Monday, June 3, 2013

A Star Wars Guide to #ISTE13

This summer I will be attending my 4th ISTE conference. Each year I learn something new and I feel it is important to impart this growing knowledge with any first-time attendees. I've been thinking of a fun way to share this information and wanted to do a quote based post. I took some great suggestions on the movie or TV show I should use, but I got caught up in a Star Wars marathon this weekend and the quotes seemed to jump out at me. So, here is your Star Wars Guide to ISTE13.

"I've got a bad feeling about this."

This is one of the most spoken lines in all of the Star Wars movies. Today, it is a funny quip to share with your nerdy friends. For ISTE, this line has a very important meaning. If you walk into a session and your gut tells you this is not going to go well, get up and get out. Trust your instincts. If you get  a bad feeling about the session you chose, you have to leave. This conference is not cheap, so why waste money on a session you will not find helpful. Get out and find another session or head to one of the social areas and start a conversation. Either option is better than staying in a session that is providing no value.

“This is some rescue. You came in here and you didn’t have a plan for getting out?”
“He’s the brains, sweetheart!”

Take time and create a plan for your time at ISTE. Take a look at the planner and decide where you want to go and how you are going to get there. Make sure you put in plenty of time for breaks, meals and hanging with friends. A good plan will make for a great ISTE. I tried to "X-Wing it" for my first ISTE and I was all over the place. I simple schedule that allows for learning and socialization is the best approach for this conference.

“I find your lack of faith disturbing.”

It is important to keep an open mind when at ISTE. Try going to sessions on topics you are not familiar with instead of sessions you know plenty about. It is important to try new things and have faith in yourself that you can challenge your beliefs.

Also, be confident in what you know and do not be afraid to share with others. You are an expert in your field and it is ok to offer other ideas to the crowd. People are at ISTE to share ideas, not just listen to the same speech over and over again. Have faith in yourself and people will respect you for it.

“Who’s the more foolish; the fool, or the fool who follows him?”

Choose the session you want based on what you want to learn, not what your friends are going to see. I fall victim to this from time to time. Just because my friend is going to a session is a terrible reason for me to go. You need to choose a session where you will learn something or strengthen a skill you already have. Just following another person blindly might not end well for you and the session you chose.

“Laugh it up, fuzzball!”

One of the most important things to remember about ISTE is to have fun. You are going to be surrounded by some of the nerdiest people in the country that care about all of the same things you do. Now is the time to let your hair down and have a good time. Be fun, be silly and learn from some of the best people out there. ISTE is a crazy event and it is important to have a good time. As Master Yoda said, "Do or do not, there is no try".