ISTE is huge. 19,000 educators, 3,000 exhibitors, and an Expo Hall the size of eight football fields.
I sat in the auditorium for the opening keynote last night with around 6,500 others and then there were the thousands seated in the overflow areas above the main auditorium. It is really difficult to communicate the hugeness of this event.
This morning I attended an 'invite-only' event with the ISTE board members and it was wonderful to connect with people from the ISTE professional learning networks that up until today I had only known by thread post. The ISTE board are keen to strengthen the 'I for International' part of their name and I talked with some people about how we could get a greater ISTE presence on the ground in New Zealand. Watch this space...
And yet amidst the hugeness of ISTE it would seem that educators across the planet are all grappling with the same wicked problems.
This afternoon I participated in a workshop exploring what are the shifts, leaders in the 21st century needed to make. On my left sat a young science teacher from the Bronx in New York, who was just beginning to explore using problem-based learning with his senior chemistry students. On my right a teacher coach from Columbia. Both had come to the workshop to get ideas to try to shift the thinking of the administrators at their school. In front of me and behind were two highly experienced, wise, and pragmatic principals. They had come to explore new strategies for their leadership.
Central to the conversations seemed to be an over-riding theme of trying to navigate the path between system expectations, externally imposed change strategies, and providing students with a '2017 relevant' learning experience. And administrators all over the world are grappling with managing highly competent teachers amidst those who should possibly be considering other careers. I reflected on how grateful I feel that I served my principalship in a system of self-managing schools, which while having challenges, has far more permissiveness built in than other systems represented in the room this afternoon. We must always protect and preserve this.
Tomorrow I am going to make a serious attempt on the Expo Hall so stand by for tomorrow's blog post full of pictures and new ideas.