Approach every vendor booth and presentation with one question in mind: Will this genuinely enhance my ability (and that of my students) to live at the upper end of Bloom’s taxonomy? This simple question allows you to winnow out the shady salesmen who are just trying to make a buck off of you, avoid all of the sessions and pitches regarding technology for technology’s sake, ignore everyone who’s participating in the Great Tchotchke Land Rush, and skip all of the rest of the presentation chaff that’s not worth your precious time.
Walk out of every session that doesn’t meet your needs. Every single one. Don’t feel bad about it. Don’t feel apologetic or guilty. Just go. Find something that’s a better fit. It’s all but impossible for any single session to be a good fit for everyone who attends. There are 13,000+ people at the conference. Guess what? You all have different needs. Make sure yours are met.
Remember that knowledge is socially constructed. Meaning is made within social contexts. Your best learning will be through conversations in the lounges and at Edubloggercon and by getting hands-on in the playgrounds rather than attendance at sit-and-get sessions. I’m happy to chat any time. Look for me in the Newbie Lounge on Sunday afternoon and maybe Monday morning. Otherwise I’ll most likely be hanging in the Bloggers’ Cafe.
Think about ways that you can step up. Steve Hargadon and others wanted more of an unconference experience and thus Edubloggercon and ISTE Unplugged were born. Beth Still didn’t attend the ISTE conference until 3 years ago; now there’s a Newbie Lounge just for newcomers. If there’s something you wish were at ISTE, make it happen.
Eat a genuine Philly cheesesteak. From a street cart or stand, not a sit-down restaurant.