I had lofty ambitions for ISTE. I wanted to learn as much as I could while capturing it all in blogs and podcast episodes. The hope was to use these items to share with those who could not attend and provide a record of my learning so I could further reflect on it and work to create learning opportunities and better coaching experiences for the teachers I work with. I had a plan. I came armed with the new state Digital Teaching and Learning Competencies to help provide some focus for the sessions I chose, a notebook to scribble down ideas and sketch out flow charts, and multiple devices to help me type, record, and organize my thoughts.
I will say that the planning and preparation did help to provide focus.I felt that I was able to choose some effective sessions and that I was doing a pretty good job of capturing my learning through private notes, blog posts, or audio recordings. Even though every goal was not completely met, I felt that I was gaining a great deal of insight into topics I was not as familiar with and I was gathering some fantastic resources for myself and my teachers. My focus was all consuming and I was laser focused on my goals.
But on the morning of day three, I hit a wall and I hit it hard. To be 100% honest, I was a bit upset with my self come the beginning of the third day of the conference. I had pushed myself the first two days so much that I was exhausted and overwhelmed. That morning seemed to be so much less productive than any of the time I had spent in the two days prior and I started to focus on a number of things that I did not complete which I had intended to complete, like blogging about each session I attended as a way to provide record and a beginning to a reflection.
After a discussion with one of my virtual PLN members I felt a great deal better. I am not sure if it was the fact that I had actually sat down and talked in a relaxed atmosphere as opposed to spending that time taking notes, thinking, and working, but the discussion seemed to fill me back up with the enthusiasm and energy I needed to continue on to my next session which, probably because of my drastic attitude change, went so much better than the sessions I had attended in the morning.
While I did not reach those lofty goals that I had set for myself when I left for the conference, I did get a few blogs about specific sessions and experiences, and a few interviews and reflections recorded to share out on my podcast. I did not meet the standard I had set for myself, but I am okay with that because I still have all of the learning I gained. But even more importantly, I have the connections that I have made and solidified with other educators from all over the country, and one really nice teacher from Australia who I met while standing in a line for coffee. Those connections will continue to benefit me and my learning goals for years to come. Besides, I have time to continue reflecting, writing, and recording because learning doesn’t just stop when the conference does.