Going to ISTE 2011? DON’T Do This…

June 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

Yesterday we gave you eight tips for those going to ISTE 2011 next week. Today we have a handful of tips from Steve Dembo (an ISTE veteran), who gives you the absolute don’ts while you’re at the conference. Check it out:

1) Don’t be a XXXXXXXX.  There’s a few select words that I’ve chosen not to use on this blog that I think you can use to complete that sentence.  I’m all for criticism.  I think it makes people stronger and I’ve often disparaged the fact that so many people are ‘too nice.’  But that said, there’s a difference between civil discourse and just being a XXXXXXXX.  It takes a lot of guts to put yourself out there and speak at ISTE.  I’ve only seen a few people really blow off the privilege, most pour their heart and soul into it.  If you disagree, that’s fine, but there’s a line between criticizing someone and delving back into middle school bullying tactics.  Be a critic, be a strong critic, but at least be respectful.

2) Don’t grow roots. One of my favorite places is the Bloggers Cafe.  And there’s a definite appeal of just hanging out there and waiting for people to show up that you already know, or are going to meet for the first time.  However, there’s SO many good presentations, workshops, poster sessions and activities going on.  Schedule your Bloggers Cafe time like you would a session.  Set an alarm if you need to.  Spend time hanging out, but if you aren’t careful you could find yourself planted in one spot for the entire day.  Breakfast, lunch, happy hour, dinner, and the evenings/parties are great times to get your socialization time in.  Believe me, I won’t be avoiding the Bloggers Cafe.  But neither will I be moving in.

3) Don’t confine yourself to sessions from your friends and favorites.Have I mentioned how many great sessions there are?  It’s easy to just go to ‘safe’ sessions, presenters that you KNOW are great and that confirm your ideas/beliefs.  However, if you don’t take a few chances, you may miss out on some fantastic material.  Let’s face it, some of the best content in the world is presented by mediocre presenters.  Man up and get over it.  Just because someone doesn’t sing and dance doesn’t mean their content isn’t solid.  Pick a topic that you’re interested in and attend sessions on it regardless of whether you’ve heard of the presenter.  And if you don’t like their presentation style, try to see what you can learn IN SPITE of that.  Consider it a challenge, a hill to climb, the outer shell you need to work through to get to the fruit inside. If you want to be entertained, go to the Improv.  You’re at ISTE to learn.

4) Don’t be an end node. Most likely you have a blog, a FLIP cam, a Twitter account, a digital camera, Facebook, an iPad, a netbook, a Palm Pilot and a telegraph in your bag.  If you aren’t sharing at least a few things each day, then you’re doing the education community a major disservice.  I don’t care how many sessions you’re presenting, take the time to at least share a few highlights or thoughts from the day.  Even better, give a full report, share some notes, create a backchannel for a session and so on.  But if you can’t, no worries.  Do what you can.  Whatever you do, don’t just be a sponge that doesn’t give anything back.  Pay it forward for the people that can’t be there.

5) Don’t go to everything.  You can’t.  There’s just too much going on and only a few nights to do it all in.  Make some decisions, move forward and no regrets.  I don’t care which party/reception you go to, or none at all.  Whatever you do, make the most of it.  The reality is, there will be friends and favorites at EVERY event.  Don’t lament the people that aren’t there, enjoy the time with the people that ARE there.  On Tuesday night, there’s a Simple K12 reception, a TechSmith reception, an Edmodo Meetup and EdTech Karoake….  and they are all going on at basically the same time.  So which do you go to?  It doesn’t matter.  You’ll have a great time regardless.  Make your choice and don’t second guess.

For more information, and to read the rest of the tips, check out the source here



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