EduTech tradeshows show us the latest advancements in educational hardware and software, but it can be overwhelming to have so many company reps offering you their wares. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure you get the most out of your EduTech trade show experience, such as thorough planning and knowing what to look for in new products. Read on to learn how you can get the most out of attending an EduTech tradeshow.
Before the Show
Before you attend, you need to think of a few things, including:
- Your School’s Goals – Are you in the market for smartboards? Need upgraded school testing headphones? Looking for fun learning software? Take the time to talk to your colleagues so everyone is on the same page about what your school needs so you don’t focus on things you won’t get funding for.
- Look at Promotional Materials – Depending on the tradeshow’s size, you can potentially be exposed to hundreds of vendors. This is where promotional materials will help you. Carefully read over what each company is offering and research which will meet your needs before making two lists with “Must See” and “Want to See” vendors. By knowing what you want, you’ll be able to find the right products for your needs.
- Consider Your Time – Are you going by yourself, or with multiple colleagues? If going by yourself, carefully plan out how long you’re going to visit each booth, allotting extra time for miscellaneous booths that catch your eye, while covering as much ground as possible. If going with coworkers, follow the same strategy, but divide the show into sections so everyone can cover the show.
- Plan Your Packing – Make sure your clothes and shoes are comfortable for all-day walking. There’s nothing worse than showing up in 4-inch stilettos and realizing you’ll need to walk several miles over the course of the day or wearing new dress shoes that will rub all day. Finally, remember that you’re looking to get plenty of contact information as well, so make sure you bring a binder with business card holders, pens, and paper to record any information you need in addition to a light bag to carry everything.
During the Show
- Get Updated Information – Unfortunately, vendors will drop out and new ones will come in, so get the most updated map and vendor list when you arrive. You might find that a company you really wanted to see has dropped out and will want to find a suitable replacement.
- Don’t Hoard – Every vendor you see will be offering a brochure about their products, with plenty offering samples as well. If you get something from every vendor, you’ll quickly find yourself weighted down. Instead, get what you need, and don’t be afraid to record information in your notebook to request samples and literature after you leave.
- Be Firm – Both you and vendors are on a tight schedule, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and move on to another booth once they’re answered. If the staff at the vendor booth doesn’t have the answers, record their contact information to send your questions after the trade show is over. If a vendor is pushy or trying to take up a lot of your time, kindly explain that you need to visit another booth but will be in contact with them later.
After the Show
- Organize – You probably want to get to bed as soon as the show is over, but now is the perfect time to organize all the information you received while it's fresh in your mind. Match brochures with contact information and place them in envelopes to share with your co-workers at home.
- Follow Up – Contact vendors you need more information or samples from. Oftentimes, we’ll find the answers we need after the trade show.
Shows to Visit
There is an assortment of shows across the country you can attend all year long. Some shows to consider attending include:
TCEA (Texas Computer Education Association)
For over 40 years, the TCEA event has focused on accelerating learning and connecting educators with powerful teaching strategies and techniques. Educators all over the world have turned to TCEA to learn how to better engage their students but still keep the focus on solid teaching.
NCCE (Northwest Council for Computer Education)
As more and more schools turn to computer education becoming a larger facet of their programs, many educators are looking to learn more about this technology as well as how to implement it. The NCCE conference showcases instructional strategies as well as new technology to improve your teaching style.
Spring CUE Conference
Want to play around with virtual reality, enjoy a Steampunk playground, and swap stickers with your fellow attendees? You’ll be able to at CUE, one of the most fun conferences on our list. Part experience and part trade show, you’ll have fun while learning about new products and pedagogies over a few days.
National Summit on Education
Featuring the nation’s premier educational thought leaders and policymakers, this summit is the crème de la crème of educational events. You’ll be able to hobnob with some of the nation’s educational elite while seeing some of the newest products with proven results.
Choosing the Best School Headphones
When attending an EduTech conference, you’ll see an assortment of school testing headphones available to examine. You can read more about our tips on purchasing the right headphones for your school here, but a few things to keep in mind are:
- Your Budget
- Headset Comfort
Also, take the time to consider all of your headphone options. For example, many educators are switching to disposable headphones to ensure sanitation as well as the lower cost and ability to reuse when cared for properly.
Attending an EduTech conference can feel overwhelming, but when you know what to expect, the process is significantly easier. Take the time to plan before attending, be firm, hit your “musts” while at the tradeshow, and contact vendors after the show is over. By following these tips, you can get the most out of any conference you attend, ranging from CUE to the National Summit on Education. Most importantly, remember to have fun and find the right products, including disposable headphones, for your school.