10 ISTE 2016 Must-Dos

Key events and suggestions for librarians attending the 2016 ISTE event in Denver, CO, from June 26–29.
Adam Bellow

Adam Bellow

Headed to the ISTE conference in Denver later this month? Here's how to get the most out of this year's event.

Librarians Network Digital Playground

Start Monday morning with three and a half hours of all things libraries and technology. Hear how librarians are integrating tech into information literacy instruction, explore what makes a successful maker space, and learn about new tools and websites for research and project creation. Drop in when you can and stay as long as possible. The schedule and station topics will be announced shortly before the conference.

Librarians Network Reception

Always a fun event, the ISTE Librarians Network Reception is a great time to relax and hang out with your fellow librarians. This year’s reception will be at the Rock Bottom Brewery on Monday, June 27 at 6 p.m. Snacks are provided, but bring a little cash if you want extra food or drinks.

Librarians Network Annual Breakfast

Capping off the conference Wednesday morning, the ISTE Librarians Network Annual Breakfast at 8 a.m. is an energizing way to start the last day. Worth the early wake-up call, this year’s breakfast will feature speakers Drew Minock and Brad Waid, aka “Two Guys and Some iPads.” Be sure to get a ticket —this event usually sells out.

Ignite sessions

Three rounds of Ignite talks, 34 speakers, five minutes, and 20 slides each. Get inspired and hear about innovative school and classroom practices from teachers, librarians, technology integrators, and more. Check the program for presenters and topics.

Any session that Adam Bellow is presenting

Bellow’s sessions from the last two years have provided me with the most tools to explore and integrate into my work. In 2015, the best takeaway was the Tickle app (tickleapp.com). The year before, it was Kahoot! (kahoot.it). Bellow, founder of eduTecher (edutecher.net), knows what tools educators want and need, and you’re guaranteed to learn something new. Check out his workshop, Gizmos and Gadgets for Use in (but Mostly Out of) the Classroom, with Steve Dembo of teach42.

Knights of Make-a-Lot

Last year’s Knights of Make-a-Lot session sought to define maker education and was full of ideas for how to start a maker space. With panelists who are leaders in the school/library maker space movement, this year’s event is sure to deliver more ideas and strategies for starting, growing, and sustaining a maker space.



Power your devices

Keep your phone and tablet juiced up by bringing a portable charger. Outlets can be inconvenient to find and use (try sharing four outlets between 100 attendees in one session room). Invest in a portable charger.

Download the app

Manage your schedule and keep track of session locations with the conference app. It also includes maps of the convention center and a digital note-taking tool. In addition, the app will push news to you each day with updates about sessions.

Explore Denver

Visiting the mile-high city for the first time? Don’t stay in the convention center all day—get out and explore! The Denver Art Museum and Denver Public Library are just a few blocks from the convention center. The museum houses one of the largest collections in the region, and the library features an ideaLAB, a maker space, and a media lab for adults and teens.

On Monday morning, the Mobile Learning Network will lead Mile High PhotoQuest, a walking tour of Denver with a scavenger hunt. It’s a fun way to explore the city and meet fellow ISTE attendees. Registration is required.

Plan down time

The ISTE conference is exhilarating, but with so many concurrent sessions, Playgrounds, and social events, it can be an intense four days. Plan some time to put your devices away and read a book, take a walk, or go for a run. You’re at ISTE for professional growth, but remember to take time for yourself.

Finally, don’t forget necessities like comfortable walking shoes and a water bottle. And be prepared to learn and have fun!

Hanson-Jennifer_Contrib_WebJennifer Hanson is director of library services at Worcester Academy in Massachusetts and is delighted to share insights learned as a conference attendee and presenter. She can be found @libraryjenn.

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