Wednesday, April 10, 2013

CUE Reflections Part 2: Getting Ready for Conferences

*Note: If there is a conference you want to attend but are not able to, there is likely a dedicated webpage for the conference that contains helpful information, and/or apply the Twitter tip I give below.*

Thinking about all the different learning opportunities and people I’ll see at a conference is almost as good as being there. That was how I felt before heading to CUE 2013. Overwhelmed was also another feeling I experienced as there were more sessions I wanted to attend than I could, and I had to prepare to lead a session. In order to maximize my learning experiences and fun, I decided to be strategic and plan.

I started by adding ALL the sessions/events I wanted to attend to my schedule online (which links to my Google Calendar and can feed into an iCal account). I had approximately five overlapping events per session time. When narrowing down the events I considered the following:

  1. Current district technology initiatives

  2. Relevant trends

  3. Ensuring that there isn’t much overlap between the sessions I’m choosing.

  4. Checking out the resources that the session speakers post online. Sometimes they post enough I don’t have to go to the session, or see that it won’t be a substantive enough session to attend.

  5. What will be inspiring, or my fun session. I’m applying Google’s “20% Time” principle.

  6. Fun networking events, meeting new people and continuing to build on the relationships I’ve already started. This was also a great opportunity for exchanging new insights/tools with friends that attended sessions that I couldn’t.

  7. Drop by current vendors, and any others that may have products needed in the near future.

  8. Down time to allow for processing all the information. 

I wasn’t a stickler in holding to my schedule but I was glad I had it. The day before I headed out, @AliceKeeler recommended I follow the conference Twitter feed #cue13 and to tweet throughout. Following this advice and learning more about Twitter in education may have been the most fruitful experience from my time at the conference. More to come about that.

May your conference attendance bring you lots of great learning experiences, resources, inspiration and good times!

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