The best way to describe the start to ISTE in San Antonio this year for me is, global. From the moment you arrive at registration, the global presence is felt. There are thousands in attendance from over 70 countries, almost staggering to think that one conference can bring so many together. ISTE even presented their new logo at the opening keynote, which contains a global flare.
To reinforce the global connections that were happening, I attended the Global Collaboration Projects session. This session is a poster session with 30 different booths setup with a small display area. All the projects in this session followed the theme of global collaboration and the highlight is the students that have come to share what they have developed to connect themselves to the world. I met a number of amazing young kids that were so excited to share what their teams have been working on. Yeah, they used technology in their projects to connect with the world, but it wasn't about the technology. It was refreshing to see the shiny gadgets take the back seat as the students described how they developed their ideas, collaborated with others and continue to share their success with the world.
It is easy to get wrapped up in the glitz and glamour at ISTE, with all the corporate involvement, the giant tablet giveaway this year, shiny new gadgets, and free pens being handed out :-). I don't have a problem with it, it is part of the show and must exist. Just try and keep things in perspective and remember the students at the global collaboration session over the shiny object.