Saturday, March 10, 2018

#CUE18 Preview

Once again, it is that time, time for my favorite professional development opportunity of the year, the one and only Spring CUE National Conference in Palm Springs!  This year will be third time attending the event and I couldn't be more excited for the next week to be over with so I can get there! 

In the past, I haven't been able to make it down to Palm Springs until late on Wednesday or Thursday night.  Last year was the infamous get to the hotel and "I'm sorry we don't have a reservation for you, sorry about that, good luck finding a room tonight" incident when the hotel that I had booked kicked my reservation and I didn't learn of it until midnight.  This year, I made sure that I took Wednesday off from work as well so I could take my time getting there and attend some sessions on Wednesday afternoon and evening.  I am really looking forward to a great project-based learning session with Bucks Institute, led by Rich Dixon (also a bonus that Rich has become a friend over the years and I'm looking forward to seeing him).  After that, the opening keynote is Matt Miller of Ditch That Textbook fame, which is going to be phenomenal! 
Over the course of the past few days, I have taken a look at the schedule for the event, planning it out meticulously with the goal of maximizing learning. When choosing sessions, I made sure to pick sessions that address topics in which I have little to no experience.  Some of the sessions that I chose include Microsoft Office 365 (my district is a Google district, but it doesn't hurt to become more versed in another platform), coding, hyperdocs, and sketchnoting.  

Quick disclaimer:  I am will be ruffling some feathers with this one, but please continue reading.  At a glance, in my personal opinion and preferences, I think sketchnoting is ridiculous.  Too many of the sketchnotes that I have seen are not something that somebody would probably be doing while sitting in a session and scurrying to get information down, they are much more professional looking than that.  However, I do know that some people are more visual learners and sketching it is effective for them.  I am trying to attend a session or two on sketchnoting in order to learn more about it, learn how I can implement it with visual learners, and maybe, just maybe, change my perspective on it. 

Another great aspect of attending an event like CUE is seeing the people that you have become friends with over the years.  Many of them are presenting sessions, so I get to see them in action.  The hallways and vendor hall between sessions is always a great time to say hello to people and catch up.  Then there are the after hours of the event where you get to let loose a little, share what you have learned over the day, and talk shop with some like-minded folk.  Then there is the shenanigans of things like CUE Karaoke where hundreds of people get to hang out and get ridiculous for a couple of hours on the Friday night.  Back before kids, I was a karaoke fiend, I may have to get up and knock out a song or two this year (I need a female voice for Love Shack by the B-52s, in anybody is interested...). 

Of course I will be posting a blog about my experiences at CUE in the days after getting home.  However, this year, I am going to do it a little differently.  Rather than just focusing on my experience, I am going to include some other voices as well in some informal "interviews" with some other attendees.  I may even spread them out over the course of a few blog posts. 

For now, I am going to enjoy the weekend and get through Monday and Tuesday at work before I hit the road for the 4+ hour drive to Palm Springs and four days of intense learning, sharing, and fun! 

Until next time...