Attendees to MassCUE’s Annual Fall Conference  at Gillette Stadium on October 18 – 19th will want to make the most of New England’s largest educational technology conference by following some simple tips. Meet and connect with amazing people, find out about innovative products, and learn new ways to utilize digital tools in meaningful ways. With a little planning, attendees will be sure to leave the conference fulfilled and energized!
Before the Conference
Decide on a Goal
What do you hope to get out of the conference? Having a focus will help you determine which sessions to attend, vendors to visit, and people to connect with.
Make a Schedule Ahead of Time
Carefully review & plan your time at MassCUE BEFORE you arrive!
- Preview the daily schedule:  Read the session descriptions & presenter bios. Having trouble deciding on a session? Look up the presenter(s) on social media or if the session is sponsored by a vendor, investigate their product in advance.
- Divide and conquer! Attending with colleagues? Make a plan for who can attend different sessions to make the most of what is being offered.
- Use the scheduling tool: Create an account on CrowdCompass , the online scheduling tool for the conference. From there, you can view and save sessions you are interested in attending. Select at least two session for each time block and make a final decision the day of the conference. If you have a vendor you need to visit, or a colleague you want to connect with, decide on a time and place to meet.
- Look at the Map : Gillette Stadium is a big place! When creating your schedule, be mindful of your location and cluster activities when possible. Remember, some sessions are very popular and might fill up quickly! You’ll want to plan to have a backup session near by just in case.
At the Conference
Dress professionally but comfortably. You’ll be doing lots of walking and room temperatures can vary. Dress in layers and wear comfortable shoes. Bring a tablet, Chromebook or small laptop, but don’t forget your charger! Seats near outlets are at a premium in the afternoon.
Follow #MassCUE178on Social Media
The official hashtag of the conference is #MassCUE18 . Share what you are learning, and follow people who are Tweeting about the conference. Conferences provide a great opportunity to build your online professional learning network!
Conferences can feel like information overload. Take notes throughout the day to keep track of all of the information, save links to presentations and jot down contacts to follow up with after the conference.
Don’t be shy! Introduce yourself to people sitting around you before a session begins. Sit down at lunch with people you haven’t met before. Stop in at the MassCUE table located in the center of the vendor hall and talk with veteran attendees who can offer helpful tips.
Rule of Two Feet
If you find yourself in a session that isn’t what you expected, or your friend is texting you about an amazing presentation that you are dying to hear – just move! Exiting quietly and respectfully is perfectly acceptable.
After the Conference
Enjoy the Nightlife
Evenings after MassCUE are a time to connect with friends, attend vendor-sponsored activities and debrief about the day with like-minded educators.
Take time to reflect on the conference experience. Review your notes and follow up with people you want to connect with and ideas you want to put into practice.
MassCUE  isn’t just a conference, it’s a vibrant, professional organization that has opportunities year round. It’s a group that relies heavily on volunteers, so consider becoming a member and getting involved.
Jennifer Judkins is the Director of Digital Learning for Lexington Public Schools, a Certified Google Education Trainer, 2016 MassCUE Pathfinder and member of the MassCUE Communications Committee. She shares technology tips, resources and lesson ideas through her blog www.teachingforward.net  and can be found on Twitter @teachingforward  Check out one of Jenn’s sessions  at the MassCUE conference.