More Reflections on TCEA

I have been spending some time this morning reading what others have had to say about the conference on their blogs. These is much out there to read I’m sure more will appear as folks wander home and have time to reflect and organize and post.

I decided I would post on some of my feelings about attending the conference – good and bad, that bubble up to the surface as I read.

Why do I go and what I like the best?
I love Austin. I’m not a city person but I love the variety of restaurants and the people watching is incredible!

February is a “valley” month for me. My enthusiasm and energy hang by a thread. The cold, cloudy weather makes me want to pull the covers over my head til spring. TCEA in Austin gives me a boost over the valley.

I learn but I also learn what I need to go learn. I take notes and listen, then run on to the next presentation. There isn’t a lot of time to absorb, so for me a lot of the real learning takes place in the months after I return, but I come home armed with new questions and new places to find answers. I get to the conference feeling like a dry sponge – it’s only after, when I wring all the juice out that I start seeing the value.

I make friends with colleagues. On a day to day basis, even the people in my own school are busy and TCEA gives us time to discuss and learn more about each other. I always come away with a deeper sense of who they are and what they believe. We work together in a field where relationships matter. Relationships with our students and the support we give each other.

I can get a feel from the discussion during and after for the climate of educational technology.
What I don’t like – the crowds. I want everyone to benefit from the conference but I also feel very stressed trying to negotiate the conference hall weaving in and out of all the other folks doing the same and I really hate it when I have hurried to get to a presentation only to find them closing the door because it is full. Luckily there are usually others to slip into.

Cell phones. This is my biggest pet peeve. If you need to make a call – do it between presentations and while you are in a session put it on vibrate or TURN IT OFF. It’s rude, it’s distracting to the presenter and the other attendees and unless you are a brain surgeon or waiting on a transplant organ you will have a hard time justifying that phone ringing to me.

Teachers who think it is okay to laugh and talk among themselves during a presentation. I don’t think they would tolerate that in their classroom during a lecture.

The cost of drink and snacks in the conference hall. If you want to get every minute you can at actual presentation there is no possible way to leave to eat. I was gratified to find water stations around but anything to buy is limited in choice and expensive. I think TCEA could do a little bit better job at feeding their attendees without breaking their budget.

I know that this conference is huge and I can’t begin to imagine what it takes as far as organization and logistics and all in all I think the conference people do a great job. Back to my reading.

Why do you go? What do you love/hate about the conference? What would you like to see done differently?

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