Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Best Conference I Didn't Attend

By Claudia Felske
Personalized learning, virtual learning, MOOCs, flipped classroom, blended learning, differentiation, gamification, adaptive learning, digital storytelling, asynchronous learning.
If you are unfamiliar with any of the terms above, consider yourself uninformed on important issues in education today, unready for knowledgeable educational discussions, ill-equipped for a job interview in the field of education.
The Solution? The best conference I didn’t attend.
Rather bizarre to write a blogpost about a conference I didn’t attend. But at least I’m better off than I was last year. This time last year, I spent the week pining for ISTE 2012, wishing I were in San Diego with 18,000 other edtech enthusiasts.
This year I spent the week pining for ISTE 2013, wishing I were in San Antonio while kind of being there. Thanks to Twitter, I was able to follow those lucky enough to be there, gathering their thoughts, insights, resources, virtually hanging out in their back pockets.
So what’s the big deal? What is ISTE? The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is a worldwide network of educators engaged in “innovative learning and effective uses of technology in PK-12 and teacher education” (ISTE website).  It’s also the creator of NETS—the globally accepted edtech standards for digital age learning, teaching and school leadership.
But the really good stuff? Their outside-the-box, innovative yet practical annual conference which attracting 18,000+ (yes, 18,000) edtech leaders and learners from around the world and offers world-class keynotes, hundreds of sessions in a variety of formats, and a massive exhibit hall. (just take a peek at their sessions).
Next year, with any luck, I’ll be one of the lucky ones in Atlanta, immersing myself in educational technology ideas while tweeting out the wealth with people like the former me, who glean the scraps virtually.
So what can bring you up to speed on the terms listed earlier? What can put you on the cutting edge of educational technologies?
Here are the scraps I was able to hoard this year as a non-participant.
And the very best way to be at “The Best Conference (You) Didn’t Attend”? If you’re unfamiliar with Twitter hashtags, it’s a way to crowdsource resources and ideas collected by those attending ISTE 2013. Typing “ISTE13” into the search bar at the top of Twitter will allow you to read the buzz of ISTE 2013 participants and collect their linked resources and take-aways from the conference, or use the 1-Stop Shop Webilogger to see all 50,000 archived ISTE 2013 Tweets in one full swoop.
Bon Edtech Appetit!
Next year (fingers crossed everyone) maybe I’ll be share with you my first-hand resources from ISTE 2014 in Atlanta, and with even more luck, I’ll see you there!

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