Education Conference Scouts
All educators must plan to attend an education, or education technology conference as part of their continuing professional development. The least a district should do is send a few education conference scouts. There are so many great teacher and administrator presentations offered nowhere else, as well as enlightening technology and education solutions walks through aisles of vendor exhibits on the exposition show floor. There is nowhere else to see so many education and education technology solutions in one place and at one time. Again, there is nowhere else like it, and it’s where a teacher can actually be treated so respectfully as an educator-user or customer/possible user of education technology.
A great conference, where educators can see and hear wonderful presentations, join blogger and social media meet-ups, as well as walk aisles of creative and innovative education and education technology solutions is ISTE. ISTE 2014 is in Atlanta this year from June 28th through July 1st. There is sort of a circus-style festival atmosphere as you walk through aisles, visiting booths at education conferences like ISTE. It’s not as quiet as most of the educator presentations there, but the excitement throughout the aisles is similar to that of a good flea market. You never know what you’re going to see or find, and everyone wants to be first to show you the newest and latest classroom gadget or solution. And that’s the point, if you’re lucky enough to get to an education conference; you need to see what’s on the education show floor as well as sit in on great presentations.
Consider it part of learning and professional development today. There is no better way to find our what’s available, what will be available. You’ll get to see, and in some cases try things first. The booths, the shows, the demos are designed for educators, and with real classroom and student use in mind. Finding out what you don’t know, what you need to know, and why it’s important to know is an educator’s journey at these conferences, and the vendors on the show floor know it, too. They go out of their way to inform, but also to ask and answer questions. The best marketplace lessons are given by educators to vendors while they walk these exhibit halls. It is a way to express what a teacher needs in a classroom to people, who provide those solutions and resources. What educators and administrators see at these events, in many cases, show up in districts and schools soon afterward, because an educator saw, and was able to report back to faculty and district leaders something seen at a conference that they knew teachers and students needed to have—and couldn’t teach or learn without. It all could happen, because a few district scouts were sent to education conferences like ISTE.