Disconnecting to Connect at #ISTE2014

Ready for an interesting fact:  I’ve been at ISTE — the largest instructional technology conference in the world — since Friday and this is one of the first times that I’ve pulled out my computer.  Better yet, my phone has stayed in my pocket a good 90% of the time.  In a building where people proudly Tweet out pictures of the seventeen gadgets they’ve got stuffed in their backpacks in order to prove that they belong, that’s an impressive act of personal willpower.

The choice to live a largely tech-free ISTE experience has been intentional.

While it means that I’m unable to capture every comment made by every presenter in every session that I’ve attended, it also means that I’m able to strengthen relationships with people — which is hard to do when you are constantly staring at screens or scrambling to be the first to Tweet out a clever quote during a keynote.

And while I’m certain to pick up fewer followers and walk away with fewer resources than I would have had I used my devices to amplify and record the ideas that I’ve stumbled across in the last 48 hours, I’m also certain to pick up more friends because I’ve worked to remember that learning alongside the people in the room is AT LEAST as important as learning alongside the people behind my screens.

Essentially, I’ve disconnected in order to make connections.

Whaddya’ think?

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