There are certain advantages to attending a state-level conference in your own backyard. First, it’s cheap (especially if you’re a presenter), and it’s difficult to understate the importance of this when millions of dollars are being trimmed from my district’s budget. Second, travel time is reduced considerably, allowing one to drop off sub plans at 7 AM in one’s classroom and still make it to one’s session at 8 AM at the convention center. When you’re a classroom teacher, taking days off always sucks, but this makes it much more manageable. Third, many of the people whom you respect and admire come to you, allowing you to appear knowledgeable and savvy about local pubs and eateries. Of course, this is only effective when you are the only “townie” in your group, so it didn’t work so well for me (thanks, @bethanyvsmith and @plugusin).
And so it was that I ended up attending both Thursday and Friday of the North Carolina Technology in Education Society’s 2010 conference in Raleigh. Originally, the plan seemed straightforward enough. I wrote lesson plans for a substitute teacher, pitched a couple of presentations (one with my fantastic Media Specialists and one with a first-year teacher techie who has joined my school), and put it on the ol’ trusty Google Calendar. Jump forward a couple of months, and now it’s the perfect storm of stress: wife is out of town (there goes the built-in daycare for my son), I’m stuck dogsitting a 120-lb “puppy”, an unexpected out-of-town trip limited my opportunity to practice my talks with my co-presenters, and it’s track-out week so I have to pack up everything in my classroom.
In spite of this stress, or perhaps because of it, NCTIES 2010 was a remarkable experience. Rather than detail the sessions I attended, as others have done very successfully, I will use this space to rank the five best moments of the conference from my point of view. This will also help me disguise the fact that I didn’t get to spend very much time in actual sessions, between arranging for childcare and tweeting about “Chandler“. Continue reading