In less than a week, I will be headed to Denver – along with about 16,000 other educators from around the world – to engage in four days of connecting, learning, sharing, and growing through panels, poster sessions, interactive lectures, hands-on workshops, and informal conversations. I cannot wait! Last year was my first ISTE experience in Philadelphia and it was everything I imagined it would be – and so much more!
After attending the conference, I left Philly on fire for improving my practice as an Technology Integration Specialist. While I gathered a lot of practical resources and slideshows, the most valuable things I left ISTE with were the connections I made with others throughout the world. Growing my PLN has been an ongoing task that has been incredibly rewarding.
This year, I vowed to connect more as a leader and contributor to the ed tech world rather than just a consumer of resources. I have been an active member of a grassroots organization here in Michigan known as the METS group. We are Michigan Education Technology Specialists throughout the state who come together in various capacities – face to face meet ups, virtual rallies, and a vibrant Google+ community – to support one another through purposeful and meaningful technology integration. While I felt like I contributed here and there, I was utilizing the METS group more as a consumer. In order to start being a leader and challenging myself to take my profession to the next level required moving a bit out of my comfort zone. So this year I have stepped up to be part of the leadership “team” and will be working with a few others to plan and coordinate the Spring Rally and meet up. So far it’s been great to feel like I’m contributing in a more meaningful way to an organization that I really value and respect.
Along those same lines, I have gotten so much out of being a member of ISTE. The resources and discussion forums have really helped to push my thinking and to provide some support and reassurance that I’m not the only one who doesn’t have this all figured out! To that end, I wanted to continue to grow professionally, and so I volunteered to moderate the ISTE Ed Tech Coaches Twitter chat. It was a really fun experience and helped me to build my PLN.
This year, I am going to be working with some really smart and inspiring people to build the ISTE Technology Coordinators PLN back up and help it to be a functional and vibrant place for folks like me. I will be serving as Social Media Outreach Coordinator and one of my first goals is to support the group in their panel presentation at ISTE next week. It’s going to be awesome; I’m pumped! If you’re attending ISTE, we’d love to have you at our session: The Changing Role of the Chief Technology Officer. It’s on Monday, June 27th at 2:30pm in the Mile High Ballroom 1D. If you can’t join us in person, I will be Tweeting out questions and ideas using #ISTE2016. Feel free to follow me on Twitter (@AllisonKEDU) and participate from wherever you are in the world.