As my final post about random acts of kindness shown at the ISTE conference, I would be remiss if I did not include the ISTE organization itself and the vendors who helped to make this conference possible. Here are a few of my favorite moments: The first act of kindness I received after entering the Georgia World Conference Center and picking up my presenter bag, was a coupon for a “free sweet treat.” If you’ve never had a King of Pops popsicle, you are missing out! It was heavenly, especially on such a hot, summer day!
Another ISTE RAK was a fun app challenge where they asked us to create a magazine cover using our own photo, highlighting the rollout of their new digital magazine, Entrsekt. If we completed the challenge, we received a certain number of points which we could add to our total in their networking game. Here was my magazine cover, taken right before my ISTE Ignite presentation: Later that day, I received an email that both Heather and I could pick up a free ISTE t-shirt for participating in the challenge. WOW! What an exciting random act of kindness! It was completely unexpected, but thrilled me to no end! In the vendor hall, I discovered that swag was a hot commodity.
My first stop was Edmodo. Earlier in the month, I finished creating an eight module professional development course for the teachers and administrators in my district to learn more about Edmodo, so I definitely wanted to make sure my learning was up-to-date. I was thrilled to discover that Snapshot would be synced to the Virginia Standards of Learning in the Fall of 2014! Yay! I then took my turn at the wheel of goodies and walked away with an Edmodo tumblr! Sweet! As a SMART Exemplary Educator, I was invited by SMART to attend a rooftop gathering one evening and the views were spectacular! I was mesmerized! I also received a bag filled with SMART SEE goodies and got to meet some amazing #smarties as well! My team also received goodies from Graphite, a platform provided by Common Sense Media to inform educators about the best apps, games, and websites for the classroom. This spring we became Common Sense Media Certified Educators on Graphite and we received matching shirts! How fun! Back in the vendor hall, I had fun interacting with the trade show reps as I played their games and asked questions about their products. Some people are a little apprehensive about approaching vendors with questions, but not me. I feel like the more I know about a particular product, the better I can advise others to make informed purchasing decisions!
I was drawn to Edmentum’s display because of their HUGE “Plinko” display (brought me back to my childhood summers watching The Price is Right!) Although the video of me playing Plinko is too blurry to share (seriously!), I did win a mini-frisbee that made me smile! I spent quite a while chatting with the representatives at TechSmith – they were very friendly and kind! After exchanging stories, they shared several goodies with me, one being this awesome light-up yo-yo: As the vendor hall came to a close at the end of the conference, I was blessed by E-Line Media who allowed me to have a few extra bags we could pass out at our district’s Leadership Conference in August. The gentleman standing right behind me in the photo was given a few bags, too! So generous and kind! I was even blessed by vendors on the bus ride back to the hotel! I realized the Co-Founder and CEO of Remind.com, Brett Kopf, was making his way to sit behind me and in a matter of minutes, I was walking away with the cutest bottles of hand sanitizer you’ve ever seen! (I didn’t take a picture of the product, only the CEO for our Celeb Selfie wall, lol.) Yes, folks, it’s true. I’m an official swaginista! I think the gadgets and gizmos are great conversation starters and best of all, I can pay it forward by passing the swag along to others. It’s truly a win-win for vendors and conference attendees! I could write hundreds of blog posts about the kindness shown throughout this conference, but I think the past few blog posts paint an accurate picture of what I experienced in my random acts of kindness given and received.
I want to send a huge THANK YOU for the generous donation made by Pat McGettigan to the Hanover Education Foundation, which provided funding for this instructional technology learning experience. Without his act of kindness, none of these memories and learning experiences would have been possible.
Throughout the ISTE conference, I was inspired. Engaged. Enthralled. Humbled. Awed. I was challenged by the two words of “What if…?” and I met that challenge by looking inside and allowing myself to dream about the possibilities. I was able to apply the lessons learned not only to my educational career, but my own personal goals as well. I left the conference excited. Hopeful. Impassioned. Invigorated. And for that, I am forever grateful! I can’t wait to share what I learned with others!
Thanks for reading and the next time you are offered a freebie from a business, be blessed by the kindness and pay it forward if you can! 🙂