I find it so hard to believe that my first NECC is over. It was such an amazing experience. I was so glad to have had contacts down here, as they helped me get through this tremendously. First off, Jeff Rothenberger, thanks for EVERYTHING you did in helping me get the most out of NECC. From getting us into special sessions to getting contact information for me, you have been spectacular. To the Pennsylvania CFF contingent, it is amazing to see how much people from other states know about what we are doing. You are all doing a great job of making connections and furthering our cause.
I feel like I should wrap up my whole experience. My experience started on Saturday, when I got down here so I could get my bearings and figure out what I wanted to do ahead of time. There was a CFF meeting on Sunday that a good number of people were not able to attend since their plane hadn't landed yet. The opening session with Andrew Zolli was interesting. It set up the week well, and got a lot of people fired up for the week.
The conference really started up in Monday. I began by going into the exhibit hall. It took up the same area as five football fields! CRAZY! I hit only a few booths, and began to realize that most of what I was getting would not all fit in my computer bag. As time went on, I ended up going to the Best Buy booth to get one of their gargantuan bags. It was definitely an attention getter. I got to sit through a few sessions, and I blogged them all. I have a lot of new t-shirts. I won a Planet Earth DVD set. I can't wait to watch it to see what's on it. Unfortunately, I didn't win any of the iPods or computers, but at least I won some stuff. Today, at the one booth, Jeff and I ran into Jim Gates. Jim mentioned he hadn't won anything yet. About a minute after that, the presenter asked a question, which I answered. I got a prize for the answer. I told Jim he just missed his chance. All I had to do was say the name of the company!
However, I feel that the best presentation was the very last one, with closing keynote speaker Dr. Tim Tyson. I had emailed Tim a few months about to find out more about what they were doing in his school. I HIGHLY recommend that everyone check out what they are doing at their school by checking out MabryOnline.org. Dr. Tyson was stressing that the idea in education is that it must be authentic. It must be something the kids care about and that matters to them now. We shouldn't be preparing them for "next year." I mean, if we're always preparing for next year, what's the point? We'll never be where we need to be.
I'm heading out to the Braves game tonight to round out my stay here in Atlanta. It has been an amazing stay in this city. There are so many friendly people here, and I'm still trying to figure out where all the traffic is. I hope to be able to do this again next year when NECC is in San Antonio.
Also, I am so glad that I will still be able to get more info out of NECC 2007, as I can read all of the other blogs and watch the archived sessions. I will be going back to NECC 2007's site a lot throughout the next year. That was probably one of the best things they could have done for NECC this year. It is allowing me to "see" sessions I couldn't get in, and allowing those who could not make it to NECC to experience it, and maybe it will inspire them to make it next year.