Scott's ISTE Relfection:Pace yourself

ISTE was amazing! I connected with so many people from across the country. I was hoping to meet some of my professional Learning Network from across the globe but that didn’t happen, and I’m okay with that because ISTE is crazy. It is crazy good and crazy busy–it is the largest piece of organized chaos that I have ever witnessed. The whole thing runs like a well-oiled machine, but at the same time, it’s extremely overloading! 


So here’s what I did, here’s what I experienced, and here is what I plan to do…


What I did:

Before the conference even started, I hit the ground running! I had a ton of issues with my flight, which meant that in order to get to Philly at a decent time I had to use up all my miles to get there. Thankfully a flight opened up on Alaska Air and I was able to use all my miles and get it direct flight to Philly! There goes my Hawaiian vacation! However, those miles were well spent.


Right when I got to Philadelphia I went to the conference, bags and all. The Jefferson Station is right beneath registration, so I maximized my time, got registered, got everything all squared away, and then I dropped everything off at my hotel and immediately met up with my co-host, Matthew. We did a quick sightseeing tour and met up with our friend, Erin Kiger (rhymes with tiger), from the Undrcaff3inatED Podcast, and explored Saints Peter and Paul Basilica. The place was gorgeous! Across the street, Pope Francis donated an Amor statue to mirror the Love statue and to symbolize the Church’s love for the people of Philadelphia. 


The first session we attended was awesome! We did this thing called a Goose Chase, using the Goose Chase app. I went with a team of four and we went around the city completing different activities on the app. We didn’t win but we had a blast, and that’s all that matters! It was during this time that I did the popular Rocky Run video up the famous flight of stairs in front of the Museum of Art. You will have to check out the video on my Twitter page:


Next, we went at a place called Pete’s Pizza, and it hit the spot! I was so tired from flying, being up for so long, and running those stairs that right after lunch, I took a quick nap so that I could rally. I met up with our friend, Erin, again and we went to the ISTE podcasting area and had a great time hanging out with Chris Nesi,  the host of many podcasts, including The House of Edtech. We watched as he had Kasey Bell (podcaster, author, and blogger) on his show–that was so cool! He had Erin and me on his show along with others. Immediately following that I ran into Glenn Irvin and Mike Washburn from the Oneducation podcast. After all that, we walked all the way from the Convention Center to Pat’s Steaks (Home of the Original Cheesesteak). I really liked all of the different ethnic separations in the city because it gave you a feel you were in a completely different place, and the Latino section reminded me of parts of Modesto; it was like I had a part of my home in the heart of Philly!


Soon after we got to Pat’s, a bunch of podcasters and those interested in podcasting showed up. I met so many people that I’ve been following on Twitter that I was overwhelmed with joy!  I parted ways with the Oneducation crew and hung out a lot with the 4 O’Clock Faculty group. What a great group! Even though I’m new they welcomed me warmly as one of their own, and after Pat’s we went to the Reading Terminal Market. The place was a madhouse, jam-packed with people, and there was a line around a couple of corners. Once we finally got inside it was doubly crazy. It was fun and I ran into many of the ladies from the My 53s group, and snagged a great picture with Rachelle Dene Poth!


Things were so intense and it was hard to get food, so the group ended up leaving. I stayed a while longer to try and connect with folks from my district, but they too decided to leave, and they had a great time having Korean BBQ in town, not far from the convention center. I went up to my room to rest and called it a night pretty early so that I could get up and seize the day the following day.


What I plan to do:


Here is my takeaway for that first day: Be present in the moment, enjoy time with friends, and allow yourself to take in as much as you can. However, at the same time, don’t overdo it because at this stage of the conference there’s still so much more to experience. Next year I really want to do the pre-conference sessions and the Badge Summit, which we had a giveaway for earlier!


I may even get there a little bit beforehand. I’m already planning out some different sessions and working on some collaborations. Oh, I’m so excited about that! Plus, next year I will be bringing my family. The plan is they will be at Disneyland while I’ll be at the conference during the day and then we’ll do Disneyland together in the evening. Kind of tricky, I know, but a portion of the conference will fall on my son’s birthday and so it will be a treat from that standpoint and I’ll take a whole day off from the conference to celebrate. To help out my wife, I’m hoping the in-laws will come along! If not we’ll have to figure something else out…but who doesn’t want to go to Disneyland, right?

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