My wish for everyone attending #iste13

If I had a wish for everyone at ISTE 2013, it would be:

Iste 2013 has opened just now in San Antonio. It is already Trending on Twitter. #iste13
  • Remember your students. Look for practical methods to teach.
  • Remember your students. Technology doesn't engage – YOU DO when you use it well.
  • Remember your students. Take notes for ACTION ITEMS you'll do when you return. (I keep a list of my big three.) They should see you learning and engaging at #iste13 like you want to see them engage in your classroom.
  • Remember your health. If you run yourself down and you get sick, that isn't good for anyone. Pacing yourself is so hard, but take time to get sleep, eat, and rest.
  • Remember your friends. Take time to say hello to those people who encourage and inspire you.
  • Remember your friends. Not everyone could go. When you tweet good thoughts and ideas to the #iste13 hashtag, you join the #iste13 pln and inspire and reach others.
  • Remember to make new friends. Make time in your circle. Seek out people who are alone at ISTE.It is hard to go to a conference alone. Involve and encourage them.
  • Remember the presenters. Give credit. Look up the presenter's twitter handle or write it down at the beginning so you can cite what they said. It is good manners.
  • Remember the presenters. Take time to follow presenters and give feedback. When you echo comments, it helps them know what resonated.
  • Remember your profession. You are teachers and educators. Lots of people are watching. Behave in ways that make your profession proud. We are different and should be. I'm not saying not have fun, I am saying have a blast in ways that honor what you do. If you have on that ISTE badge, behave in ways that you'll be proud of. Tip well. Be kind. Be encouraging. Show San Antonio the nobility of educators. If you act up, for goodness sakes, take off the badge.
  • Remember your students. They are watching. They are likely watching your stream and your updates. How does this relate to them? Do they see the kind of learner you want them to be reflected in what you share?
  • Remember not to get caught up in the hype. There are things that give hope and there's hype. Hope usually comes from methods, strategies and people-centric activities. Hype comes in when someone begins to think that technology will solve a problem that requires personal intervention. Lots of things will be hyped – it isn't bad to get excited about new technology, I get excited too – but your hope should lie firmly in best practices and teaching. Seek out how to USe technology not just the technology.
  • Remember yourself. You are at the center of your own attitude. It is easy to get jealous of others. It is easy to start making excuses. Do what you can – you can do something. There is always someone better off and worse off – doing more and doing less. This isn't a measurement process but a process of improving yourself. Are you better than you were when you left for the conference?
  • Remember your administration. Give an overview of ideas and your notes to your administrators and peers. Give your administration 3 actions that you plan to do in the fall. Schedule a meeting to answer questions or discuss ideas.
  • Remember the price. Everything costs you something. Nothing is free. It will cost you your time, sometimes your privacy, sometimes your data. It is time for educators to become laser focused. We've bought into the word “free” and given away far too much in return. Examine the fine print. Read disclosures and terms of service. It is time to wise up that NOTHING is free and to figure out the price of every service we use. Haven't we had enough experiences like Google Reader to wake us up that everything costs SOMETHING. We're working with students and have a responsibility not to be hooked by everything “free” that comes along.
  • Remember to cut yourself some slack. Most of us are average every day teachers. We're not rock stars. We're not superheroes. We're just teachers and that is enough. So, you don't have a cool name and you don't go to a neat party. You don't remember to get a ticket to the sold out session. There is plenty to do and amazing places to be. You are at iste – a place that many want to be as evidenced by the #notatiste hashtag that is trending on Twitter right now. There are sometimes at ISTE where I feel insufficient. I get tired and feel uncool. This is normal. I also sometimes ignore the stream when I'm not there just because I wish I was there. You are where you are. You are enough. Soak in the learning – there is enough for all of us. Like a coral reef, we are all part of the beautiful ecosystem in a tiny way. Just enjoy the teeming life and color of a great profession on the cusp of transformation. Don't let yourself get down if you don't “feel cool” – if you're there, you're awesome enough already. If you're just following the hashtag and learning, you're “cool enough.” too. I just know the maelstrom of feelings that accompany ISTE and hope to spare some of you the emotions.
  • Encourage. Some of the amazing people you see at ISTE are in tough situations. Many of them take time to blog every day anyway. When you say thank you, you help make the sacrifice worth it. There are times I was secretly considering if the sacrifice of blogging was worth it. It always seems that during those down times, I've gotten an email or a kind word at a conference and it brought me back to reality. Encourage others, please. The world out there isn't kind to educators, so it is our job to be kind and encouraging to each other. With this goes the need NOT to bash. Bashing usually gets back to the one you're bashing. It isn't in good taste. Have dialog about issues, not about people. Most educators and presenters I know are some of the finest people you'll find anywhere. People who work hard every day to make a difference for every kid and teacher who comes their way. Encourage excellence wherever it shows up.
  • Thank. Thank the volunteers and presenters. It is always a sacrifice.
  • Remember. Use your external brain to capture notes.. Whether it is in evernote or diigo or whatever, set up a system to capture and remember. Use a personal note for things you want to pull back and review. *REVIEW or something of the sort. Plan ahead to remember.
  • Share. #iste13 and blog posts are great ways to share. Hoping someone curates an #iste13 magazine on flipboard. (I'm putting mine in my education flipboard magazine and following the #iste13 hashtag.) Live blog. Invite others to participate with you. Be inclusive and transparent.
  • Enjoy. Enjoy yourself and have fun. This conference is always a highlight.

Finally. Please, remember your students. (Didn't I say that already? ;-) They are why our profession exists. It is about them. It is about helping build a bright hope for their future. It is about using technology that will help them learn and engage in the future. ISTE is a fantastic conference and I highly recommend it as a great learning experience. Next year it is in Atlanta and I plan to be there!

I look forward to “attending” every year, even when it isn't in person.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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