Last week at ISTE13, I received the Emerging Leader award, and was overwhelmed with congratulations and support. My takeaway from the conference was much deeper, though. As I was onstage about to receive my award, lots of folks tweeted at me:

I was expecting that. “Congrats!” “Well done!” “EduAwesome!” That’s just being polite, right?? No–it was so much more than that. As the conference went on, I found that I was edustoked every time someone’s presentation went well, or I saw an epic tweet giving someone props. It became more than simply congratulations, support, pride, or camaraderie. It hit me during Adam Bellow’s closing keynote when he said,

You are only as valuable as the people you are connected to.

As I saw him on stage, it was more than just, “Hey, I know that guy!” It was a shared victory–Adam was up there killing it, and we were up there with him, sometimes literally:

Social media has fundamentally changed the way we connect as educators. Yes, it’s great to attend sessions and present sessions, but ISTE was so much more than just that. It was about sharing a common victory. We’re changing the world together. Every conversation, every presentation, and even Adam’s keynote was an #eduwin for us all. And suddenly my award became about more than just me. Now I just need to figure out how to add the names of everyone from my PLN to the plaque.

This was like being bitten by a zombie–you can’t help but be transformed by the experience. In the case of ISTE13, I thank each of you for making me a better EduZombie. We share each other’s victories, and we, and our students, are better as a result.