If yesterday was a challenge to my inner-planner, today was a challenge for my inner-introvert (is that redundant?). I think I do a pretty good job of suppressing my introverted nature in my role as a teacher, but it certainly never goes away. I always feel a little out of sorts in a group of people. So ISTE is a true test of my socialization stamina. Large crowds, lots of noise, the social pressure to just go out and "meet people." All of this saps the energy of an introvert like a leaky faucet. However, this introvert had some pleasant surprises today, which I'll get to eventually...
I had every minute of today pretty much planned out (reference the ISTE Day 1 post for that particular piece of my crazy), and things kicked off with a presentation on Hacking the 1:1 iPad classroom, which ended up being quite a bit about an Education course at a University in NC that is flipped. It was an engaging presentation, but I didn't come away with a lot of new information.
Next, I waited in my first ISTE line. I avoided them yesterday, but today I needed breakfast! So I hustled down to the Expo Hall, wandered around looking for the breakfast table, found the long line, and decided it was worth the wait. It actually moved pretty quickly and I was re-energized in no time.
Fueled by breakfast carbs for the remainder of the morning (or at least until my blood glucose crashed), I was able to get to Chris Lehmann's presentation "Technology Transforms Pedagogy" in plenty of time to get a good seat. And this is when the theme for my day started to evolve.
I sat down next to a gentleman from Arizona, who turned out to be a tech coordinator for the school district in Apache Junction (which happens to be where my grandparents retired to!). His name is Jon Castelhano; we had a great conversation about managing devices and other techie stuff, and eventually exchanged Twitter handles (@jcastelhano). Then I overheard a conversation at the other end of the table about modeling instruction in science, and it turned out that Casey Rutherford (@rutherfordcasey), a math instructor from MN that I had been following on Twitter, was chatting across the way. After a quick hello with him, I learned that he's planning an edCamp for math and science teachers in MN in October. Yeah! Count me in! In the midst of this, Adam Taylor (@2footgiraffe), who I only met face to face yesterday, included me in a group tweet to get some lunch. I had plans to meet with Chris Crouch,(@the_explicator), host of #edbookchat (had also never him face to face) around that time in the Blogger's Cafe, so to make an already long story shorter, I ended up having lunch with Adam, Chris, Casey, and a bunch of other great educators I had never met before. One of them, Kelly Stidham (@kastidham) was kind enough to help me figure out how to set up and join a Voxer group over lunch.
I went to a couple more workshops after lunch, but nothing incredibly inspiring. I was pretty wiped out by the end of the day (again, my introverted nature being pushed to its limits), but I decided to stick around a little longer for the Birds of a Feather Science gathering. I randomly sat down at a table, started chatting with the teachers around me, and was able to meet some amazing people. Barbara Bilgre (@babilgre) teaches Biology in Africa. It turns out that we have some common interests in PBL and blended learning. I'm also intrigued about teaching abroad and excited to have her as a contact. Katie Page (@katiecpage) is a Physics teacher in the Chicago area that had me nodding along as she described her interests: flipped learning, 1:1 iPads, digital portfolios. We are already hoping to reconnect in person for the NSTA conference in Chicago this March.
Here's the thing...I read a lot of "Planning for ISTE" blog posts before attending for the first time this year. They all had some common pieces of advice: Wear comfortable shoes - check. Bring all your chargers - check. Leave time to connect with your PLN - ch...uhhh, really? I'd only connected virtually with most of my PLN prior to ISTE. It's asking a lot of this introvert to break out of her shell and connect on a more personal level. But this turned out to be the highlight of my day. I'm excited about the people I've met in person at ISTE and the conversations we've had are invaluable.
Just so you know, I'm still a proud introvert though. How did I end my day? I grabbed an unwich and a cookie at Jimmy John's, ate supper by myself in my blissfully quiet hotel room, and then took a nice, long bath. Energy refreshed, mind at peace, and then it was time to blog.