Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Tips for NCTIES Newbies

This week, over two thousand educators from across North Carolina will gather in Raleigh for the annual conference of the NC Technology in Education Society (NCTIES). This gathering gives geeks like me a chance to play with new ideas and connect with awesome people. I look forward to NCTIES all year, and I'm excited that this year's conference is finally here!

If you are attending NCTIES this year for the first time, or if you are wondering how you can make the most of your experience, check out my tips for NCTIES newbies below. Have additional tips to add? Please leave a comment!

Make it Personal

This year's conference theme is Make it Personal. The best advice I can give NCTIES participants is to do just that. The next two days are designed to give you time, space and resources to explore ideas that interest you. This is your time to be selfish.

Get Connected

Lots of lots of NCTIES participants will be sharing ideas and resources via Twitter, Google+ and other networks. Even folks who are #NotatNCTIES will be active in these networks. Get connected with folks in these spaces to keep the conversation going beyond the sessions. A huge benefit of engaging in the conference backchannel conversations is that you can learn from multiple sessions at once. I encourage you to set up an #ncties15 column in Tweetdeck to make it easier to join in the conversation. Meet some great NC educators at the #NCed meet-up Thursday morning at 7:30 am (location TBD). Check the #ncties15 hashtag for a location announcement Wednesday evening.

Don't Just Focus on the Sessions

Don't get me wrong.... NCTIES sessions are great. The conference schedule is filled with some amazing presenters with incredible ideas and resources to share. Some of my favorite learning, however, takes place before, after and in-between sessions. Take advantage of opportunities to sit and chat with old or new friends and play with your new ideas.

Have Fun

There are plenty of opportunities to have fun at NCTIES. Get your karaoke on at the Digital Jam Thursday evening at 7:30 pm, get your game on in the Coding and Gaming Playground, play Lucas Gillispie's Conference Quest and chat with students during the Student Showcase.

What are your tips for making the most of the NCTIES experience? Please share them below.