Friday, June 21, 2024

Advice To First Timers at #ISTE24 or #CSTA2024

Summer conference season is coming up. ISTE starts this weekend (without me) and CSTA (with me) is in July. Over the years I have been to scores of conferences and I have learned a few things. I thought I might share some of them.

Comfortable shoes. If you are a teacher this should be a no brainer. You'll be on your feet a lot.

Plan your day in advance but leave sessions early if they don't match your needs or expectations. I like to select a prime session for each time slot and have one or more backups.

Do the exhibit hall in stages. I like to make a fast pass and make note of exhibits I want to spend more time at. I then go back to them. At ISTE making it all the way through the exhibit hall at one go is usually too much. Don’t stress it. You have a couple of days.

Don't carry more than you actually need. (I'm bad at this.) Bags can get very heavy with swag and literature.

Take pictures! Take pictures of web addresses for future reference. Take pictures of cool gadgets as well. It may save you space and weight in your bag if you photograph enough information to look a company up on the web later.

Meet new people! It is tempting to hang with people you know and that’s great. But sit at tables with people you don’t know and talk to them. Talk to to people attending sessions you are attending. Sharing ideas and questions is learning.

If you get into a great conversation between sessions it may be worth skipping the next session if you are learning and making a new friend.

Make notes every day. I tend to take notes in rough form in my blogging app and neaten it up every night. Use a note taking method that works for you but take notes every day. Conferences like these (ISTE, SIGCSE, TCEA, FETC, CSTA) are like taking learning in from a fire hose. Notes will help you later.

What am I missing?

Oh, and I hope to see some of you at CSTA!


Anonymous said...

Great advice!

Mike Zamansky said...

Great advice. I'd add, don't be afraid to take some conference time to explore the city you're in. Better, do it with some new conference friends.