Last year I applied for the Manaiakalani Professional Learning Fellowship to attend the ISTE conference in Chicago, USA, and amazingly I was lucky enough to win it.
Last week we boarded the plane and off we went. It was an absolutely amazing experience, and I'm still buzzing from it. I have never been to the States before, and although I have attended Education conferences in New Zealand, I have never experienced anything that resembled the sheer size and the crowds that ISTE provided.
The ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference is an Education conference based out of the United States. It happens every year, and attracts educators from all over the world. The Chicago conference had more than 1000 sessions of all different types that you could attend, and had over 16,000 attendees.
With that in mind I had a lot of trouble picking my Conference class list. There was literally hundreds of different lectures or classes that I could attend each day, and usually at least 3-4 on that I wanted to attend at the same time. On the first day of the conference I attended what was called the CS Firehose. Essentially it was pre-conference whole-day session where we had an intro or play-session with different aspects of Computer Science that were going to be represented at the conference. After this, I quickly re-adjusted my entire timetable to fit in way more of these sessions.
I realised that without focussing more of my ISTE classes around a particular subject or theme I wasn't going to make the most of it as a learning opportunity. WIDE and DEEP just like our learners I suppose haha.
Sticking with CS theme, while throwing other interesting things into the mix I had an absolute blast of a conference. Some interesting things that stood out to me most can be read in other blog posts here:
- CS Firehose
- Scratch 3.0
- Micro:Bit and Make code
The biggest take home for me has been the CS/ Digital Curriculum integration (or STEAM integration). I have become extremely excited to give some of what I saw ago, and put into action all the ideas that my head was spinning while at the conference. While a tonne of it was inspiration that needs a lot of further thought and reflection for how I could implement it here at Pt England. Some stuff I can run with it straight away, or adjust how I am using it in the classroom to be more reflective.
Incredibly grateful and humbled for the opportunity, hoping to be able to update with some exciting learning experiences soon.