My ISTE Experience: Networking, Presenting, Podcasting, Poetry, Food, and Family!

I still can’t believe that ISTE Live 23 in Philadelphia was two weeks ago. It feels like it was just yesterday! It was an amazing edtech experience I learned a lot about the latest trends in edtech, networked with other educators from around the world, and even hosted a walking food tour sponsored by Lumio.
This trip was extra special for me because my family and I went together. It was a family vacation in Philadelphia while ISTE was in town! With that being said, I didn’t do many evening events, meetups, or karaoke because that was family time. However, I did participate in the EdTech Poetry Slam hosted by Carl Hooker and Adam Phyall. Carl Hooker reached out to me about it and I agreed. I ran it by the family first to make sure they were cool with it and of course, they were. What can I say, I have a pretty cool family?!

Sunday, June 25th was the official ISTE kickoff with sessions but that night  was MY own kickoff as well. I hosted the official EdTech Bites Walking Food Tour in Philadelphia. This one was sponsored by my friends up north, Lumio. 35 extra special friends, my family, and I got to hit three restaurants and taste what Philly had to offer. We hit Joe’s Pizza Philly for cheesesteaks, East Coast pizza, and their extra special Grandmom Pizza. That was a favorite of many! After that, we hit Villekebabs And Platters for some authentic Afghani food. We dined on Chicken Munto, Potato Bolani, and Borani Banjan. When I say it was an explosion of flavors, I mean IT WAS AN EXPLOSION OF FLAVORS! For many, this was their first time trying Afghani food and it left quite an impression on people, including my family! Lastly, we hit up Federal Donuts for some Korean fried chicken and donuts. How can you go wrong with fried chicken and donuts?! It was one heck of a night that encompassed what I love to do, talking edtech while breaking bread together. It was extra special to see strangers sitting next to each other laughing, discussing exchanging information, and partaking in perhaps one of the most human experiences ever, eating together. Witnessing this is something I cannot put into a blog post nevertheless knowing that I was the one who put this together for everyone to experience. Peep the video below for a recap of the food tour.

While at the ISTE conference, I got to chat and press record with 23 unique individuals behind the microphone. The majority of my time at ISTE was podcasting but it’s one of the things I love to do. And I had the opportunity to do it in person in Philadelphia! The conversations I had with individuals were real, unique, and personal. We discussed tools, new technologies, and even our own human experiences. The conversations I had with non-edtech companies were graciously sponsored by Propello. Some of these guests I had never met before and some have been on the show virtually but never in person. And this is why I’ve stopped doing the virtual interviews. The energy we had together in person is something that cannot be duplicated over Zoom, Streamyard, or any other virtual platform. This solidified my reason to strictly do in person interviews for my show. This ISTE podcasting experience helped create some awesome conversations that included background noise, chatter, and laughs without that weird feedback you get when you’re recording on a virtual platform. I even took donut holes for the guests so we could break bread (literally) in person! These episodes are below so you can hear them for yourself. You can also check them out on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Overall, my experience at ISTE was amazing. I networked with other educators, had some great conversations doing what I love to do, presented to other coaches, tasted a bit of what Philly has to offer with some amazing new and old friends, and most importantly, I got to hang out with my family. My boys are high schoolers and they got a chance to see me in my element. They got to see the power of networking, educators, technology, and food. There’s so much negativity on the internet and Social Media that many times, that’s all our children get to see. This time, they got to see the positivity of bringing people together and seeing people post such positive messages about the food tour. They got to see their Mother and Father holding hands while walking down the streets of Philly after a successful food tour. This is why I do what I do. I love to connect with people and talk about great things we can do for our students but what good is that if it never trickles down to our own children? They are high school students and they got to see and hear other educators talk passionately about their teaching, their passions, and their “why”. Not only that… they got to see their pops get on stage at the EdTech Poetry Slam presented by K12 Leaders and Flocabulary! I made myself vulnerable for a moment after a long day of podcasting, presenting, and walking in the rain to finally make it on the stage and talk my trash about something that’s been bugging me for 7 years! So to sum up ISTE… was it awesome… yes! Was it even better with my family…hell yes! Was it exhausting…YES! Was it worth it…Without a doubt! So I’ll end this blog post like I ended my poem at the poetry slam:

Ladies and gentlemen, I hope that I was able to knock it out the park with my Mexican bat,And if you think “fajitas and queso” are authentic Mexican food… cash me outside, how ‘bout dat!!!

ISTE Podcast Episodes

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