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OnCUE Archive - 2004, February

Getting
to Conferences and Getting More From Them

Nothing else seems to inspire, recharge
batteries or call you to action more than a great conference. Attending
allows you to get outside your box and to see what others are doing.
It is always exciting, especially when you find the one or two sessions
that light your fire and cause you to bring something truly beneficial
back to your campus. Here are some tips that will allow you to get
the most from attending a conference.

By Doug Prouty

Acquiring Funds

This has become a challenge, so be resourceful and persistent.

  • Sell your objectives to your principal.
  • Check with district personnel.
  • Tap funding sources such as PAR, SIP, Title I, Title II, AB
    1339, EETT, etc.

Prepare Ahead of Time -- Weeks in Advance

  • Get a copy of the full program. This can be available in PDF
    or Excel weeks before the conference. Check the Web site.
  • Use the program to plan your attendance deciding on a focus
    or emphasis. You can keyword search these documents for topics
    and presenters.
  • If you are going with others, together plan a “divide
    and conquer approach,” hitting different sessions and sharing
    your notes later.

At the Conference

Be sure you consider attending pre-sessions,
hands-on sessions and tours.

If attending concurrent sessions, decide on your
first choice, then choose a couple of alternatives for that hour.
Sit near the back or edge and move on within the first 10 minutes
if that session is not for you.

Devise a note-taking strategy and tool that works
best for you. Your goal is to be able to recall and use the information
later. Try taking notes within overall categories instead of as
separate sessions. This allows you to utilize the conference experience
as a whole.

During the evenings, take time to go over your
notes. If you’re with a group, meet up and debrief each other
on what you saw and heard.

After the Conference

  • Consolidate your collected handouts

    and notes.
  • Develop a presentation to the faculty or those who helped fund
    your trip. Spread your experience and new learning.
  • Try out some of the ideas that were presented.
  • Visit Web sites that were mentioned.
  • Send follow-up emails to presenters to

    clarify questions or to comment on their presentations.

For the Next Conference

  • Check out the conference Web site and the “Call for Proposal”
    section to consider becoming a presenter. Presenting is a great
    experience and next time may help pay your way.