In just three short days, ISTE 2018 will kick off in Chicago, Illinois! Educators from all over the world will gather to learn how to utilize technology in their classrooms and transform learning for their students. We are so incredibly excited to announce that Five-Star will be attending, presenting, and exhibiting at this conference! This is our first time officially attending as a company, but many of our team members have had the chance to experience this conference in the past. Since we are new to the ISTE world, we gathered some tips from our ISTE-veteran friends for maximizing our time at the conference.
Make a Plan
This is a huge conference and the schedule is a little overwhelming if you aren’t prepared. Take some time to look through schedule and think about what you want to focus on. What are your goals for next school year? Are there any tools you’ve been dying to try, but haven’t had a chance yet? Check out the expo hall map and carve out some time to visit the exhibitors on your must-see list.
Learn New Ideas
Sessions at ISTE tend to fill up quickly, especially when the speakers are well-known. Plan to be there early and have a backup plan in case your first option falls through. Session planning is a great way to customize your learning at ISTE! You can use ISTE’s program search to find sessions based on presenters, topic strands, presentation styles, networks, etc. to help narrow your focus. Also, if you’re interested in hearing from some our Five-Star experts, check out Katie Bradford’s and Brett Miller’s session as they explore the roadmap to student-driven learning with HyperDocs. You won’t want to miss it!
Take Some Time to Explore Alone
Large conferences can be a little overwhelming, especially in large cities. But it’s important for you to take some time by yourself to explore the vendor hall. There are SO MANY booths to check out and people to meet and having a large group can slow you down. You could also check out the playgrounds if you're interested in less sitting and a more hands-on approach to learning. ISTE is about getting as much information in as you possibly can, so take some time to get out there and explore solo!
Follow Social Media Hashtags
This one is pretty important. If you don’t have a Twitter or Instagram account, I highly suggest you stop what you’re doing and create one now. Okay…well, finish this blog post first and THEN create your accounts. ISTE will be using hashtags such as: #ISTE2018, #NotAtISTE2018, and #PresentersOfISTE. It’s impossible to do it all, but by using and following these hashtags, you will be able to keep up with what’s happening at the conference and share your experiences with everyone as well! Even if you won’t be at the actual conference, following the conference through social media can help you keep up with what’s happening. You might develop a slight case of FOMO (if you haven’t already) but at least you can continue learning about new tools and teaching methods while you’re in the comfort of your own home.
This one seems almost too easy, but if you’re an introvert like me, you know how hard this can be. ISTE happens each year because dedicated educators like you are excited to use technology and make a difference! Make the most of this event by talking with a presenter that had a huge impact on you, or reach out to a vendor to ask them questions about a new tool you’re interested in! It’s what we’re all there for – to learn and grow as professionals.
Have Fun & Take Care of Yourself
There are so many opportunities to just have fun at this conference. Take some time to go to a karaoke event, play with some STEM tools at the Makin Maker booth (#1938), or play a game of plinko at our Pyxis booth (#2487)! Most importantly, take care of yourself! ISTE is exhausting so don't burn yourself out & be #ISTExhausted on day 1! Be sure to drink plenty of water, remember to take breaks for food, and enjoy your time at the conference!
Not able to make ISTE this year? Be sure to follow @PyxisEdu and @Five-Startech on Twitter and Instagram! We’ll be posting throughout the conference to keep you updated. There will also be opportunities for you to win free Five-Star gear and PyxisEdu monthly subscriptions!