ISTE10 Conference Reflection:
Leadership and Cheese Cubes

WARNING: Much like my AASL-Charlotte debrief this is bound to be a bit stream of conscience and edited over a few days.

This was a very special & crazy busy ISTE for me. After being newly elected to the board of directors of ISTE I had duties for my new position that would sometimes interfere with my ability to hang out at the Bloggers' Cafe, the SIGMS 21st Century Playground, and the SIGVE Second Life playground ....AND go to all the sessions I wanted to.
But in all honesty? ...being able to go greet & thank attendees, vendors, & poster presenters on behalf of the board and serve was both a joy and an honor. (and fun!)
The other ISTE board members and the amazing full time ISTE staff (more about them below!) were so awesomely welcoming and helpful! Especially Annette Smith and her amazing crew from Wisconsin and Mike Lawrence and his crew from CUE! See Annette Smith dancing the Affiliate dance!

  • I got a LOT out of the Leadership Bootcamp by lurking on Twitter...and I blogged about it in the moment..feeling a special kindred spirit with the messages of Lucy Gray and Scott McLeod.
After that, the steam locomotive that is ISTE chugged on and on and I was lucky to get a real meal or sit down for days...(you can live on cheese cubes, grapes, and strawberries - but not for long) Parties and the TEDxDenver that I had planned to attend got pushed aside as I found myself on sensory and brain overload by 8pm at night. Deciding to go to only parties within my hotel seemed silly but was a life saver for me! Sorry Joyce Valenza, Chad Lehman & Anne Truger - i'm a party pooper wus! LOL

Sunday: Mario Armstrong ISTE Kickoff, SIG Fair, and the Keynote
  • NPR's Bio Tech show host Mario Armstrong was our keynote kickoff speaker and he was fraking AWEsome! He fought mythical beasties like the "Locked Net Monster," and the "Dollar and Centaur" by tenacity, tech tools, and an army of a PLN he defeated these beasts who kept him from integrating technology with his students -wanting to take them on a virtual field trip. I was very flattered and thrilled to be asked to be a Kindle wielding part of the PLN army on stage along side Joyce Valenza, Knowclue, Scott Merrick, and Outstanding Young Educator award winner Adam Bellow, and more! W00t!

  • ISTE SIGMS Fair was a huge success and more of those 1000 postcards that we designed were handed out! We had pics of Doug Johnson & Joyce Valenza up on the display board and the ever hard-working ISTE SIGMS Chair Lisa Perez and Communications Chair Laurie Conzemius, Vice Chair, Shelee King George and Prof Dev Chair Brenda Anderson talked to the floods of educators that came by. Met so many wonderful teacher-librarians from all over the world!
  • The Keynote - Jean-Francois Rischard: Important message - dry delivery. Though I understand their frustration, bad back channel behavior from those who chose to be snarky rather than gracious to our guest reminded me of the shocking Danah Boyd incident that I blogged about last fall. Are we as an audience or Americans so jaded that we only value flash over substance? We MUST remember basic kindness in our Tweets people - or else others will be intimidated or scared to join the conversation. People. Just. Be. Nice. Nuff said.
  • ISTE SIGMS 21st Century Media Center Playground in RL (vs. the one I blogged about that we helped to make in SL) I manned my Twitter & Beyond booth for 2 hours and talked with passerbys about the benefits of Twitter and did a mini Personal Learning Network Bootcamp! It was AWEsome because next to me was the amazing and energetic Maryland teacher-librarian Joquetta Johnson doing the same thing...we were VERY busy!

Dissecting the 21st Century Teacher:
I then participated in a panel discussion with Selena Ward- The Tech Tiger, Kenneth Shelton, Andy Losik, Paula White, and Carol Broos:
-The characteristics of a 21st century teacher
-What 21st century teachers do in and out of the classroom
-How the NETS T help define 21st century teaching
-The challenges 21st century teachers face
-Ways in which teachers can transition their curriculum to a 21st century style
(click picture for the link to the actual Google Slideshow)

At the Bloggers' Cafe I had a great conversation with Finding Dulcinea's Mike Moran about his new Sweet Search Engine for Students and NEW! Sweet Search 2Day destination. I can really see how I could use these with my students...esp. in Social Studies and our TV show.

Later that night, the ISTE SIGMS Birds of a Feather & MSET - Maryland Affiliate reception were great! So many Teacher Librarians in one room was amazing...this SIG has grown so much under Lisa's leadership! I got to spend more time with a new friend and fellow redhead Shannon Miller! WOW my MySpacian pic came out cool but I look tired :-(

The next day the ISTE SIGMS Forum Learning Tools Smackdown went Smashingly! Watch the Smackdown Archive on ISTE Vision! To quote Joyce Valenza's NeverEnding Search blog:
"TLSmackdown. Though the concept–fast and slightly competitive resource sharing–may be a little confusing (we’ve blogged about that), it again allowed us to achieve a couple of important things, and kinda sweetly, IMHO.....
  • to reinforce the importance of wikiness within our profession–of collaborating and contributing to each others’ knowledge. And that the person in the front of the room is not necessarily the smartest person in the room.

  • to solidify our Geek tribe–both near and far.

The Smackdown stage was powerful. And the room was powerful. The presenters on stage, both vintage and newbie, shared enthusiasm for their new discoveries about TL practice. While I worried the audience might be shy, the very wiki audience shared like crazy. And that audience included a couple of very new librarians, Dr. Loopy (AKA Doug Valentine, whom I’d never before met), a couple of super-wonderful administrators brought by Shannon Miller."

Ok...I'm tired of doing a day to day hour by hour right laptop scrolling thumb is numb and even feels broken! So let me give a few more bulleted highlights and thoughts:

  • The Lounges, Unconferences, & the Bloggers' Cafe were AWEsome! ISTE really has recognized that we need places to congregate, hang out, & impromptu share with each other at the several and varied lounges they provided at ISTE. Lounges do not pay for themselves. I learned that when I was working at our Maryland affiliates conference MSET - how every chair, table, and power strip had to be paid for and how darn expensive they are! SO, to have so many different lounges means that the ISTE conference planning committee GETS IT. We NEED and we thrive when we have options to sit down, gather, and collaborate! Thank you!
  • Again, this year - as I blogged about NECC DC last year...too much PAPER! ISTE is the leader everywhere else...why not in the GREEN forefront?
  • Too many scheduling conflicts...Breakfasts, Advocacy, & committee meetings during the same time as presentations and sessions.
  • Wireless Internet access was AWEsome at the CCC! Much better than NECC DC! Thank you ISTE staff for doubling our connection!

  • The city of Denver was brilliant..from what I saw at least!
  • Great conversation at the Eluminate party with Steve Hargadon who has been so generous to donate a room for our TL Virtual Cafe webinar series! Thank you Steve!
  • Great conversations with Doug Johnson who is a constant source of inspiration and cutting through the B.S. to see what's really important...not the tech toys (though he has them!) but to be there for our customers....our KIDS!
  • The ISTE staff! I was SO fortunate to work with a lot of the full time ISTE staff and WOW! They are so amazing! Without their year-long efforts this massive conference could not happen.
ISTE Staff: Dedicated, Professional, & Fun!
  • Brenda Aspaas, Senior Executive Assistant & Goddess - this woman is one of the hardest working most organized and just darlingest people i've ever met... i really may just have to form an I Heart Brenda fanclub!
  • Hilary Goldmann, Director, Government Affairs - So smart, so savvy, so passionate about education advocacy....honestly, I am so glad this lady is on our side! heaven help the lobbyists in DC!
  • Jessica Medaille, Senior Director, Membership Development - on point, organized & friendly!
  • Jennifer Ragan-Fore, Director, New Media and Member Communities (and her super cool videographer hubby!) - amazingly able to juggle a gazillion things and energize all who are around her all with the warmest of smiles...she is a force of nature!
  • Dawn Shrum, Manager, Membership Program - another incredibly smart, organized, and precise ISTE professional who makes it look easy when we all know it's not...and she's beautiful, too! I want to hate her but I can't! LOL
  • Terra Sieberman, ISTE Awards & Recognition - smart, adorable, funny and again organized. WOW...I need to learn some organization skills from these awesome Oregonians (and DC peeps!)
and of course Don Knezek, Ph.D., CEO and ISTE President Dr. Helen Padgett who were so sweet and welcoming to me! I am so SO excited that the board will be traveling to Eugene, Oregon in September to visit the ISTE headquarters! WhooHoo!

Additional ISTE Resources:

Photo credits: most all photos by me but augmented by my awesome photographer friends!
Photo of ISTE - Oregon by


  1. Congrats to you and your fine blog for being selected as one of the four nominees for August 2010 "Blog-o'-the-Month" at the ISTE Island Bloggers Hut in Second Life! More details here:

  2. WhooHoo Scott!!! ...erg, i mean...How Splendid, Scott! Thank you! [dashes off to SL to do her virtual happy dance]


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