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Twitter Space: ISTE 2022

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to this Symbaloo Twitter Space. Today we’ll be discussing the first ISTE conference since 2019. 

Today I have the pleasure of being joined by EdTech Specialist John Paul & educator Dene Gainey. Thank you both for joining us today.


Do you guys have any tips for first-time ISTE go-ers?


John: One of the things that I experienced in 2018 is how overwhelming ISTE was, but I need to find out how this year's ISTE is going to be compared to 2018. It took a lot of work to go everywhere you wanted to be. Everything is very spread out, and you must go from one side of the convention hall to the other. So plan your time, and do not expect to go everywhere that you want to. But one of the highlights is what happens in the hallways and open spaces. There are no sessions, but you can interact with so many people there; those experiences are very valuable.


Dene: When I got to FETC, they told me how massive ISTE is. There are so many people, many sessions, and so much to learn. And so, I was stepping into that space and thinking: what am I passionate about, what is going to excite me, and build those connections with people that are also excited by that. Understand that you are not able to do everything that you want to. Especially when taking into account what happened the last few years, just being able to be together in the same space and celebrate education and technology is going to be amazing.

Are there any EdTech companies that you guys really connected to in the past year?


John: I am so excited to get to know so many people and companies. So I have been using Flip for years, and I have been interacting with Ann, and I want to connect to all of the Flip team. I will be starstruck when I meet those people in real life! But that goes for everybody. I am working with the Canva for Education booth at ISTE as well. Seeing the Canva people and all the teachers will be a great time!


Dene: I look forward to learning about all the tech platforms we utilize for different purposes, so it is always an opportunity for me to learn from whomever. And looking for those innovative things we use every day, so I am looking forward to everything.

So how do you think this ISTE will differ from previous ISTE conferences?


Dene: At FETC, there were some things a whole lot more different than past editions. There were a whole lot fewer people in attendance than in previous years. And I would be inclined to believe that might be similar at ISTE. However, educators are also looking for connections, even more so than before Covid. While attendance might drop some, there is a hunger and desire to be around people in a physical sense. So something of a two-fold experience will happen at ISTE this year.


John: I agree. I think we're going to have fewer people now than in the past, considering covid and the economy right now. The people that are able to go will be so excited to do so. But I also know that it is a process to go to ISTE. And so, I think there will be some impacts, but I am excited to see how everyone has evolved in the last couple of years. Because we are all different from the last time, we were together at ISTE. So it will be different, but it should be fun!

What changes have you guys noticed the last couple years in the education space?


Dene: My primary answer is overwhelming. It is a lot to swallow, I tend to rely on why I started doing this in the first place, which keeps me going. I understand what the challenges are, and I embrace them. But the truth is that it has been exhausting. I had to constantly say to myself that I had to keep doing this because I knew those students were still learning. I pushed myself, probably a lot more than I would have had in the past, because of how hard it has been to maintain motivation with all of the constant challenges. I still love teaching by all means, and I think they did not kill my passion, but at the same time, it required more effort to keep myself pushing to keep doing it, considering all the changes and flexibility. There are many more things added to our plate these past two years that were not there before.


John: I have been working in instructional technology for five years now. Before that, I was in a classroom for students with autism, and I remember my principal who told me: "There is no such thing as an educational technology emergency." And then the pandemic hit. So she had to take those words back. But since the start of the pandemic, I have been so fortunate to work with educators and employees in support roles around the country to help my school district adapt to these changes. And it has been interesting to see the evolution of thought. But that also came with a lot of burnout on my end, but I think everybody in education either has to work multiple jobs or do everything to make ends meet. And so especially dealing with all the external things, whether it is political, social, or economic. It makes it so hard, and the teachers still in education, who are working with kids dealing with all this stuff, are so strong. And I am so proud that so many teachers acknowledge that they do want to keep teaching. The past few years have not been average, and we should make the world a place in which education is sustainable. Where we can do this as one career and still have our mental and physical health with it.

This was just a small passage in the Twitter Space about ISTE. You can listen to the whole Twitter Space on YouTube, or watch the video on this page. 

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