First of all, friends, I never thought I’d be writing a real ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) post, let alone about planning to attend and participate. In many ways this feels a bit surreal. Now almost 4 years into my EduTwitter engagement, I’m going to that annual edtech gathering to try out a very new challenge: public speaking.
On the Saturday before the actual conference begins there is an all day meeting of ISTE affiliate organizers and part of their day is dedicated to previewing potential speakers through a “Keynote Smackdown.” I am one of 8 speakers who will be offering a 4-minute trailer of what I’d be like in front of a larger audience. I owe this opportunity to Shelly Sanchez (@ShellTerrell) and @EdSpeakersCo, who recommended that I apply to take part. While I casually completed the google form and checked the box stating that I could be onsite for the event, I never dreamed that I’d make the cut, not even knowing what the scope of the cut might be.
In late May, I got a message informing me that I had indeed been selected to present. Of course, I immediately confirmed I would come, once I recovered from the shock. So now I’m on my way to ISTE2016. With a purpose. With a huge opportunity. With the benefit of an enormously supportive community.
When I step on the stage and begin walking the audience through my special take on the world, although I will be physically in the singular, the world I represent is plural and includes all of you.
- all the kind people who have interacted with me on Twitter and helped me sharpen, broaden and rethink my thinking.
- all the generous people who have taken time to comment on this blog or on Medium to share your perspectives and nudge my own.
- all the men and women who specifically have encouraged me to build tables of my own rather than looking for space at the tables of others and have joined me and celebrated with me at said tables.
I would not be going to ISTE or thinking about public speaking if you were not here providing purpose, opportunity and community day after day, year after year. So when I report back on how it was, what I saw, how it felt – expect to hear about real people: People I finally got to meet in person, people whom I admire, appreciate and value for how they have already contributed to my growth and understanding. I probably won’t be talking so much about tools or strategies, but I look forward to sharing insights gleaned from being around people who navigate the tech and social media spheres in healthy and inclusive ways.
It’s time to go pack my bags, review my talk, check the weather forecast, and above all, to say thanks to friends, family and colleagues for making this happen.