ISTE 2014 in Hotlanta

Photo courtesy of @abunai_tech

Had an absolute blast at ISTE 2014! More info about the conference on my school blog.

Took the MARTA from the airport to our hotel. Cost $2.50 to ride. Transportation is really efficient in Atlanta.

Stayed at the Hilton Atlanta. Being a last-minute add-on, my intention was to crash with Tim & Lance. Fortunately, we ran into Yasin from IT in the lobby who didn’t have a roommate.

For dinner, we went to Pittypat’s Porch for some southern food. The ambiance was awesome.

And the food was amazing! Had the fried chicken & ribs combo.

Here’s the peach cobbler with cinnamon ice cream. So good….

Had some time to enjoy the sights on Saturday. It was extremely hot at the Centennial Olympic Park.

Met up with the gang at the Georgia Aquarium, the world’s largest. The lobby looked like a multiplex theater.

What was most impressive were the large tanks with the whale sharks and the Beluga whales. The workers there complimented me on my shoes, “Man, I love your NYKES….”

The conference itself was great. There were 15,000 educators in attendance.

Whenever there was a free moment, we would try to get to the Taco Mac across the street to catch up on the World Cup. Fútbol Fever and amazing buffalo wings!

For dinner on Saturday, Kimble took us to his hometown of Decatur. It was great! The town was charming with a church, courthouse, sycamore trees, and cafés. We had a late dinner at an awesome place called the Brick Store Pub. Had a meatloaf sandwich and delicious appetizers. It was special visiting Kimble’s hometown.

Spent much of Sunday in poster sessions and vendor workshops. I preferred the interactivity of this format over traditional breakout presentations.

On Sunday night, we had dinner at Legal Sea Foods. It was great. Only thing is that I worry about a seafood restaurant being so close to an aquarium.

On Monday, our KSEdTech team rocked the Coaches Playground. It was a great time of learning, sharing, and connecting with educators from all over the country. Mahalo to Lynne for coordinating this movement.

We celebrated with lunch at the Hudson Grille. I ate a whole lotta fried chicken on this trip.

That evening, we caught a Braves vs. Mets game at Turner Field. It was hot. Enjoyed a Georgia Dog and a SweetWater 420.

Here are the screaming faithful doing the “tomahawk.” We left in the 8th inning (to beat the traffic) and missed an amazing come-from-behind victory.

At the conclusion of the conference, our entire KS contingent (nearly 80 of us) gathered at historic Paschal’s Restaurant. A few of us got there early to catch the USA World Cup match.

The highlight was listening to a gentleman tell stories about this special place. (Notice “Hawai’i” on the banner in the background.)

Met up with friends later in the evening at the Juke Joint. The absolute best fried chicken….
Ended this great experience by riding the SkyView Atlanta with Lynne. What a treat!

Had a great time of learning, sharing, and team building. Mahalo e Ke Ali’i Pauahi.

San Diego Trip

Very blessed to have attended the ISTE Education Technology Conference with my Kamehameha Schools EdTech team. Here are my posts from the conference.

We arrived late Saturday night and checked into Hotel Solamar. It’s a great boutique hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter. They played Ed Sheeran music poolside.

The Gaslamp Quarter is all about restaurants & pubs and is right across from the convention center.

I spent my free day visiting Balboa Park. It’s an awesome place filled with gardens and museums. And it’s free. The concierge told me where to catch the bus. Unfortunately, on Sundays you have to walk up to the college trolley station. When I checked my iPhone map I was halfway there, so I ended up just walking the entire two miles uphill. It was definitely worth it!

We had cool places to eat right around the hotel. We were three blocks away from the convention center and two blocks from the baseball stadium. On 5th Avenue, you could find everything from a good steak, to gelato, to an ice cold glass of Stone IPA.

A highlight for me was when our group took the trolley into Old Town.

Old Town is really…. old town. It’s filled with shops (souvenirs, taffy, candles, cigars, tile, beef jerky, etc.) We sampled the beer tasting & wine tasting in a saloon on our way to the Casa Guadalajara for dinner.

It was great having authentic Mexican food. Had a nice time in SD….

“City of Brotherly Love”

I had the privilege of attending the ISTE Conference in Philadelphia this summer. It was an amazing learning experience. I’ll post something about it later on my school blog. But this post is not about that. Here’s a little story….

Arriving early in Philly, we were able to do a little sightseeing and take a bus tour of the city. I saw the Love sculpture at the JFK Plaza, a.k.a. the LOVE Park. It was a few blocks away from our hotel and on the way to the convention center. I attended an informal bloggers’ session on the weekend and thought it would be a good opportunity to check out the park. (A tourist took this photo of me.)

What I discovered there was somewhat disturbing. It was a park where the homeless lived. At first, I walked around the fountains and avoided the homeless people. I ignored them like how the tourists and businessmen there ignored them. I guess you call that “selective seeing.” Then I came across this blind, elderly lady who was also mentally disabled. It broke my heart. What’s going to happen to her? Who’s looking out for her? She was the neediest of the needy.

I had brunch at the Reading Terminal Market, a Philly cheese steak sandwich. It was good, and it was huge. I saved half and went to my session. When it was over, I thought about that lady. God really put her on my heart. I decided to return to the park on my way back to the hotel. I looked for her, but I couldn’t find her.

Everyone at the park was snapping pictures and ignoring all of the homeless people scattered among the park benches. But I decided to walk alongside the groups of homeless people. What a turnaround. I couldn’t find the lady, so I looked for the oldest man there. It startled him when I offered the sandwich. Guess they’re used to being ignored. He happily accepted.

The next day, I took a stroll through the neighborhood. I had what I now call, “the best lunch of my life.” I visited this highly recommended kosher deli and sampled their homemade corned beef and pastrami meats. Oh my gosh! I went with the pastrami on rye, latkes (potato cakes,) slaw, and pickles. So ono that it made my head spin! Again, the portions were just too huge. I went back to the park and looked for the lady one more time. On this Sunday, a local church outreach was there to pass out lunch bags. The line stretched along the sidewalk of an entire city block. There were still a bunch of people on the benches. I couldn’t find the lady, so I looked for somone who looked the saddest. I startled him. He took the bag and said, “God bless you.” His face just lit up.

As delicious as the food was, it was my “best lunch” because I got to share it. This was after all, the LOVE Park….