED Talk? Who wouldn’t be ecstatic about that! The team and I sure are!

To be honest, the best experience was meeting and conversing with people from all over the world about education, technology, and how we can all be better at how we engage and teach our children. #ISTE18 was an experience I will never forget.Check out photos below and moments from ISTE here.

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