Top Picks for ISTE 2019

Heading to Philadelphia for ISTE 19? Don't miss this list of sessions and speakers that ISTE leaders and fellow attendees are most excited to attend.

While the focus is on Washington, DC, right now for ALA Annual, that is not the only big conference for librarians and educators this weekend. On Sunday in Philadelphia, the International Society for Technology in Education kicks off its annual conference. SLJ checked in with some ISTE presenters, educators, and attendees to see what they were looking forward to at ISTE 19

Elissa Malespina, teacher librarian, Verona (NJ) High School, member of the ISTE Librarians Network Leadership Team

There are so many great events for librarians at ISTE 19 that I honestly can’t list all of them. Here are just some I am most looking forward to.

 I'll be at Leading from the Library in the Digital Age (Sunday, 9 a.m.) where the presenters "will reflect on the librarian’s ability to build connections within the local community and throughout the world, which make an impact on the school community.” At a return engagement of one of my favorite presentations from last year, Battle of EdTech Superstars (Sunday, 1:30 p.m.), you will learn about some awesome ed tech products and ideas.

Want to learn more about the Future Ready Librarians ISTE U course that I teach? Find out during the session Rethink Online PD With ISTE U (Monday, 10 a.m.). At  Is It Fake or Is It Real? Future-Ready Info Lit Skills (Tuesday, 12:15 p.m.)  you will be able to “explore the five elements of information literacy (identify, find evaluate, apply and acknowledge) and share strategies to improve these skills to help K-12 students consume and share media responsibly.” 

Join members of the ISTE Librarians Network Leadership Team for the People’s Choice Award winner presentation Outside the Box Collaborations (Wednesday, 1 p.m.)  "One of the main tenets of being a librarian is collaborating with others, but let’s admit it: We all get stuck in a rut and end up collaborating with the same few educators from the same disciplines over and over again. Learn from a panel of librarians their favorite collaborations."

Please also follow the hashtag #istelib where the ISTE Lib Leadership Team will be tweeting about all the great librarian events and presentations at ISTE 19.

Andrew Wallace, director of technology, South Portland (ME) Schools, member of the ISTE Librarians Network Leadership Team

Each year ISTE becomes more and more of a “must attend“ conference for teacher librarians at all levels. For many, this is new turf, but if you follow this advice you will soon find your crew.

As a leader of the ISTE Librarians professional learning network, I would love to invite all teacher librarians to attend the Monday AND Tuesday night ISTE socials.

Teacher librarians have long leveraged the power of Twitter, so keep a tab open for @istelib and don’t be shy to tweet at fellow conference attendees. So many amazing friendships and collaborations have formed via this medium.

Teacher librarians who are interested in learning how to add some maker elements into units and lessons across the curriculum might want to check out the Battle of the EdTech Stars (Sunday, 1:30 p.m.). (Full disclosure: I wrote this before I was a late B-List fill in for the irreplaceable Sherry Gick.) The game show-based format is sure to entertain and inform.

Definitely find time to attend the Librarians Network Playground. This informal opportunity to engage with peers and share resources is not to be missed. 

While I encourage you to search the program and keep an open mind, if you are having a hard time choosing sessions, take a look at this curated list of just under 20 sessions. 

It’s great that ISTE, Future Ready Libraries, and AASL continue to come together to provide relevant standards and frameworks for librarians and leaders. I always try and catch a session or workshop with champions of these efforts like Mark Ray of Vancouver Public Schools, or Shannon Miller of Van Meter (IA) Community School. If the purposeful use of AR/VR is your thing, just search for a session by Steve Dembo or Caitlin Krause, and you cannot go wrong.

I look forward to seeing old friends, meeting new ones, coming with some ideas, and leaving with far, far more!

Nyree Clark, edtech curriculum program specialist, Colton (CA) Joint Unified School District

This is my Third ISTE and I am so excited to attend. This conference has been a huge turning point in my professional development. I learned how to build a PLN on Twitter, attended engaging sessions, and tried new tools in the playground area. 

This year I am looking forward to attending the first Equity In Action Forum to meet, collaborate, and plan ways to add diversity and equity to our professional settings, as well as catching up with my Twitter PLN in person. Attending #FlipGridFever Live (Wednesday, 10 a.m.), and just being surrounded by like-minded people will put me in my happy place.

Tricia Louis, technology integration professional, Richland School District, Richland Center, WI

I am looking forward to presenting several sessions, including Hey Google...Take Me on a Trip (Wednesday, 12 p.m.) and at the pre-conference Seesaw Connect. I will also be sharing a presentation on stop-motion animation as a part of the Playground. This is a more relaxed atmosphere where there will be dozens of different stations where people can learn about all types of STEM integration for their classrooms and makerspaces.

Along with presenting my sessions, I am most looking forward to the sessions about ideas and apps for flipped classroom and e-learning days, browsing the vendor hall, and speaking with people from all over the world.

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