#ISTE2014 Here I Come!! A Guide for Newbies

Ok – so I’m just barely not a newbie for this. Last year was my first ISTE conference. This event changed my entire professional career: I went from being interested in how educational technology can impact learning to applying to graduate school to get a PhD in education technology. There is so much to do, so much to see, so much to take in, that one year later, my head is still buzzing with ideas about what I saw/heard/learned.

So if this is your first time here are some things that will help you get through this most amazing conference:

  1. Schedule your day!  This will take a little time, the schedule is jam packed with all kinds of great things to see/do/hear/participate in.  Be deliberate – set up a first, second, third choice when possible.  Some sessions will fill up quickly, so it is really handy to have some other options.
  2. Where comfy shoes!  The building in San Antonio was huge and I’m sure that the one in Atlanta will be as well.  It is entirely possible that you could cover quite a bit of ground during the day.  No sense in getting into trouble early on day one because you just had to wear those shoes that matched that shirt…
  3. Get Out!  Almost every session that you choose to attend will be amazing.  But just like real life, there is the occasional stinker.  Don’t linger – if is smells bad, move on!!  There is way too much to see to get caught in a session that you regretted you stayed in.
  4. Two Words: The Exhibit Hall!  Actually that’s three words…oops…But wow!  There is no way to give a very good description of everything that you will see!  The most amazing and cool companies will be there.  Take some time to go through and enjoy and interact.
  5. Keynotes!  I was not disappointed at all with the keynote speakers last year!  It sure looks like this year will be no different.  Try and make it to all of them!
  6. Wander Through The Tables!  My friend and colleague, Kristina, and I will have a table all about Knowmia!  We would love to talk with you about how we use their website in our classes everyday.  But there is also other really great ideas from teachers all over the globe – get out of your comfort zone and ask them some questions.  Remember – you are here to get some great ideas about education and people at the tables are wanting to share!
  7. Have a Re-Charger Handy!  You will have your laptop/iphone/android/ipad/tablet on the whole time.  You will be tweeting, taking notes, texting, surfing…You name it and your electronic device will need to do it.  You might even try to spread your power out among two or three devices if you can.
  8. Follow the #ISTE2014 hashtag on twitter.  During the conference, this feed will move faster than the credits at the end of a movie, but scroll through it.  There will be some great ideas in there!

I know that there may be a couple of other things that I have forgotten over the past 365 days but, stick with these tips and you should have one heck of a time!  If there is one that just needs to be shared – remind me and I will add it!!

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