T-Minus 48 hours till ISTE.
Fourth trip for me. I’ve been fortunate. If you’re new to ISTE, here are my tips for getting the most out of the experience.
- Don’t plan every hour out. You’ll get distracted and fall off your schedule on the first day. Trust me, even if you fall off schedule, you’re going to find great stuff to check out.
- Pack light. You’ll walk miles. Comfy shoes. The least amount on your back.
If you have a battery pack for your phone, bring one. There are LOTS of charging stations, but I don’t always want to sit at those things.
Pack the lighted device possible. I’m going to bring a Chromebook and my phone. I find that I take more pictures of what I see than take notes since the poster sessions, playgrounds, vendor hall, etc are standing room only type of things. I took lots of photos instead. I would not bring a big laptop unless that’s all you have.
Attend the poster sessions. These offer the greatest bang for your buck because they’re usually themed. For example, as a Technology Coach, I can hit up 10 poster sessions about being a Technology Coach all at once. Score! When you visit these, write down or photograph contact info. I spent a week afterward contacting people for follow up questions.
- Download the app. You can attempt to create your schedule and the Expo map rocks.
- Pack snacks. If you try to eat lunch when everyone else is, you’ll waste time standing in line. Eat a snack and grab an actual lunch before or after the rush.
- Stay off email. Be in the moment at ISTE. Work email can wait.
- Take photos. Your mind isn’t going to remember all that you’re taking in. Photograph playgrounds and poster sessions. Two weeks from now, you’ll be thankful you did.
- Wear comfortable shoes. No one cares what you look like. ISTE is like marathon running. You’re all looking rough at the end of the night. Who cares. Wear walking shoes and pants or shorts that don’t chafe. Haha.
- Attend networking events in the evening. Free food. Lots of new connections. Seriously, we want our students to branch out. We need to aswell. I’m a homebody hermit who would rather go back to my hotel room, but that’s not going to help me grow.
All in all — don’t pass up on anything. ISTE was a professional game changer for me. It will be for you too.