One of the largest EdTech events of the year, ISTE - the International Society for Technology in Education, is coming up in just a week! From great workshops to playgrounds to the casual conversation and collaboration that happens between sessions, this is a great event to recharge your innovation batteries. After attending for several years, I feel more confident going into the event and thought I’d share some tips to make the most of it with you:
- Wear comfortable shoes. You’re on your feet all day, hiking around the labyrinthian convention center and standing around gabbing with new edufriends. Be sure to bring comfy shoes - or if you must wear something snazzy, bring a pair of flip flops to swap out once the day starts to wind down.
- Pack healthy snacks. The food in the convention centers are often overpriced and under-good. Both for you and tasting. The restaurants around the event are usually sporting long lines during the lunch hours and when you have a short window of time before your next session, you probably don’t have time to wait. So pack some fruit, granola bars, trail mix, anything that will travel well in your bag throughout the day.
- Download a business card app. I get so many business cards during these events that I never look at again. However, in the mix I lose great the contact info of fabulous educators I wish I had remembered to save. The next time someone hands you a card, ask to just snap a photo. I love the app Cardful because of its Evernote integration but there are a ton of good ones out there. Once you’ve got the picture of the card, you can categorize it as someone you’d like to follow up with… or not.
- Don’t forget the poster sessions. Oftentimes folks forget that the poster sessions are some of the best opportunities for learning and connection. Here are brave educators sharing their work in a casual environment. Many of the best things I’ve learned at ISTE has been from chatting up a poster session presenter. Moreover, most of the student presenters I’ve seen at ISTE have been at the poster session exhibits. It’s so important for their voices to be represented at ed conferences - and when they are there we should stop and listen.
- Talk to strangers. So often we head to these events with our herd of edufriends and circulate through the halls in our own prearranged clique. However a potential edusoulmate could be sitting right next to you. Engage fellow participants in conversations, offer a seat to someone who looks lost and who knows? Maybe you’ll be co-presenting together next year!