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Get Ready for ISTE 2017

Embrace the Extraordinary at ISTE 2017

Jun 09, 2017 2017-06-09

By Karey Killian

If you are planning on attending ISTE in San Antonio this year, embrace the extraordinary by following these tips for a successful professional learning experience.

Early Bird Preparation
  • Select and book accommodations and transportation (airplane, train, or car).
  • Use the ISTE website for suggestions for convenient locations to stay.
  • Consider alternative options for housing and transportation. Airbnb offers house and condo rentals that could be more budget-friendly than a traditional hotel, while Uber and LYFT make for hassle-free transportation.

A Few Weeks Ahead
  • Create an account on the ISTE website.
  • Write down three main topics that are the highest priority for your professional development.
  • Sift through the nearly 1,000 sessions and mark your favorites.
  • You won't be able to attend all of the sessions that you would like. To prioritize, select your favorite morning and afternoon activities that you don't want to miss. Once you have your favorite sessions selected, you can fill in the times with other events.
  • Be open to service as a volunteer—even if it's your first time attending ISTE. Volunteering is a great way to become involved in the organization and meet other members. Volunteering at a Campfire event helped me to become more involved my first year.
  • Review and contribute to the discussion boards. It is helpful to post questions about technology, hotels, San Antonio food, and even what to wear. The discussion board is also a great place to find volunteer opportunities, such as setting up and tearing down activities or simply taking pictures and tweeting them out.
  • Follow #ISTE17. Companies and speakers will begin posting to entice attendees to stop by their booths.

Ready to Pack
  • Pack an empty water bottle that fits in your bag. A spill proof container will protect any devices that will also be in your bag.
  • Pack comfortable shoes! You will be walking several miles/kilometers in four days.
  • Bring appropriate clothing for the weather. San Antonio is typically warm in June. If your hotel is within walking distance to the conference center, be prepared for a hot walk followed by an air-conditioned conference center.
  • Bring a bag that is comfortable without putting much strain on your shoulders, and select a device to bring with you to the sessions. Some people choose to bring several devices, but just remember the extra strain this could put on you to carry around multiple devices all day. Tired muscles make for tired minds.
  • Be prepared to bring home a souvenir or free swag from vendors. With more than 500 companies represented at the conference in previous years, it is likely you will take something home from a few of them. Last year, I left the exhibit hall with a MakeyMakey kit for my students, because I tweeted about a product.
  • Bring return address labels or business cards to save time if you plan on entering your name into drawings for free items. Just remember that businesses use the contacts to select their winner as well as to make connections about future partnerships.
  • Bring a smile to share, a willingness to learn, and an attitude to serve others.

After the conference, take time to reflect on all that you learned and create an action plan with specific steps to begin implementing a few of the ideas. Application is a critical piece to the learning process to turn ideas into learning events for your students.

Karey Killian is a Certified Library Media Specialist for three elementary schools in the Milton Area School District in Pennsylvania. She is a future-ready librarian finding ways for every student to achieve more by discovering their unique interests and talents. Students make these discoveries during Skype calls and makerspace activities. Karey was selected to engage in the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert community starting in November 2015. Being among colleagues and an organization that strives to "empower every student on the planet to achieve more" continues to motivate her to provide powerful learning opportunities. She was recently awarded the 2017 ISTE Librarian Professional Learning Network (PLN) Award. Follow Karey on Twitter @CoLIBRAtoRY.

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