Disclaimer: This metaphor is not meant to belittle any little children.
You know how sometimes you’ll read about kids who go away to a camp with other kids who have the same issues, ya know like all the diabetic kids go away together, or the inner city kids, and they go away to just feel normal, or to realize that there are other kids just like them? Well that’s how I felt while at ISTE this week. During the school year, I spend so much of my time trying to influence change, or trying to cause shift, that sometimes I feel like the odd man out. Like, I’m fighting against the current, gotta keep on keeping on. But this week, I felt like I was moving with the current, like I could just relax and see where the current would bring me. Like I could talk to people like me. And it was a blast!
Actually, that’s not completely true. The truth is that while I was there I felt humbled. During my first digital storytelling session I walked in so proud of the project that I had done with my students and local senior citizens, but left in awe of the Cybersmart Africa
project that was presented at the Digital Storytelling SIG
. I thought that the Digital PLN stuff that we presented at our poster session was pretty neat, but it couldn’t compare with Alan November’s reminders that we need to keep the global perspective in mind and see things from multiple points of view.
But the funny thing is, as interesting as the concurrent sessions were, that’s not where I think I grew the most. I grew while at the Google party and chatting while someone lent me an Iphone charger. I grew while standing in line for coffee and talking to the Australian participant who responded that yes, he had come to the US for the first time, “just for this”. I learned while eating lunch with my JHU colleagues (and now friends) while we discussed what our schools are doing and how similar and different they are. I even learned about how much to be silly with planking. (especially after finishing your poster session).
And I learned so much about the power of humanity and social networking when I had random talks with my roommate who let me share her room even though we had only met once in person and randomly through twitter a few times this year. The conversations we had about teaching, learning, and leading, were some of the best of the week. And she even found me chocolate and a bag from the vendors. Truly, it was the connections and the conversations that helped me to learn and grow the most
I went to Philadelphia by myself, but once I got there I realized I wasn’t alone. There were others who could “planked” around ISTE, loved Phish as much as technology, and really like me are discouraged at the status quo but excited about the potential future of education. Thanks to everyone who inspired me, humored me, and engaged me. Can’t wait to do it again!