I love the excitement and anticipation before attending a conference, especially NAIS. Whether it’s your first time at Annual Conference or if you are a frequent participant, here’s some advice before you head to Baltimore:
#1 Download the app! Seriously, do it right now. You won’t regret it.
- Familiarizing yourself with the app ahead of time will help you to get a handle on all that the conference has to offer.
- Each year the app gets better. I see myself using tools such as “My Schedule,” “Workshops,” “Speakers,” “What’s on Now,” “Exhibitors,” and “Downloads.” And there’s more, too! Check it out. Now.
#2 Plan ahead. Now that you downloaded the app, USE IT!
- Spend some time planning your days BEFORE you arrive. You can browse the workshops “by day,” “by track,” and “by type.” How convenient is that?
- Plan multiple options for each time slot. This way, if a session is not meeting your needs, you have a backup plan. Attending EdCamps helped me realize my time is too precious at conferences like this to waste them in a session that is not meeting my needs.
- Read up on the Keynote speakers ahead of time and if you are extra ambitious, maybe even do a little research about them. Personally, I am looking forward to Sir Ken Robinson on Friday morning!
- Browse the exhibitors to see who will be there. Identify the vendors that you want to make sure you visit. You can view these “by category” or “by location.” Great, again! Exhibition Hall can be super overwhelming if you don’t have a focus.
- The conversations tagged with #NAISAC enrich the conference experience on so many levels.
- Discussions are continued beyond the finite time within a workshop or keynote.
- It’s easy to make connections with others and continue them long after the conference is over. So many amazing independent school educators will be at your fingertips through the #NAISAC hashtag.
- Because you can’t be in two places at once, following #NAISAC can help you learn from people in other sessions.
- If you are social media shy, the NAISAC app will allow you to see what people are talking about on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin, and YouTube through the “Social Media” link.
- If you are comfortable, share what you are learning as you go. I use twitter as a way to take notes. It keeps them short, sweet, and to the point. (140 characters or less!) And others can benefit from what I am learning and add to them.
A little time invested now will pay off in the long run, making #NAISAC 2017 the best yet. See you in Baltimore!
P.S. If you have additional tips and advice, please leave a comment.