Tuesday, April 3, 2012

NSTA 2012

Last week was Spring Break, but I didn't take the whole week to vegetate. Instead, I packed my bags and headed to Indianapolis. Why? Because that is where the National Science Teacher Conference was held!

My school send me on an all-expenses paid trip to Indianapolis to learn how to be a better Science teacher. I have to say, I had a great time! I attended a lot of sessions and got to wander through the HUGE exhibit hall. I signed up for lots of give-a-ways and information, I even got lots of free stuff. Who doesn't love that. I learned a lot and came back with some great ideas that I will be sharing with my fellow teachers. I also have some ideas that I'm excited to try with my students.

I learned a few other things from the presenters that I think I will share with you:
  1. No-Shows: Seriously! Don't do it. If you absolutely have to cancel, let the organizers know so they can let the attendees know. But, don't just not show. It makes you look bad and you won't be asked to come back.
  2. Presentation: You at least need a hand-out. Yes, you may have some great information, but if it isn't prepared in some kind of a hand-out or presentation, it isn't going to be helpful. I attended at least 16 classes and I took good notes. The ones that I didn't have a presentation I can download or give me a handout are the ones that I got the least out of. I also found they were the least organized and hardest to follow.
  3. Preparation: Practice your presentation and what you are going to say. Don't just assume that if you know the information well, you will be okay. I attended an hour long session that lasted less than 30 minutes and was not well prepared. The activities were cool, but the "why" was not explained and I think that is pretty important. I could have attended other sessions that would have been more worthwhile. 
  4. Consideration: To be honest, teachers are the worst about being in a presentation and doing all those things that drive us crazy in class. Talking, texting, or just plain not paying attention. It makes me crazy! You paid to go, but be considerate of the presenters. If you aren't interested, leave; don't stay if you are going to be rude.
I think that about covers it! I really did have a good time and I am very lucky that my school sent me. This is not all I learned, but these were a few take-away lessons that can be applied to multiple situations.

Have you had a similar experience at a conference you attended?