Over the past few days, I’ve been excited to bump into colleagues and friends as the convention gets underway. My former colleague and friend, LaTesha, is a native of New Orleans and is “wo-manning” the TESOL Raffle booth. It was great to catch up with her as she waved us over in the registration hall. Another good friend and former colleague, Therese, has come in from Norway, a lucky recipient of a TESOL Professional Development Scholarship. She’s a teacher at the Oslo International School and is interested in sessions on literacy issues and co-teaching between ESL and content teachers in the elementary setting. Last night, Carly, who is the West Coast recruiter for the English Language Fellow program, arrived, and we hung out in her hotel room going over the online session schedule and trying to figure out the must-see sessions for Thursday. Call us TESOL geeks if you must.
The other great thing about this conference is the chance to meet new colleagues who share similar interests and challenges. So, what do you do to keep in touch with these new connections? My university provides me hundreds of business cards to distribute. And as long as I remember to bring them with me, I can. But it all seems a bit old-fashioned in 2011 to be swapping business cards, doesn’t it? I’ve just discovered a feature of LinkedIn’s iPhone app that allows you to swap information with another iPhone owner via Bluetooth. Another smartphone app called Bump lets you tap phones with a colleague and exchange information. I haven’t tried that one, but it sounds pretty cool. And coincidentally, I just read an article in the airline magazine on my way here about conferences that issue a device called the Poken. Attendees wear the Poken on a lanyard, and it has a little hand that you high-five with someone else to exchange your social media data. Still trying to wrap my head around that one.
Of course, if you are more comfortable with the traditional route, you can visit the Business Center at the convention, and they will print you 100 business cards for $35.00. Regardless of your method, I hope you have the opportunity to meet and learn from many colleagues, both old and new, this year at the convention.