My favorite conference ever....period. GAETC 14 was the best conference experiance I have had. I had 4 presentations that all came off great. I got to talk to many of my friends who I only see on Twitter. I got to see great national speakers, and a few select local ones who I know are good. Finally, Hoke and the crew always take care of us. Really, there is no conference better at making the conference experiance something everyone will enjoy.
I am sure you are asking where the title came from. I can thank the Tech Triplets for kicking me in the rear to change my twitter tag, but really it comes down to wanting to expand. I need a schtik according to Heather Cox, and that's where big guy in a bow tie comes in. Big Guy in a bow tie is my new brand. My hope is that I can build on the great success from GAETC, and maybe just maybe I can turn this into more. I want to be on the same level as @thenerdyteacher, and hopefully this little bit of rebrand will help me achieve that goal. Now enough about me
The Best Sessions I Saw
1. Leslie Fisher's Augmented Reality- Leslie never disappoints and I had never seen her augmented reality session. This was a great session for me to go to so I could get a sense of the wild west out there that is Augmented Reality. It's something I want to explore more of
2. Brian (Bobby) Lewis' Sphero Programming for ESOL- This is one for my own personal benefit. I won a Sphero at EdCamp Atlanta, and I wanted to know more about the types of projects you could do with it in schools. Bobby gave me more than I could ask for
3. Tammy's Tips and Tricks- Ms Worcester's tips and tricks always amaze me. What she does with Google Drive and Google Drive templates is always something I need to hear
4. Nicholas Provenzano 20 Time - I have wanted to see Nick Present for a while, and I really enjoyed this session. I think 20 time is a great idea with the right person, and I love the fact that Nick lets kids create
5. The Tech Triplets App Smashing- I do have the advantage that I actually work with these ladies. I really liked their app smashing presentation as a great way to combine tools for student outcomes. These ladies are a rising force in the ed tech community of GA
The Things I Missed that I Wish I Could Have Seen
1. Chris Craft- I know Chris is great,but it just worked out where I missed him. I had planned on seeing his Google Cert session, but with a presentation right after his I did not want to take up a seat in full presentation when I need to leave quick. He is an absolute must see whenever we are in the same place again
2. The Student Showcase- I am going to schedule some time hear next year
"There is no place like home, there is no place like home," We all know that line from the Wizard of Oz. I happened to be watching that this weekend with my daughters for the first time, and as I sat to write this blog post, it's what kept popping into my head. GAETC is my ed tech home. It's where I really got my start in the ed tech community with my first 60 apps in 60 minutes presentation 2 years ago, and I can not believe how much things have evolved.
Well to start off on our preview excursion, I must tell you what my GAETC experience is going to be like. Yes, I am tooting my own horn a little (it is my blog you know), but I also think it may skew what I am writing here a little. My GAETC experience will be busy. I am presenting 4 times, which in itself amazes me that I have evolved to that in two years from a scared first time presenter. I have presentations I know will go off well (My 60 in 60 IOS and my 60 in 60 Gadgets), I have a presentation I think is good but will be given for the first time (My TKES starter kit), and I have one that makes me nervous (My Walk through History tweeting all the way). I know it will be fine, but this conference is guaranteed to give me some nerves
Lets get back to you the reader though. First, I want to give you a big congrats on taking the chance to go to an ed tech conference. It changed my life, but really if you can just get one thing out of it for your classroom or position it will ultimately be a success for you. Second, if you did not apply to present or you did not get in for whatever reason, try your luck next year. Presenting really enhances that conference experience, and in the end it makes you better. Well, on to what you really want which is my tips, tricks, and advice to get the most out of the conference.
The Speakers I think are Must Sees
1. Leslie Fisher- I have seen Leslie several times at GAETC and at ISTE, and she never fails to amaze me. First, she is funny. Having a sense of humor and not taking presentations to seriously in the end makes them so much better. Second, she always amazes me with some cool new tool or gadget that I have never seen. Really, I try to model what I do on her model.
2. Nicholas Provenzano- Honestly, I have never seen him speak, but I know his reputation. He is a mainstay in the ed tech community especially considering he was ISTE's teacher of the Year in 13. I am excited to see what he brings to the table
3. Tammy Worcester Tang- Before ISTE this year, I had never heard of here. I had heard of the group she worked for in Kansas though, ESSDACK. It's the same group Kevin Honeycutt is from so I thought I must give her a shot. She was easily my FAVORITE new speaker at ISTE, and I am pumped that she is on the docket
4. Chris Craft- I have actually met Chris a couple of times, but I have only heard him briefly in the Google Playground at ISTE. If you want to know more about Google Apps, Chris is the man for that. I am very interested to see his Get Google certified presentation, as they have turned me down a couple of times
5. Adam Bellow- Honestly, he would be much higher on this list if I was going to see him more than the Keynote. Adam is a great presenter, and I am so glad that he is doing the keynote. I have seen him a couple of times through the years, and he is definitely one I always try and catch
My interest with the Local Yocals
1. Brian Bobby Lewis- Bobby does a whole lot with several ed tech companies including Edmodo, Symbaloo, and Tackk. I have never been in one of his sessions though. He actually is doing the session I want to see the most though. I just got a Sphero in a raffle from Ed Camp Atlanta, and he is the Sphero King of GA. He is doing a session on it an ESL which I consider my Number 1 must see.
2. Any Plemmons- Honestly, I figured out who Andy was by my want of being Google Certified. I am glad I did. He is one of the most creative media specialist in the state of GA. He does many things geared towards connecting his students with the world, and I am very interested to explore that in his session
3. The Ed Tech Triplets (Stephanee Stephens, Heather Cox, Jessica Jackson)- I have the privilege of working with these ladies the last few weeks, and I know from first hand experience they are all really good at what they do. They have just started the Ed Tech Triplets theme, and I think now and in the future you will see great things come out of them
4. Amy Pietrowski- Amy is a great presenter who is very experienced. I love the fact she has a presentation called Let Me Make your Day.
5. Lee Green- Lee is another one that I have honestly never seen present in person, but I have seen him as part of Smackdown's and he always brings something new and creative. He is not doing a whole lott as far as concurrent sessions go, but I know if you are in his workshop you will not be disappointed
My Favorite Sessions
1. Leslie Fisher's Smackdown- :(:(:(:(:(:( This is easily one of my favorite sessions every year, but the frowny face is because I will miss it. I am actually presenting at the same time.
2. ESOL with Sphero Programming- The Sphero is an awesome tool that is basically a robotic ball. Bobby uses this in his ESOL classes, and I am excited to see what he does with it considering, I got 1 recently.
3. Get Google Certified- I have tried 3 times to get into the Goggle Teacher Academy. I really want to hear what Chris has to say on the ways to get in
4. Tammy's Favorite Tips, Tricks, and Tools- I saw this at ISTE, and it was easily one of my favorites. I can't wait to hear how she has updated it
5. Augment Your Reality- Leslie always amazes with new augmented reality apps and tricks. This is a must see
My Tips to Survive
1. See the National Speakers- I have honestly never seen a state conference that does such a GREAT job of bringing in featured speakers. There are great nationally known speakers at this conference, and you are much more likely to get a lot out of there session
2. Vote with Your Feet- If you are not getting anything out of a session, DON'T SIT THERE! You are taking time and effort to go to this conference so leave and try something else. The Biggest Salons (I think its 4 and 5), always have room, if you can't find anything else.
3. Participate, Participate, Participate- GAETC does such an awesome job of giving out prizes that it does pay to participate. Literally....It Pays as they give out $100 dollar prizes through out the conference. In all honesty though it also helps you professionally. Lets be honest to say that there are many schools that the tech nerds are the weird ones and the outcast. Connect with people to realize that their are plenty of like minded people out there. Also participate on Twitter.
4. It's Ok to Miss a Session- These are great times to connect, and you will be more aware and awake if you take a break every now and then
5. Bring Snacks- It'sa conference center. The food prices are absurd. Pack a bag and snack through out the day to make your conference better.
6. App, App, App- Use the app. The app has all the sessions in it, and they adjust the schedule in it. It's a great place to plan out your conference.