Last week, we spoke about the excitement of going to a conference. We’re home now preparing for several other presentations. But we don’t want to lose those great feelings we have had going on in the conference. So I’m giving you two very short blog posts for this week.
I’ve Gone to a Conference: Now What?
Here is the problem with going to a conference, especially if you are the only person on your campus to have gone. You come home, and you’re bubbly and you’re filled with ideas and information. How should you share it? Why should you share it? Why weren’t more people from your campus able to come and get this incredible feeling of support and excitement that didn’t just come from the fact you may have been less than five miles from a beach, a really awesome ski slope, scenic views, or incredible food or shopping.
Let’s start with the important things: the people.
You’ve met incredible people, your story, and their story they match up. Or maybe you’ve met some self-advocates who have stories that they want to share and that would connect with your students. First of all, find out if they are on social media (Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, google+, Instagram). Keeping up with them will make sure that you do not lose sight of their stories and their research.
When you’re back home:
Make a plan to share the conference with as many people as you possibly can. This may mean taking copies of your notes to distribute to other paraeducators back on your campus. This may mean for some campuses even being able to redistribute and give a mini-conference of their own to give your co-workers an idea of what you saw. I frankly, love this portion of having come back from conferences.
This may also encourage others to go next time or instead. And that can generate a lot of other ways for people to get out and see that work is not isolated to one community. Or, even better, perhaps next year, you can present what is working on your campus to the same conference, inspire new people and keep the momentum going.
I had a great idea at the conference, and I really still want to do it…:
This happens all the time. Brainstorm with other people at the conference and really important, write down the brain storm. [You have no idea how important the “write it down” part is.] Without the brainstorm, we would have never created ParaEducate as a whole. Write it down, send it through social media to connect, whatever you need to do, find out, reach out, take that chance. Introduce others you have been working with to those great ideas. Not because you want those ideas shot down, but you want to find a way to infect their way of thinking and be as excited as you were about your conference experiences.
Recapping Cal-TASH 2015
I want to start out with that this is ParaEducate’s third TASH, second Cal-TASH. There were 2 full days of conference meetings, broken into three major chunks of presentation times with a few half block presentations.
When I was not presenting, I went to sessions about self-advocacy for adults with disabilities, community outreach for families with children with disabilities limited by socio-economics or culture, a presentation about PBL and inclusion, and a session about a different approach to pre-school inclusion.
On top of these sessions, there were three lunchtime presenters over the two days while I caught up with some of ParaEducate’s supporters.
The days were full. Friday night was the annual Cal-TASH Bash where prizes were awarded and recognition of amazing works across the state by different individuals happened.
All of this is the result of several people working incredibly hard over several months to make all the pieces of the conference work. It was great to meet new people and get ideas that we might be able to make things happen differently from the way they were previously.
We love going to conferences and meeting up with new people and hearing about all the hard work that is being done all over the country.
ParaEducate is going on Spring Break from March 23 to April 3. Are you interested in participating as a Guest Blogger for ParaEducate? Do you have a question for us? Find ParaEducate online here, here, here and here. ParaEducate is company interested in providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published weekly during the academic school year on Thursdays, unless a holiday. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.