13495323_10154917063245278_1345035572712417577_nThis was both the most frantic ISTE and the most relaxing ISTE I’ve ever attended.   Five presentations kept me busy enough, but I also had more meetings and interviews scheduled than ever before.   This caused two problems, that turned out not to actually be problems.  1) I had to keep a close eye on the clock at all times and 2) I didn’t attend any sessions.

That’s right.  Not one.  After doing an interview with Brian Lewis for the ISTE website, I walked through the poster area (mad props, posters sessions were AMAZING), but other than that I never made it into a session.  This was my first year not attending anything, or even making it in for any of the keynotes.  In fact, I didn’t even make it into the exhibit hall until the very last hour before I had to leave, and while there the only things I did was check out the VR in the Unity booth (props to Dennis Grice for the heads up on that), and visited Roger Wagner and David Thornburg in the Hyperduino booth.

My head tells me that I should feel guilty about that.   To be at a conference like this and NOT make time for my own personal learning/growth?   But this year things were a little different…   As I mentioned in my last post, after a decade at Discovery I’m moving on down the road.   So I spent the majority of my free time exploring possibilities.  With individuals, with companies, with organizations, with conferences…  this is the first time in my entire life when I can hand pick what comes next.  And exploring those possibilities was just as exhilarating as any keynote I’ve ever seen.

I didn’t go to any big parties or events outside of the Discovery birthday party (which was really wonderful reconnecting with so many people).  But the time I did spend with groups was smaller, more intimate and gave me a chance to really hang out with so many that I see for such small snippets.

So just a few notes and thanks before wrapping this up…

  • Thanks Adam for letting me share the stage with you again this year.  One of the best things about the conference is getting to spend hours on Hangout scheming. (Links to our presentations:  Gizmos and Gadgets and Fear the Sitting Dead)
  • A wrong turn on the way home put me in the path of Chris Lehmann, leading to a late night conversation that was truly one of the highlights of the week.
  • Had an incredible time at the ISTE LAN party, playing games and geeking out on a level that puts most of the other conference nerds to shame.   Met the founder of Pixel Press there, which means a review of Bloxels is coming soon!  Also got a preview of the upcoming AR game, Pokemon Go (yes, my son is incredibly jealous)
  • I will always treasure the time I spent with my partner in crime at Discovery, both on the stage and on the slabs.
  • While Kyle Schutt always pushes my thinking, a happy hour with him has really got the gears churning.  That is one talented man with some big ideas.
  • By far the most surreal night of the week was spent at Casa Bonita.   The only way I can describe it is Chuck E Cheese meets Disneyland meets Narnia.   And to spend it with a crew of over 20 edu-peeps made it feel less like dinner and more like the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.
  • Mark Smith and I found a quiet corner to chat about the upcoming year.   All I have to say is that man is a troublemaker in the best possible way and MACUL is lucky to have him.
  • I had the honor to host a Maker panel organized by The Nerdy Teacher, chock full of people that I would consider brilliant.   An hour was not nearly enough time to spend in the presence of that crew and I’m grateful to have been a part of it.
  • Adam and I had an absolute blast hosting our gadget session, and I have to throw out some props to IPEVO for the giveaways, Shane at QBall for making the 20 minutes leading up to the presentation much more interesting (and dangerous), and the Denver convention center for doing everything they could to make sure our demos were shared as well as possible.  True professionals there.
  • I spoke with organizers from a few conferences, but I won’t call out names until things are solidified.  I’ll just say, you know who you are and it was a distinct pleasure seeing you again and I look forward to having the chance to speak and share outside the states again!
  • I didn’t spend nearly enough time in the Bloggers Cafe, but the time I did spend was truly wonderful.   Thanks for all the hugs from too many to list.
  • It was a close call, but our Edu Justice League including Chris and Jaime managed to save the world by escaping the BreakoutEdu Bus with just seconds to spare.   You’re welcome, Earth.
  • Huge props to Erin and Shannon for their absolutely wonderful backyard gathering.   While it was a pleasure seeing so many people there, the highlight was definitely sitting on the stoop with Scott McLeod and Joyce Valenza.   I’ll be digesting that conversation for months to come.
  • Dennis, I’m finally starting to get feeling back in my arms.   Now I just need to get a GoFundMe going so i can buy one of those rigs!

That’s all off the top of my head.   If I missed a mention of a significant moment, my apologies.  It’s been a long week!  While I do lament not going to any sessions, sometimes you just play the hand that’s dealt you.  Next year, in San Antonio, I’ll make it more of a priority.   But for now, I’ll just bask in the knowledge that not a moment was wasted and I have no regrets.

Thank you ISTE for yet another wonderful conference.  You really do create an environment that is truly magical for educators.