Thursday, May 25, 2017

How to get the most out of conferences

This past weekend, I attended the Capital Region EdTech Team Google Summit in Albany, NY.  I love going to the summits because I get to meet such amazing people that have similar interests.  It is so nice to be around a large group of people that are all excited to try new things in their classroom.  I also learn so much from everyone.

However, as we all know, sometimes, conferences can be overwhelming.  A summit style conference is a smorgasbord of topics that could appeal to almost anyone.  So, if you're not careful, you could leave at the end of the weekend with more ideas than you can implement in a lifetime, let alone implement effectively.  I have also found that if I try too many new ideas with my older students (juniors and seniors) they are a bit more resistant than my freshman. I think it is because they aren't used to using technology in their classes quite as much.  

So, here are my top tips to make the most out of attending a conference:

  1. Pick a theme - attend sessions that are centered around a theme that you can work with such as writing tools or video tools.  That will make it easier to implement in your class since the tools will theoretically work together.
  2. Choose your favorite - if you cannot stick to a theme, choose your favorite app or tool from the conference and try that out first.  Get good at it and let your students get comfortable using it before testing out another idea.  This will make it seem less like a technology carnival in your classroom.
  3. Start small - pick one lesson to implement a tool in and see how it goes.  Don't try to
    revamp an entire two week unit with a tool you have never used before.  If you start small testing it out, then hopefully if it does not go well, you can make small adjustments before using it again.  More importantly, it did not impact as many days of instruction and will be easier to fix. 
I hope this helps you to get some ideas on how to make the most of your education conferences that you attend in the future or if you are looking back at your notes from a recent conference.

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