I have some friends attending FETC for the first time, so I made a few recommendations for them. Feel free to share these if you like them too.
Link to FETC Agenda – they are suggesting Tracks this year and they are color coded
Basic tips for FETC or other big tech conferences.
- Sometimes the “cool sessions” fill up so it is not a bad idea to have a Plan B for each time.
- If you want to really go to to something, pick a session before nearby so you are not last to get there.
- There is no shame in taking a break and skipping a session to take it all in.. make notes, and be in position for the session that you really want.
- Tech conferences are can be overwhelming – take pictures. I take pictures of badges for contact people, business cards and brochures. Then I can leave them at the table, toss them, or save room in your luggage.
- Your devices (phones and iPads) are great friends.. Take a video – review it later…
- Talk to other attendees.. Ask questions what are great sessions you went to? What is the coolest thing you learned? Write down the sessions titles. Often they have online materials for you to access.
- Divide and conquer .. Make plans to attend different sessions but meet up for dinner or coffee to compare notes.. The discussion of what you saw might be the most useful time spent and will help you build your team.
- Be on Twitter – The hashtag for twitter is #FETC – watch it for sessions and other opportunities. Tweet your questions and benefit from other attendees.
- Finally try to plan ahead – take time each night to reflect on what you did and make a plan for the next day. This is a great thing to do on the Plane at the front end but be flexible to change it as your needs change.
- Pat yourself on the back if you go to a session that is routine for you. For me, some ed tech sessions helps me know that I am doing the right things.. It helps me feel confident in my everyday choices.
- Finally, don’t get swayed by the big names.. Big names were once teachers too -if someone is presenting at the conference they have something to contribute – even if you never heard of them.
- Don’t miss sessions like vendor classrooms. For example, I know the Apple Pop Up classroom and vendor playgrounds are often filled with really skilled teachers sharing great classroom examples.
There is no shame in taking a break to take it all in..(I know I said it twice).. Tech conferences are overwhelming – admit you need some quiet time before it is too late!
I also made them a notetaking template:
Copy this Google Doc – Name it your own and then share it with people back home.. I do this at conferences where we only have money to send a few team members. They can even ask questions.. (Google docs can act like a chat room – ask your middle school students!) .
Have a great time at FETC!