Each year, thousands of professionals across the education spectrum — from EdTech developers to K-12 principals — converge at the EDUCUASE annual conference for three days of learning, networking, and of course, unwinding.
If you’re planning on attending the EDUCAUSE annual conference this year, then here are some practical tips to help you make the most out of your time and investment:
- Be Prepared
Go through the conference program and decide what sessions, workshops and events to attend. Granted, it’s not going to be an easy choice. But thinking that you’ll be able to clearly map things out once you arrive on the scene is a mistake. There’s just too much to do, see and experience. You’re better off making these tough but necessary choices with time on your side.
- Get Off the Work Grid
This is easier said than done, but trust me on this: as you immerse yourself in the EDUCAUSE experience (and there’s more to experience than you can probably imagine), the last thing you want is to be pulled into yet another status meeting, and spend half your day holed up in the hotel business center work on a project proposal. Do what you can — including calling in favors, or perhaps indebting yourself accordingly — so that both your mind and body can attend the conference.
- Don’t Just Nurture Relationships — Make New Ones
On the first day of school, we tell kids to sit next to people they don’t know — because we want them to make new friends, and get to know different kinds of people. In the same spirit, while you’ll certainly say hello to familiar vendors, make sure that you set aside enough time to spark new connections. You never know where a conversation can lead, and what it can mean to your school (and perhaps your career) down the road.
- Get Plenty of Business Cards
Yes, business cards are old fashioned (unlike more innovative forms of outreach, like QR codes or a vehicle wrap). But they’re also still the currency of choice when it comes to exchanging information. As such, make sure that you have plenty on hand, and that all information is accurate.
The Final Word
Last but certainly not least: EDUCAUSE is informative, but it’s also supposed to be fun! Set aside at least a couple of hours so that you can see some sights. If you’re a sports fan, you might be able to take in a game as well. All work and no play makes for a dull EDUCAUSE experience!