How to make the most out of a conference

June 12, 2019

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In the Classroom

Education and edtech conferences are a great way to fine tune your craft and learn effective strategies for supporting each of your students. With the annual ISTE conference approaching in late June, we’ve crafted a few helpful tips as you make the most of your time at ISTE, or at any other conference during the year! Read on for our suggestions, as well as details on what IXL has planned for ISTE.

Strategize

Plan out your day(s) by prioritizing the sessions you’ll attend or speakers you want to hear. Highlight your top choices and pick some secondary options in case those are full. If you’re attending with a colleague, consider splitting up and sharing what you learned afterward, so you can gather as much information as possible.

Network

As educators, most of us have taught in the same building with the same people for quite some time, so a conference is a great place to meet peers from outside your school or district. Check out after-conference socials that you can attend, which are often hosted by different vendors or the conference itself. Use these events as an opportunity to unwind from the day and strike up a few conversations–you could end up gathering new insights or even walking away with lasting professional relationships!

Ask questions

At a conference, take on the role of a student! You’ll attend many different presentations, learn new things, and absorb expert advice and insight. Don’t be afraid to ask those burning questions and press for clarity. This conference was designed with you in mind, so make the most of it.

Visit the Exhibit Hall

Be sure to reserve time in your schedule to visit the exhibit hall. Stop by a few vendor booths and get demos of products that interest you–you may just find a new go-to tool for your classroom or school. You can even take the opportunity to visit the booths of products you’re already using and ask the representatives questions or even provide feedback and suggestions to them. Plus, as a side benefit, the exhibit hall is where you can score some free swag for yourself or your students!

Are you attending ISTE 2019 in Philadelphia? Don’t forget to stop by IXL’s booth (#1928) for the chance to win a MacBook Air! We’ll also be giving away pens, stickers, and t-shirts.

Reflect

Conferences are jam-packed, and you’ll want to retain all the important things you’re taking in. Bring something to write with, or use a mobile device to gather your thoughts and even take photos of the visuals presented. After each session, summarize the key takeaways: Was there something that you learned that you could implement in your classroom? Could your colleagues benefit from the information that was presented? Taking the time to reflect while you’re at the conference will make it easier to share what you’ve learned with your colleagues when you’re back at school!

By Dale McBride, IXL Lead Professional Learning Specialist

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