Almost an annual tradition, the Top Ten list can help you have the best possible experience while attending the conference. There can be so many ways to spend your time that it can be difficult to do it all.
- Download the Conference App
Yes, it seems obvious, but installing the conference app is the first thing you should do. The app is the only place to find complete descriptions of sessions, exhibitors, keynotes and special activities. Savvy attendees will download the conference app even before arriving. Planning early is the best way to have a successful experience!
- If You Care, Share
Whether you’re attending alone or with a group, you’re probably still leaving most of your colleagues back in the trenches. Before you go, create a shared document and let your staff know where to find it. While at the conference, add any notes, resources and revelations to doc so that your friends benefit from your experiences.
- The Conference Starts Wednesday
Even though the opening keynote isn’t until Thursday morning, the MACUL Conference actually starts on Wednesday with Pre-Conference Workshops. These half or full-day sessions provide time for deep exploration or the creation of resources or projects. The pre-conference workshops are hosted by MACUL’s Special Interest Groups and typically cover the latest exciting ed tech developments.
- Fish Gotta Swim, Birds Gotta Eat
When I say birds, I mean MACUL Conference attendees. I can’t make a top ten list without mentioning food. While at the conference, you’re going to be up and down, back and forth. It’s always a good idea to pack a snack or two (or three) to keep your brain nourished and engaged. Kids don’t learn well when they’re hungry and neither do tech-loving adults!
- More Than One Way to Learn
The easiest thing to do at a conference is to herd from one session to the next. However, while you’re on your way to the Amway Grand to find the Conference Level, you may be passing by many other chances to learn. Take time to stop by one or more of the other activities. The Student Showcase, Makerspace, MACUL Annual Meeting and Poster Sessions offer a tremendous opportunity to enjoy conversations with teachers, students and other ed tech leaders.
- It’s Business, Not Personal
Don’t feel guilty if you decide you need to find another session. It’s important for you to use your time wisely for professional development that is meets your needs. Just calmly stand up and walk proudly to the door and off to something else. As you’re planning, have a second or even third choice ready so once you’re in the hallway you have somewhere to go.
- Thursday Night
I know you talk with your PLC online via Twitter or some other service, but how often do you connect in meatspace? Join the MACUL Board at the Grand Rapids Brewery on Thursday evening to continue the conversations of the day. It’s always fun to share a laugh and collaborate on the next great idea!
- Exhibits are Not Just Free Pens
Of course, there’s lots of pens to be had, but take time to look closely at the exhibit booths. Talk to the hundreds of vendors that are passionate about their product or service. Even if you’re unable to purchase or sign up, the relationship you develop can help you down the road when you’re ready to tackle a challenging project. Vendors love to be a part of a larger solution for you and your students.
- 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.
- The Hunt is On
Everyone likes to have fun, right? Connect to the entire conference by joining our GooseChase scavenger hunt. The hunt will have hundreds of fun Quests to help you get explore every opportunity the conference has to offer. The game will begin the week of the conference, so download the GooseChase app to be ready to start hunting!