I Can’t Wait ‘til Conference Season
“I Can’t wait ‘til tomorrow, cause I get better looking every day.”
--Joe Willie Namath
Aside from being one of the best quarterbacks ever for a short number of seasons, Alabama’s Broadway Joe had some of the best one-liners of all time. Who can forget, “I like my girls blonde and my Johnnie Walker Red?” Or, “I can’t wait ‘til tomorrow, cause I get better looking every day?”
Now that I am in my 60s, I think I can safely say I don’t get better looking every day. But I have another, more compelling reason to look forward to tomorrow…
How long has it been? The last conference I went to was FETC in Miami, back in January of 2020. Seems like a lifetime ago. And even though everyone has politely agreed that sitting in front of a computer screen is “attending” a virtual conference, it just isn’t. It is sitting in front of a computer screen, just like I do (and you do) for 15 hours a day, every day. There is nothing even remotely conference-like about it. Organizations like ISTE, FETC, ASCD and others gave it the old college try, even having a “virtual” exhibition hall, but really, you are still just sitting in front of your computer.
But now, it is getting real. People are getting vaccinated. COVID appears to be fading into the background. I even went out without my mask yesterday! And soon, the in-person events will begin to occur. At first, there will be smaller, local and regional events. For example, the Learning Counsel has five live events scheduled this Fall, beginning in Dallas on September 21st. Then Atlanta, Indianapolis, Baton Rouge and Orlando. Imagine, live events, face to face with REAL people. You’ll want to come out, meet LeiLani and the gang, and hear from your area’s brightest and best. And if you are feeling really adventurous, shake their hands! Crazy, right?
But wait. There’s more.
Then, in early 2022, the real fun begins. Flying to your favorite cities, staying in a swanky hotel, attending events with people. And getting to see all your conference friends that you only get to see at conferences every year. Without a doubt, that is the sweetest thing about going to education conferences. It’s the people. Talking to your colleagues who do the same thing you do. Hearing their ideas. Sharing challenges. And solutions. The free flow of information.
And of course, perusing the exhibition hall. Seeing all the latest products and technology. Test-driving the programs you’d like to buy. Grabbing all the free swag. Sooooo much fun.
There is something about a shared live experience that simply cannot be replaced. It’s the difference between a Broadway play… or a computer screen. A Live opera… or a computer screen. Front row seats at the Garden to see the Stones… or a computer screen. Courtside to see LeBron… or a, well you get the picture.
If you make it to your favorite conferences this year, and you should, make sure to stop by the press room and say hello. I’m sure you will recognize me. I’ll be the little old man sitting near the food table, talking to anyone who will listen, with a grin a mile wide.
About the author
Charles Sosnik is an education journalist and editor and serves as Editor in Chief at the Learning Counsel. An EP3 Education Fellow, he uses his deep roots in the education community to add context to the education narrative. Charles is a frequent writer and columnist for some of the most influential media in education, including the Learning Counsel, EdNews Daily, EdTech Digest and edCircuit. Unabashedly Southern, Charles likes to say he is an editor by trade and Southern by the Grace of God.