About Sarah Denham

Sarah has been a classroom teacher for ten years and is certified in almost every subject area. She also holds a Bachelors and Masters in Social Studies and a Specialist in Instructional Tech. She is also an ed tech guru who loves blending current technologies into her literature classroom. When she is not teaching, Sarah loves books, writing, playing with her dogs, and going on adventures with her husband. Sarah loves to hear from readers and other fellow educators so feel free to contact her at @EdTechieSarah or sarah.denham416@gmail.com.

ISTE2014From June 28 through July 1, I will be attending the International Society for Technology in Education’s annual conference near my hometown in Atlanta. (We will just call it ISTE2014 for short.) It will be my first ISTE conference so I have a mixture of feelings. I am in the home stretch of planning and am getting pumped and excited about this conference. You may be asking why anyone would get excited about an education related conference, especially one during the summer. To that I say, you must not know many education professionals! Education conferences are a great way to share, connect, learn, and have fun with other like-minded individuals. My husband wishes he were at the American Library Association conference because he is studying to be a librarian, so he wants to meet others like him.

This is not my first education conference. I have been to four so far and have loved every minute of each. So, now that I am heading to a conference with a bunch of dedicated, enthusiastic, and definitely nerdy educators who love educational technology, I am bursting at the seams with excitement.

Here is why:

1. Sessions/Workshops/ISTE Live
Any good conference has plenty of interesting, creative, and/or helpful sessions and workshops that provide information, skills, etc. to bring back to your classroom. Some are included in the price of admission while some are extra. From what I have seen listed in the program guide, ISTE2014 will provide plenty of that. I am have planned my schedule with the sessions that I am interested in and others that I can bring back to my classroom. ISTE2014 has several types of sessions ranging from lectures to interactive BYOD to more. I am sure that I will be provided with plenty of opportunities to see how I can make this work for my school and students.

Also, if you are unable to attend ISTE in person, they have a way to interact with the conference for a smaller registration fee, from your own home with ISTE Live on June 30th. People can sign up to see sessions and the keynote for that day. They will be able to interact with the presenters through the chat. This is extremely cool, and I am proud that I get to help out as a volunteer Ops Facilitator.

Sessions I am looking forward to- (Less on June 30 for me since I am volunteering for ISTE Live- see above)
• Creating Interactive PowerPoint games and simulations by Joe Hart- June 29 8:30 to 9:30

• iBooks Author: Creating accessible, universally designed instructional materials by Barb Meier- June 29 11:00 to 12:00

• Exploring World War 1 using historic newspapers by Chris Carter, Joe Phelan, and Mary Bezbechenko- June 29 12:45 to 1:45

• Creating Innovators: Educating the Students Who Will Change the World by Howie Diblasi- June 30 10:45-11:45

• Creating collaborative iBooks using Google Drive by Kathryn Dirkin, Ken Dirkin, and Michael Reuter- July 1 8:30 to 9:30

• Portal2: Gaming as a Process for Cross-age Collaborative Learning by Jasmine Fernandez and Michele Zimmerman, Ph.D.- July 1 10:15 to 11:15

• Getting to deeper learning: Going beyond tech for tech’s sake by Julie Graber and Scott McLeod- July 1 11:45 to 12:45

• Augmented Reality: Design dynamic lessons for engaged learning by Kendra Grant and Luis Perez- July 1 1:15 to 2:15

2. The Expo Hall
I love going to the expo halls of conferences. It is like going to a big toy store. There are all these really neat products. You get to play and test out cool technology and items. Sometimes you get free stuff or walk away with some cool item you bought. I feel like expo halls are like toy stores or Best Buy. I took a look at what to look for in ISTE’s Expo Hall, and I already know I am going to have fun. The hall includes big name companies like Samsung and Microsoft as well as smaller companies like Devicewear and StudyPad. You have everything from hands-on learning tools to books to interactive web tools. I cannot wait to explore and see what I can find.

3. Meet-ups and Social Events aka Networking!
Since one of the big things about conferences is to meet new people, meet-ups and social events are a big deal. ISTE is holding various meet-ups for their associated PLNs. They are also having a networking game, through their app, with secret codes you get from meeting others, participating in sessions, etc. I am looking forward to meeting all the people I have connected with on Twitter while getting ready for ISTE. Sponsors are holding parties and get togethers around downtown Atlanta that offers plenty of opportunities to network with others. I am pumped about the Gaggle ISTE Party and the very popular (from reviews) Ed Tech Karaoke, which is being held at my favorite concert venue, the Tabernacle. Woo!!

It is my first ISTE, but I know I am going to have a blast! I cannot wait to meet others who love instructional technology and education like I do. There is so much that I want to do that I am afraid of not having enough time. If you are attending ISTE and want to say hi, shoot me a tweet- @WinchesterTeach. See you at ISTE2014!!

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