Many of our presenters come to the ISTE Conference & Expo for the same reason that other attendees come: They love the engagement, learning from peers and electric atmosphere.
We asked a handful of ISTE 2017 presenters to tell us what they like most about the conference and to share a little bit about themselves. Aaron Sams, who along with Jon Bergmann pioneered the concept of "flipped learning" and wrote a series of ISTE books on the subject, will present the workshop Choose Your Own Adventure: Letting Go of Control in Real Time. Here's what we learned from him:
Which of your fellow presenters are you most excited to hear/meet and why? I can't wait to meet the people on the global collaboration panel I am hosting. They are my classmates from my blended Ph.D. cohort at Texas Tech, and although we interact a LOT online, we have never met face to face. ISTE 2017 will be our first chance to hang out together.
Which social media app will you be using the most at ISTE 2017? And why? Twitter and Instagram are my conference go-to apps. How else will everyone know what shenanigans I am up to? #hashtag, #hashtaghashtag
What is your top tip for #ISTEnewbies? Don't get overwhelmed. Have a game plan, make a schedule, but anticipate deviating from the schedule to chase something interesting.
In your opinion, what are the three most important topics in edtech right now?
Knowing what to leave as analog or as face to face. Not everything needs to be digitized or put online. We're still figuring out what those things are.
Balancing how individualized learning systems can help alleviate some of the stress of teachers while still maintaining the relational aspects of teaching and learning.
Helping teachers find their edtech workflows. There are so many tools, so many competing interests and so much to learn. A lot of teachers I talk to feel completely overwhelmed by technology. We, as edtech leaders, have to find ways to simplify the workflows for teachers so they can continue to focus on teaching and learning and don't have to stress about figuring out the technology.
What’s your favorite way (or place) to collaborate at the conference? The Bloggers' Cafe is a great place to bump into old and new friends. I also never miss my ISTE affiliate, PAECT, reception to hang out with my Pennsylvania edtech network.
What book did you last read for fun? For PD? The last book I read for fun was Discovering Statistics Using IBM SPSS Statistics. OK, that wasn't for fun, it was for my Ph.D. coursework. The last PD book I read was Maker-Centered Learning: Empowering Young People to Shape Their Worlds.