Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday's Five: Things I'm Looking Forward to at ISTE



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For the first time this year, I'll be attending the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference.  It is the world's premier education technology event and according to ISTE's website it draws about 20,000 people from 60 countries.  This year's conference is in Philadelphia, PA.

Attending a conference this large is a bit overwhelming.  The number of sessions, events, and opportunities is incredible.  To help me navigate through them, I've identified these 5 things that I would most like to do while in Philadelphia:
  1. Meet members of my Professional Learning Network (PLN) in person - My PLN has been exceedingly helpful in giving me new ideas, supporting me, and giving me opportunities to collaborate.  It's not a stretch for me to say that I wouldn't be nearly as successful as a teacher had I not found my way to the amazing network of teachers on Plurk.  I find it incredible that a group of educators that I've never met face-to-face can be so influential.  It will be great to put faces to names and be able to talk in person with many of these teachers.  
  2. Learn more about how to use Edmodo in my classroom - Edmodo is a secure social learning network for students, schools, and teachers.  I know some members of my PLN do amazing things with their students using Edmodo as a tool to allow for collaboration, distribution of resources, and communication.  I signed up for an account a while ago, but I've never gotten around to leaning enough about this tool to use it.  I'd like to get familiar enough while at ISTE to be able to use it with my students next school year.
  3. Meet and discover new people - The world is full of amazing educators.  Conferences are great places to meet and/or discover them.  Many of the people that have influenced my career I have learned about for the first time in sessions, keynotes, or while mingling at conferences.  I'm curious to find out who I will meet or learn about for the first time in Philadelphia.  
  4. Find out what's the big deal about Livebinders - Many in my PLN are discussing, utilizing, and raving about Livebinders.  I've been curious for a while what the rage is about, but haven't had the chance to explore the site.  According to their homepage, Livebinders is "your 3-ring binder for the web."  Like Edmodo, I'd like to get to know more about this tool while at ISTE.
  5. Browse the Exhibitor Hall - One of the great things about large conferences is the expo hall.  I've been to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's (NSCAA) National Convention many times, and I've always come home with bags of free goodies, great professional contacts, and knowledge of companies that fit what I was trying to accomplish with my girls high school soccer program.  I'm hoping that the expo hall at ISTE affords me the same opportunity to talk to ed-tech companies and make good contacts.  I wouldn't complain about free stuff, either.  
Now it's your turn.  Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.  If you're going to ISTE, let me know what you are looking forward to.  If you've been there before, what are your thoughts?  Any suggestions for a rookie?  If you aren't going, what would you want to learn if you were?  

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