It’s not the workshops or the Expo that has changed my life. Those pieces have been profoundly inspirational. I specifically went to gather information and resources. What I walked away with are connections.
I recently found out I was accepted into the London 2019, #Lon19, Google Innovator cohort. I’m thrilled to have this experience. There is a large number of UK folks in the cohort. Only a handful are from North America. Thanks to ISTE I was able to connect with four of them.
It’s unusual to have an instant connection with someone. Most meetings and connections are friendly and cordial. However, encountering these members of my cohort was like finding an extended family I never knew I needed. And I use the word “need” because I can’t see moving forward without them. In reality, yes, life goes on, but these connections have enriched so much for me. These connections are not just educational. There is a personal connections sharing stories of families and friends.
Mindset matters here. We all happened to have a growth mindset and have been excited to connect with each other. This creates a deeper bond. I think it can also be termed as acceptance. We spoke positively and openly with each other. We all have a similar goal in mind which is to change the world. These factors developed a unique and special relationship.
This pre-Academy connection would not be possible without ISTE. The connections extended beyond my cohort members. I met so many people, some fresh faces and others heroes in the world of educational technology. I’m taking away business cards, emails, twitter followers and more. These are the elements I need to continue that human connection. And that human connection is a core of education.
So what do we do from here? We just had this amazing time connecting and learning. Let’s not leave it there. Keep it going. Those conversations don’t end because the conference ended. Those chats keep going. Here’s some points to help you forge ahead with your goals post conference.
- Gather your thoughts. What are your take-aways from the event? Jot it down in a digital searchable platform. Don't for get to check and gather all those resources too.
- Connect with those you met. Reach out and Identify yourself in a way that can help them remember. Unless you spent days together there is a high chance not everyone will remember you. Provide a recap of your conversation.
- Create a plan for yourself. There are likely things you want to accomplish. Build yourself a timeline of when you plan to complete them.
- Talk to your colleagues that didn’t go. Even a few minutes of cooler talk can help change things for someone else. You may have seen a saving solution for a problem someone has.
- Implement what you have learned. Use at least one tool or technique within a week of your return. It's definitely hard if you don’t have to opportunity but work to create the opportunity for yourself.
I’m on a bus home. Those group chats created to find my colleagues are still active. I’ll continue to use them to find shared resources and photos. But I have one group chat with four amazing people I’ll see in two weeks. I’m honestly emotional and teary leaving them after spending three days together. I’m working to change my mindset to recognize that I’m about to meet 30 plus more extended family members in London. This is my love letter to those first four and I’m looking forward to the family growing.