Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Great, The Good, The Sad - ISTE Weekend

ISTE 2015 weekend was an absolute whirlwind!  I had the opportunity to attend Tomorrow's Classrooms Today, an invite only pre-ISTE party, and ISTE2015.  To attend all of these events, I am beyond fortunate to work for a district that strongly believes in investing in our students, teachers and our community. Yet, more importantly, I am blessed to have an amazing wife and son who understand my passion to better their lives and the lives of others.

However, I must admit that this post will not be completely positive, as I have done in the past. Don't get me wrong, there were SO MANY outstanding ideas and conversations that took place this weekend, however, I was disappointed as well. 

My thoughts from ISTE weekend:

The Great: Tomorrow's Classrooms Today was a big success for the great guys, Evolving Educators, who put it together. I was greeted at the registration table by Jerry Blumengarten, aka @Cybraryman, who quite honestly said the most humbling words that I have heard in a while: "Glenn, why can't their be more principals like you." Honestly, it completely caught me off guard and I was at a loss of words. I still am, but I do know that I am only as good as the people around me. Then I had the opportunity to meet so many passionate educators for the first time face to face as I had known them for over a year or two thanks to Twitter. The conversations were AMAZING, as they were real, authentic, and focused, as if nothing else mattered in the world at that time. What's not to love when passionate people come together to share ideas/stories to improve the lives of students, teachers, and community stakeholders. 

The Good: With only one day to fully "conquer" ISTE, I walked the entire expo floor, sat in on a few sessions, and had some great face to face conversations with PLN members. Yes, I would have loved to have had more than one day, but I didn't. However, when I left, I had an incredible, positive headache. On the expo floor some vendors provided  interesting ideas/products to take back to my staff, while others were mediocre. 

Personally, my main focus was updating learning environment furniture (trying to not say classroom), yet there was very limited furniture there to sample. 

The Sad: Without mentioning names, I was disappointed by the actions of some "edustars".  This is by no means a gripe session, or pity me, but a hopeful wake up call to them. When I tried to speak with these individuals, I couldn't help to feel judged, deemed unworthy, and looked down upon. Perhaps they were having a bad day, were tired, or just didn't care. Yet, I couldn't help to think, has this "connected celebrity status" gone to their heads? I found it sad that the mindset of "look at me" overruled "we practice what we preach, and make a positive difference in all lives." Are we not educators who preach to our students to be respectful, don't judge a book by a cover, and don't forget where you came from? 

Yes, being "connected" is creating "edu-celebrities." Yet, I can't stress it enough: remember back to your college days when you wanted to be an educator. You wanted to make a difference in the lives of others, instead of seeking personal glory. 

Just my thoughts... 

A true champion of education and remarkable scholar, Jerry Blumengarten aka @cybraryman1 

A true gentleman, passionate educator, and outstanding father/blogger, Jon Harper aka @jonharper70bd 

Jeff Bradbury aka @teachercast setting up for his intensive ISTE2015 podcasting schedule. Thanks for allowing me to be a part of it. 

Outstanding session lead by the amazing Matt Miller aka @jmattmiller

My great friend and tech wizard, Aleng Phommathep aka @alengman being interviewed by ISTE TV.