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How to pack a virtual bag for online conferences

Over the next year the conferences you attend, much like Learning Forward’s upcoming Annual Conference, will look and feel noticeably different. However, attending a virtual conference allows you to still get all the amazing information and insights from speakers, reduce the time and financial commitments required to attend these events, and you can attend the entire conference whilst in your pajamas!

So leave those fancy clothes in the closet and check out how to prepare for a great virtual conference by packing a virtual bag.

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Things to pack in your virtual bag

A watch: Prioritize your time

Treat your conference attendance as you would an in-person conference. Set calendar reminders and time for you to dedicate and commit to the sessions. Avoid trying to multitask or schedule other commitments during the conference time. Your learning must be a priority, and in order to do that you will need to remind yourself and others why you are at the conference. Be present and on time for sessions. Just as we share with our students, be ready to learn each session.

A do not disturb sign: Avoid distractions

We all know we enter our work each day with the best laid plans and within hours (sometimes seconds) our build is annihilated. Being at home or at school during a virtual conference adds a new layer of distraction. Be sure to create a sign that gives all a friendly reminder you are attending a conference and check ins can occur during break times. Find a comfortable, quiet place for you to connect with others virtually and be present in your sessions. Plan ahead and bring items you may want during your session such as pens, paper, computer, headphones, your glasses, and maybe even a snack.

A roadmap and a megaphone: Know where you are going next to share your learning

A huge part of attending any conference is the learning and sharing that occurs after you attend. This virtual conference is no different. Meet with peers or colleagues ahead of the conference to plan out ways to share your learning with others. You may want to meet up and go for a walk during lunch breaks, or to jot down three key learning pieces from each session to Tweet about during breaks. Be cognizant about sharing your learning and spreading the word!

A rubber band: Be ready to be flexible!

A key in education this year is flexibility! During this conference you may not be the only one that has not attended virtually, so please be flexible. A speaker may need to problem solve on the spot during a session. As we have seen like never before, educators are resilient and flexible!

We hope this virtual packing list helps you begin to prepare for amazing virtual events this year, especially the Learning Forward Annual Conference in December. We are excited to meet and welcome all of you to the conference. Please do not hesitate to reach out and connect with each other and the Host Committee!

 

Director of Educational Services at Kaneland School District | + posts

Sarah Mumm is the director of educational services for early childhood through fifth grade in Kaneland School District, about 40 miles west of Chicago.  She also serves as an adjunct professor for Aurora University and Northern Illinois University.  She has been in education for 24 years and specializes in curriculum, instruction, and professional learning and development. Her passion is developing gamified experiences for all teachers and students to engage in learning. She has built more than 10 learning escape rooms! Sarah has been a proud member of Learning Forward, attending all annual conferences since 2007!