#ISTE2014 Day 1: Opening Keynote And Other ATL Fun!!

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My colleagues and I started our journey to ISTE yesterday and had the good fortune to not feel so rushed by the trip. And since we are in Atlanta it was a great opportunity to see my little brother. After arriving and getting settled in, Jeremy picked us up and gave us a small tour of the downtown Atlanta area. We ended up over in Avondale Estates for dinner. He swore there was a great place to get some smoked fried chicken…I had my suspicions, but man it was delicious!!! So if you are ever in Atlanta and can get a little off of the beaten path, eat dinner at The Bishop! Next on our personalized local tour was the improv comedy club Whole World Improv Theatre. Best. Time. Ever! Again, if you are in Atlanta and it is performance night, be sure to go! We finished our day back at the hotel where my buddies and I recorded a little video blog for our expectations of ISTE. Tinkered with the technology and lights out.

Today started out pretty nice – Kristina and I picked up our presenter badges (super duper way cool) and we got the lay of the convention center. By the way the Georgia World Congress is GINORMOUS!! Back to the hotel to ditch stuff we didn’t need just yet, then off to World of Coke! Totally a touristy deal, but if you like Coke and are visiting Atlanta you might think about it. Plus when you get done with the tour, there is a tasting room with different Coke drinks from all over the world. Some of those flavors though, yuck! My brother picked us up again for lunch and it was off to a fun off the beaten path place to eat. This time he took us to Savage Pizza in the Little 5-Points area. And once again, he delivered! After lunch it was more tour guide stuff of the downtown area and some really neat local points of interest before we were back in the hotel to get our conference credentials and head off to the opening keynote.

Ashley Judd was the opening keynote, and although not quite what I was expecting, she had a very powerful message about the influence that we have as teachers on our students. We can use that power for good and make a difference – and Ms. Judd referred to a couple of her teachers that did just that during times in her life that were very challenging. Those teachers made a huge difference in her life and ultimately led her to the keynote that we heard tonight.

Once were were able to escape the keynote session – logistics were a nightmare, it was time to find the welcome reception and some other Oklahoma educators. The journey from the keynote room to the welcome center was full of adventure – as we busted out into the loading docks of the Georgia World Congress. Lemmings were everywhere and going every which way – we chose to go the path least travelled and after some walking and a little worrying, we found the way back into the building. Only to figure out that we were hungry and wanting to eat dinner, the lines were super long at the welcome reception. Enter the hour long search to find a wait time less than two hours in the downtown area for food. After trying five different places and walking all over, we found a fun little place called Slice. The great thing about this place was that it was not jammed to the rafters with folks! My #oklaed friends and I settled down and enjoyed some good food and great conversation. Back again to the hotel to map out tomorrow and here I am finishing this blog.

Good Night #ISTE2014! SEE YOU TOMORROW!!!

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