It has been a week since the 2015 TESOL convention concluded, and I am still sorting through all of my convention experiences. Many of my TESOL friends must feel the same way, since my social media channels and e-mail are abuzz with convention follow-up messages.
We all agree that we are grateful for the opportunity to have attended the convention, to learn from the best in the profession, to make new networking connections, and to deepen existing friendships. In addition, we always learn so much more about other cultures and languages. We all enjoyed the hospitality of the Toronto volunteers and the TESOL staff members who did everything possible to make the visit enjoyable for us.
For this blog post, I want to focus on a wonderful technology tool for anyone attending TESOL conventions: The TESOL Convention app. Here is how it works:
- Find the TESOL 2016 app, download
- Register for it
- Review and use content
The app is a one-stop TESOL tool for users. Here is why:
- First, it functions as a user ID. The app displays a unique QR code, which can be used by others to scan and log the user’s information. This can be a handy tool with exhibitors, session attendees, and more.
- One can view sessions by time and session type and one will receive updates on room changes or cancellations.
- The exhibitor link lists all exhibitors by name in alphabetical order and by category.
- The speaker link leads to all speakers in alphabetical order. It lists names, affiliations, sessions, and more detailed speaker information (if such information was submitted to the system).
- The mapping feature offers several map and floor plan options with an interactive map feature, which can be very useful in finding places in and outside of the convention.
The contact link offers more information on how to use the app, the floor plan, event information, as well as a unique and handy way to contact TESOL staff of the main office.
- The social feature allows participants to review, in real-time, official and unofficial Twitter feeds about the convention. Also, it inspired me to participate in the Twitter chatter myself.
- The networking link allows users to search for convention attendees by name, keyword, or company. This is really cool if one tries to make a new network connection. Note: Don’t worry if you don’t want to be found. This feature will only exhibit users if they enable the networking function.
- The Toronto link leads to information for out of convention activities.
- My favorite feature of the app is the link to MY EVENT. It leads to the following subcategories:
- My agenda
- My inbox
- Favorite speakers
- Favorite exhibitors
- Favorite contacts
- Favorite places
- My notes
- App Improvement Programme (actual spelling)
- Last, the app also includes a feature with which session attendees can evaluate sessions right on the spot, which is a great feedback tool for the organizers.
I know that the app was a great tool for those who used it. For all others, maybe the above report will entice you to use it in 2016. For now, I am still working on organizing all my learning and information I took home with me from Toronto. I am super eager to try out some new technology in my teaching and on refining my already existing technology use. I am already thinking about and working on my session and possible preconvention workshop proposals.
Remember, the deadline is coming up soon. 2016 proposals must be submitted by 1 June 2015. Information can be found on the 2016 Call for Participation (and check out “Tips for Writing a Successful Convention Proposal,” by Diane Carter, with tips from past convention chairs). I can’t wait to review your technology proposals over the summer and to meet many of you at the 2016 convention in Baltimore. Find me with your networking tool to say hi if you attend. Until then,