So I'm sitting in the convention center lobby of the Buena Vista Palace in Orlando, Florida right now. I've got Anne Leftwich on my left, and a German speaking couple in front of me. I snagged this spot for the comfy chairs and the ability to kick my feet up on the big stone table and work. I could sit in my room and work, but then that would be ridiculous. Seriously, who wants to come to Orlando and sit in a hotel room? Not me. So I'll sit in a lobby. Like that's a big difference. I was supposed to be helping present a workshop right now, but I'm not helping with it after all. So I came a day earlier than I needed to. I was also supposed to help with another workshop today, but it got accidentally cancelled, so still I came a day early.
So why do I come to these things? As anyone who's read much of what I've written will know, I'm a graduate of Utah State University. And USU is a big AECT school. Now, for those of you who don't know what AECT is, it is the Association for Educational Communication and Technology, which is basically the academic organization for educational technology. It has divisions for each domain in the field, and I primarily participate in the design and development and teacher education divisions. I also have done things with distance learning, training and development, and multimedia production. But Design and Development and Teacher Ed are my homes. At any rate, I can remember being in graduate school and our department head, Don Smellie, telling us, "If you're not a member of the club (AECT), then it doesn't matter . . ." And so I became a member of AECT, and I guess I have been for around ten years now.
But why do I come? Well, first of all, I enjoy the relationships. There are certain people that I look forward to seeing that I don't get to see anywhere else. Some of them are Trey Martindale, David Wiley, Brad Hokanson, and Atsusi Hirumi. I also get the chance to meet others. I'm giving a presentation with Clif Mims on Thursday, and other than GChat, Twitter, and the like, we've never met. I can't wait to meet him in person.
I also come to learn something. Now AECT isn't actually known for loads of brain-busting presentations, actually, it is a wonderful conference for graduate students to present at, but I genrally try to steer clear of a lot of those. But I ALWAYS leave AECT with ideas, and that alone makes it worth the trip.
But I miss my family, and I'd much rather be at home with them.
So at any rate, what am I going to do to make this trip worthwhile? Well, I'm going to "live-blog" my presentations, that is, all but the one I'm actually presenting. I'll just jot down my notes so others can see what I think. I know that I can do it with Twitter and the like, but I would rather do it this way.
What about you? What conferences do you attend? WHY do you attend them? What do you get from attending?
Talk amongst yourselves . . .