Flocabulary's Newbie Guide To ISTE

The Newbie’s Guide to ISTE

For so many years, I have dreamed about attending ISTE. When I found out that I would be able to attend this year, I was speechless (THANK YOU to my wonderful school district, MISD!). Now that we are about a week away, I am still so excited, but now the nerves have set in! This “ISTE Newbie” needed some guidance and help!

What does an educator do when they are looking for guidance and help? They reach out to their PLN! And boy, did my PLN show up for me!

Here are top tips for “ISTE Newbies”from my PLN, with some of my reflections, too:

1. “Wear comfortable shoes and clothes. Stick with one device and go with it! Know that everyone gets overwhelmed with the awesomeness. Backpack is a must!” – @jyhawkfan45 👟 

If you know me, you know I wear Converse sneakers on the regular! My blog is actually named after my love of Converse sneakers! My plan is to wear those the entire time! I will also have my iPhone and MacBook Air, and I actually purchased a laptop backpack a while back because I needed something better than a bag when traveling to conferences to attend and/or present. Highly recommend that!

2. “Bring snacks and a battery pack for your devices.” – @educopilot 🍫

I REALLY need to buy a better battery pack, especially one for my laptop! Any recommendations? And who doesn’t love a good snack! What will my snack pack include? Glad you asked. I’m bringing Cuties, Larabar (Cookie Dough, of course!), almonds, and maybe some of Justin’s Hazelnut Butter. It is so good!

3. “People are as good/better than sessions often.” – @jmattmiller and “Find your tribe! Connecting with your Twitter PLN can be way better than a session.” @ChristineMonge 😊

This advice really speaks to me! I love when I travel to conferences, and pass by people that I know on Twitter! Those conversations are the best. Many people that I truly consider my Twitter peeps will be attending ISTE and I can’t wait to meet them in person. One person that I cannot wait to finally meet is Marialice Curran! We have been Twitter friends for over a year, and she totally feels like family to me already!

4. “Talk to everyone. The person on the shuttle with you, the person in line with you. So many awesome folks there ready and willing to learn and share.” – @JCasaTodd 🙋

Almost every piece of advice that I got from my PLN had to do with connections. There is a reason for that! Connecting with others is powerful! Not too long ago, I was not the person that took the initiative to talk to those that I didn’t know. It wasn’t until Twitter that I truly saw the power in connecting with others! Growth is good, right!? 

I have also set aside some time to go to meetups and to be in the exhibit hall to support companies that I love like Flocabulary, Buncee, and Flipgrid!

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5. “Be present. It is a whirlwind of awesomeness and you’ll want to do everything. Whatever you do, be present.” – @mbfxc 💭

If you have two weeks to go before your US History, Ancient World History or Modern World History exam, Flocabulary can help you review in just a few minutes each day. Watch one video on a topic and click the the lyrics. Is your exam sooner? Double or triple up on your videos. Either way, you’ll get all the key facts from each historical period.

6. “Give yourself time to process and disconnect daily. You’ll learn so much each day that you will need time to process.” – @knikole ✏️

This is some great advice! During sessions, I am steadily archiving all of my notes in Evernote. I am soaking it all in, but I need to take the time to go back over my notes and process! 

7. “Build your schedule around professional development that best suits you over the next year. Network and be flexible.” – @iamlewis 📅

With the schedule that they have, it is absolutely a necessity to plan ahead! When it was released, I went through the entire thing and chose any and all sessions that spoke to me. Took me hours! I have so many goals that I have set for myself and my campus next year. I am working hard to choose sessions that will support and add to those goals! What are yours? Now I just need to narrow them down…

8. “Go to Poster Sessions! These are normally students and teachers in the trenches sharing what works..the real people!”- @Penchevable 📊

I am really excited about the Poster Sessions! There are so many that I want to go see…Diary of a Flipped PD, Hyper About Hyperdocs, Gamify Your Formative Assessment.

9. “Memorize the layout of the complex.” – @DougTimm34 📍

Good plan! I need to do some research on the facility!

10. “If you find yourself in a session that doesn’t meet your needs, get up and go to another. No one’s feelings will be hurt!” – @AZKathi 🚶

I have sat through some sessions that ended up not being what I thought they would be. I couldn’t make myself leave!  Maybe it’s the presenter in me, because I would hope no one would ever leave my session, but I totally get the point!

Talk about some great advice! Another reason why I love my PLN, and their PLN, and their PLN! Professional and POWERFUL Learning Network! Hope to see you at ISTE!!

Need some extra prep? Here are some great blog posts to read before attending ISTE:

Amy Storer

Amy is a recent graduate of Lamar University with a Master's in Educational Technology Leadership. She loved her new role this year in Montgomery ISD as an Instructional Coach for the 5th grade campus. This coming school year, she will be opening up their newest K-5 campus, Keenan Elementary, as their Instructional Coach. She has taught grades 1-4, and is also a technology integration mentor for her district. She holds 2 Teacher of the Year distinctions and, in 2015, she was a top 4 finalist in HEB's Excellence in Education in the "Leadership Elementary" category. She is an educator that encourages and motivates others to reach far beyond the classroom walls to make the learning more meaningful and inspiring. She has a true passion for working with other educators and students to encourage them to make and foster global connections.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. I am also a noob at ISTE! Thanks for the tips! Very helpful! Can’t wait to get there and start learning and connecting with all of the awesome educators!

  2. Such great advice! Thanks for sharing. I am going to save a copy, and hope that I can use it next year to finally join everyone at ISTE for the first time!

  3. Amy – what great tips! I was slotted to go this year, but I had to pass up the opportunity. Talk about a heartbreaker! It would have been my first time, too. Can you nail down the best thing you took away from ISTE?

    1. The best thing about ISTE were the connections! There were so many people there that I had only ever met on Twitter or Voxer, and getting to meet them and collaborate in 3D was awesome!

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