Thursday, June 27, 2013

ISTE 2013 Day After: Reflections are Coming

Hey, all,

It's the day after ISTE13 and I'm in Conroe, Texas for a few days fishing, visiting with my dear older brother Ed, and sleeping, recovering from THE BEST ISTE EVER. This will be the header for my upcoming reflections. Last year I found doing so and focusing on a day by day recap helped me organize my thoughts, and I was flattered (a very recurring feeling at ISTE, which for me has become sort of a Third Life, where I seem to wear either a halo or a shining golden aura or an oversized shiny sheriff's badge as I make my way through the hallways and streets and so many people seem to know me) to be told last week by a major event organizer that at least one of my reflections made one very prestigious presenter happy. Please remember as (or if) you choose to read these reflections that I feel awkward about mentioning some of this because it may sound like I'm bragging or something, but I hope that writing about this phenomenon may help me make some sense of it. At the end of the day I will be back at my desk, feeding the squirrels and birds on the fire escape outside my office window, and relatively anonymous.

So that's my morning disclaimer as I prepare to head out for a 4 day Texas fishing license (or whatever version is the right thing to obtain so that I'm legal and supporting the regulation efforts in a field that has contributed so much to my sanity, such as it is. (UPDATE: I discovered that I already have an annual license and just had to pay 10 dollars for the trip to print out a new copy! That's a good start to the trip!)

Yeah, the first day of ISTE 2013 I was making my way toward dinner at some site we had yet to pick with my team from MNPS Virtual School along Riverwalk and it seemed like every other person we encountered on our walk gave and got a hug from me. ISTE's CEO, the energetic and brilliant Brian Lewis, outstretched his big hand for a passing shake and a how-de-do as we made our way home from dinner. That was when my cherished boss Dr. James Witty, walking behind, said out loud, "I feel like I'm walking with the Godfather." Funny.

 Many of my Virtual Worlds peeps hugged and were hugged early on as we made our way to the Hyatt by the San Antonio Conference Center. I was noted by name from the podium at two important events, one when dear friend and ISTE President Kecia Ray claimed her coveted Pink Jacket, the "Making IT Happen" award, and noted that "I know Scott Merrick will be happy I received this because I'll stop threatening to steal his," and once when Barbara Treacy at the EdTechLeaders Online  Online Learning Institute used me as a directions example "So if you want to hear Scott Merrick you'll go to Table 3." I really am not convinced that this is some convergence of the universe around name-branding Scott Merrick, but I have to admit I couldn't pay for this kind of attention/mention. i should be selling something. Maybe it's happening because I'm not!

What's up? Well, joining 20 or so of my colleagues onstage at the Opening Reception in the main hall in front of 8 or 10,000 people to receive my Presidential Volunteer Service Award didn't hurt, but mainly I think it's just that I've so loved attending ISTE (formerly NECC) over the past decade or so and have so connected with bloggers, videoconferencers, virutal worlders, ISTE staff, and all manner of other groups that all that has simply made me recognizable  (all this without ever performing, or even attending, EdTech Karaoke). Facilitating the immensely successful SIGVE Virtual Environments Playground and accepting the role of SIGOL Vice President this year likely didn't hurt. Co-hosting with the aforementioned Dr. Witty and colleague Micheal Terry a roundtable at this year's Online Learning Institute certainly contributed to the awareness. But seriously, it's simply all about sharing with and embracing (often literally) so many outstanding, student-dedicated, and motivated educators, all day, every day of my life. My big secret may be that I always try to stay positive and hopeful, and that I have, over the years, built a Professional Learning Network (and a Personal one) of people who know what they are doing and, perhaps most importantly, who are not above learning how to do it better.

My annual "Me and David" snapshot
I ran into my old pal David Warlick at the Blogger's Cafe during the conference and asked him how his conference was going. he smiled as broadly as I've ever seen him smile and said, "Great. I'm not presenting." Next year? Maybe I'll pursue that route in Atlanta.

Meanwhile I'm going to be reflecting in upcoming posts about how my own conference went. I hope you stay tuned.

Over and out. Time to get a worm on a hook in the water.

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