muse: n. a source of inspiration

Getting ready for ISTE

I’ve always been one to double my travel. I love to plan travel experiences and I think I get as much pleasure – well, maybe almost as much – from the planning as the actual travel.

I’m finding that going to an international humongous conference is no different. And doing a little (okay, maybe it’s been a lot this week) pre-planning and pre-thinking can really enhance the experience, I believe.

Here’s what I’ve been doing:

1. Use the conference planner. The planner is a fabulous tool. I’m choosing at least three sessions during each time slot. Why three? Sometimes sessions get canceled, sometimes the room is full and sometimes it’s just too far. Seriously. I don’t want a last minute conversation to have to be cut short just because I’ve got to run upstairs and down the hall. Because I’m traveling to ISTE through the generosity of the AVI CHAI Foundation, I’ll be having dinner with the amazing group of Jewish educators that they’ve amassed, so I added dinners to my planner as well so I don’t forget to go (like I’d forget to eat dinner!). I’ll be carrying my iPad and iPhone, so I subscribed to my ISTE planner using iCal, so I can check my planner electronically and have it updated automatically. I also added things like the Jewish educators Birds of a Feather session and my hotel info so it’s all accessible in one place.

2. Twitter. The #ISTE11 Twitter hashtag is becoming very active and it’s a great way to get last-minute tips and scope out some new people to follow. I’ll be following it during the conference, of course, but it’ll be crazy then. Now is when it’s really helpful. Following the tag, for instance, is how I found out that we won’t be able to use power strips at the PACC. That’ll save me a little room in my bag.

3. Get to know the keynote speakers. The keynote speakers are all rock stars in their fields and it’s worth taking a little time to check them out. Do a Google search and check out their websites, blogs and TED talks. I’ve been doing this for some time now and found it really enhances the experience of listening to a keynote when you know a little about the speaker.

4. What to bring: there’s the usual: all the electronics, comfy shoes, a wrap for cold conference rooms (not to mention airplanes)… Here’s a couple other things I’ll be bringing: my CAJE (a moment of silence, please) badge holder (has a little space for extra things like a pen and some cash), a couple little Moleskine Cahier notebooks (sometimes no-tech is better), lots of business cards, pre-printed labels with my contact info and a QR code to my page (totally stole that idea – it rocks!), my mini one-device surge protector so I can feel okay about plugging in wherever (like at the airport), a water bottle so I can be green, snackies to drop in my bag, a little folding Baggu shopping bag, and my ICE (Illinois Computing Educators) luggage tag because one must always remember from whence one comes. I’m not planning to check baggage but lately the airlines have gotten really aggressive about making you surrender your carryons at the gate (because, really? Did they not think too many people would carry on once they starting charging that ridiculous baggage check fee? Sorry. I digress) so even if you’re not planning to check a bag sometimes it just ends up there anyway.

5. Plan to leave the conference center. I know that, other than returning to the hotel to go to bed, there’s no good reason to ever, ever leave the PACC, but it’s worth doing a little pre-planning to find one thing that provides an educational opportunity and a reason to perhaps get out, get some air, and walk a little bit. This time I will try to steal some time to go visit the National Constitution Center.

That’s my plan!


June 23, 2011 - Posted by | Education, Lifelong learning, Technology | , ,

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