So, I have just returned from my second ISTE conference. I was much better prepared for this one than the first ISTE conference that I attended in 2013 which, by happenstance was at the same location (San Antonio, Texas) as this last one.
In 2013 I was selected to present a poster on wireless technology in classroom. Now, being into wireless technology, working in an IT department and having some graphic design background, I thought I had this nailed. I printed up about 100 handouts and got behind my table with my poster and waited to talk with some teachers who happened to meander by. I had been to other “technology” conferences and had seen the routine. The difference is that I had not been to a K-12 technology conference. Within the first 12 minutes, all of my handouts were gone. Teachers were packed around me asking all sorts of questions about networks, costs, tools and even their own wireless networks. Needless to say it was an eyeopener. Many teachers wanted to do what I was presenting on, but were being held by their slow or lack of network services and even limited budget. I came away inspired by all of the excitement they showed, but also overwhelmed by the sheer amount of teachers.
As the conference went on, I found myself queuing up for sessions like all of the other teachers (again, a new ritual that I have not experienced at any other conference). Heck, we even lined up to see the keynote speaker. The line went for over two blocks, but there were enough seats for everyone.. I still have not figured that one out. The conference was good, but the vendor floor and the after hours parties and informal talks was what really did it for me.
So, four years later going back I had a whole new strategy….
(to be continued)