1) It's about relationships
First, as we improve teacher practice and student learning it comes down to the relationships. Nothing can start or begin to move forward without an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect. For each session I attended a good portion of this year was moving forward because of the relationships that had been built in the previous years.
Second, there is nothing like meeting people in real life that you have known for years online. I am a big advocate of Twitter and while I am not the most active tweep, I have established a group of twitter friends that I refer to in real life like I have known them for years. I had the opportunity to connect and reconnect with a number of them here. Most of you know I am not a big hugger, but I threw a few down at this conference!
2) Sharing. School divisions like Blackgold have a fabulous website and offer up anything and everything they have created during their AISI project.
At PWSD we do a great job of sharing. Both our Moodle sites, ecommunity and collaboration, have large sections wide open. We have launched a YouTube Channel and have our Facebook pages but there is always room for improvement.
3) New Ideas. As with any conference I came away with some new ideas and tools that I had never seen before.
iPhone charger - I never make it through an entire conference day. Between tweeting, email and surfing my phones dies. This is a life saver, special thanks to Lynn for pointing it out.
Diigo and Firefox - I got schooled in the ways of the interweb by @gcouros, don't tell him but they are actually pretty good.
The Important Book, Audacity & Movie Maker - I want to do this project that Calgary Catholic School Division showed us. Special needs students recording what is important, overlaying images to create their own movie. Pretty powerful stuff.
This was my first AISI conference and I was so glad that I went. It gave our AISI team time to talk, plan and get to know each other a little better. It gave me a better idea of the bigger AISI picture in Alberta and some great ideas for how to move forward with technology in our district.