Reflection of ISTE from a Newbie

This was my first time going to ISTE and Edubloggercon. So, what were my favorites and takeaways?

1. I found that Jackie Gerstein's session on the Flipped Classroom at Edubloggercon gave me incredible perspective. We were given snippets of information filled with examples, interspersed with discussion points as small groups and the whole group. Later in the day when I had a moment to ponder this, I realized the possibility of the Flipped Classroom was no longer something intangible to me that only districts with lots of money and high SES could do. It's something we can do despite the economy, having to close two schools, and all the other "Yeah, but..." excuses I could list here.

2. Blogging "N@ked" or Being Transparent in Our Relationships with Susan Davis, was another favorite from Edubloggercon. The discussion started with what it meant to be transparent by sharing celebrations as well as failures, because that's the reality of change and innovation, which evolved into the discussion of promoting transparent culture.

3. Edublogs hosted an ISTE Meet-up for a tour of Independence Hall.
I am in serious awe of everything Edublogs does for teachers. Their incredible commitment to building teachers up so they can create learning-centered classrooms is honorable. I am still very new to blogging, but through their Teacher Challenges, I've learned more than I ever anticipated, and it has trickled down into the classrooms of AJUSD to positively affect our learning culture. So, meeting Ronnie Burt and others from the Edublogs community was an epic event for me.

On screen is AJUSD  Superintendent.
Left-Right: Me, Shelee King George, Bartow, & Knight.
4. Peer Coaching. I was adopted by Shelee King George, Mary Knight, and Colet Bartow for the day and helped out with their Peer Coaching Poster and Birds of a Feather Sessions. It was an honor to give back a little that Peer Ed has given us, and with all the excitement over ISTE's NETS for Coaches, it was great fun talking to all the people curious about how to build 21st century pedagogy, technology integration, and learning community through peer coaching.

5. Suzie Boss' session on Ripped from the Headlines: Real Events Yield Relevant Projects was another highlight.  Be selective what news you choose for PBL. Use complex, relevant events students can empathize with, and will affect us for a long time. Paul Allison, part of the panel discussion, solidified that blogs are fabulous to share their PBL to a real audience.

5. What Does it mean to be a Tech Savvy Principal? Totally inspiring. This panel discussion with Lyn Hilt, Patrick Larkin, Eric Sheninger, George Couros, and Brian Nichols, was moderated by Scott McLeod. First off, I've learned so much from the Connected Principals Blog, that it was exciting to see the faces and hear their voices in person. My main takeaways from this (and I'm sorry, I don't have who said what):

  • Principals need to model using the tech, but this doesn't mean they are experts at it.
  • Build PLN within district and outside, and resources will come to you.
  • Use ISTE's NETS for Admin to self assess where you are.
  • Share your learning.
  • Change policies, such as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). 
  • Allow teachers to self-choose own professional development. Allow those who are ready, to push ahead.
  • Media waiver in AUP. Have the AUP guided by your vision.
  • Blogging with students AUP. Have a parent night for blogging.

6. Kevin Honeycutt.  Even though I'm reserved, I thrive on fun and passionate educators. My favorite Honeycuttism: "Digital limbs can't be amputated at the front door of the school."

Taken from my iPhone
7. Chris Lehmann's Unlocking Potential. My notes are not as fabulously comprehensive as Moving at the Speed of Creativity, nor as visually amazing as David Warlick's, but are meaningful to me:

  • Caring about and caring for are different things.
  • It is okay to take risks to succeed. It's okay to fail as long as we are still learning.
  • Help our students become 21st century citizens. 
  • The most important thing is to become the best people they can be.
  • The 4 things to instill in students are: 1) be thoughtful, 2) be wise, 3) be passionate, and 4) be kind.
  • Help them find the humanity in the world around them.
  • Write down your goals and your action plan.
  • Question anyone who says they have all the answers. 
  • Be one community and lead.
  • Be the best version of yourself.

Ronnie Burt & me
8, 9, & 10. Relationships. My favorite place to go was the Blogger's Cafe, which was filled with camaraderie. I was excited to meet people who I've been learning with, visit with some I've met before, and create new friendships.

The genuine compassion towards helping and growing others that I experience online was felt here in person.

It was also quality time with my AJUSD peeps! Thanks so much guys for the awesome experience! I love our AJUSD family!

Final thoughts

Our AJUSD gang: Maryanne Galvan, Jon
, Amber Moore, Elizabeth Francois,
Bethany Myers, Me, and Gina Fraher.
As I wrap my head around how to implement the next steps, I'm filled with encouragement knowing that there is a community supporting us! And we've met several of them at #ISTE11!

What were your favorites and takeaways from ISTE 2011?

Special thanks goes out to all who were involved in ISTE's Mission Possible! To sum it up in one word -- spectacular!

Visit ISTE Unplugged for more learning.


  1. You are too kind! And I really enjoyed your post! I would agree that the more conversations at Edubloggercon and in the cafe were just as valuable as what is learned in the more formal sessions. :)

    Looking forward to learning more from you about all of the amazing coaching things going on!

  2. It was so great to meet you Tracy,(and your team!) at the tour with Ronnie, and then run into you along the way at #ISTE11. The conversations and opportunities for learning were endless and invigorating. I am so happy that our paths crossed and I look forward to following your blog and learning from and with you.

  3. Thanks, Ronnie! I love what coaching has done for our district. Our culture is changing so doors are opening and we are working together to focus on learning rather than teaching. Awesome!

    So glad I got to meet you in person!

    Kind regards,

  4. Joan,

    The feeling is very mutual! When you told me your blog name, I realized I already had been learning from you... When I participated in my first #elemchat the other day, I absolutely loved that I could hear your real voice behind the words since it had only been a few days from talking with you face-to-face.

    PS Thanks for teaching me how to put a picture on Twitter! So easy now that I know how!

    I'm looking forward to learning and sharing with you. Thanks for being so inspiring!

    Kind regards,

  5. Tracy, Thanks for sharing the excellent adventure you and your team had! I appreciate all the links to important people and resources to follow. I love these ideas: It is okay to take risks to succeed. It's okay to fail as long as we are still learning.
    "Help our students become 21st century citizens.
    The most important thing is to become the best people they can be.
    The 4 things to instill in students are: 1) be thoughtful, 2) be wise, 3) be passionate, and 4) be kind.
    Help them find the humanity in the world around them." Keep learning and growing with kindness. One of my expressions, which is over the exit door from my classroom is: "Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness." I want my students to stand up for themselves in positive ways, always learning and going forward in thoughtful and kind ways. It was good to hear that message. Thanks for sharing for those of us who were unable to attend.

  6. Sheri,

    Thanks so much! I can absolutely see your having the quote, "Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness," above your door. I think I may have read that from you once early in 2012. You are an example of living that statement. You go the extra mile to do extraordinary things for others, but you do it because you think it's the ordinary thing to do. In other words, you live the way you believe we all ought to live, and that's one of the things I admire about you. Thank you for making a difference in so many lives. Your students are blessed to have you.

    Kind regards,

  7. Tracy, Thanks for your kind word; they made my day. Hope your day is great too. Looking forward to more sharing in our PLN. Sheri

  8. Your reflection really hit home for me. As I sit here, trying to process all that happened during ISTE 2011, it is great to have your words fill in some of my blanks.

    Like you, I found that the relationships and new connections that I made in the Blogger's Cafe were fabulous. I was able to meet many people who were so very generous! As a newbie to pretty much everything, I know that I have a support system. If I sound an alarm requesting assistance, there will be someone with ideas to "rescue" me.

    I also value the team that we went with. It was wonderful being able to share ideas with like-minded individuals. I learned so much from them all. I cannot wait to see how this experience is going to change my classroom!

    Thanks for your post,

  9. Hi Elizabeth,

    There is so much to process, and I am thankful that a group of us could go so we could grow together. One of Chris Lehmann's charges has been on my mind: Write down your goals and your action plan.

    When I started to list it out, I got overwhelmed. So, I decided to start with just one, the one I keep revisiting the most in my head-- our student/teacher needs with blogging. We need authentic audience/purpose, and after experiencing the impact it can have on all kids (general ed, gifted, inclusion, ELL, alt school kids, etc.), I am certain that it's worth the attention. So, I'm working on the action plan.

    If you chose one goal to implement next year, what would you choose? =)

    Kind regards,

  10. Tracy
    What a fab post, so comprehensive. I have saved some pages in my FACS that you linked to, so thanks. Sounds like a wonderful experience. on a lighter side, I had always visualized Ronnie Burt as a woman! Thanks for the pics to set me right!

  11. Hi Kathryn,
    Thanks! Glad some of the links were helpful. And, too cute for words about what you were envisioning about Ronnie. He is very sweet, and it was such a delight to get to know him.
    Kind regards,


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