The Super Bowl of educational technology conferencing is here!  ISTE 2014 in lovely Atlanta, Georgia starts Saturday.  NCCE is at the conference in full force with an excellent group of teachers from the Virgin Islands who will be attending the conference after two days of work with the professional development crew at NCCE:

The tech-savvy teacher team, Jason, Mike and Richard, will be at the conference and look forward to connecting with like-minded teachers from around the world:

Whether you are an ISTE pro or a first timer, there is no shortage of tips across the web (here, here, here, here), but our team would like to share a couple of extra bits from our experiences at this, and other conferences.

Here is our take.  While no list is comprehensive, here is our a few of our BEST tips for a great conference experience in Atlanta.

Download the conference application!

ISTE has done an amazing job of creating a stable, easy-to-use mobile app.  It is available in the typical app stores (Apple, Google Play and Windows Phone) and is of course, free.   With the app, you can get one-click access to sessions, maps, vendor information and ISTE’s very well done secret code networking game.

Haven’t arrived at ISTE yet?  Perfect… you can download the app right now and read through the amazing sectional titles while in transit!  (Don’t plan and drive, though… 🙂 )

The shear amount of great content and connection opportunities demands that you do some planning and the apps make it easier than ever before.

Take care of yourself!

I know you ard your district are making an investment in your learning, but, it will do no good if you don’t make it through the conference with your health and good spirits!  Atlanta is a hot, humid place, so, be sure to eat three nourishing meals a day and don’t forget to drink extra water, especially if you are from a climate that is less hot and humid (ah hem, fellow Pacific Northwesterners!).

Also… take care of your feet!  Wear comfortable, breathable shoes and prepare for many times your normal foot traffic!

Find social opportunities!

It isn’t uncommon to hear the the best experiences at ISTE aren’t in the sessions, but in the hallway before, during and after.  If a session isn’t meeting your needs, poke your head out the door and see if there is conversation going on related to the topic outside the door.  I have found that there is always a buzz related to any given session’s topic well down the hallway.  Be part of the conversation.

Engage on Social Media!

Even if you are a light Twitter and Facebook user, your conference experience will be that much better if you track the “shadow conversation” via social media.  ISTE itself recommends tagging your social media posts #ISTE2014, but I have also seen a lot of great conversation at #NCCE14, #secretcodesSocial Media at ISTE and for an alternative view, you can hear the perspective of those that didn’t make the journey through #notatISTE.  The NCCE team is also tweeting out at #NCCEatISTE so you can follow our crew on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Don’t Learn it All!

…or at least don’t feel obligated to.  This is a BIG conference with a lot of amazing information!  You are not expected to learn everything there is to learn here because it is impossible to do so.  Do your best to engage in the ongoing conversation and the topics that interest you as a teacher, mentor and learner.  But… the conversation is too much to entirely process.

Pro tip: I always care a small notebook (or a great app, as I do with Evernote or OneNote 🙂 ) and I always jot things down throughout to process after I get home.  Sometimes the greatest revelations I take from ISTE are NOT at the conference but the ideas that are revealed to me in the days, weeks and months after I get home.  That can only happen if I write down some of the things I can’t process now to be reminded of them later.

This list isn’t comprehensive, but, it should give you an idea of some strategies you can utilize to dominate this conversation as a tech-savvy teacher.

See you at ISTE.  We want to connect with YOU!

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