I'm excited to be heading to ISTELive next week and to share some invaluable tips for conquering the ISTE conference in the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia! Whether you're a newbie or a seasoned ISTE-goer, these strategies will help you make the most of this epic edtech extravaganza. So, let's dive in!
Plan Your Sessions Strategically:
ISTE is a cornucopia of sessions, workshops, and presentations. But let's face it, you can't attend them all. Take some time before the conference to explore the schedule and identify the sessions that align with your professional goals. Don't be afraid to try something new and step outside your comfort zone. Create a personalized schedule that strikes a balance between inspiring keynotes, hands-on workshops, and opportunities to network with like-minded educators. You will never feel like there is enough time and you have to be ok with a little FOMO if you want to have a good time.
Pace Yourself and Network:
Philly cheesesteaks and the Liberty Bell aren't the only highlights of this conference. The real magic lies in the connections you make. Strike up conversations with fellow educators during breaks, meals, and social events. It's an incredible chance to expand your professional network, share ideas, and collaborate on future projects. Remember, it's not about collecting business cards but building meaningful relationships that last beyond the conference. Being an introvert can be tough at a conference, but as someone with strong introvert tendencies, I encourage you to engage other educators around you. Some of my closest friends are educators I said hello to at ISTE!
Embrace the Expo Hall:
The ISTE Expo Hall is like an edtech playground filled with innovative tools, cutting-edge tech, and game-changing resources. Make time to wander around and discover new tools that could transform your teaching. Engage with the exhibitors, ask questions, and try out demos. But remember, balance is key. It's easy to get lost in the mesmerizing displays, so be sure to allocate time wisely and prioritize the sessions and keynotes that resonate with your goals. I love jumping down for 30 minutes to an hour a couple of times a day to connect with companies I have used in the past and discover some new ones that friends have mentioned. Have a bag ready for all of the free swag!
Document and Share Your Experience:
You're about to embark on an edtech adventure that will leave you brimming with inspiration. Don't let that energy fade away after the conference ends. Take notes during sessions, snap photos of inspiring moments, and jot down ideas. After the event, leverage social media platforms like Twitter or Instagram to share your key takeaways. Engage in discussions, connect with other educators, and keep the momentum going. This way, you'll amplify the ISTE magic and inspire fellow educators who couldn't attend. #ISTELive #ISTE23 are a couple of hashtags you can use if you are going to share on social. I also recommend you use the tags to find fun things going on during the conference.
Amidst the excitement and non-stop learning, it's easy to neglect self-care. But trust me, rejuvenating yourself is crucial for maximizing your ISTE experience. Remember to hydrate, take breaks, and fuel up with nutritious food. Schedule some downtime to explore Philly's vibrant cityscape, indulge in a good book, or simply rest and recharge. Give yourself permission to step away from the conference buzz when you need it, so you can return refreshed and ready to absorb more knowledge. This is one of the most important parts of any large gathering of people. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and I highly recommend that you make time for you so you do not fry out halfway through.
Check the Weather!
It looks like rain during ISTE, so make sure you pack accordingly. I have already packed a poncho and I will have my umbrella ready just in case. It has been a while since we have had a rainy ISTE, so make sure you bring an extra set of shoes and socks in case yours get drenched while walking from the convention center to your hotel room or to places to eat.
Bonus Tip: Don't forget the Power of Reflection!
In the midst of all the sessions and networking, take a few moments each day to reflect on what you've learned. Whether it's jotting down a quick reflection in a notebook or recording a voice memo on your phone, capturing your thoughts will help solidify your takeaways. Plus, it'll be an invaluable resource for later when you're implementing new ideas in your classroom.
So, there you have it, my edtech friends! These tips will set you up for success at ISTE in Philly. Remember, it's not just about the incredible sessions and cutting-edge tech, but also about the connections you make and the impact you create. Embrace the experience, stay open-minded, and let your passion for education shine through. See you at ISTE – it's going to be epic!
Hugs and High Fives!