ISTE Conference … Seeing how the Sausage is made.

There is an American saying that dates back to the 20’s to describe getting a behind the scenes look at how something is created..  I got that experience this year, at least the second half of it.. and it was fascinating..

So the ISTE conference – International Society for Technology in Education – there were 18,000 attendees last year is a huge conference..  If anyone is involved with a local one day conference – then you know how much work it and now scale it up by 1000 times and try to wrap your head about it.

The ISTE conference receives thousands of proposals submitted in about a month and then reviewed in just 3 weeks.

I am fortunate to chair the Research sessions for 2019 and 2020 and so I get to work with ISTE staff and University of Oregon conference staff and a team of amazing volunteers to help plan the schedule for the conference.

So I want to share some of my overall impressions..

  1. the conference is that big and yes they get that many proposals.  If you are not accepted, it does not necessarily say anything about you, just that there are so many proposals and people that want to share their technology stories – that there is not room for everyone.
  2.   Each year there are basically a team of 6 that lead a group of other volunteers to put this whole conference on.  ISTE staff work and coach them to help them make the choices and represent the member interests and trends in our field.
  3. There are so many moving parts – BYOB sessions, research sessions, concurrent sessions, posters playgrounds..   there are so many places to be and learn – its difficult to get your head around
  4. They use technology and processes to decide the schedule.  They lay out sessions in a room but barcode them to put them in the schedule and look for conflicts. They practice what they preach.
  5. The staff is working hard and care deeply about you having a great conference experience.

As a previous attendee..I had no idea how big an undertaking this all was and how hard everyone works on it.. If you have not been to an ISTE conference then ISTE 2019 in Philly might be a good place to start.

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