Yes this year I opted for ALA instead of ISTE. My mind is at a tug-a-war as to whether or not I made the right decision. I chose to go to ALA strictly for the opportunity to network with another side of my PLN, a side that I mostly interact with in Facebook of all places, as not as many of them use the tools I like (Twitter, Blogs, RSS feeds, etc.) If they do (and probably many do) I just haven’t been introduced.
So now I will woo you with my takeaways!
Meeting Sally Mays
When I decided to attend, I needed a roommate. I decided sort of late, so staying on the shuttle route was out. I turned to my network, and Dawn Nelson of MEMO hooked me up with “Senora Sally Mays.” I had no real information except that she was from Minnestoa and Doug Johnson’s neck of the woods (sort of anyway) so agreed to take her in as a roomie. It wound up being the start of an awesome trip and friendship! Sally arrived earlier than I did, and so brought me a gift from MEMO, which I am attending in the fall! It was a bag of wildrice native to Minnesota and even better, a metro pass for the week. (Be sure to see it in my picture show below.) How awesome was that!! She had an iPad too, so I got a good look/feel of the tool, coveting the whole time!
Eating with special friends, old and new!
I ate many meals with friends, and the time spent networking with them was priceless. This was the part that reminded me of the School Library Journal Summit and ISTE. Mega learning for me takes place in these environments. I broke bread with:
- Learning Commons and all around school library guru David Loertscher
- The Unquiet Librarian Buffy Hamilton
- Journeys Blogger and Geek Tribe Charter Member Diane M. Cordell
- Library EdTech Leader Ernie Cox
- Geek Teacher Blogger and Edcamp Philly planner Dan Callahan
- SLJ Technology Editor Kathy Ishizuka
- Twitter & library guru Melissa Techman
- Twitter friend and Archipelago blogger Elizabeth Abarbanel
- School Library Monthly Blogger Kristin Fontichiaro
- VOYA Editor-in-Chief Rosemary Honnold
- and of course, my new friend Senora Sally Mays
Best session? (Or should I say sessions)
The AASL President’s Message where we listened to Allison Zmuda who promoted the Verizon Thinkfinity Challenge was a pretty good session! I love when the speaker asks us to take a moment to discuss the topic she is presenting. Best, we walked away with a challenge that is financially sound–can you say “mini-grant waiting to happen?” But hands down the best session was presented by Sarah Searles. I popped in a little late, but Sara gave me some seeds for ideas. The best take away for me was a fantastic overview of Weebley.com and some ideas for using it in my teaching context. Here is a link to her session wiki which is a gold mine in itself.
Fun to be had!
Along with the eating and meeting up with friends, there were a couple of fun times to!
- I had a blast hanging out with my roommate Sally Mays until 1:30 in the morning our first night. We walked down to a sports bar and instantly became friends while talking and ragging a New York Yankees fan!
- Sally, Elizabeth, and I walked around the monuments at twilight–had a great time and saw wonderful sights.
- The book cart drills were fantastic fun.
- On the evening of the black tie affair, the Caldecott and Newbery Award Ceremony, a small group of us went to a convention center bar/restaurant for free food and drinks. When it was done, we were walking back towards the convention center when someone in our group noted that shuttle buses were still taking participants over to the ceremony, and that there would be a seating gallery for those not eating. So we all hopped on the bus. We arrived a good half hour before it began, so we went down to speak to David Loertscher and Jon Scieszka! We saw many other friends in the dining area (like Tenn friend Diane Chen and SC buddy Michael Giller), and I was able to get a fancy program crafted with artwork by award winner Jerry Pinkney. I had no idea one could attend these events without a ticket, and apparently ALA does a good job of keeping it top secret. We had a marvelous time.
Here are some of Sally’s pictures from ALA:
And here are my pictures–I must beg forgiveness, because I tend to forget I have a camera and can take pictures to share!
Be sure to look at photographer extraordinaire Diane Cordell’s ALA Pictures too: