When was the last time you did something for the first time? - Presenting at ISTE 2018

I'm a big country music fan. I have had Darius Rucker's "When was the last time" stuck in my head this week. As educators, we encourage our students to try new things and take risks, but how often do we do this same? This week, I stepped out of my comfort zone and did something new and terrifying. I presented at my first international conference, ISTE 2018.

I applied on a whim last year to present on "Launching Computer Science for Every Student in Your School", a topic I am very passionate about. I knew that getting accepted to present at ISTE was unlikely because they receive so many applications, but I applied anyway. 

Rewind to several months later. The ISTE application was barely on my mind as I was in the heat of the semester. I was walking down the hallway after mock trial practice with a few students and my colleague and I audibly squealed. I was convinced I was misreading the email because I was full of self doubt. I had been accepted to present in Chicago for ISTE 2018.

Yesterday I presented. I present a lot at conferences locally and nationally, but this felt different. I had seen so many amazing presenters at the conference so far and still can't believe that I was accepted to present among these EdTech rockstars. Despite shaking hands and feeling a little sick to my stomach, I made it through my presentation. 

The feeling I had after successfully doing something hard and worth while is a feeling I know our students have when we push them to do new things and they rise to the challenge. I encourage you to model this for your students. Try something new and scary. Step out of your comfort zone. Apply to present at a conference that you've convinced yourself you'll never be accepted at. 

Be a model of risk taking and continuing to better yourself. Your students will appreciate it and so will you.

Because you read all the way to the end, here are my slides from ISTE. Enjoy! 


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