Tag Archives: conference


9 Tips to Get the Most Out of Conferences

Having just wrapped up a successful iPadpalooza and seeing all the chatter around ISTE 2014 online, I wondered: what makes a memorable and meaningful conference experience?

At iPadpalooza, we had 98.4% of people tell us they would come back to our event next year. Rather than being happy about that number, I focused on what the 1.6% didn’t like. Was the live music too loud? Were the speakers or presentations not what the attendee expected?

I used to be guilty of attending conferences and passively waiting for information or presentations to amaze me. I’d leave disappointed and wonder what attending these conferences would mean for me in the future. However, all of that changed when I started taking a more proactive approach to my conference experience. Here are a few steps to help anyone attending either their 1st or 50th event.


Prior to the Event

Laying a good foundation of prep work prior to attending a conference on the scale of ISTE or the variety of something like iPadpalooza can make huge a difference.

1. Find Some People to Follow - This doesn’t mean cyber-stalk or physically tail someone during the event. Rather, look at the big name speakers or presenters and start to follow their work on social media. This will give you a flavor of their presentation-style and may indicate what kind of content they might offer during their sessions.

2. Identify sessions ahead of time – Looking at the program guide for the first time at the registration booth puts you at a disadvantage. Most events (especially Ed Tech ones) post their session titles and descriptions well in advance. Take that opportunity to do some early research on topics that interest you and areas that you want to improve upon professionally. Additionally as popular sessions can fill up quickly, always have a back-up plan.

3. Plan on giving yourself time between sessions – George Couros blogged about a conference in Australia that left 30 minutes in between sessions. While that’s a great way to have time in your schedule, most events only allow for 15 minutes or so. When planning out your days, be sure to leave a couple of longer breaks throughout the day. This extra time will allow you to reflect on a session or connect with colleagues and maybe actually have a professional lunch that is longer than 30 minutes.

During The Event

4. Don’t sit in sessions you don’t want to be in – EdCamps have mastered this strategy by the “voting with your feet” way that they run their events. If you are “stuck” in a 2-hour workshop on the theory of how Disney’s Frozen can be applied to advanced Physics, you either didn’t research the workshop well enough or the description was completely off (First clue – it was called “Let it Go: Why Liquid Nitrogen is the Bomb”) Don’t be afraid to walk out to your back-up session. If that one is full, find a quiet place where you can observe and follow the conference hashtag. At least that way you might pick up on some great things shared at other sessions.

5. Meet somebody new and connect – The easy way to do this is to have some virtual introductions via social media before-hand and then approach them when you see them in person (assuming their social media avatar looks like them). The more challenging, and sometimes more interesting way to do this, would be to find an attendee sitting by themselves and just introduce yourself. You never know how their story may help inspire you in the long run and vice-versa.

6. Capture your thoughts and reflect daily – I like to blog about the things that I have learned at conferences. This isn’t so much to share with others as it is for me to identify the things that I found valuable in my learning each day. Not a blogger? Use a tool like Storify to capture bits and pieces of a hashtag and make your own recap with others’ social media posts.

After The Event

7. Go back and share what you learned – As teachers, we know that our students learn by doing. Therefore, take what you learned and teach someone else. The blog that I mentioned in step #6 is a great way to share what you learned. For the slightly more daring, ask to have some time at an upcoming faculty meeting to give your 5-minute Ignite-type talk about highlights of your learning to the whole staff.

8. Follow-up with attendees and presenters online – Now that you’ve made some connections with new people from the event, be sure to send a message in the weeks afterwards to strengthen that connection.

9. Blackmail yourself – Learning new and inspiring ideas at an event can be great momentum going into the beginning of the school year. However, often weeks or months pass before you even get the motivation to apply something you’ve learned and by then you are too tired with the day-to-day of school life. Rather than blow it off, blackmail yourself. Outwardly tell colleagues (online or in person) that you are going to try a new concept that you learned. Then, set a time when you are actually going to try it and publicize this as well. I like to send myself an email in the future using futureme.org or the like. Setting up that email immediately after the event ends and can immediately reignite you months later.

These steps or tips are not fool-proof, and they do require a bit of heavy lifting on the part of the normally passive conference attendee. But, if you apply some – or all of these steps – you’ll find yourself not only enjoying conferences more but also sharing that joy with other colleagues and students down the road.

Carl Hooker will be presenting #Brainz sure Taste different these days at the July 28-30 EdTechTeacher Summit. This will be a great opportunity to test out his conference strategies!


5 Powerful Videos That’ll Help You Understand Global Education

The Global Education Conference is a free, week-long event that connects teachers, students, administrators, and organizations from around the world. This particular conference is really awesome because it happens completely via webinar – so you can participate without having to travel to a conference location and go broke on hotel rooms, meals, and entrance fees to the conference.

Aside from the advantages the all-webinar format offers, it also allows for a huge breadth of presenters and topics. The 2013 conference was host to over 200 general sessions and 19 keynote speakers, which really means there’s something for everyone in there. We’ve put together a short list of our 5 favorite videos from the 2013 conference – check them out below!

5 Great Videos on Global Education Topics



Massive Global Education Summit Planned For iEARN Qatar

global education series edudemic

We’ve looked at a few of the education conferences happening in 2013. As a part of our month long exploration of global education, we’ve also looked at a few conferences that focus on global education, too. But since much of the focus of Edudemic is the intersection of education and technology, we thought that a global conference on technology AND education deserved its own post.

So what is this magical conference that looks at global education AND technology, you ask? The iEARN International conference, which is taking place July 1-6, 2013, in Qatar. We think iEARN (International Education and Resource Network) is a pretty neat organization, and definitely one that fits in perfectly with our theme of global education this month. It is a non-profit organization made up of over 30,000 schools and youth organizations in more than 130 countries. iEARN empowers teachers and young people to work together online using the Internet and other new communications technologies. Over 2,000,000 students each day are engaged in collaborative project work worldwide.

iEarn has pioneered on-line school linkages to enable students to engage in meaningful educational projects with peers in their countries and around the world, which is an awesome idea that we’ve talked about before.


So this year, in Qatar, iEarn is bringing together hundreds of educators, students, administrators and partner organizations from 50-70 countries at the iEARN Conference and Youth Summit to share how they are using technology to build global understanding and enhance teaching and learning! The theme of this year’s conference will focus on the use of technologies in education to reach out, learn and build a better world together.

In addition to the International Conference, iEarn also sponsors a corresponding and related event, an annual Youth Summit, where students from over 20 countries come together to build bonds of friendship and plan future collaborative project work.

Pretty neat, right? Have you participated in one of iEarn’s past conferences? If so, we’d love to hear your experience. We haven’t been ourselves, so we can’t offer a personal account, but might have to put it in the calendar for 2014!

Even if you can’t spend a week in Qatar this summer, you can keep up with the event and associated activities on Twitter.

Thumbnail image courtesy of iEARN website.




Spread The Word: Free Google-Sponsored #EdTech Conference May 2nd

Are you looking to connect with educators, learn from technology experts, and not leave the comfort of your classroom or home? Then you’ll want to set aside some time this Wednesday, May 2nd from 12-10pm to attend the first-ever Google-sponsored ‘Education On Air’ online conference.

The free conference is jam-packed with rapid-fire sessions on how to integrate Google products into your classroom. While it’s obviously Google-centric, I’m sure there will be useful bits of information for just about every teacher reading this post right now. Here’s more on what to expect courtesy of Google:

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the conference?
The conference is entirely virtual, online. All the sessions are being given using Google+ Hangouts On Air. To join Google+ visit www.google.com/+.

How do I get more information on Google+?
Visit the help center at this webpage.

What are Hangouts?
Hangouts allow up to 10 people to participate in an online video chat, face-to-face-to-face. Find out more information on this webpage.

What are Hangouts On Air?
Hangouts On Air make it possible for the host or broadcaster  to record and live stream their hangout to the  public. As of now, only select whitelisted users can host Hangouts on Air. We are working to make Hangouts on Air more widely available so please stay tuned for more information.

How do I participate in the Education On Air Conference?
To register your interest in a conference session, visit the Google+ post that the presenter made about the event. In the comments section below the post indicate your interest.  You can find the link to the Google+ Page posts from the Conference Schedule tab. Presenters will make their posts on April 10 & 11th so check back if you do not see it at first.

When you leave a comment on the presenter’s post, you may wish to include your role, location, and any questions or comments you have about the session. The presenter will read these comments before and during the event to see which questions the audience has, and whether to invite some of the people to participate in the Hangout on the day.

I have not been invited to the Hangout, but I want to join. What can I do?
Hangouts On Air allow for 10 people to participate in a  live discussion. Each host will decide how many people to invite to the session, and when they will do this. Some people may invite participants at the start, while others may wait until the question & answer portion of their session. Although it will not be possible for all viewers to take part inside the Hangout, everyone can watch the live stream of the session and take part by posing questions and comments in the stream. Recorded sessions will be available after the fact.

Where do I find the Hangout On Air so that I can tune in and ask my questions?
The Hangouts will be live streamed on the speaker’s Google+ Pages. You can find a link to the Google+ page for presenters of each session in the Conference Schedule tab. If there are multiple speakers, the session description tells you which of them is showing the live stream.

How do I pose questions and comments about the session?
Click on the link to the post the presenter made about their session on their Google+ profile. You can find the link to their post on the Conference Schedule tab. Write your questions in the comments section below the post. The presenter and facilitator will monitor these comments to find popular questions before and during the session.

The session has started but I don’t see the live stream video on the presenters page.
This may be because the session is a bit late in starting.  If the session is going to be delayed the moderator will let viewers know by commenting on the post about the session on the presenter’s Google+ page.

How do I propose a session?
We are no longer accepting submissions for presentations for the May 2 Education On Air conference. However we plan to hold additional Education On AIr Conferences later in the year. We also encourage you to hold your own Hangouts whenever you want.

Schedule Of Events

Below is a list of all the sessions in the Education On Air Conference on May 2nd. All times are Eastern.

Hot Topics in Educational Technology
2pm PD Now!
3pm Blended Learning
4pm Digital Literacy & Citizenship
5pm Teachers as Innovators and Entrepreneurs
6pm Digital Natives at The Gates: Giving in to 21st Century Learners is Not the Same as Giving Up
8pm Building Tomorrow’s Innovators and Leaders with Robotics

Communicate, Connect & Share
12pm YouTube in the Classroom
1pm Mind=Blown with minutephysics
2pm Level Up! Taking Your Professional Development to the Next Step with Google’s Training Opportunities
3pm The World is Your Oyster: Using Google Docs and Google + to Connect with the World
6pm Google+ in Higher Education
7pm I Think, Therefore I Blog

Google Apps
1pm Google Apps for the School Community
2pm Giddy for Google: Successful roll-out of Google Apps for Education
3pm From No Apps To Google Apps – One School’s Journey
4pm Setting up Google Apps for Your Domain
5pm Google Apps for School Administrators
6pm Rolling out Google Apps for Education
7pm Google Apps for Teacher Education

Harnessing the Power of the Web
12pm Chromebooks: Faceless Magnificence
3pm Chrome for the Classroom
4pm 1:1 in the Cloud – How Choosing a Cloud-based Solution Impacts Student Learning
5pm The Web Alternative
6pm Google Apps and Other Products in a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Environment
7pm Harnessing the Full Power of the Web
8pm Polish Your Chrome with Apps of Gold

Instructional & Assessment Tools
12pm Managing Digital Portfolios
1pm Using Google Docs to Organize the Classroom
1pm Use of Google Earth to Visualize Student-Collected Air Pollution Data
2pm Using Google Tools to Create and Manage Online Courses
2pm Google Docs for Writing Instructors
3pm Google Earth Tours in Education
3pm A Global Hip-Hop Passport
4pm Assessment Trackers: Tools for Teachers
5pm Formative and Summative Assessments Google Style!
5pm Creating Comic Strips with Google
6pm Using Google SketchUp in the Classroom
6pm Grading with Flubaroo, and using Google Apps Scripts in the Classroom
7pm The Play, The Playwright, and Your Scene: Using Google Docs, Sites, and YouTube
7pm Project Portfolios – A Middle School Social Studies Year Long Project
8pm Google Sites for Your Classroom (Basics)
1pm The Paperless Classroom with Google Docs
2pm Becoming a Google Search Ninja
3pm Google Forms for Everything
4pm Branch Logic for Google Forms
5pm Gmail: The Heart of Your Digital Life


Below are the educators holding sessions in this first-ever Hangout On Air Conference. Learn more about them and the sessions they will run.

More Information

If you think this looks like the right place for you, check out the official Google page for the conference and get involved. See you there!