I have been very lucky to have attended way over my share of conferences. Some I have been invited to speak at — which then paid the way (or at least subsidized a bit) — for some, I have won awards and used the prize to pay my way — but others I have been blessed with attendance.
Way Way Back in the early 2000′s, Tony Brewer comped my way to the Classroom Connect Conference in Vegas. Tony was my first introduction to the kindness of Southern Gentleman and really one of my first cheerleaders and encourager towards my fascination with computers and technology opportunity! I learned so much from this conference — way way before twitter, facebook, skype, etc — yet teachers were already working hard to connect. Thank you, Tony.
In 2008, David Jakes comped my way to the Tech Forum in Chicago. This was my first introduction to Tech Forums and I liked the intimacy of a smaller conference…..plus the opportunity to not only learn from “experts” but then also eat lunch/and dinner with them …. and expand ideas. Thank you, David.
I have been able to attend several CUE’s — and also my Jr. High Admin was able to attend a CUE — due to the generosity of Ken Shelton and Jeremy Davis. CUE is a local conference for me — so the ability to not just talk with so many, but know that so many are within driving distance if we wish to meet up or visit each others campuses is priceless. Thank you, Ken & Jeremy.
So why am I sharing this you might ask?
Well, I was thinking as I drove into work — that if you are a vendor and perhaps if you are a keynote speaker or even perhaps a spotlight speaker — you often are gifted with several “comps” which you are able to share. (unless this has totally changed, but I believe vendors still are given at least 1 or 2.)
And I wondered — what is being done with these comps? Do they go unused?
What if, if you did have a comp to share…..you called up a local school near the conference site and said “I have a free registration to a local conference and don’t wish for it to go unused. Do you have a teacher who would benefit from this?”
What if, if you did have a comp to share…….you posted to twitter and said, “I have a free registration to <fill in the blank> conference and first come first serve.”
What if, instead of that comp being tossed — it was offered to another?
Perhaps I am just pollyannaing this — but I personally have been blessed by others who have shared so kindly — and without their generosity, I would have missed out on huge learning opportunities!
And I just wondered if there are more people out there, who would be willing to share.
PS: Smiles, and don’t worry, my way to ISTE is already covered, so I am not asking for a handout…..but I bet there are several other teachers in the San Antonio area that would love a free pass to a local conference! Or perhaps teachers farther away that just need a gentle nudge to get them there. and not just ISTE but other conferences all over the world!