"Sad - feeling or showing sorrow; unhappy"That's just CRAZY! I just returned from the largest edtech gathering in the world and shared memories with the brightest minds bar none. Shouldn't I be elated? Giddy? Well yeah. I should. Instead, I feel my introverted self taking over. No, really. I am introverted. The high that I experience when I'm around my friends and colleagues always crashes. ALWAYS. After a week with people that literally warm my soul, I need to recharge with me. Time to think. Time to reflect. Time to grow... and apparently write.
The one nagging aura hanging over me is the "off" of ISTE this year. I can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe it was the space that felt disconnected or simply the change to Eastern time for a week but something was just... off. I felt it in the conference center. I felt it at the after parties. It was a prevalent feeling that has no name.
Don't get me wrong; by all accounts ISTE was a raving success. So very many people smiled, laughed, loved, and learned so much last week. It literally brought joy to my soul to find first time attendees gushing with all they were learning. I met a young lady at the Welcome Lounge early Friday morning who had only picked up her badge and was already feeling overwhelmed. In the midst of 16,000+ attendees, I strangely kept running into her. Each time, I stopped and asked her how she was doing. Post Friday, she was smiling, laughing, and collecting ribbons. When I last saw her on the vendor floor, she was elated that she had just won a Chromebook. Yay! On the final day of the conference, I passed her in the hall by the Blogger's Lounge. That time, I didn't stop her. I quietly fell in behind her and the couple of friends she was with and I listened. I heard the happiness in her voice that was a complete 180 from when I first met her Friday morning. She gushed about her experience and everything she had experienced. She was obviously oblivious to whatever this "thing" was that I had felt all week. And for her, I was happy.
While many of my friends expressed the same feeling of "off" that I had, when I step back from them and think back, I realized that we were thankfully in the minority. SO VERY MANY educators escaped that feeling. Many learned, laughed, loved. Many have returned home excited about next year, anxious to bring something new to their students. I suppose it just goes to show how very individualized each experience is.
For me, #ISTE2014 created some very special memories. Many are private between myself and one or two other people. Those will forever remain in that moment. I leave those with #noRegrets. Others were a year or more in the making as I met new connections and made time to catch up with colleagues I see only once a year. The vendor floor held great promise in a few spots and the poster sessions of course impressed. Next year, I will return for ISTE2015 and one of my most favorite cities. There I hope to make new memories and new connections. And whatever this "off" is, may it stay in Atlanta.