Thursday, July 1, 2010

Young Educators Rock Denver

Probably the number one question I was asked during ISTE 2010 was how do we get more young educators involved in the ISTE organization.  As I look through flickr photos, blogs and tweets again tonight I see a lot of strong activity in the young educator network and truly feel that the group of young educators rocking the ISTE scene this year will bring added members in full force in 2011!

Just found this blog by Crystal Grandison on some of the best tweets of ISTE 2010.  If you scroll through that list, a ton of them are from the young educator community!  So, not only does ISTE have a good following of those of us under the age of 35, but we are involved and not to mention quite intelligent!  Amongst the young educator network we have award winning bloggers, conference/camp coordinators, internationally recognized emerging leaders and top-notch innovative educators.  I'm watching my twitter stream as I write this post and most of the comments still continuing from ISTE10 are from those under the age of 35. We are excited about what ISTE has to offer and will continue to spread the word!

This group of young educators on the scene right now includes some of the best people I've ever met and they continue to amaze me every single day.  I do think, however, that we are reached in a different way.  Our home base is twitter, no doubt about it.  We are making very strong connections online to the point that we are the best of friends by the time the ISTE conference rolls around each year.  Those connections quickly become one of the reasons we want to attend the conference.  This fact is evident in how much time we spend with each other when we get there including during sessions, meals, late night events and even trips and tours taken together during the conference.

All this being said, I was a bit surprised at how few people attended the bowling event for the Young Educators network this year.  After I thought about it, though, I realized it is because we are staying quite busy.  I peeked into a few schedules and, much like mine, they had several events planned and most all of them overlapped.  We're out there, we're just moving so much that sometimes you don't see us! I'll also add to that and say that lots of those that didn't make it bowling that night ended up at the lanes on another night because word spread quickly how much fun it was!

So, the answer to the question of how do we get more young educators involved?  I say keep it up kiddos!  Bring your friends and keep making those connections!  I think those of us in the under 35 category truly understand that a large part of attending the conference is about meeting new people and building the community.  Give it time, this is NOT a quiet group for sure and I expect big things over the next year!

Here are a few people to follow in the young educator community if you want to get more involved:

Mary Beth Hertz
Steven Anderson
Nick Provenzano
Mike Trump
Tim Gwynn
Adam Bellow
Lisa Sjogren
Beth Still
Jason Schrage
Amanda Dykes
Steve Johnson
Chris Craft
Kyle Pace

Yeah, I know I forgot some people.  I got most of these from my twitter stream as I was typing this blog. Go ahead! Share your recommendations in a comment!  I'd also love to hear from you if you have ideas on keeping the Young Educator's Network fresh and exciting!  Thanks in advance!!


  1. Hi Julie,

    Thanks for mentioning this. I agree that the community of young educators is promising, and I look forward to continuing the conversation!

    Chris Craft

  2. Had a great time hanging out with you in Denver (and in Philly last winter). I'm nearing the end of my YEN status, but certainly see a ton of potential in the group. Last year I wasn't so sure, but after the bowling party this year I'm convinced that ISTE realizes the power this group has on the big picture.

    I'll add my name to your list, even though I feel a little smug doing so. :) See you in Philly!

  3. I'm starting to worry that the "young educator" argument is an attempt to divide a population of educators who should be looking to focus technology use towards enhancing content as opposed to celebrating the ability of any one teacher who is endeavoring to really heighten the effectiveness of classroom, hybrid and online learning. The kinds of statements being made here, by Lisa Sjorgen and by ISTE are that new teachers do not know enough to be contributing members of any peer group and, conversely, older teachers are not able to contribute due to a lack of technology mastery and understanding. These are all foolish and ageist arguments and by celebrating age differences we are only exacerbating the problem. What we have now are a core group of "young educators" who are being told to take the helm and steer us towards better education with technology when our call should be to move towards better education, period.

    I fall into the dubious "young educator" category, but I would be ashamed to lock in with this group for fear that i would be adding more weight to this ridiculous division of educators. I never used my age as leverage for my credibility. I've presented at state and national levels, published many articles and have been recognized for my commitment to education - all without flaunting my age or talking up the benefits of my tech-oriented upbringing. We need to stop talking about Digital Natives, Young Educators, blah blah blah and focus back on creating genuine learning experiences for kids that are supported by technology (when it is needed).

  4. I don't think that young educators are focusing on the tools. I do believe, however, that those coming into the profession now are using them more because they've been using them throughout their educational programs. You will never find me saying that age matters and I will most likely stand firmly that it doesn't. I've worked with teachers from 21-68 and all are just as able as the next to use new things as long as they're willing to try. I've had as many 21 year olds resist technology as I have 50 year olds.
    I'd also agree that technology is not always needed, but considering you are reading and responding to a blog post, it is evident that you find technology at least somewhat useful in your career.
    I don't believe that ISTE created the Young Educator Network as a way to separate the ages. I believe the network is a fantastic way to invite some of the younger folks in and make them feel welcome so they can become part of an organization that will support them in their journey as an educator... whatever path it may take them.