ISTE Day 3 Reflections (two days late)


So, after 3+ days at ISTE Atlanta, I was wiped out. Too wiped out, in fact, to even think about writing a blog post. I chronicled my first two days at ISTE (here and here) but by the end of the third day, I was exhausted. Besides, you learn so much at this conference and connect with so many educators that it can be a little overwhelming. Like the first two days at ISTE, day three was action-packed and eventful. Here’s a brief rundown:

A morning keynote with Kevin Carroll started my day three. Kevin has an amazing story to share but is most famous for the series of books he has written on the concept of play. After a career as a translator in the Army, Kevin started working as a trainer for NBA teams. That led to a position at Nike where he was hired to be a creative force for the company.  One story Kevin shared with ISTE was the time he had every employee at Nike play a giant game of tag one afternoon. Employees had such a good time acting like kids that Nike decided to create an ad about the experience. This ad is one of the more memorable ones that Nike has ever produced:

Kevin Carroll from

Kevin left his career at Nike to follow his dreams of being a change agent. He has written a series of books titled around “the red rubber ball” that advocates bringing passion and play into your life. An hour with Kevin was one of the highlights for me of the ISTE conference.

After Kevin’s keynote I attended a workshop hosted by Digital Promise, a non-profit organization authorized by Congress with the mission of helping to close the digital learning gap. Hosted by Jim Beeler, the Director of the Innovative Schools Initiative, the workshop explained the mission of Digital Promise while unveiling some new initiatives. One initiative in particular seemed interesting: educator micro-credentials. Micro-credentials are a form of digital badges to recognize professional development and the mastery of professional skills. Educators can submit artifacts like classroom videos or student work for review by experts and peers. After submission, teachers will earn badges to signify their accomplishments. To learn more about micro-credentials, click here and to participate in the micro-credential pilot program, click here.

The CNN Center (yes, that’s a giant earth)

In the afternoon I attended a luncheon hosted by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt at the CNN Center. I was hoping to run into Anderson Cooper or Wolf Blitzer while there but I think they use a separate entrance. HMH put together a great lunch followed by a talk from Mary Cullinane, Chief Content Officer for the company. Mary gave an impassioned talk about how textbook companies need to adapt in a changing electronic marketplace. Her major points were clear and on point. However, it’s still difficult for schools to make the switch to digital texts as they are cost prohibitive and not very engaging (for the most part). Despite the inherent difficulties that exist in the e-marketplace, it seems from her talk that Mary is the right person in place to bring about change.

After four nights and five days in Atlanta, I’m worn out and still thinking about all the experiences I’ve had. Overall, ISTE was a fabulous conference and I hope to attend again in the future and maybe even give a presentation. My fellow traveling companions and I still need time to reflect on everything that we learned. Next year, ISTE is in Philly and anyone interested in technology and education should consider joining the 16,000+ people that attend every year.

So, from Georgia and John S. Pemberton, the inventor of Coca-Cola: cheers.

Outside the Coca-Cola Museum in Atlanfa, Georgia


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