I’m not a newbie at ISTE, but I wouldn’t call myself a veteran, either. I have attended a few, but I never attend two consecutive years. This means that I have two years, at minimum, to completely forget all of the things that I learn when I attend. Here are some of the things I’m realizing that I have forgotten this year. I’m sharing in the hopes that typing and reading this list will help me remember next time. I also hope it might help someone who is visiting ISTE for the first time not feel quite so much like a newbie:
1. I really wish I had thought to get shirts printed with my Twitter handle. Either that or purchase one of these cool Twitter nametags. This isn’t an ego thing – I just really like to connect with folks who are in my Twitter network, and the more of us who are walking around with our Twitter handle visible, the easier those connections can be. I also really like Dave Tchozewski‘s wish that we all have our Twitter handles hanging above our heads in word clouds, but that augmented reality app isn’t quite perfected yet.
2. Once again, I totally forgot to bring printed sheets of address labels with my contact information so that I could sign up for anything and everything in the massive exhibit hall. Truth is, I normally run from the exhibit hall after just a couple of minutes of exposure – it is just too much for my easily distracted mind to take in. However, this year my main goal is to last at least one hour in there, and the stickers would have been nice. If you see me in there tomorrow, ask me how long I’ve been there – and encourage me to meet my goal. It will be difficult, but I am up to the challenge!
3. I never remember to pace myself or to take restful breaks. This means that I’m overloaded and worn out by 2:00 (which is also why I have this rare moment to write blog posts – I’ve already returned to my hotel for the afternoon. For those of you who are attending ISTE on school business, this works out okay if you do like I did and arrive a couple of days early to take in HackED or workshops, or other pre-conference offerings. We don’t normally work on Saturdays or Sundays, so the hours you accumulate on those days can spread through Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, to complete your full work day.
4. Bring cash. In my “regular” life, I never carry cash. Transactions with me are strictly a plastic or app exchange. When I’m in the same location for this long, I really need to have cash on hand to tip hotel staff, valets, etc., and I never have it with me. Note to hotel staff, etc.: If you got one of those nifty gadgets that plug into your smart phone and allows you to take credit card payments, I would be really generous!
It isn’t all forgetfulness, though. Some of the things I have done right this year are:
1. I took Kathy Schrock’s advice and purchased a case for the Surface tablet. I bought a cheap one and had it shipped to my hotel so that when I returned to my hotel on Saturday with Surface in hand, the case was waiting for me at the hotel desk.
2. I’ve been very strategic about what I carry with me. I’m quite happy using my phone (an HTC Evo LTE) as my only mobile device. I can do anything I need to do with it. Blogging isn’t so comfortable on it, but I would be lying if I told you I will ever blog during the conference. I always reserve that for reflection at the end of the day.
3. I actually remembered to bring a water bottle this year. It is great to be hydrated all day without having to purchase an expensive bottle of water at the convention or wander the streets of San Antonio looking for a CVS.
4. This is something I never fail to do at ANY conference – I found Starbucks! There are a bunch of them close to the convention center. The best ones of the nearby stores are the ones in the lobbies of the Marriott Rivercenter and the Marriott Riverwalk.
Enjoy the conference!