Technology fits that big void

There’s a big void around here this July. For the almost past 20 years before COVID, I would be somewhere in the United States at a CSTA Conference.

In all that time, I’ve never gone as a formal learning attendee. Chris Stephenson invited me to my first which was the second or third conference ever as a committee member. I’ve been going back to serve on that committee up until the past two years. I was even conference chair a couple of times, the most memorable was in San Antonio, Texas. Or maybe Omaha, Nebraska. Or maybe Grapevine, Texas. Or maybe…

Not surprisingly, I took a number of photos and shared them to Facebook and they’ve been coming back daily over the past bit. Here’s a picture from 2016. The locations blur since most convention centres are similar but according to this, we were in San Diego.

Thanks, Alfred Thompson

I’d seriously have to go looking for my notes for what I actually learned at that conference. But, I can name everyone on that committee. That’s such a big thing for me.

Being on the committee, you don’t get a lot of time to attend sessions except during the breaks but that’s OK. There was always time in the evenings to have some social time with some great educators. I think that most people would agree that the real enduring value is the connections that you make. Even to this date, there’s a small group that meet for a “Zoom Beer” on Saturday afternoons.

I had another important role on the committee – as the only Canadian, I was responsible for bringing treats that my American friends coud have. The first time I did it, I made sure to bring the receipts to the Ambassador Bridge crossing to declare. I’ve watched enough episodes of Border Security to know that you need to be above and open when declaring things. At the very least it amused border agents who would always tell me that they were looking for something more important than $100 of ketchup potato chips, Crispy Crunch bars, Purdy’s Hedgehogs, or Oreo chocolate bars. They didn’t last long at the conference when word got out that I had goodies.

This year, I really wrestled with the concept of going. Unlike every other conference where I would fly and be packed into an airplane, this event was in Chicago, only about four hours from here on I94. It definitely would have been the first face to face conference since COVID. Precautions were taken on the registration side apparently and masks were expected to be worn everywhere. I had followed the discussion after the ISTE conference and the spreading that happened after that event. It was a family decision and there wasn’t a great deal of support of being without me.

I even contemplated going for one night just to hang out for supper and chatting but a number of other things popped up.

Years ago, that would have left me out in the cold. However, that’s not really the case in today’s world. The hashtag #CSTA2022 was active with both content and pictures. The real gold mine for me has been Alfred Thompson’s blog. He’s been very good to post content there with a number of links to slidedecks and resources. Cybersecurity is of real interest to me these days and you can never have enough of it.

Of course, it’s not the same but I think there was a sigh of relief around here that I didn’t go.


OTR Links 07/18/2022

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.