ISTE 2016 Reflections: It's About The Connections

I was able to attend ISTE 2016 in Denver in June. This was my second ISTE conference and I was super excited to take in the awesomeness of ed tech at this one of a kind conference.

I attended my first ISTE in 2011 in Philadelphia. I had just accepted a new position in my district as the educational technology facilitator. In 2011, I wasn't a connected educator. I openly refused to join Twitter - I didn't need to know what everyone was having for lunch. Google+ and Voxer weren't even things in 2011! So I knew my 2016 ISTE experience was going to be different.

My main goal for ISTE 2016 was to connect with as many people as possible. I wanted to meet face to face these people and ed tech companies I had been connecting with on Twitter and Voxer and Google+.

I met the amazing team from Seesaw including Victoria and Zach and the awesome Angela Gadtke. Their booth was swamped the entire conference. It seemed like everyone was talking about Seesaw. A lot of the sessions I went to mentioned Seesaw. The Seesaw team has been working on all sorts of great updates. As a Seesaw Ambassador, I have seen what they are working on. This great tool just continues to get better and better!

As I was walking down the convention center on the way to a session I happened to see Matt Miller, author of Ditch That Textbook. I had exchanged Tweets with Matt so I thought why not go up and introduce myself! So I did and we took a selfie! Matt's book is great and so is his blog. Make sure you sign up to receive his newest posts delivered right to your inbox!

I finally got to meet the Quizizz crew in person. My tutorial videos are featured on their website so I was anxious to connect with them in person. If you haven't tried Quizizz for assessment, give it a try. Your students will love it.

The Kahoot gang was awesome! I got to meet Steph who had Kahooted with us during Dr. Seuss week. We did a Google Hangout with one of my first grade classrooms and a class in Council Bluffs, Iowa all arranged by the amazing Josh Allen. Steph was so sweet to answer questions that our first graders prepared. Our first graders were amazed to be face to face with someone in London! When I started to introduce myself to Steph, she said (in the cutest accent) "Are you Mickie Mueller?" and gave me a big hug! Kahoot isn't just for review activities! I'm planning on developing a session on taking Kahoot to the next level.

I was also attending my first ISTE since becoming a Google for Education Certified Trainer. Google hosted a mixer for trainers and innovators one evening. I got to go with my pal Beth Still. I ran into Aaron Svoboda who was formerly at Kearney and who is now with Synergyse who is now a part of Google. I also got to hear about some great things the Google Apps for Education team has in the works. Due to a nondisclosure agreement I can't share any of those awesome things but let's just say when a room full of trainers and innovators ooh and awe like school kids, the stuff is good!

I made it a point to connect with some of the ed tech companies that I interact with and admire from afar including BrightBytes, GoGuardian, Promevo, Pear Deck, Bitsbox, CodeMonkey and Formative.

All in all, ISTE 2016 was a great conference. I met some awesome people and learned a lot. In fact, my ISTE 2016 experience is too big for one post. My next ISTE 2016 Reflections post will be all about the sessions I attended. Stay tuned!