This has been an awesome week worth the time and money it took to get myself here.
I have attended several NECC's over the years. I have learned not to over plan for myself. I did have one or two sessions planned for each day; however, I left plenty of time to spend on the exhibit floor. The exhibit floor is so much more than 5 football fields of vendors. It is a place of networking with vendors, an efficient way to find out what is new in educational technology, and a place to meet / remeet educators that I communicate with online.
I enjoyed the BYOL sessions that I attended. Learning new things and being able to try them out at the same time has been great. I remember several years back when NECC didn't provide wireless as part of the conference. (Yes I attended pre-edublogger...)
Having continuous internet changed my conference. This year I was able to blog during my sessions (hence the recent activity of my blog.) (A sore spot still is that the Renaissance Hotel didn't provide internet access for the digital equity summit.
I was able to attend several of the sessions that were hosted in the SMART room. This forum actually allowed for a much more interactive type of workshop. Presenters were mostly great educators that happen to use SMART boards.
One of the greatest successes for myself is the networking and re-networking that took place. Some of this happened during the day, but much more during the evening receptions / events. A highlight for me was attending the reception at the Canadian Embassy. It was powerful to know that I was walking back into Canada when I walked under a row of Canadian flags flowing in the breeze and then into the building.
I hope to present again next year but would really like a space in the regular program not on the first Saturday AM before most have even arrived....
Feedback that I plan to officially provide will include:
1. Better publicity for evening events. (Even if they are invitation only events - if they have an event code, they could be placed into our planner with out us having to input all details.)
2. Recognition of Canada on Canada Day during the conference (which ironically doesn't apply next year)
3. I would like less 'guest' passes in the exhibit area. I appreciate that spouses can join; however, there were too many times with young children on the floor that seemed detractions. (I do greatly appreciate the students that were attending as part of a poster or other presentation.
4. There weren't any family events planned this year. I travelled alone this year but really appreciated that my family was able to be involved at previous NECC conferences. It is hard to be away from family a long time and almost as hard to come back to the hotel to find a well rested family ready to go out. (when all I want is some quiet time to process the day.)
I do hope I can attend the rebranded ISTE conference in Denver next June.
I find that attending NECC is a huge power boost to my batteries. I am ready to go again for a year of learning and working with students and teachers. If you ever get the chance to attend a major conference (especially ISTE) try and make it work somehow.