ISTE, Here I (Sort of) Come!

ImageTomorrow I’m heading down to San Diego for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) 2012 conference.

Well, that’s not entirely accurate; tomorrow I AM heading down to San Diego, and the ISTE conference is, in fact the reason I’m going. I’m not, however, going to be attending the conference. I’m not even sure I’ll be able to enter the San Diego Convention Center, where the conference is being held, because I haven’t registered for the conference. 

There are a couple of reasons why I’m not registered- mainly because, while my school is willing to share the cost of registration, the expense of hotel and meals for 3 or 4 days is more than my budget can handle at the moment. (Not to mention the wear and tear on my body from late nights “networking” over adult beverages with other attendees!) 

But, realistically, it’s not the sessions that are the main draw for me when it comes to any education conference. Yes, I attend sessions and learn a lot, though I find that there aren’t that many sessions that really call out to me. Often I’ll attend a session based on who the presenter is more than what the topic is, and it’s this that is really at the root of my trip tomorrow.

For the last 4 years or so, I’ve been connecting with other educators on Twitter, and have had the opportunity to meet many of them in person at conferences as Tweet-Ups. Many I would now consider to be friends; we’ve made connections beyond trading comments about the current state of eduction and educational technology in 140 characters or less. While I can’t justify the expense of attending the conference, neither can I justify passing up the opportunity to connect face-to-face with my colleagues from around the country.

I’m hoping I’ll be able to shake hands and break bread with some folks I haven’t met in person yet, as well as reconnect with those I’ve met many times, and maybe even make some new friends. These informal conversations will be filled with learning, will range across a variety of topics, and will embody the “social” aspect of social media. While my time “at” ISTE will be short, I’m looking forward to it.

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