July 1, 2010


This post was last updated on September 5th, 2011 at 11:03 am

The whirlwind event that is ISTE represents for me, I tremendous learning environment. I realized after my first ISTE in 2008 that this is about people. While in the past serendipity seemed to rule my thinking, I was slightly more intentional this time around and yet left lots of room for impromptu learning. I may have crafted a near perfect learning experience for myself.

My intentional learning revolved around specific sessions I choose and specific conversations I wanted to initiate.

While I thought that ISTE did a fine job of offering variety in their sessions, I only had a handful that I felt I must attend.
Bernie Dodge (when an educator has a wikipedia article, you link to it. We don’t have many there)  has always been someone I wanted to hear, and his talk about engagement was one I was hoping to listen to with Chris Lehmann who has already blogged a little about that. Chris wrote about this earlier and listening to the two of them, helped me get a better handle on this.  Lynell Burmark is someone I’ve seen before but wanted to grab a few key ideas from her as I plan to present on similar ideas in the future. Nothing life changing here but certainly solid ideas I can use. There were a couple of other sessions that were okay but these two were certainly the most useful for me.

There were several conversations that I had hope to have with people and simply invited those people to talk more deeply about them. Bud Hunt and I had started a conversation online a few weeks back about writing, digital writing, connective writing and the like. I simply sat down beside him and prompted him to share. We get started and before it got interesting it headed. Luckily for me, Bud turned on the microphone during his commute home and shared more about his thinking. That discussion lingered over the next few days and we’ve made plans to continue that conversation.

Knowing Howard Rheingold would be speaking, I simply asked him on twitter if we could have some time to chat. He obliged and I was not disappointed. In fact, Bud and Rob Wall were able to pick Howard’s brain around his perspectives given he’s been doing things online and in community for as long as anyone I know. That historical perspective about participatory culture is overlooked in an age when people think Twitter is the first time people have ever exchanged ideas online. Howard not only shared many great perspectives but genuinely cared about our work and is thinking through many things as he’s new to the formal teaching gig. Listen to the end of Bud’s podcast for more about that conversation.

Ben Grey has had a problem with the term “literacy” for a long time. It’s a pretty complex issue and represents a larger issue with language. I’m understanding more and more that language does matter, words do matter and sometimes this is really hard to grasp.  I put him on the spot and asked him to talk about it. Ben’s acknowledged for a while that it’s hard to articulate his position but I appreciated his willingness to explore the idea and I’m beginning to get closer to some understanding about this.

I met Chris Craft face to face at Educon earlier in the year and not only is Chris a big boy, he’s got a brain to match.  Chris has talked about cognitive load theory and other educational theories and research that are either false or sometimes misunderstood or applied incorrectly. Chris challenges my thinking and leaves me with important things to ponder.

While those were some of the targeted learning that in many ways I designed and sought out, the opportunity to stay together with the Scott, Paul, Mike, Randy, Lisa and Adina in a fabulous space, put the icing on the cake. We were able to spend time with each other and many who came a bit out of their way to visit. These informal conversations planted many seeds of ideas that I’ll be able to pursue well beyond this week.

Wow, am I ever blessed.