Are you new to the #edtech scene? Is this your first ISTE conference to attend? Don’t fret. Here is a simple guide outlining the essential need-to-knows before entering tech-mania. For many educators still coming to terms with the edtech phenomenon and attempting to branch out into the unknown realm of the ‘tekkies’, attending the ISTE four-day conference can be a bit daunting. While many would be put off by the excited crowds, the intimidating ‘texperts’, and the array of over-complicated topics to choose from, the ISTE conference and expo can be an eye-opening event for beginners. With all of the latest products, the best experts, and enthusiastic educators all in one place, here’s your opportunity to ask, test, discuss, and share like never before. The following steps might make your introduction to the ISTE world of the tekkies a much easier one:

Step #1 Research.

Do your research into the topics being discussed on the day and the keynote speakers set to attend. Once you have a background to the event, you can decide on the topics and speakers that interest you and make sure you get the most from your ISTE experience.

Step #2 Browse.

Browse the ISTE 2014 program to figure out which sessions best suit your needs. A key step here is to have an idea what your career focus is, and to work from there.

Step #3 Follow.

Once you have figured out the what’s what and the who’s who of the event, take to Twitter. By following the activity happening at #ISTE2014 you can get involved in the discussions and interact with key attendees and hosts before you even get there. There is endless insightful advice available here and an array of useful blogs to get you started and well-informed.

Step #4 Download.

Download the ISTE 2014 mobile app so that you can find whatever you’re looking for using the search feature. You can also navigate your way around the conference center, save your favorite speakers, exhibitions and sessions, and review all the content in each session. Make sure you stay clued into social media at the same time to stay up to date with what’s trending.

Step #5 Charge.

Perhaps an obvious one, but a surprising recurrence and a major error. Your mobile device will be invaluable on the day so make sure you have it fully charged and on the ready with all necessary apps downloaded pre-event. This will save you time, keep you clued in, and gain you some very useful contacts.

Step #6 Interact.

While we are all for digital interaction here at Fishtree, we also recognize the importance of one-to-one. Get talking to as many people as possible. With so many education enthusiasts together in one room, the contacts you make here could change your professional life for the better. Hang out in the ISTE lounges and socialize to your heart’s content. Be sure to get their Twitter name and email address to keep this interaction going long after the final session (and to find out where the after party is).

Step #7 Test.

Test out the latest products being displayed in the expo hall. For those who suffer from slight technophobia, here’s your chance to test out the products and to get useful guidelines on how to get the most out of them. Here, everyone is learning, so go wild!

Step #8 Socialize.

Following on from step number 6, make yourself available for socializing opportunities such as after parties and ISTE social events. We all know that in more relaxed situations and a hint of fun, the conversation flows more naturally leading to more contacts and useful information, so find out what’s happening and get involved! Here’s a taster of what’s in store.

Step #9 Follow. Again.

When the conference is over, it’s easy to let the hustle and bustle of the past four days pass you by. As I would certainly argue for the existence of ‘information overload’, you need time to process everything that you’ve just taken in. Take to Twitter again and start following all the contacts you’ve made, and get involved in the post-event discussions. By this stage, you will have fully immersed yourself in the #edtech scene, and you can go from there… Congratulations, you have successfully passed your tekkie initiation!

P.S. Whether working with students in the classroom, or students in flipped and blended learning environments, at home, in schools, or on mobile devices, Fishtree provides the tools 21st century teachers and students need to improve outcomes. Whatever your role in education, Fishtree is ready to support your success!


Lorna Keane is a teacher of French, English and ESL. She specializes in language teaching and has taught in second and third-level institutions in several countries. She holds a B.A in languages and cultural studies and an M.A in French literature, theory and visual culture. Subscribe to her blog or follow her on Twitter.