The ISTELive Conference is one of my very favorite professional learning events. 

In a word, it’s an experience.

ISTELive  (International Society for Technology in Education) is a multi-day professional learning event every June.

  • More than 14,000 educators participate on-site — with thousands more attending virtually.  
  • More than 1,000 sessions (“learning opportunities”) are offered by more than 1,600 presenters.
  • Hundreds of exhibitors pack a vendor hall bigger than a football field.

I’ve been attending ISTELive for more than 10 years — the first two by following the conference hashtag from home, then almost every in-person conference since.

It can be overwhelming, and it can feel like you’re missing out. Any conference can feel like that.

Here’s a way to rethink conferences so you don’t get swept away:

Conferences are kind of like a big box of LEGO:

  • You have tons of different bricks that can be used for a variety of reasons.
  • Not every brick is a perfect fit for every job.
  • You don’t have to use every brick in the box to get the job done.
  • Some people will use different bricks than you, and that’s OK.

Really, you make your own conference experience — whether it’s a huge conference like ISTELive or a smaller one.

You choose the bricks. You make what you want.

After having attended dozens and dozens and dozens of conferences — and all of those ISTELive conferences — here are some of the building blocks I see to crafting a great experience. Pick and choose the LEGO in this “set” as you wish.

If there’s a “brick” that isn’t on this list, please add it in the comments below!

What other tips do you have for a meaningful ISTELive experience? Leave them in a comment below!

Credit goes to the respective owner!

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