An education conference is a fantastic opportunity to learn best practices, hear about new trends and meet like-minded educators. Many organizations hold conferences that focus on a specific aspect of education. This could include social studies, English Language Arts, technology, project based learning, and many more. Once you find the type of conference you would like to attend, there are things that you can do to make the most of your experience. This includes having a plan before you arrive, staying flexible during the event, connecting and networking with other educators, using social media as a back channel and identifying what you want to bring back to your school.
Before you head to the conference, think about your goals for attending the event. What is it that you are looking to get out of your time there? Are there any types of people you want to connect with or topics you would like to learn about? You don’t have to wait until the day of the event to take a look at what sessions are being offered. Many conferences will publish the event schedule online as a PDF file you can print and download. Some conferences also have a mobile site where you can log on and create your own schedule.
As important as it is to have a plan, try not to feel trapped by your schedule. Keep your eyes and ears open as you listen to recommendations from fellow attendees and gauge the buzz of what other people are excited about. If you’re having a great conversation with another educator, you might choose to make a change in your schedule.
As you meet other educators, make sure to jot down their information, whether it’s the blog of a presenter whose work you’d like to follow or the name of a teacher or administrator you’d like to connect with on Linkedin. Staying connected with educators who have similar interests will help sustain your enthusiasm throughout the school year.
Many conferences have a hashtag for their event that they want attendees to use on social media. You may want to sign up for or make use of your Twitter account before attending a conference. This way, you can tweet ideas or resources from the sessions you attend. If you decide not to sign up for an account, you can still search for the hashtag during a conference to pull up tweets from other attendees. It’s a great opportunity to learn about ideas being shared in sessions you might not have a chance to sit in on.
Keep notes on what you want to bring back to your students and fellow teachers. This might include actionable ideas for upcoming lessons or big ideas you want to share with other staff members. Your school may ask you to take a few minutes at a faculty meeting to share your experience, and colleagues will appreciate new information that can help them in their own journey as an educator.
Monica Burns is an Education Consultant, EdTech Blogger, and Apple Distinguished Educator. Visit her site ClassTechTips.com for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.
Good tricks and keep tricking