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ISTE 2013 Still Resonating





Almost two months later, the ISTE 2013 Conference still resonates in my mind and in social media.  I have seen some terrific "take-aways" in the blogosphere - here's my perspective on the prevailing themes from our time in San Antonio. First, the statistical breakdown of the conference from ISTE.




  • Over 13,000 participants
  • 74 countries represented by 1,855 international attendees
  • 373 Access ISTE participants (our new, one-day virtual conference)
  • Over 4,500 exhibitor personnel
  • 499 educational technology companies represented
  • Over 1,200 volunteers, and nearly 1,100 presenters
  • More than 50,000 tweets using the official #iste13 hashtag making it one of the top trends on Twitter during the conference
  • More than half a million pieces of digital content were created during ISTE 2013
  • 14,000 downloads and activations of the conference app with 178,000 opens and 18,000 hours of combined use.
Here are a few other "take-aways" and related "tweets" that I think are important enough to share. Including, The one question that I am asking at #ISTE13. - Scott McLeod
  • Despite thousands of like-minded people who enthusiastically embrace instructional technology, the primary focus of everything that I participated in at ISTE was learning. With the lines between teachers and students becoming blurred, it was refreshing to here presenters talk about classrooms of "learners".  When was the last time you heard someone say, "I hate learning."?
  • Another theme was an emphasis on personalized learning, or as Adam Bellow stated, "Every student deserves an IEP." In several poster sessions that I attended, Genius Hour, or 20% Time was discussed as a way of getting students excited and engaged in learning. Passion-based learning was also mentioned as a way to counteract the frequent and heavy emphasis on testing that many of our students currently face.


  • Educational professionals, and learners of all ages should be connecting with other learners as part of a personal learning network. Classrooms are no longer the exclusive warehouses of knowledge and information. It is not necessary, nor is it feasible for the classroom teacher to be the gatekeeper for learning. Information, expertise, and learning resources are readily available online. A common ISTE discussion revolved disrupting the stagnant outdated practices that currently exist in many of our schools and classrooms.


  • Finally, the informal discussions that took place in the pubs and restaurants along the River Walks were true highlights of the conference. The concept of failure, and whether educators should embrace failure was debated. I came away agreeing with George Couros - failure should not be embraced, but anticipated so that the characteristics of grit and resiliency can be reinforced and supported.
Overall, ISTE 2013 was a very valuable learning and social experience for me. It was terrific finally meeting folks in person that previously I had only known through my PLN. I was able to gather some valuable information that will help with professional development programs in my district. Thanks to my friends at Schoology, I was also able to share some LMS knowledge, and make some new friends at their booth in the exhibition hall. ISTE 2014 is in Atlanta next summer. I hope to be in attendance learning and sharing with about 15,000 of my like-minded friends.

Related Reading

Big Ideas from ISTE 2013 - The Cornerstone (Angela Watson)




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