Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Top Ten Things I Learned While #notatISTE

Being from Letterman's hometown, it feels only appropriate that I put my ISTE2015 reflections in the form of a top ten list.

I attended ISTE/NECC from 2009-2013, but did not this year (partly due to the mushrooming expense)  In recent weeks, I noticed increasing mentions of #NOTATISTE and investigated what that involved.  Little did I know it would mean I would spend hours on Google+ (the first I had really fully integrated it), hours in the "notatISTE" Voxer group with over 140 others, not to mention Google Hangouts, podcasts, twitter, periscope, email, diigo, Pinterest, and other websites-- all while having a fabulous time! The #notatISTE Google+ group has over 660 members.

10. It probably is a little easier to imagine what is going on if you have attended an ISTE in person. I was grateful that I had a great guide the first time I went (Washington, D.C. in 2009). I had even been to the Philadelphia ISTE in 2011. I can't imagine trying to picture an event with 20,000 people not having experienced it.

9. In this group, you were correct if you "Assumed Good Intentions". There really were no dumb questions. The atmosphere in the Voxer group was very open, non-judgmental, and patient. Many attendees mentioned that it was interesting to feel comfortable sharing so openly with complete strangers.

8. I knew this already, but the librarian network at ISTE (ISTElib) is fabulous! I watched two of their GHO; they are very organized and share many great resources. They have online opportunities throughout the year, and this was no exception. There are some excellent tweeters who readily share as well.

7. I will now be more equipped to encourage other educators to learn "off-site". When I was a beginning science teacher, it was attendance at events like NSTA and our state science convention (HASTI) that really added to my teaching repertoire. Today's teachers may not have as many in-person opportunities, but there are many resources available to everyone.

6. One of the #notatiste leaders, Jennifer Wagner, made a very creative challenge for us to perform different tasks to earn points. This led me to crowd source suggestions for the best Philly Cheesesteak in Indianapolis, do a photo walk of my neighborhood, and experiment with different tech tools. There was even a #notatiste karaoke group at the same time EdTechKaraoke was happening in Philadelphia. Did I win anything from this? No, just the satisfaction of learning and figuring things out.

From my neighborhood photowalk
5. I was willing to explore many new technological things with the support of our community. One of our leaders, Craig Yen, spontaneously offered a Google Hangout to teach us about... Google Hangouts! This community was the first time I used Google Draw, 81 Dash, and the most time I've spent on Periscope, Google+, Pocket and other sites.

4. You can empathize with people you've only "known" for a couple of days. One of our Voxer members had the adoption of her baby boy finalized on the final day of ISTE; she told us, posted a picture, and we all rejoiced!

3.  Quickly shorten URL's. Why didn't I know this before? When you see a long url, much of the time the end of it shows the path taken to reach the site (twitter, facebook, etc) Shorten the link by deleting everything from the '?' mark on! That takes you to the original post. May seem trivial, but I post a lot, and always try to find the source.

2. There were some advantages to being at home.  
Yes, there were times I had my phone, laptop, iPad, and chromebook in use. It would have been hard to juggle in person!  There is still the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) But, in a way, it was easier to be in more than one place at a time.

1. There is still an after-ISTE letdown.

I still encourage people to go to ISTE (Denver 2016, San Antonio 2017), but this experience was awesome!  I have made connections for years to come.

ADDENDUM: Check out this great post from Craig Yen, in which he details how he accomplished so much while #notatiste. It helps explain how he seemed to be everywhere!


  1. You might sell me on #notatiste. Or at least not being disappointed when the time comes that I can't attend in person. Great reflections, thanks for sharing!

    P.S. Along with the advantages of #2 you don't need to worry about finding a place to charge all those devices.

    1. Michelle: I really did enjoy it, and learned so much... and continue to learn. Our Voxer group is still going strong!

  2. Hi Susie

    Thanks for sharing your Top Ten! I love both attending conferences and being at #NotAT participant because they both provide different learning opportunities. Perhaps the biggest benefit of being #NotAt is you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in an environment where you are using technology for your own learning; which enables you to learn new ways to use technology while gaining a greater appreciation of how it is used in a learning context. This isn't something you necessarily achieve by attending a conference,

    Was great connecting with you face to face at ISTE and now connecting in more depth as part of #NotAtISTE.


  3. Thanks for your kind comments. I continue to learn from you, and you are right: many of the opportunities I had to learn during #notatiste mirror the circumstances I would want for students!