An Insider’s Guide to What to know before, during, and after the Conference
When someone tells you that you are going to attend The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference and Expo, how do you feel? Are you, :
A.) Excited to learn more and meet new people? Do you count the days until you have to go to the conference? Do you tell all your friends and family about your joy because of having to go to the event?
B.) Worried or anxious because you only have a vague idea of what’s going to happen. Do hundreds of questions race in your mind? Who will I be with? Where will I go? What programs do I have to attend? Do I have to participate in all the activities? Where and what will I eat? Where are the bathrooms?
C.) A little bit of both?
Most people, even those who have attended dozens of conferences, would say C. Of course you’re looking forward to going to the conference — you’ll learn from the experts in your field, and from other attendees as well. There is more than the social gatherings and the swag you get at the exhibit hall, you’ll meet new people, and even get to see your friends in the industry. And it’s just as natural to feel a bit nervous — with all the activities that the organisers have planned, how will you make sure that you maximise the experience?
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Tips for surviving EdTech Conferences
When attending the ISTE or even other conferences, there are only a few key things you should keep in mind. Here are some of them.
1. Be a Boy (or Girl) Scout
That is, come prepared. Organisers have everything you need to know about the event posted on their website and even their social media pages. Get on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, and like, follow, or subscribe to get updates about the event. For the less tech savvy (which is why they’re attending such a conference), simply check your e-mail; you are bound to be a recipient of their newsletter since you registered for the event.
Once you’ve read about the different activities, pick the ones that are most relevant to you. You only need to spend your energy and focus on your interests to avoid feeling drained. The ISTE
also has a mobile app — download it and treat it like your best friend. If there are any sudden changes, it’ll keep you in the loop.
2. Be Flexible
So, you’ve read up on the activities prior to going to the event and have decided on the ones you want to check out most — do still keep an open mind. Ask the organisers or other attendees about the talks, workshops, or other activities that you definitely must not miss. In the process, start making new friends; you’ll learn as much from your colleagues in the field, as from the experts that are on the stage.
3. Be Present
Soak in the experience and actively participate; make the most of the opportunity to ask questions and voice out your thoughts. Experts are as eager to share as you are to learn and are bound to learn from what you’ll share.
4. Be a Catalyst
Last but not the least, communicate your learnings from the conference. Post, tweet, or write about it; or, simply tell your colleagues about what’s new in the edtech world over a meal or coffee. Impart what new knowledge you’ve gained, along with your insights. The field is constantly changing — do not let the learning and sharing end at the event.
Remember to enjoy this learning experience because that is what it is after all – an opportunity to share ideas with some of the big names in education technology. Good luck and see you there!
Image credit: ISTE Conference
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