Sunday, 14 July 2013

San Antonio, Texas - work and play!

San Antonio - June 23 to 27

I went to San Antonio for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference. I first heard about this conference from reading some tweets on twitter from some amazing Aussie educators I follow. They had been before and as the registrations began opening, there was some mentions of this conference and as I knew I would be in the US for my exchange, I began to look into it all. What I discovered was that this conference was HUGE! The previous year it had drawn some Amazing keynote speakers and I began to wonder how I coild get involved in this conference. Being that the focus was so clearly on integrating technology into the curriculum which is what I have been playing with and working on the last five years or so, I began to become very interested in attending the conference. What added to the draw was that it was being held in San Antonio, Texas, which was meant to be the most beautiful city in that state and an area I had not yet visited in my travels. Why not attend a professional development conference in a city that would be new!

So after organizing all my summer holidays tripping around the States around this one week (not really – ISTE was booked in November last year so I just blocked that week out!) I arrived in Texas ready and looking forward to being inspired by educators and what they are doing in their schools. I was. I was inspired and motivated and energized by the group of 20,000 educators who were exploring how technology can enhance and improve student learning in this century and beyond. I also received further confirmation of my belief that Victoria and Australia are at the head of the game with regards to tech support and innovation of integration. It made me passionate to return to using technology with students and I look forward to exploring new (and old) paths of learning with them.

ISTE Opening Session in the main Ballroom - 20 000 people interested
in education through technology........ awesome vibe!
Conference Centre walkway over part of the River Walk.
You can also see a boat on the water - I took this tour around the river.
It was very informative about the history of the walk.

I took in a few sessions and heard many people talk in rooms and as I was walking around this massive conference over four days. A few statements stuck with me and when I find them again, I'll share with you all! ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

This was a wonderful week for invigorating my belief in using ICT to facilitate student learning, both independent and facilitator-directed. I completely enjoyed myself – and it was pretty easy to do so when I was in such a gorgeous city! While it was Hot with a capital H (easily 30 Celsius and above) the humidity was what really made you feel the heat. I walked every day to the conference centre and back to the hotel, which was about a 25-35 minute walk depending on the time of day. Basically it was like walking through wet air all day. Despite this, there was some relief found by walking along the River Walk, which has been constructed around the downtown area. It was partially shaded most of the way due to the trees and buildings from the sun, which made the heat and humidity much more bearable!

I have included some photos below so you can see the prettiness of the River Walk and a few of the historic sites in San Antonio. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I did seeing it all in real life!

The Cathedral of San Fernando - the oldest cathedral sanctuary
in the US. It was built between 1738 & 1750.
One of the many walkways over and around the River Walk.
All restaurants had these bright umbrellas for shade. Very bright and colourful.
This hotel was built modular style - it was made in boxes off site and then
the modules were just laid on top of each other! Finished in record time too!
This tree was forced through the wall of this restaurant during the floods in
about 1921. The owners have just left it like that! 
This tree is wanting some sun!
A tile mosaic mural on the conference centre wall. Beautiful!
On the River Walk.
A little waterfall to be enjoyed.
The River Walk.
This is a historic part of the walk - the five bells are on the back wall
of a stage, with the searing being behind me taking the photo.
Five bells to represent the five missions in town, such as The Alamo.

So that was San Antonio, in the last week of June. From here, I flew back to Grand Junction for three days where I did all my laundry, caught up with some friends and repacked my bags for the next part of my summer adventure – Alaska!

More to come, stay smiling for now!
Candice ๐Ÿ˜Š

1 comment:

  1. Candice - been reading through your blog as I am getting ready to head to NSW from Canada for 2014 on an exchange fellowship too. Had to smile when I saw this post; I was at ISTE as well! What an amazing gathering. Thanks for sharing your exchange experiences in your blog. Great reading! @milesmac