There are a few times I have been moved so deeply that I can’t say anything. Instead, I calmly close my eyes, breathe in a long breath, and just feel the moment. Today, Adam Bellow’s ISTE keynote, was one such time. His words were so true, so powerful, that they resonated to my very soul. Breathe in, breathe out.

The ISTE (the International Society for Technology in Education) conference brings together roughly 13,000 educators and education leaders from around the world for three days of learning, playgrounds, discussion, BYOD sessions, and an overwhelmingly massive expo hall with vendors. This year’s conference, held in San Antonio, was my first and did not disappoint. [I even had the guts to present two poster sessions Project: 140 and Project: Me]

I’ve seen various forms of this picture before, including during the conference, but this really was what it was like:

Information was full force and powerful. Like-minded people were everywhere: in every nook and cranny, every seat, every line, and near every charging outlet. Anyone who is anyone in edtech was either there or wished they were. It is a hi-energy, overwlhelmingly huge deal and gave me blisters from massive amounts of walking. My QR-code scanner and Diigo library is packed with resources to look up later.

The point is not to absorb it all at once or try every new tool or product. It will take time, gradually, to digest it all and I’ll write more later about specific tools and takeaways. For now, let’s talk about making a difference.

I don’t know Adam Bellows personally, though I did introduce myself to him at our Google Certified Teacher gathering and he even let me try on his infamous Google Glass

I follow Adam's amazing work on eduTecher and now his new brilliant eduClipper (a Pinterest for educators). His talk today You're Invited To Change The World was powerful because it wasn’t about him. It was about us. It was about me. I was about you. It was about the kids we love and the kids we teach and the future we are trying to influence. He was able to rouse a gigantic room of exhausted, overwhelmed educators to their feet and send us out the door running to make a difference. He claimed he was no superman but I truly beg to differ. He helped everyone in that room remember the great teachers in their own lives and why they wanted to be a teacher in the first place. He reminded them that when they touch a child they touch the future and that we are all builders. 

As he spoke nuggets of truth in such rapid fire I could barely jot down a word, I was taken back to when I delivered a similar topic to a group of at-risk teenagers in Nepal who had gathered for a leadership conference. I was invited to speak, and while I’m certainly no Adam, I chose a very similar topic Creativity and Innovation: Leveraging Technology to Change YOUR World. I wanted those students, all of whom faced very difficult life circumstances and most of whom had little hope for a bright future, to realize beyond anything else that they could improve their lives and make a difference. 

Here are a few key takeaways for me: 
Lastly, find a teacher and thank him or her. Encourage him. Learn with her. Hug him. Then find a child and do the same. Turn problems into exciting possibilities. I’m ready to start fresh...are you?

Let’s do this.


06/30/2013 3:31am

Can't wait to watch it - Thanks Gretel

07/02/2013 12:53pm

Just finish watching, great presentation. Thank you for sharing Gretel.


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