Welcome Home: AASL Welcoming Session

As a first-time attendee of an AASL National Conference, I was excited to attend the Welcome Home: AASL Welcoming Session yesterday! It was a great way to return to my first face-to-face conference. As someone who has always LOVED attending in-person conferences, it’s been tough to not be able to gather together with my Professional Learning Network (PLN) the last while, so I especially enjoyed the fact that this session was titled “Welcome Home.” It truly felt like coming “home” to my PLN, especially since I’ve really only met most of my PLN virtually through the use of social media.

This session had a bit of an unconference feel to it where there were six separate rooms, all close together, happening concurrently, all while allowing you to move from one discussion to another without issue. The six rooms were split into two categories: 

I’m interested in learning more about … 

  • How to Pick the Right Session 
  • How to Network and Make Connections
  • Anything and Everything

I’m most excited about … 

  • Authors
  • Research
  • Meeting New People

As I wandered around the rooms, I walked away with a few key ideas that should help you have a successful conference experience. 

  1. First off, make sure to download the AASL CrowdCompass app as it will have the most up-to-date information about the sessions, locations, and any changes. The printed schedule is more a basic guide, but the app is the way to go. If you haven’t downloaded the app yet, you should have received an email from CrowdCompass (support@crowdcompassmail.com) around October 6th that was very user-friendly and incredibly helpful in downloading and logging into the official AASL21 app. 
  2. For additional tips on setting up and using the conference app, take a look at this pdf or check out the AASL National Conference website app page
  3. Update your profile information inside the conference app. This is an excellent way to network and share contact information with other attendees. And set your profile to “Visible” so others can see you and request to connect. You will be able to approve whether you share your contact information or not, so no worries about data privacy.
  4. You can add photos you take to specific session listings on the app. If you like taking notes, there’s a place for them in the app as well.
  5. Any session listed in the app with a microphone icon will be recorded so you can watch it later.
  6. Once all of the seats are full in a session that session is full and you won’t be able to attend it. If you “check-in” to a session on the app, that doesn’t save a seat, so be on time. 
  7. Session documents may be available inside the app. Scroll down under the specific session page and look for the “Documents” section. If nothing is posted, reach out and ask the presenter if they’d be willing to share a link to their materials. 
  8. If you use social media apps, write your username on your AASL name badge. This helps people recognize you from the digital world and make connections in the physical world. 
  9. Don’t be afraid to start up a conversation with any of the amazing Librarians around you. We’re all here to learn and grow. You never know, you may just meet your new Library bestie or connect with someone you follow on social media and didn’t recognize. 
  10. Be sure to include the hashtag #AASL21 in any of your social media posts about the conference. This helps others to learn from what you’re sharing. Feel free to also include the hashtag #NotAtAASL21 to help those Librarians not able to attend in person. Many are still sharing the things they learn as we share our thoughts and take always. Tagging social posts makes them easier to find later on so you can continue learning after the conference is over.

The most important thing to remember while attending the #AASL21 National Conference, Have Fun! Finally, we are not alone in the building but surrounded by other educators like us, awesome Librarians. Take advantage of the time and learn from one another. Hopefully we all leave having gained knowledge while also having lots of fun!

Author: Derek Larson

While new to the role of School Librarian, Derek has always had a passion for promoting reading by helping students to find the “just right” book(s) to get them excited. He is a 15 year educator from St. George, UT currently working at an 8-9 middle school. Derek is a Husband, Father, Teacher Librarian, Digital Learning Coach, learner, tech addict, pen addict, musician, and friend. Sometimes the best tech is analog. You can find out more by visiting www.EdTechBabble.net and/or following him online as @lars3eb.

Categories: AASL National Conference

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