4 To Dos To Get The Most Out Of Professional Conferences (12 Days Of Ideas #11)
Use it or lose it, right?
To me "using" involves a lot of processing. So what's the best way to process information?
1. Take Notes, But...
At the conference, watch and listen carefully and try not to sacrifice these for note taking. Undoubtedly, some of that will happen. That's okay. Just be strategic and don't write down every single thing. Focus on the epiphanies you have as you watch and listen. Write down the possible applications in your craft and classroom.
Make sure you make the information your own right away. The best way is to write by hand, not type. This issue is a source of constant contention, but research amasses in support of increased and stronger neural pathway formation when we do it old school. To me, taking notes always beats not taking notes, and I think sketchnoting might offer the best of both worlds... And, whatever you do, slow down enough to write it as if you've said it.
2. Go Over Your Notes Right After...
You are inspired. You started the process of making it your own. Now it's time to internalize it. If you stop too early, much of the information will be diluted and fizzle. Do not let that happen!
If #1 was kind of obvious, #2 is something we rarely consider or allow time for.
Maybe there's a happy hour happening in the afternoon or evening? Go. Connect. Have a blast! But before you do, sit them buns down for 15 minutes, go over your notes, and fill them in with additional ideas, understandings, and applications. It might be the most powerful 15 minutes you spend that day. Happy hour will be even more fun now and you won't be that awkward person arriving first and wondering if you're at the right watering hole...
3. Process And Plan...
Reflect on what you learned. Write about it. Blogging to further internalize and expand on ideas is a real neat way of reflecting, sharing, and getting new ideas from your PLN. As you process and plan, think of more ways of using the gained information in your craft and classroom. Make it applicable to what you do and your students may need, enjoy, and be successful with.
Put it in your teacher calendar. Plan lessons that incorporate the new ideas or strategies. Make it tangible: What are you doing? When is it happening? How will it look? Commit to it in writing.
4. Use It...
You've got plans. And... Action!
Talk about it with colleagues. Lead a workshop in your school/district on one or two things that really got you psyched. Do it in your classroom. The longer you put it off the less likely you are to do it. And if you really wanted to, don't let it go into the should'a/could'a been bin, because that's a sad place of lost opportunities and chances not taken...
Do it ASAP. This is when you really learn it. When you apply it, the idea, strategy, activity, app, whatever truly becomes your own. It is now part of your teaching toolbox. This is a place where awesomeness lives. Expanding it is fun and always worth the time...
And... That's A Wrap!
Now you have the blueprint of what I've done and am doing still, following the TIES 2016 EdTech Conference, which was awesome! I took notes, filled them in with ideas, and created plans.
I have been thinking and blogging about what I learned or the ideas that surfaced as a result every day. This alone forced me to look at my notes and process what I've learned over and over. Each time, my mind found new ideas.
I have talked to multiple colleagues (face to face and social) about application of what I learned. I already used a few things in my classroom and committed to using more.
I used the information as much as I could as soon as possible, so I don't lose it. It's working.
I hope it works for you.