Skip to main content

My #ISTE13 Reflections



It has been a week since returning from ISTE13 in San Antonio, Texas and I have had some time to reflect, read fellow colleagues' ISTE13 posts and share with colleagues in my own district. This is one of the many understated gifts of ISTE; learning is not over at the conclusion of the conference.  In fact, I think it’s after the conference when much of the value of ISTE is actually realized.  I cannot help but return to same thought over and over again.  ISTE is less a technology conference, and more about a community of educators celebrating ways to the disrupt the industrial model of education, and specifically, how to innovate within the traditional, rigid structures of schooling.  The more I think about this, the more I am inspired to relentlessly adapt, create and innovate, in order to contribute to this sweeping movement in education.  We critically need change.  (Thank you to @gcouros for sharing his inspirational ISTE13 talk and innovative resources on this subject.)



EdTech K–12 Magazine ‏@EdTech_K12 28 Jun .@SandraTrach you had one of the top inspirational tweets from #ISTE13 in our roundup: http://ow.ly/msc05

I was struck by how large, and yet small the conference felt.  20,000 participants would be an educational sea by anyone’s standards. Surprisingly however, it felt like the smallest ecology of 20,000 people I have ever been a part of. Everywhere I turned, I met the friendliest people from around the world who were interested and invested in each other’s learning.  I will admit that meeting educators from international locations (at one point, I was conversing with two principals from South Africa), diverse educational roles, and from my PLN on Twitter were true highlights for me.  With that said, the humanity of ISTE13 is palpable.  Educators are kind, dedicated, hard working, intelligent, insightful, collaborative, innovative -- and I would say -- give me great hope for the future of education.  In addition to the wealth of knowledge and experience you gain from ISTE, what you also gain is inspiration, camaraderie and support.  Not only did this happen for me in person when I engaged in conversation with attendees, it also happened through social media. For instance, when I had  a specific instructional question, I contacted @patrickmlarkin in my PLN. He offered me immediate, specific feedback (while I was in the one of my ISTE13 sessions.)  Not only did he quickly answer my question, but he also referred me to another expert @dvillanojr, who immediately provided me feedback and offered support after the conference.  In addition, I was invited by a @teachingwthsoul to participate in a #caedchat book club and surprisingly, one of my tweets was selected as a top ten of #ISTE13. These are only some examples of how large and small the conference was for me.  Yes, the ecology of educators was large, and this was a vivid reality at ISTE13.  However, it was also small in the sense of a tight knit community, where if you did not know someone or something, all you had to do was ask.  At every turn, the community took care of you.  At ISTE13, there was a sense of mutual investment within the learning of one another at the conference, and beyond when the event concluded.  

While I continue to think carefully about the number of leadership inspirations, instructional models and creative ideas that were shared, (and these energize me over and over again), I think the real lever of change is relationships.  Relationships are the accelerator and brake of change in an organization.  It is the lever that most affects leadership, risk-taking, creativity and innovation.  No leadership wisdom or great idea will ever get a running start without mutual investment in the learning of one another.  Said differently, relationships are the learning, not separate from the learning. Relationships create a culture of openness - open to the inspirations, models, risk-taking, creative ideas and adaptive change that we critically need in education.  This was a resounding message in the closing #ISTE13 keynote by @adambellow.  ISTE13 is an example of what happens in a truly open culture.  The continual exchange of ideas that causes you to reflect, innovate and share as a continuous cycle is the gift of the ISTE13 experience, and one that leads well beyond the realm of the conference experience. Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Although the ISTE13 conference is over, I look forward to our continued learning together and our collective ability to affect the critical change we believe is possible in education.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Unconferences! Changing the Way We Facilitate Professional Learning

Thank you to #NAESP16 for allowing me to share Unconferences! Changing the Way We Facilitate Professional Learning. I am inspired by the passion and energy at #NAESP16, and hope you find unconferences to be practical to your leadership and learning. You can find the PowerPoint presentation here and PDF handouts here. Attendees can also download the presentation from the NAESP16 app.

Three core goals of the presentation:
Learn why an unconference is supportive to professional learningReview best practice research on professional learningDesign an unconference in your school to promote adult learning, student growth and positive morale Over my years as a principal, it took me many attempts to design the "just right" professional learning sessions for our rapidly growing and dynamically talented staff. In fact, I'll admit that no matter how hard I tried, no "one" professional learning fit everyone's needs. I wanted to change that somehow.
Then we tried unconfer…

How to Get Valuable Feedback

There is no question that educational leaders today deal with a relentless stream of competing demands, requiring them to work at a rapid pace, shifting quickly from one task to another. Often the survival cry of “let’s get it done” is overheard from school leaders as they zigzag between incidental needs and project deadlines. As a result, sometimes school leaders hesitate to stop and seek feedback on the issues that surround them. Some leaders may feel that gathering feedback slows down the pace or creates unnecessary obstacles that could be avoided. Under constant pressure and accountability to be both effective and efficient, it’s easy to see why school leaders can be tempted to skip over the feedback process. But when they do so, they risk the opportunity to launch the best ideas, build quality stakeholder and cultural investment, and make the strongest decisions they can.


(Image Attribution: https://www.pexels.com/photo/idea-bulb-paper-sketch-8704/)

Why feedback
Seeking feedback fr…

#EstabrookSchool Students Skype WBUR "The Animalist"

I'm so proud of our ELL students at #EstabrookSchool and their project-based learning!

Our students conducted research and developed questions about their favorite animals and went right to an expert.  Using Skype, students spoke with WBUR's "The Animalist."




You can see the article, student letters and illustrations here.

What incredible researchers, interviewers, illustrators and writers they are.  I'm so proud!