Today, we want to focus on attending uLearn for the first time. But, don’t think this post is just for newbies. This post is your opportunity to comment and share your experiences, to help make this experience the best it can possibly be! You might want to check out TIPS FOR GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR CONFERENCE EXPERIENCE,
- Get organised! Get ready to get out of your comfort zone, and connect and engage!
- Come prepared to work hard and play hard!
- Use the ShowGizmo app, and update your profile.
- Choose your breakouts strategically, and remember JOMO! There is always JOY in missing out on something, as it allows you to experience something else. Do you want to attend sessions by certain presenters? Or, by theme? Choose sessions that fit your Learning Style! Don’t forget to check out where your breakouts are, and allow yourself enough time to get there!
- Find out about the keynotes: Larry Rosenstock, John Couch, Karen Spencer, and Michael Fullan. What do you know about them already? What do you wonder? Have you followed them on Twitter? Larry, John, Karen, Michael.
- Check out the spotlight sessions (more info in link) You can search for and book Spotlight sessions as part of the wider programme, as well as search by presenter.
- Think now about how you are going to capture your new learning. Are you going to blog it, tweet it, capture it on Evernote, set up a group/school google doc for collective gathering of insights? How are you going to reflect on it, share it, revisit it, in a way that works for you and colleagues you want to share with? Don’t wait till you get home to start reflecting on your sessions. Share your thoughts with others. Begin to unpack your thoughts and possible impact on your practice while you are surrounded by people in the same ‘hype’.
- Find your tribe. Take the time to meet new people. The friendly tribe you’ll meet at uLearn16 can be your support network going forward. Follow them on Twitter, find and follow their blogs, share and connect beyond the face-to-face event.
- Wear comfortable shoes and clothes. Layers work well, as you can peel then off as you move between venues! You are going to chalk up some steps at uLearn. Have you got your personal fitness wearable charged and ready to go? Have you got a suitable backpack to carry all you need for the day? And, don’t forget to label your belongings — just like camp!
- Slow down to speed up: Take time to soak up the atmosphere. Allow yourself time to just ‘BE at uLearn’. Remember, there are people tweeting from sessions and sharing links, that will all be available asynchronously. Maybe catching up on shared notes and links later; it frees you up to really focus on the session you are in.
- Be charged! Pack the ‘right’, fully charged, device for you. Can you capture all you need on your iPad, tablet, or phone? Do you need to bring your laptop or chromebook? Make sure you have all your charging cords with you, but travel as light as possible! You can pop by the Connected Educator station during the day to use the charging station, and connect with the friendly Connected Crusaders who are there to help you.
- On your own? It’s okay to hang out at the Connected Educator Station, ask questions, and, hopefully, meet up with other singles, or suggest other places to connect with people e.g. coffee cart! Also, when in workshops, join someone else who looks like they are on their own and introduce yourself. If you are alone, choose workshops that are interactive, because then you get to talk to people.
- Don’t forget to allow time to visit the Trade’s Hall and talk to the vendors. The Hall can be very busy in break times, so maybe visit during a session, and take time to talk and to interact with what is on offer. Don’t forget, various competitions and prizes being offered there as an incentive. You need to stay to the end for the draws.
- Take some time out. Find a quietish space, or come and find us in the Connected Educator station and chill out. Your brain will be buzzing, and you might need some time to reflect and recharge. You don’t have to go to every session — you need time to breathe and think too — in fact, it’s probably more important than dashing to the next session and then forgetting everything you heard.
- Don’t forget to pack your Kiwiana-themed costume. No matter how small, almost everyone dresses and parties in theme… so pop in your Kiwiana kit.
- Take some time to enjoy the culture and arts around Rotorua in your evenings or early mornings. There are lots of places to walk and explore.
Looking forward to connecting at uLearn.
Now that you’ve read this, come along to the Connected Educator station at uLearn, and share the ‘secret message’, which is, ‘connections that make a difference’’, and receive the first free gift on offer. (And find out how to work towards the set…)
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