The annual International Society for Technology in Education Conference (ISTE) never ceases to overwhelm me, yet it is something I always look forward to attending again. The reason for this is really pretty simple, the passion and energy of the more than 14,000 annual attendees is renewing for me. After the ups and downs of a typical school year coupled with the disheartening national dialogue surrounding education reform, having an opportunity to connect and share with teachers from around the world always reinforces the fact that we can make a difference for the students we serve.
As I continue to synthesize all of the sessions and conversations I was fortunate to be a part of I want to thank all of the educators who made the trip to Philadelphia this year. Despite the fact that this conference and the organization that sponsors it is recognized for "Technology in Education," the real takeaway for me is always about the people. From the opening Town Hall panel on Sunday to the closing keynote by Josh Stumpenhorst on Wednesday afternoon, the message I continued to hear was about the very human endeavor of of building relationships in our schools and classrooms.
Here are two quotes from ISTE 2015 that I will continue to dwell on this summer along with an accompanying question as I focus on preparing for the 2015-2016 school year:
"Relationships are still the foundation of great schools. All the tech in the world means nothing without that focus." - George Couros
What can we do to keep the focus on building relationships in our school communities?
"The silver bullet in education is you (teachers)! You are what students need in classroom." Josh Stumpenhorst
How can school leaders empower teachers to create the learning environments our students need?