Well I’m back from ISTE for a bit over 24 hours now. My luggage has even arrived. It apparently decided to spend a few extra hours in Denver. I had a great time at ISTE as I always do. It was a great time to reconnect with a good many people who I know either in person or online or both. I missed some people though – ISTE is just sooo large! Some of the highlights for me were the SIGCT breakfast forum (picture of me addressing the group below) and the SIGCT business meeting. And the ISTE Mansion – more on that in a bit.
I have been involved with SIGCT for longer than I have been at Microsoft and there are so many great friends at these events I wouldn’t miss them.
I spent a lot of time working the Microsoft booth this year. I spent a lot of time demoing and talking about Kodu for example. Lots and lots of interest in Kodu for young children. There is now some curriculum available for Kodu and we handed out a lot of USB thumb drives with copies of those materials. You can get them online from the Kodu Classroom kit link. I also talked a lot about XNA and Small Basic of course. Between those three things (and Visual Studio with Visual Basic and C#) Microsoft really has tools for teaching the full range of programming from age 8 through high school.
I did get away from the booth for a few things though. I attended a Tweet up sponsored by Dell and Microsoft, a reception sponsored by HP and Microsoft, and some team dinners. I also got to hang out one night in the “ISTE Mansion.” What’s the ISTE Mansion? Well it turns out that a number of people who attended decided to save some money by getting together and renting a house for the week. They found an absolutely amazing house and Tuesday night they had a few people over for dinner and conversation. And honestly conversation is the key to getting value out of ISTE for me. If it were not for conversations we could all stay home and watch everything on video streams.
Some of my best conversations happened away from the booth and the exhibit floor. Even the receptions and parties are a bit overwhelming for me and while I have some conversations there. Many of the best conversations came at the Bloggers Café, conference center hallways and hotel lobbies. I learn a lot listening to teachers. I learn about their successes (and some wonderful things they are) and their challenges. I get to know them as people as well. Over the years I have developed many terrific friendships at ISTE and related conferences. (TCEA and SIGCSE are two of my very favorite events) So I am home tired but happy. I learned a lot, enjoyed the company of smart friendly teachers and generally had an experience well worth my time and money. So thanks to all who made ISTE so great for me.