Reflections from a First Timer

The fact that it’s been two weeks since ISTE is the first sign that my brain is still processing all of it. Now that I’m starting to come down from my ISTE high, I still can’t believe how much of an amazing experience that conference really was. My days typically went from 7:30am until midnight. Oh, and I’m 7 months pregnant! Needless to say, I was exhausted every single night. But that was probably a good thing. I tend to think too much when I’m laying in bed, which usually prevents me from falling asleep. With all of the amazing things I had seen and learned about each day, it was probably good that I was too tired to even think.
I heard amazing things about some of the sessions and I really enjoyed seeing schools implementation at the poster sessions. But those didn’t have much of an impact on me.
The most invigorating part of the entire conference was the exhibit hall. Thousands of products and education entrepreneurs sharing their story of how they want to make a positive impact on the lives of students…it was so empowering. My heart was racing. I met as many founders and CEO’s as possible and talked their ears off as much as they could allow. The best part was – they LOVED sharing their story with me. Many of them have been in business for years, but you would think they just launched their product last week from their enthusiasm. Keep in mind that these entrepreneurs have been standing for hours on end talking to 21,000 educators. And they still gave ME the time of day. [Shout outs to BunceeTynkerLearningBirdTackk, and TeachersFirst for letting me talk your ears off.] It spoke volumes about their company. Because even if I wasn’t sold that their product would be good for my students, I truly felt that some of them would change their product (even drastically) if they thought it would have a better impact on student success.   That. Is. Awesome.
 
I also got the chance to meet a ton of edu-rockstars. You know, the ones that have like 60,000 followers on Twitter? Travel the world speaking to educators? I’ll admit I was totally star struck and didn’t approach as many people as I wish. But for those that I did get the chance to interact with, I was amazed at how real they are. Even the ones that have been out of the classroom for years still spoke as if they had a classroom of students waiting for them.
This wouldn’t be a true reflection of my ISTE experience if I didn’t mention my time at the MackinVIA booth. I had the amazing opportunity to show educators how I use MackinVIA with my students during some “Expert Presentations” in the exhibit hall. What a nerve-wracking experience! I even had a microphone (so tempting to start singing show tunes).
 
Mackin is a prime example of the companies I was referencing above. They really want to the best product out there. And I don’t mean make the most money. They really just want to be the best option for kids. When I gave my presentations, I kept emphasizing to the audience about how you can use Mackin completely FREE and you don’t have to buy a thing from them. A part of me felt a little awkward because they are, after all, a business. When I was joking around with the owners afterward, they said how much they loved it and if they wanted a salesperson sharing their product, they would have done so. That. Is. Awesome.
 
I also participated in my first #TLNewsNight. We librarians are so funny 🙂
The playgrounds, karaoke, the students, the city. Everything was just so…amazing. Can’t wait to see you in Denver.
 

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