SC EdTech is over, and I’m now at home. I don’t think I’ve ever worried or stressed over a responsibility as much like what I did the last three days. I truly thought that once scanners were in sessions I might get to “drop in” to hear great content and speakers. NOT. I never had a minute. I did beg and got someone to cover the Information desk while I attended the keynote Thursday, and as I suspected it would be, it was GREAT. Of course, I follow David Warlick’s Blog (2 Cents Worth), and so was not disappointed with his presentation. I left Thursday afternoon absolutely FREAKING that a couple of the scanners were permanently lost. Craig, the guy from McRae, assured me he would wait for them, and encouraged me to go on for the day (to eat, to rest, to have fun.) So I did happily leave, and went to get some supper (take out from Cracker Barrel) and rest. This is how the trip to Myrtle Beach went.
- Tuesday night–supper at Zaxby’s and then work on printer and print outs of volunteer assignments.
- Wednesday–arrive at convention center, unpack laptop, printer, printouts, etc. Get a briefing from Don Cantrell on hospitality goody bags for my hosts (which I have to use volunteers to pack). Get a briefing from Amy Williams from McRae on giving out bags, badges, tickets for Thurs lunch, etc. Acclimate myself to the layout so I can knowledgeably answer questions. My volunteers and I ran around picking up tickets for the pre conference sessions to return and scan at the desk. There were many problems with this because some of the “free” preconference sessions had WAY too many participants. Many had no “ticket” but were already seated and involved. We found out later that many went even though they did not register because they thought the free ones did not require a registration. So of course the rest of the day they were at the info desk asking to get scanned for renewal credits to take back to their school district. That made things a little crazy too. Then there was an opening keynote at 3:45, and I had not asked anyone to volunteer for scanning at that one. I didn’t even know there was going to be a need. But many happily volunteered, so it wasn’t that bad.
- Thursday – I had maybe five of my scheduled volunteers not show up, so had to work earnestly to find people willing to help. I used the hospitality bags as a lure, which were “going” to be an extra conference bag (really nice one) filled with a conference t-shirt, and many vendor goodies like stress balls, pens, pads, novelty items, etc. So it was easy to wave that t-shirt and say if you help you’ll get one of these!! The needs were almost immediately met. Then midway through Wednesday, I was told that there had been a change, and there would not be t-shirts or conference bags available for our volunteers. All I had to give them was: a spongy handheld Stress Penguin, a safari decorated trinket box, and a funky little shark pin that would flash (from Ripley’s Aquarium). At least I could say thanks and give them their gifts, but many had been promised way before hand they additional bag and shirt. So to say they were not happy is an understatement. I don’t think I sat down all day. I went back to my hotel and changed clohes, drove out to Cracker Barrel and got a meal to go, and returned to my hotel to eat and work on my presentation for the next day. (I was presenting the same one I did at FETC 2006, but it needed some weaking and a little updating.) Well, it took me from 7:00PM until 11:00 PM to finish it, but I did watch my favorite TV shows while I worked–Grey’s Anatomy and ER–and I read and responded to emails and read my favorite blogs. But it was NICE to sit and do these things at my leisure instead of feeling like I was loosing my mind, which is how I felt at the conference. I also worked hard to organize the barcodes for scanning to prepare for the Friday sessions, ONLY o discover that Don had NEVER sent me the vendor sessions for the conference maitrix I had, and I realized with a sinking feeling that we would begin Friday’s activities by BEGGING ten people to scan for those sessions, since they were the first ones of the day! I had two copies of the scans–one to keep at the desk uncut for people who came up and claimed there was no scanner or that they missed the scanner, and one to cut up and prepare for the next round of sessions. I wrote on each one the time, location, and the expected volunteer. This made it easy to lay them out. I also paperclipped the ones that had the same scanners (i.e. Amanda LeBlanc was scanning for three straight sessions, so she was given the session scan for each and a scanner, and told she didn’t have to come back to our desk until the end of her third session.) That really streamlined things because I only had to worry about the few who were not back to back scanning for sessions.
- FRIDAY — I had many conference attendees who offered to help first thing Friday morning, so amazingly everything was covered. YEAH. Stephen Bajjally (the USC Professor who serves on the SCAET board) actually came and covered the areas where one of his student volunteers was a no show. I thought it very generous for him to do that, assuring him we would find someone else, but he insisted so I let him. My presentation was Friday during the last set of concurrents, and amazingly it went well too, even though I felt I hadn’t really prepared well…When I first went into my room to set up, I plugged in the room’s audio system cord to my lapop, and was pleased that I would have surround sound quality audio for my presentation, especially since it would be filled with audio and video clips…NO DICE. The next door presenter was not going to have it. You see the room was divided, and my audio was affecting her presentation. So I had to disconnect and pull out my speakers—thank goodness I had the foresight to bring them. I also doscovered TOO LATE TO FIX that my slide show begin with the FETC logo. I just explained that the logo was aon oversight, and that this was the same presentation as the one done at that conference. Oh well, I did not have surround sound quality, but I did get an applause at the end, and many were VERY pleased, and wanted more information. I left to return to my working station. I collected the last of the scanners, closed out the info booth, packed up and left. I did have to go back inside to find my glasses, and thankfully they were right where I left them. I almost just drove away, thinking I’d drop by a drug store and just buy new ones, since these I wear are cheap reading glasses. But I like them, they don’t look cheap, and so went back to get them. I also almost skipped going back because (confession time) I was afraid i’d be asked to do one more thing, and all i wanted to do was GO HOME. The trip home was uneventful, and i was home BEFORE anyone else in my house.
As I reflect now, I don’t want anyone to think I didn’t have anyone to go out with or have fun with. I turned all invitations down because I was JUST SO BUSY and TIRED. I was there to work, aferall. I did get a GREAT conference safari shirt, and I happily sported it to the Football game we as a family attended Friday night.
I didn’t really get to blog about the conference per se, but I do plan to blog about upcoming conferences I attend.
BUT I have to admit, this is STILL my favorite conference in SC. Don Cantrell and his staff do an AWESOME job organizing it. I’m just happy tp hand the reins over to Donna Teuber next year.