Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Reflections From New Orleans (ISTE 2022)

This past week has been a windstorm of awesomeness. Less than a month ago, I wasn't scheduled to attend ISTE. However when my waitlisted session got switched to accepted, my supervisor helped make it possible for me to attend. We had a booth in the expo hall, so I joined the team representing down in New Orleans.

Like many travelers right now, my flight down to New Orleans was delayed by three hours. Luckily the airline knew ahead of time about the delays so I was notified prior to leave for the airport and was able to relax at home a little longer. This also meant I could attend the virtual MIEE event since I would have been mid-air otherwise. However, I sadly missed Tara and David's wedding which took place at the opening keynote. Since I wasn't originally going to attend ISTE though, Tara already knew I couldn't attend but I did get to meet up with her during the week.

Otis hanging out in Minecraft
I spent most of my days at our booth in the expo hall but I did get a chance to walk around a bit in the morning on Monday before the expo hall officially opened, I walked around with Otis to take some #WheresOtis pictures. I also took advantage of this time to catch up with the teams from Microsoft, Wakelet, and more. Thank you to Wakelet for hooking me up with a t-shirt before the hall opened.

Attending ISTE as an exhibitor was an experience in itself and I was really fortunate to be working with such an amazing group of people. As an exhibitor I wasn't able to attend sessions or keynotes but if being completely honest in previous years, I've missed the sessions I wanted to attend because they were too crowded or at the same time as other sessions where I never choose which to attend. Throughout the week, I was able to reconnect with many friends and make new connections. These connections are honestly the best part of conferences such as ISTE.

Time to present my session.
On Tuesday afternoon I presented my session, Turning Consumers into Creators. It was the end of the day so the audience wasn't huge but they were active and we had some amazing discussions take place. When we talked about the type of creating we want our students to learn one attendee shared a story of how her students began creating videos about social justice. We also discussed using Canva to teach social media marketing.

During ISTE, I learned that I was included in Scott Nune's ISTE'22 hitlist. I also learned after the conference that my session was actually listed on Screencastify's Can't Miss Sessions ISTE'22 list they published before the conference. So that was really cool to discover. I have been working so hard to grow my reputation in EdTech as an influencer so seeing my name showing up on these influential lists really made me feel awesome.

The only thing I was sad about was missing some of the events I would have otherwise attended in years past. Events such as Flipfest and EdTech Karaoke. The schedule was so packed that there were difficult decisions to make.

Following ISTE I took a Covid test when I arrived home on Wednesday night and again every day for five days. Luckily all were negative because I did see many friends that I had spent time posting about positive results. This is sadly the new normal we live in. ISTE was the first time I really went out in the public without a mask on in over two years. I knew I was taking a risk by not wearing a mask in public spaces but I did anyway. While this easily could have ended differently I was fortunate that my good time in the big easy didn't result in a week of quarantine.

Disclaimer: My attendance at ISTE'22 was covered by my employer. However this post is my personal opinion and does not reflect my employer.