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.
*(Note: Here, here, and here are some resources on Twitter for educators.)
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.
There’s always a feeling of excitement surrounding the NAIS Annual Conference each year- lots of preparation to leave school for a few days, and the anticipation of all the new ideas and energy the conference will bring is invigorating.
If this is your first time, here are a few tips that may help:
Download the conference app TODAY!
Spend some time on the app AHEAD of time. Browse each time slot and select 2 or 3 sessions that interest you. The app will give you a warning that you already have selected a session during that time. It’s OK. You have to have options! If one doesn’t work out, you can scoot out and catch another.
If you are not on Twitter, join today!Here’s a link to a Twitter for Educators Beginner’s Guide. You will want to participate in all the conversations (a.k.a. backchanneling) that are happening during the…
When noon came on Thursday, it didn’t take long to get over the fact that our Admin Unplugged session was in the immense Grand Ballroom B. Participants trickled in and began to write session topics (or vote for others) on the easels at the entrance.
After about 10 minutes, Liz facilitated an icebreaker so participates could meet and introduce themselves to three different people. While that was happening, Justine and I were tallying the votes and setting up the 5 different discussion tables.
The of topics of Scheduling, Teacher Evaluation, Head of School relationship with Admin Teams, Open Gradebooks, and Leadership Training were announced. We explained that attendees would choose one of the tables and have a 20-minute discussion surrounding that topic. It wasn’t long before everyone was seated and the conversations were off and running. At the end of 20 minutes, participants could choose another table and have a conversation surrounding a different topic or stay at the table and continue with the discussion.
The hour flew by, and participants seemed comfortable sharing their knowledge and passions with each other. Choice is a good thing!
My first session at NAIS 2015 was a 3-hour workshop entitled: “Playgrounds, Parents and Programs- Oh My! The Work of the Division Head.” It was engaging, relevant, and very informative.
Following an amazing presentation from three division heads at three different schools, the session included a “critical friends group” exercise used to unpack a challenging dilemma at our school. We were paired up and went through the process of pre-reflection, framing the dilemma, clarifying the dilemma, probing and discussing, making recommendations, and then reflecting on it. It was useful to have a peer listen, process, and then give feedback on something that was challenging for me. It was a great start to the conference!
Here are my public notes (tweets) and reflections on the session:
Each year, the CAIS Academic Technology Retreat never disappoints. It’s filled with amazing, thoughtful, forward-thinking educators who debate, discuss and explore ways in which they can improve and enhance the learning experiences for their students. This year, our Keynote was Don Buckley. His topic was “Design and Maker Thinking.” Don is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Tools at Schools. The focus of his presentation was to investigate the teaching and learning of design and maker thinking in schools. We thoroughly enjoyed his animated and engaging presentation and I, personally, loved his break-out session where we were challenged to design a wearable technology that would change the student learning experience as we know it.
Here are my tweets from my time at the retreat. (I needed to leave early due to commitments back at school.)
@donbuckley thank you for inspiring us! Wish you were still here!!!
Here is a link to our “App Smackdown.” Feel free to add your favorite tool/app to it!
This tweet by Rush Hambleton is, by far, one of the most powerful things about this retreat, and one of the many reasons it’s not to be missed each year. Thanks for another awesome, awesome learning experience!
Overheard at #caisct Tech conf: P1"I'm coming to your workshop in 10 mins." P2 "Great! Maybe u can teach me something" #endofsageonstage
The official opening of NAISAC14 was filled with excitement and energy. John Chubb’s first remarks as President were critically analyzed by everyone in the room. I was impressed with his tone and enthusiasm and liked what he had to say. And while I felt Lyn Heward’s (COO and Creative Content Division Director for Cirque du Soleil) talk went on a bit too long, she offered some inspiring words on creativity and risk-taking. Both helped set the tone for the conference opening. I was a little disappointed, given the theme was “Dare to Explore and Discover” and we were so close to the Kennedy Space Center, that an inspiring talk from an astronaut was not on the opening agenda.
Here are my notes:
Chubb takes speaking advice from Plane, Trains and Airplane: when you are telling a story, have a point. #NAISAC14