I just realized that I never wrote a post about my fantastic experience attending the ISTE 2015 Conference in Philadelphia at the end of June. For me the key word this year for ISTE was relationships. I have been collaborating online with other teachers and classrooms in all different parts of the world for about 5 – 6 years now. The ISTE international technology conference is a chance for many of us to meet in person to strengthen and solidify our relationships. I am now lucky enough to have teacher friends from all over the world!
My ISTE experience started with a Global Collaboration working brunch to discuss ideas for bringing more people on-board with this initiative. Special thanks to our friends at VIF Learning Center for hosting! The photo below includes teacher friends from the US and 3 other countries: Australia, Canada and England. Most of us got to know each other through the Global Classroom Project.
Our good friend Louise Morgan from Texas scoured antique stores and flea markets for several years collecting global mugs. At the luncheon she presented one to each of us as a symbol of our friendship and our dedication to connecting our students with others around the world.
My experience with relationships at ISTE continued when I was able to accompany my good friend Michael Graffin, Technology Integrator from Perth, Australia, to the ISTE Awards Luncheon where he was presented with the Emerging Leader Award. Michael co-founded and maintained the Global Classroom Project which brought us all together. It was an awesome experience to meet him in person!
I was also thrilled to meet Julia Skinner, retired teacher from Bristol, England and founder of the 100 Word Challenge in person! Her blogging challenge has inspired SOOO many of my students to be better writers other the last few years.
Besides building relationships, I also had the incredible opportunity to present at 3 sessions during ISTE! I was humbled to be accepted when many applications were turned down. My very favorite session was the one I presented with Michael Graffin and Julia Skinner. Our poster session explained how students can make global connections through blogging. We talked for 2 hours straight and we were exhausted at the end but we loved sharing ideas and meeting many new educators.
I meet many other fun friends during the conference as well.
Amidst all of the “business” talk of ISTE, we also found some time to have fun by attending a Phillies game. The Phillies were not playing their best at that time but the out of town folks enjoyed the stadium and the experience (including hot dogs and water ice). I found myself sitting between an Australian and 2 British friends trying to explain the game of American baseball! I did the best I could being more of a football girl myself (Go Eagles). It sure wasn’t easy to explain a balk!
We finished up the conference with a Global Classroom dinner and a promise to keep up our online connections with students and to meet again in person someday!
After the conference, I had the pleasure of touring Philadelphia with Michael Graffin a bit before he left the area. We visited the Eastern State Penitentiary, went to Penn’s Landing and took a walk over the Ben Franklin Bridge. Sometimes it takes an out of towner to open our eyes to the amazing sites we have in our own backyard.
Thanks ISTE for the chance to build relationships and become better teachers! It was an amazing experience to be amidst 10,000 plus teachers who are all as passionate as I am about teaching.