Days 1 and 2 at ISTE: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I had a decision to make, and it was tearing me up inside:  Should I go to Blackboard World in Las Vegas, or should I attend ISTE in Atlanta?  Before you hit me over the head and scream, “LAS VEGAS, YOU MORON!” in my ear, hear me out.

I have attended Blackboard World in 2012 and 2013.  In 2013 (Las Vegas, also) I was a co-presenter and a VIP blogger, so I felt hyper-involved in the whole conference.  I loved the conference both years.  This year Blackboard decided not to go with bloggers, and I didn’t prepare a presentation, so I felt like maybe I should try something different.  I had heard lots of buzz about ISTE, and I was very interested in the posted sessions, so I thought I should attend.  After all, I often complained that I didn’t get a chance to really see the sights in either of the cities because Blackboard does a fabulous job of keeping attendees busy from early morning until late at night.  I started my days at 5:30 am to work out and get to the first session by 8:00, and my nights usually ended around 11:00 pm because of Blackboard social networking events, all which were included in the conference fees.  Why should I choose the conference in Vegas if I don’t get to see Vegas?

Anyway, I arrived in Atlanta yesterday, and I’ve experienced two days of ISTE, so I have some ongoing observations, which I have sorted into The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.  In today’s post I will focus on my good experiences in the first two days.  Let’s get to it, shall we?

The Good:  First of all, Atlanta is a beautiful city.  Last night I strolled through Centennial Park where I saw the Olympic torch and a gigantic Ferris wheel.  Children laughed and splashed in the dancing fountains.

Centennial Park


My sessions were informative and engaging.  I learned how to use games to engage my students (Brain Pop and Minecraft), Twitter to link my students to professionals and each other, and video to tell stories.  I will write about what I learned from these sessions and others in future posts.

The best part of my first two days in Atlanta has been a surprise.  Christina (the Technology Integration Coach on this blog) and I were tired and cranky, and we wanted pie a la mode.  After walking to a diner to find out that it wasn’t a diner but a bar, we came back even crankier than before. . . until we saw the counter of pie in Sway restaurant at the Hyatt Regency.  Sway is a nice place, and we weren’t sure they would want to sell us pie a la mode to go, but boy, were we wrong!  The hostess offered us the Bucket of Love, which was a box that we could fill with any dessert we wanted.  It was only nine bucks and it came with enough ice cream for both of us.  Click on the link to see  our Bucket of Love .

While I have enjoyed the Bucket of Love, and I highly recommend that you get one if you ever come to Atlanta, the absolute best part of ISTE so far has been spending some time with Christina, whom I don’t get to see as often as I would like.

I will leave you with a happy thought because remember, today is The Good.  Tomorrow I review The Bad.


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