The ExitTicket team is suiting up for SXSWedu. We’ve been selected to participate in the Startup Showcase. Preparing for the event is a wildly different experience than the many times I attended educational conferences as a teacher and edtech manager. And yet, there are some commonalities that are worth exploring. With that in mind, here are the top 5 reasons to attend an educational conference:
5: Find What Fits
This is more than touring the showroom floor and sampling products (though that can be a blast). Find what will work for your environment, routine and comfort level. I’m not suggesting you should be inflexible to change, just keep the context of your own needs in mind. The stunning tech used in the keynote speech may not be as flashy as the tool the lady sitting next to you is using, but maybe it will suit you better.
Sample products while maintaining a thoughtful bias toward your needs.
4: The Buzz
The educational field can be exhausting for both mind and body. It’s rejuvenating to immerse yourself in a celebration of innovations and potential. Don’t spend too long with the grumbling circle huddled by the buffet: Get out and leech the spirit from the idealistic folk that haven’t become jaded and weary.
Stand next to the most excitable folks and get a little carried away.
3: Start a Project
Collaboration brings the best out of people. Find another classroom teacher that will pair students up with yours to do a group project via Skype. Found an app that you really want to use? Partner with someone and share ideas. Put those ideas on a blog and become Internet famous. My recommendation: Don’t let the buzz of the educational conference convince you to bite off more than you can chew. If you find a like-minded person willing to team up, start modestly.
Meet new people and strike up a manageable collaboration.
Education is fraught with controversial topics taboo in the teacher’s lounge. An educational conference is an inevitable gathering of opposing opinions. This is the time to explore differences, compromises and solutions. Don’t hold back your thoughts — or a friendly handshake afterwards.
Jump head-first into a debate you’d normally avoid.
1: Face the Crowds
Apply to speak at every educational conference you can. Think of mistakes you’ve made and put a presentation together to share your lessons learned. I brought students to my first presentation at an educational conference, and they were glowing for weeks afterward. Stop by and see ExitTicket’s presentation at the SXSWedu’s Startup Showcase too. But you don’t have to give a presentation to face the crowds. Raise your hand, join a conversation and be heard.
Prepare your ideas and make them known.