Saturday, June 13, 2009

Expanding Your NECC 2009 Experience

View and edit NECC 2009 Washington, DC in a larger map. Please add your recommendations!

It's that time of year again... The International Society for Technology in Education will celebrate its 30th birthday in a few weeks by hosting the National Educational Computing Conference in Washington, D.C. For me, it's a particularly exciting time to be visiting our nation's capital in light of our new president and a renewed focus on improving education.

NECC 2009 promises to be professionally rejuvenating event for anyone interested in educational technology. It is a potentially overwhelming conference with nearly 13,000 attendees and approximately 500 vendors presenting their wares. For the record, educational technology has never been about the tools for me (although I do revel in the cool factor of many technologies), but about leveraging learning for kids. That said, I hope that educators from a wide variety of backgrounds and interests will attend for similar reasons. I would actually like to see the excitement about educational technology filter down more to those who aren't necessarily techie geeks like myself.

For the past few years, I've posted a blog entry highlighting a few tips and tricks for making the most of your NECC experience. Review my ideas for 2007 and for 2008; I still stand by that general advice. Pick an area of focus, spend time planning before you get to Washington with that theme in mind, and give yourself plenty of time to digest everything. Bring your laptop for taking notes and accessing additional content; I suspect more people will be using iPhones for this purpose, however. Finally, get connected with other educators through the plethora of events that are scheduled. For the second year, ISTE has an online community for conference conversation. Networking isn't just for job seekers or administrators anymore!

If you are not able to attend in person, you should be able to participate virtually as well. Some presenters may elect to post their materials online and to stream video feeds of their presentations. At Edubloggercon, an informal "unconference" to be held Saturday, June 27 as a precursor to NECC, many sessions will also be broadcast via tools such as Ustream. Finally, similar sessions called NECC Unplugged will be taking place in the Blogger's Café during the actual conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

In addition to all this, people will be blogging, posting pictures, and twittering away about conference happenings. You can find this stuff by searching various sources using tags (keyword labels) such as NECC, NECC2009, and NECC09. For instance, search Twitter using #NECC and you'll find a steady microblogging stream. I recommend searching Technorati for blog posts and Flickr for photos in a similar manner.

Finally, I like to make the most of any travel experience by doing a little research ahead of time. I usually do a cursory search in iTunes for content related to my destination that I can put on my iPod or iPhone. For instance, I purchased the audiobook of A Cricket in Times Square for my daughter when we traveled to New York City prior to NECC 2005. In 2006, I traveled to Europe with other Apple Distinguished Educators on a project and I brought along a Passport to Europe episode on Berlin and a No Reservations episode on Paris (this show isn't necessarily for kids, by the way). In addition to these items, there are tons of free podcasts available in iTunes if you do a search for your particular destination.

I've taken the liberty of putting together a few Washington DC related resources. I have not reviewed all of these; I just explored and plucked ones that look potentially interesting. If you have any additional recommendations, please add them to the comments. Enjoy and see you in DC. I'll be in the Google booth from time to time and presenting as part of Larry Anderson's Podcasting and Podcatching for the Absolute Beginner panel. Stop by and say hello!

Washington DC and NECC Resources

Lucy's NECC Calendar - Each year, I use the NECC conference planner to plot any sessions interesting to me. I'm focusing on math, science and interactive whiteboards this year.

Lucy's NECC '09 Map - Join this Google Map and add your info and recommendations.

NECC Ning - NECC's online community; attendees and virtual attendees are welcome to join.

GovFresh - one stop shopping for multimedia produced by the U.S. governent. Everything is aggregated in one place; web 2.0 at its finest!

Apps for your iPhone:
TV Shows and Movies:
YouTube Channels: