ISTE 2015


There is something about preparing for a trip like ISTE. Planning the conference session in the app, anticipating the vendor goodies, packing, and everything in between. Twitter is already a buzz with the conference that will start in two days.

Last year at this time I was apart of all the hype and planning. I almost scoffed at a post that talked about why the person was NOT going to ISTE (see an example post). Not going?! Why would you not go....if you could?

However after attending my 3rd conference in a row last year, it hit me.

What are the reasons to go to ISTE? Well that can depend on who you are and how you approach conferences. Here is what ISTE promotes in their downloadable "make the case" administrator letter:
Registration includes:
  • Access to more than 900 sessions and learning opportunities.
  • Entry to an interactive expo hall featuring more than 500 companies.
  • Three thought-provoking keynotes.
  • Opportunities to connect and network with more than 15,000 fellow educators and education leaders.

That really does sum up the main reasons for going to ISTE.

Learning Opportunities
There are so many that it is often hard to choose. For those going, it is a good idea to use the app or the conference planning tools to identify your top picks. I always picked two or three. That way if one was full or didn't pan out to be what I wanted, I could quickly move on.

What I began it question this last year was if I could have learned similar back home. I don't know that I walked away from the conference with as much as I expected for implementation and application. Maybe I didn't choose the best sessions? Maybe I spent too much time in the vendor hall? Maybe there wasn't all that "new" for me.

I get sucked into this E-V-E-R-Y time. The lure of free stuff! My aim has been to get a couple new t-shirts for sure. Last year a actually won a $50 iPad basket. I often target specific vendors, but it is easy to get sidetracked! The best timing for free goodies tends to be the last day before closing, as many do not want to pack up everything again.

It is funny that I even consider these things "free". There is an exchange of personal information and resulting emails or mailings. I did pay to attend the conference and the admission to the vender hall is my conference badge. Add to that the time away from session learning (although sometimes you do need a brain break) isn't free.

Talk about the "who's who"! ISTE brings in some big named keynote speakers. I've had some favorites and some not so favorites.

The thing is....these are recorded. I should back up and say that I'm not sure who all can access this. I was able to watch the closing keynote that I missed due to having to catch my flight. These are motivational and exciting! However, they are also only a short part of the keynote time. Much time is filled with other bits and pieces (information, music, polls, etc.). Honestly, I can get as good or better keynotes at home conferences.

Self-promotion or business promotion is really at the core for some. For others it is fun to "see" social media connections. Last year I went in with a mindset of getting my photo with one of my super friends (and I did). Most everyone is "connectable" at the conference...I have talked easily with other attendees and even joined in some adventures with them (see past ISTE posts).

ISTE and conferences like it, tend to have the "big names" attending. However, there are wonderful resources at home as well! I've also had the opportunity to attend sessions locally with some "big names" and even presented this last year at such a conference.

In the end, I realized that I spent $1500 - $2000 for one (3ish day) conference when I could have attended many many more local ones. That is why I will not be attending ISTE this year in person. I will however make use of the Twitter feeds and other postings of those that have opened up their wallets to attend. I might actually come away with as much or more....


Popular posts from this blog

A new dream, but still technically speaking

6 Months Home

Site Review: Typing Club