Saturday, June 16, 2007

Navigating NECC

Navigating NECC

The world's largest educational computing conference, the National Educational Computing Conference, takes place next week in Atlanta, GA. It’s a potentially overwhelming experience, especially for first time attendees, and in this post, I thought I’d share a few tips for how to make the most of your NECC experience. Please add any other ideas in the comments section of this post.

1) Pick a theme. Explore an idea that you’re interested in-depth by attending related program offerings. At NECC 2004 in New Orleans, I chose blogging as my personal theme, and signed up for a blogging workshop in addition to attending general sessions. During the 2005 conference held in Philidelphia, podcasting was all the rage, so I attended an Apple event and a great introductory presentation by David Warlick. This year, I hope to squeeze in a few sessions in between presentations and exhibit hall obligations. If I have time, I'll be scouting out sessions that have a global focus.

2) Utilize the conference program planner. Sign up for any and all sessions that pique your interests, even if they are flagged as potential conflicts. If a session is full, you can then always look at your planner and run to another pre-selected session. Also, use the planner to insert your own events (i.e. vendor off-site events, meet-ups with colleagues etc.) and to mark which vendors you want to visit in the exhibit hall. The sheer amount of exhibits is daunting, and it helps me to plot out certain booths ahead of time.

3) Put your conference planner into a format that you will use. Print it out, put it into iCal or even load it on your handheld device. My personal trick is to put the results of my program planner into iCal and then, into Google Calendar. After importing the file created by the online conference planner into iCal, I then chose the File menu in iCal on my Mac and selected Export, sending the file to my desktop. Next, I imported this file into my online Google Calendar. I clicked on the Add link located above My Calendars on the left-hand side of the Google Calendar page. Next, I created a new empty calendar in Google Calendar and called it NECC 2007. Following that, I selected Import Calendar from the same Add menu and chose the new calendar entitled NECC 2007. Browsing my desktop for the iCal file, I then used the pull-down menu to add it to the calendar called NECC 2007. It sounds like a lot of work, but it’s manageable... really! I prefer to have my calendars in Google Calendar because it plays nicely with Gmail and I can easily share calendars with others, even allowing them to edit a shared calendar. See my calendar as an example.

4) Leave yourself enough time to digest everything. Don’t expect to attend session after session without a break. Break up your day a bit by visiting the exhibit hall, poster sessions and the like.

5) Bring your laptop. Set up a bookmarking service and bookmarklet to save web sites cited in presentations. Tag these resources with the labels necc or necc2007, so that others can check out these sites as well. New this year to NECC are bring your own laptop hands-on sessions, too.

6) Bring a recording device to record informal conversations for future reference. This idea comes from ISTE Leader of the Year Charlene Chausis. Last year in San Diego, we lunched with Judy Beaver of Hawaii's Punahou School, and Charlene pulled out her iPod and recording attachment to preserve our conversation. Instead of taking notes during our impromptu lunch meeting, Charlene had a recording to review had she wanted to revisit the topics we discussed.

7) Come prepared to network. Check out birds of a feather sessions to find like-minded souls. Find out if your local ISTE affiliate is planning a special event. For instance, my Illinois (ICE) affiliate is hosting a dinner on Tuesday night.

8) Bring business cards, and preprinted labels containing basic contact information. It’s always helpful to have cards in order to keep in touch with people you may meet at NECC. Labels are useful when filling out forms for vendors in the exhibit hall.

9) Follow the bloggers. See Steve’s post and check out David Warlick’s Hitchhikr site. Also worth checking out is eSchools News Online Conference Information Center.

10) Bring an extra bag to transport goodies and brochures home. You don’t want to go over the airlines’ weight limit because of everything you accumulate at the conference!

If you’re not attending NECC, keep an eye on the bloggers (see #9), on ISTE’s podcasting page, and on Chris Walsh’s NECC Live segments.

NECC attendees can also check out happenings in the Google booth (#2730) and other assorted events related to ITM bloggers:

Monday, June 25th
10:00 - 10:40 Take a Lit Trip with Google Earth (Jerome Burg)
11:00 - 11:40 Project-Based Learning with Google Tools (Cheryl Davis)
1:00 - 1:40 Searching with Google (Chris Walsh)
2:00 - 2:40 Blogger Basics (Mike Lawrence)
3:00 - 3:40 SketchUp (TBD )
4:00 - 4:40 Collaborating with Google Docs & Spreadsheets (Esther Wojcicki)

Tuesday, June 26th
10:00 - 10:40 Searching with Google (Chris Walsh)
11:00 - 11:40 Project-Based Learning with Google Tools (Cheryl Davis)
1:00 - 1:40 Searching with Google (Chris Walsh)
2:00 - 2:40 Take a Lit Trip with Google Earth (Jerome Burg)
3:00 - 3:40 Blogger Basics (Mike Lawrence)
4:00 - 4:40 Collaborating with Google Docs & Spreadsheets (Esther Wojcicki)

Wednesday, June 27th
10:00 - 10:40 Take a Lit Trip with Google Earth (Jerome Burg)
11:00 - 11:40 SketchUp (TBD)
12:00 - 12:40 Collaborating with Google Docs & Spreadsheets (Esther
1:00 - 1:40 Project-Based Learning with Google Tools (Cheryl Davis)

Chris Walsh

Chris will be in the Google booth (see above) and will be conducting a series of interviews around the conference. See last year’s videos for a taste of what’s to come at NECC 2007.

Lucie deLaBruere Research: Redesign Assignments with Social Bookmarking
Hands-on BYOL
Tuesday, 6/26/2007, 11:00am-12:00pm; GWCC B305

Redesign research assignments for students, increasing critical thinking and maximizing your own productivity in managing online information using social bookmarking tools such as
Blog Tag(s): necc, n07s588

Lucy Gray

Classroom Innovations Series: Teaching and Learning in a Global Context
Workshop: Hands-on
Julene Reed, St. Georges Independent School with Lucy Gray
Monday, 6/25/2007, 8:30am–11:30am; OMNI International A

Learn how to use technology and online resources to provide structured experiences so students deepen their understanding of the world as they explore environments outside the classroom. (Exhibitor-Sponsored)
Blog Tag(s): necc, n07s217

Podcasting and Podcatching for the Absolute Beginner
Session : Spotlight
Larry Anderson, National Center for Technology Planning with Lucy Gray, Julene Reed, Tim Tyson, Cathleen Richardson, Dan Schmit and Steve Dembo
Tuesday, 6/26/2007, 12:30pm–1:30pm; GWCC Murphy 4

Podcasting! Everybody seems to be doing it. But if you've been afraid to jump into the podcasting water, join us and learn how!
Blog Tag(s): necc, n07s603

Preparing Teachers to Lead in a Global Society
Session: Panel
Lucy Gray, The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools with Judith Beaver, Lynnwood Belvin, Rae Niles, Julene Reed, Lori Roe, Otto Benavides and Elaine Wrenn
Wednesday, 6/27/2007, 12:00pm–1:00pm; GWCC Murphy 4

Professional development experts will discuss the critical need to educate today's students to be global citizens and the role technology can play in the process. (Commercial Content)
Blog Tag(s): necc, n07s716

Steve Hargadon

Steve is going to be one busy man at NECC. He is running "EduBloggerCon 2007” on Saturday, June 23rd, a free "unconference" meeting of educational bloggers. It will be held in the Georgia World Conference Center; further information is available here.

He is also managing the Open Source Pavilion at NECC, an entire lab devoted to free and open source software. A speakers series on related to this topic will also take place. Check out the schedule!

You can also catch Steve at the following events:

Free, Open Source, and Web 2.0 Software for the Classroom
Steve Hargadon, Technology Rescue with Sharon Betts, Steven Burt,
Bill Fitzgerald and Terry Freedman
Birds of a Feather Session
Tuesday, 6/26/2007, 4:45pm-6:15pm; GWCC B308

Explore successful uses of free and open source software and Web 2.0 in the classroom.
Blog Tag(s): necc, n07s250

Integrating Online and Open Source to Support Integration
Sharon Betts, Association of Computer Technology Educators of Maine with Bill Fitzgerald and Steve Hargadon
Birds of a Feather Session
Monday, 6/25/2007, 4:45pm-5:45pm; GWCC B308

Talking about open source and online tools to support integration-we will share solutions and implementations, brainstorm ideas, network and plan future collaboration.
Blog Tag(s): necc, n07s263

Linux and Open Source Software in K-12 Schools
Session: Hands-on Open Source Lab
Monday, 6/25/2007, 12:30pm-1:30pm; GWCC B308

An overview of Linux and open source software, with specific examples of programs that can be easily implemented to save money and increase computing stability.
Blog Tag(s): necc, n07s587

Linux Solutions for Thin-Client Computing

Session: Hands-on Open Source Lab
Tuesday, 6/26/2007, 2:00pm-3:00pm; GWCC B308

Linux provides several unique benefits in thin-client computing:
simplicity, stability, cost savings, license independence, Windows
interoperability, and the reuse of old computers.
Blog Tag(s): necc, n07s651

Mark Wagner

Wiki While You Work: Best Practices for Educational Wikis

Poster: Traditional
Wednesday, 6/27/2007, 12:00pm-2:00pm; GWCC Level 5, Galleria
Learn how wikis can be used as powerful collaboration tools for
individual and group student projects, teacher and class Web pages,
professional development, and much more.
Blog Tag(s): necc, n07s313

With Power Comes Responsibility: Online Awareness, Ethics, and Safety

Session: Lecture
Wednesday, 6/27/2007, 10:30am-11:30am; GWCC B217

Blogs, MySpace, and more... Learn about the technologies, the
benefits, the concerns, and proactive strategies for helping your
students use these tools ethically and safely.
Blog Tag(s): necc, n07s707