The Super Bowl of education conferences is just a few weeks away. Are you ready?
Thousands of educators and technology leaders will gather in Philadelphia, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, June 28-July 1, for the annual ISTE Conference & Expo.
With a crowd this big, it’s easy to get lost in the hubbub. But here are a few proven tips to help you get the most out of your conference experience.
1. Take the Social Plunge with Twitter and Periscope
If you went to a conference as large as ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) and you only interacted in person, you’d be missing at least half the fun. Join the thousands of educators and technology leaders on Twitter, where they’ll be tweeting their impressions of the conference through the official hashtag #ISTE2015. There are also Twitter meetups during these conferences, so those who usually connect with fellow professionals on Twitter alone can talk in person.
EdTech will be livestreaming interviews and coverage of ISTE through Periscope, a smartphone app. If you haven’t already installed Periscope, do it now — it's free.
While you're at it, follow @EdTech_K12 via the app. When EdTech goes live with coverage, you'll be notified and can participate in the event. Afterward, you can watch the archived video for up to 24 hours after the recording.
2. Online Tools Help You Plan Ahead
Veteran conference attendees know that preparation is a must. Map out what you hope to achieve by attending ISTE. Are there specific technologies, concepts, strategies or leaders you want to learn more about? Set your conference milestones, then browse through the hundreds of sessions on ISTE's program guide or the smartphone app, and map out your daily plan of attack.
3. Bring Your Business Cards
Don't forget to bring your business cards. Don't have any? It's time to create some.
Along with being a great opportunity to absorb the latest techniques and tactics for using technology in education, ISTE is also a chance to get your name out there. Exchanging business cards with the people you meet will help ensure you remember your new professional connections after the hustle and bustle of the conference.
And if you're already active on Twitter, be sure to include your Twitter handle on the card.
4. Save Time with Stickers
Technology coordinator and blogger Kyle Calderwood dropped several great ISTE tips in this April blog post. Among his great suggestions is a tip to help speed your way through the vendor booths, hunting for prizes and giveaways. Calderwood advises creating adhesive labels with your address, job title and other information. This streamlines the tedious process of filling out forms at vendor booths.
"I would highly recommend printing off a few sheets of sticky address labels with this information that you can just stick to your ticket and be on your way. It will save a lot of time and hand cramping," Calderwood writes.
Looking for More Advice?
Browse the official Twitter hashtag #ISTE2015 and see what educators are saying about the conference.
Erin Klein, another EdTech top blogger, wrote "Planning for ISTE14 — Check out these tips from an OCD educator to stay organized!"