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Jun 04

Top 11 Tips for ISTE

ISTE in Denver is approaching rapidly. The tweets about the excitement and events are popping up more and more. Whether you’re attending for the first time or are a ISTE/NECC veteran, you are sure to walk away with a rather interesting experience. This year will be my 3rd year attending the conference. My first year was 2008, when the conference was in San Antonio. I went by myself, knowing only a few people online. I left, knowing a lot. Last year in Washington DC, I went knowing a lot more, and left with even more connections that I could imagine. These connections have led to a lot of learning and a lot of thinking. I love the conference – for the sessions, the informal discussions, and the evening social functions.

I’d like to offer the following – based on my experience at ISTE/NECC the last couple of years, my top 11 tips for attending this awesome conference.

11.  Attend EduBloggerCon or The DEN PreCon Event.  If you’ll be in Denver on Saturday, check out EduBloggerCon.  This is a great day of conversation and learning.  I went last year and had a blast.  If you’re a DEN member, check out the DEN PreCon Event at the Denver Zoo.

10. Don’t be shy. If you see a familiar face, from Twitter or somewhere else, say hi. This was difficult for me the first year, but for the most part, everyone at the conference is awesome and at least will say hi back. Perhaps you’ll strike up a conversation about a topic and learn something new.

9. Use the conference planner. Plan out the sessions you want to attend. HOWEVER, have a plan B. Some sessions will be packed and there won’t be room for you. Don’t worry – there are a ton of great sessions to hit.

8. Hang out in the Blogger’s Cafe. Even if you don’t blog, this is the place to hang out, meet people, and have informal conversations. When I’m not in a session, this is where I’ll probably be. Many of the faces you see on Twitter will be there tweeting or writing blog posts or just chatting.

7. Bring a backpack. My first year, I had a messenger bag. It was a mistake. It was too small and wasn’t big enough. Last year, I brought a backpack and was much happier. My back also felt much better at the end of the day after doing so much walking.

6. Take a break during the day. There is a lot going on and you can easily feel overwhelmed. If you’re feeling tired, find a quiet place and relax. Read a book, take a cat nap, or just do nothing – but get away from the chaos. It’s amazing how 30 minutes of quiet time can rejuvinate you.

5. Follow the #ISTE hashtag on Twitter. I set up a column in TweetDeck soley for the tweets coming from the conference. I believe the official hashtag is #ISTE10, but I will probably be following #ISTE just in case. There will be tons of links and thoughts being shared from all over Denver.  Check out what people are already tweeting.

4. Learn something. Yes, it’s that simple.

3. Enjoy the evening social activities. Whether it’s a vendor party, a Tweetup, or just a get together with some friends, enjoy the time. You shouldn’t be in your hotel room at 8:00.  Go out, unwind, have fun. Vendors are willing to give you some free snacks and drinks – take advantage. It’s great to touch base with the people behind some of the tools we use and hear what their plans are for the future. It’s not often we get opportunities like this, take advantage of it.

2. Don’t worry – you will miss something. There will be a session you didn’t go to, but was outstanding. There will be something you were hoping to do, but just didn’t. There will be someone you wanted to meet and talk to, but didn’t. It’s okay. Each year, there were things I wished I would have done, but didn’t. It didn’t ruin my experience and it won’t ruin yours.

1. Have fun. I look at this conference as a mini vacation. First and foremost, I’m there to learn and become a better teacher. I also feel it’s a time to do and experience some new things. This shouldn’t be a waste of time and something you regret. You should walk away with new ideas to enhance your teaching. You should walk away with some new friendships. You should walk away saying, “I can’t wait to go back next year.”

If you’ve attended in the past, what do you think of my list? Do you have something to add? Do you disagree with anything on my list?

I leave for Denver 3 weeks from today. I’m really looking forward to attending – I know I’ll have a blast. Maybe I’ll see you there.

image source: http://swansonteacher.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/iste2010-logo.jpg

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9 comments
gracia19
gracia19

Thanks you for providing us such useful tips. I’m saving this for my future plans.

Lucy
Lucy

i bet the event was a success again, how i wash i could attend your possible future events.

anika001
anika001

thanks for offering those great tips, i will take it down for future reference. :)

Amp Accessories
Amp Accessories

"." I am very thankful to this topic because it really gives great information '*,

Gwyneth Jones
Gwyneth Jones

GREAT List, Chad! I'd also add: - you're gonna feel overwhelmed - and that's natural. like Chad said, take a break. - consider avoiding the vendors: how many pens do you really need? i used to be a total vendor whore and now i don't even waste time with the vendors [ducks out of the way of her vendor friends] though best vendor swag EVER was at AASL Pittsburgh - Jane Austen Bobble Head! - bring stickers with your name & addy in case you do visit the vendors - get & bring a business card to give out - i recently blogged about the moo & flickr have a free card promo! - apples & oranges can save your life when you don't have time for lunch - SHARE! take wiki notes, twitter, & blog about your impressions - add to the virtual ISTE by sharing great ideas & resources so everyone can benefit - don't' feel bad if you leave a boring session early - this is your experience - make the most of it. but be polite and sneak out. - tweet with kindness - don't heckle speakers - can't have THAT happen again. Cheers & See peeps at the Tweetup! ~Gwyneth

Chad Lehman
Chad Lehman

Tara, I wish you were going as well. I'd love to talk about your library and the things you do. I'm very impressed.

tara
tara

Chad, Now I'm insane with jealousy that I am not attending. :) Thanks for giving such great tips. Definitely putting this in my future plans. Have a great time!

Chad
Chad

Dennis, great idea. I haven't checked those out much myself. I'll have to take a look this year.

Dennis Grice
Dennis Grice

Great post Chad. There is SO much to do and see at ISTE that one person cannot possibly do it all. One thing I would recommend is to make a point to visit the Poster Sessions. Last year I found I learned more in 10 minutes from talking one on one with a teacher at a poster session than I did sitting in some of the 45 minute general sessions.