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Ten Newbie Tips for Success – 2017 MACUL Conference Preview #2

Newbie? No Problem! #LEARNINGforward

Among the thousands of MACUL Conference attendees each year are hundreds of first-time attendees. Besides having never attended the MACUL’s annual conference, it might even be the first time attending any large conference. There are tons of opportunities, but the choices can be overwhelming! In this conference preview, I’m sharing Ten Newbie Tips for Success.

  1. Download the Conference App
    You’ve probably heard that before, but now is the time to do it! The only place to find complete descriptions of sessions, keynotes and exhibitors as well as maps and more is the app. Search your mobile store for MACUL 2017 Conference.

  2. The Conference Starts at Home
    If you try to plan your time on Thursday morning before the keynote, you’re sunk. Start thinking now about the types of sessions you want to visit. What are the needs at your school or in your classroom? What strategies or resources or products are the most important for you to experience? What speakers do you want to learn from and talk to?

  3. Have a Plan…and Another Plan
    One of the best features of the mobile app is the ability to bookmark sessions or events you’re interested in attending. Each bookmarked session is added to the My Schedule section of the app. Make sure you pick a couple sessions/events for each time slot. You’ll want to be ready if your first choice is full or you change your mind. A second choice prevents you from wandering aimlessly looking for “something to do.”

  4. Attend the MACUL Conference Survivor’s Guide Session
    This session, immediately following the opening keynote, is designed to help attendees make the most of the Conference. This panel session will provide the answers to any burning questions, from “Where do I eat?” to “How do I get Leslie Fisher’s autograph?” Bookmark it in the app now!

  5. Stop at the Newbie Table
    Have a quick question or need some more info? Friendly volunteers at the Newbie Table will be standing by to help in all sorts of ways. Looking for the People Mover or Makerspace? Want to set up a new Twitter account? Interested in attending the Thursday Night Party at Punch Bowl Social? The Newbie Table will be near the Registration area.

  6. Food is Important
    Speaking of where to eat, let’s acknowledge that food is important. Not only is it going to keep your stomach happy, it’s also necessary to keep your strength up for the exhilarating, but exhausting, conference workout. You’ll likely walk several miles each day, so pack some granola bars, fruit, peanut butter sandwiches, water or any other snacks (m&ms for me) that fit easily in your purse or backpack.

  7. Watch the Feed (not Food)
    It’s not likely you’re going to be able to stop each person you pass to ask them about the coolest thing they’ve seen…so take advantage of the Twitter conversation and follow #macul17. If you’re not on Twitter, use the Social Media icon on the app to view up to date info, see what’s hot and connect with your peers.

  8. Aisles of Cool Stuff
    Unless you find yourself at a national conference, you’re not going to find more ed tech gadgets, gizmos, resources, tools, etc. than in the Exhibit Hall. Just like pre-planning session attendance, though, it’s a great idea to do some pre-conference shopping in the app to make sure you are able to visit the booths you’re most interested in.

  9. Take a Load Off, Don’t Turn Off
    At some point, you’re going to have to take a break. When you do, however, find a spot where you can still stay engaged in learning. The MACUL Zone, in the center of the exhibit hall, typically has some comfy furniture where you can meet up with long-time friends or those you’ve just met. In addition, COBO Center has new furniture set around in numerous social spaces…find some and have a conversation.

  10. Enjoy Yourself!
    The MACUL Conference is a great opportunity for learning and connecting. To be sure, it can be exhausting, but if it’s not FUN you’re doing it wrong. Take a break from your routine, grab a colleague and come to Detroit, and begin #LEARNINGforward. Your first time won’t be your last!


(@kclark): Director of Technology Services, Berrien RESA, 2017 MACUL Conference Chair, MACUL Past President and Board Member