Top 10 Tips for Attending ISTE

Dressing for the ISTE12 Exhibit Hall
(cc) photo by Heath_bar

Everyone is posting their dress and packing tips for the coming International Society for Technology Education conference – ISTE12. So I, as a professional conference go’er, thought I would contribute ten more tips for participating in this MMORGPD


  1. San Diego is cold this time of year, so wear heavy clothing.  Dress in layers, because conference centers are notoriously hot.  You’ll be doing lots of walking so wear boots, big ones, with lots of laces – Unless you’ve brought heals.
  2. You’ll want to take lots of notes, so carry several spiral-bound note books.  Also carry pencils, #2s.  If you can find them, use white or aluminum grey pencils.  They’ll impress the people sitting around you.  
  3. In the presentation rooms, be careful not to sit near anyone with a computer or tablet computer.  They have almost certainly left their email notification alarm on, and when it goes off, everyone will turn around and look — at you!  If someone with a computer sits near you, get up and find a more secluded spot.
  4. If possible, sit on the front row and straighten your legs out as far as possible.  This is where the boots come in, because presenters love to navigate obstacle courses while presenting.
  5. The exhibit hall is the reason you came.  There’s treasure here.  It’s also a great place for play.  Pretend you’re invisible.  Wearing a dark cap will help.  If you can achieve this, then you’ll have the run of the hall.  Simply walk into any booth and pick-up all the pens, pencils, letter openers, and soft fuzzy balls you can find, and slip them quietly into your bag–preferably a large brown paper bag.  Chocolate is an especially treasured item and worth the return for more.  If someone in a booth confronts you, then carefully put the pencil back on the table, look down at the floor and slowly back away.
  6. You’ll see areas in the conference center with comfortable chairs, where people will be milling, talking, and showing each other their computers.  Shun these places.  The people will try to brainwash you.
  7. If someone approaches you, wanting to talk, then turn invisible.  If this doesn’t work, then look very stupid.  You’ll need to practice this in front of a mirror.  If they persist, then speak gibberish and walk away.
  8. If you hear anyone speak with an English accent, don’t believe anything they say – no matter how intelligent they sound or cute their accent is.  This goes double for Australians and New Zealanders.
  9. When the day is over, or by 4:00, which ever comes first, flee back to your hotel room.  This is the real challenge of conference-going, finding things to do in your hotel room.  I like to remove the lids of shampoo bottles and guess their scent.  Also, the extra blankets in the closet are expressly provided for the construction of elaborate blanket forts.   ..and I hope that you are a fan of “Law and Order.”  It will be playing during your entire visit – on at least three channels.
  10. What David really wants you to do is be comfortable, hungry to learn, ready to laugh and willing to cry, tweet your heart out and hashtag with #iste12, take every opportunity to meet someone new, and wear something strange.  I like those satin slippers with toes that curl up and a tiny bell on the end.
If I see you at ISTE12, please forgive me if I’ve forgotten your name.  I’m way past the age for excuses.


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9 thoughts on “Top 10 Tips for Attending ISTE”

  1. I started to read this and began mentally reassessing what warn jackets I am going to pack, and started thinking of where I could buy some spiral bound notepads. After all, if it’s on the Internet it must be tried.

    Damn those Australian accents! Avoid at all costs!

  2. I so wish I were going to be there, but it’s a long way from Virginia. I will be at VSTE in Dec tho!

  3. David, your humor is priceless! Thanks for the laughs, looking forward to more bit of brilliance next week.

  4. I hope there are great places to “antique” while this Okie is in town. And yes, that is a noun! LOL! Thanks for the laugh. This is my 6th ISTE, and I still get over-whelmed every year! As we say in Oklahoma, #ISTE12Up!

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