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?


Related Radical Reads:

Leave a Conference with People to Learn With

The Importance of a PLN

So Much More than a Personal Learning Network

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  • ReneeMoore

    Great Point

    One reason I’ve never really tried to attend ISTE, despite all the hype about it in my social media feeds, is that I figured I’ve have to be one of those backpack-tech-toters in order to get much out of it (or to get included). Thanks for letting me know there really are people there, not just gadgets, and reminding us of what makes all this technology of any value in the first place.

    • billferriter

      I’ll be honest, Renee:  Most

      I’ll be honest, Renee:  Most of the tech toting got old for me.  There were SO few people talking about kids.  Everyone was talking about tech instead.  It left me discouraged times ten simply because I keep hoping that there will be changes in the conversations we are having — but those changes never seem to happen. 

      Digital tools are like Turkish Delight to the people there — it blinds them to the real conversations that we should be having. 



  • Lisa Mims

    Connecting at #notatiste14

    I have attended ISTE once, and I wll again next year. However, I will probably be more like you after having “attended” #notatiste14 this year from my study. I can recall maybe 3-4 tech tools we actually mentioned in our conversations. Over 300 teachers connected, made new friends, talked about how we can do better for our students, and other teachers, and most of all we had fun!:) I get what you are saying!