ISTE 2017 Reflections: Learning Spaces, Useful Resources and More

ISTE 2017 Reflections: Learning Spaces, Useful Resources and More | Another ISTE is on the books. Here's my reflections on my conference experience this year, along with notes and resources.

Another ISTE whirlwind is now on the books!  ISTE 2017 in San Antonio was my fourth ISTE and it was one of the best ones yet.  I think I’ve finally learned how to pace myself, be selective about what I want to do and see and really soak it in.  This year my main foci were connecting with others, promoting my books and learning even more about learning space design.  Make sure you make it all the way through this post, because there’s goodies for you at the bottom 🙂  Here are my reflections:

Awesome people and sessions at ISTE

Awesome ISTE Sessions

One thing I’ve learned about presenting at ISTE is that I have to be really selective about how many sessions I go to.  This year, I only went to four sessions beyond those that I was presenting at.  I decided to focus primarily on learning spaces and libraries, in part because I just finished my book.  Also, I want to keep sourcing ideas for how I’ll be changing up the space and programming at my new school.

I sketchnoted all the sessions I went to, so scroll down to see my notes on each of the sessions.

Student Centered Learning Spaces

This was an awesome session on learning spaces from Carolyn Foote.

Carolyn’s slides can be found here.

Hack Your School Library

This was a fantastic panel!

Here’s a crowd-sourced Padlet created during the session with more ideas.

Learning Spaces that Inspire Learning

Fantastic session on learning spaces from Robert Dillon and Rebecca Hare.

Check out their book The Space – it’s a great resource.

Mad Scientist vs. Mad Maker

This was both hilarious and informative

I think that ISTE recorded this one so keep an eye out for it.

LEGO wall

I loved getting to see the LEGO walls that attendees have created.

Awesome People

Four years ago, I found my tribe at ISTE in Atlanta.  I love coming back every year and connecting with people there.  Some of the highlights this year: geeking out over Colleen and Aaron Graves upcoming MaKey MaKey book, hanging with the ISTE Librarians Network leadership team at the networking fair and breakfast, getting to see old friends and make new ones.  One of the best parts was when people would come up to me and share pictures of their LEGO wall, or tell me how my blog helped them to start their makerspace or change up their library.  These interactions really do mean the world to me.  Some days it feels like I’m just throwing stuff out into cyberspace and hoping it helps someone – it’s always so nice to find out when it does.

Learning Space vendors

So excited to see the Stewart storage cart!

Furniture Vendors

I didn’t have a lot of vendor hall time this year, so I concentrated specifically on furniture vendors since I’m planning a renovation of my library space in two years.  This year I connected with Steelcase, VS Furniture (by the way, Hokki is in fact, pronounced like hockey), Copernicus, and Custom Education Furnishings (CEF).

I was especially excited to visit CEF’s booth because I partnered with them at Stewart during my last few months there.  If you follow my Instagram, you may know about the furniture challenge that my Stewart Makers club worked on in the spring.  The end result of that challenge was the Stewart Storage Cart, now being manufactured by CEF.  Not only did I get to see the cart that my students designed on the showroom floor, but I also got to see the amazing video CEF created about my students and their creation.  I’ll be writing up more on this soon, but for now, check out the video:

My presentations

My Presentations

I was super excited this year to present my first solo concurrent session at ISTE.  I’ve done posters, panels and playgrounds, but this was my first time where it was just me.  The turnout was fantastic – standing room only even though it was the last day of the conference.  The energy in the room was great, and it was wonderful to get to share with so many educators.

The Knights of Make-a-Lot (third year in a row) was tons of fun.  The Future Ready Librarians panel was fast paced and full of amazing ideas.  I met tons of awesome people at my playground sessions.  Whether you made it to my sessions or missed me, check out my ISTE 2017 presentation resources page for slides, related resources and more.

Goodies for you!

If you scrolled this far, congrats!  Colleen Graves and I had flyers during the conference for a 20% discount on our book, Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace.  Our publisher has been generous enough to offer this out through July 31, so if you missed us or were #notatiste, you can still get the discount!  Click this link to get the discount – it’s only available through July 31! 

(Note: Post contains affiliate links.  Actions taken may result in commissions for RenovatedLearning.)


Diana Rendina, MLIS, is the media specialist at Tampa Preparatory School, an independent 6-12 in Tampa, FL. Previously, she was the media specialist at Stewart Middle Magnet School for seven years, where she founded their library makerspace. She is the creator of the blog RenovatedLearning.com & is also a monthly contributor to AASL Knowledge Quest. Diana is the winner of the 2016 ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award, the 2015 ISTE Librarians Network Secondary Award, the 2015 AASL Frances Henne Award & the 2015 SLJ Build Something Bold Award. She is an international speaker on the Maker Movement and has presented at conferences including AASL, FETC & ISTE. Diana co-authored Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace with Colleen and Aaron Graves and is also the author Reimagining Library Spaces: Transform Your Space on Any Budget.