Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to get to ISTE this year. Luckily, through the wonder that is Twitter, I was able to virtually be a part of the conference and see, through the eyes and tweets of the attendees, exactly what was going on. This experience made a few things abundantly clear:
1. The amount of innovation that is occurring throughout the educational world is staggering.
2. Social media is an invaluable asset to the educational process and, judging by the number of great and innovative ideas presented in the conference, it will become exponentially more valuable in the coming years.
3. For all the terrific benefits social media and educational technology provide, it is impossible to fully recreate the human experience.
As much as I enjoyed the tweets and blog posts from the attendees at ISTE, it was hard to fully wrap my head around the ideas presented at the conference because I couldn’t sit with peers and colleagues and verbally digest the information that was being presented. Furthermore, without being “in the room,” it is hard to recreate the creative energy that exists when minds are collectively working on problem solving or enriching their professional lives.
This, of course, can and should be applied to the classroom and our experiences with students. Technology is a tool to be a better teacher; technology alone does not make one a better teacher. Moving forward, it is even more apparent that it is essential to use technology to supplement (but never replace) good pedagogy. Its virtually (no pun intended) impossible to replace the one-on-one, human to human experience that education provides. The internet has, in many ways, allowed people to conquer time. However, as teachers, we still are given fixed (and precious) amounts of time with which to give students the experience of education. How an educator uses that time is what makes him or her a great teacher. Technology has given us the opportunity to use instructional time in myriad ways, and its now up to us to not only implement that technology, but also use it in a way that lets us make best use of our face-to-face instructional time.
For those who attended (both virtually and in person)…what was the best thing about the conference? What are you taking back with you?