Today is the first full day of the convention. I reviewed the itinerary that I created through the NAESP Web site to make sure that the sessions I had looked at earlier were still the ones that I wanted to attend today. Narrowing down the options has not been an easy task.
My first session was entitled “Get Smart: Tools for 21st Century Leaders.” I serve as the elementary principal for my school, but I am also the K-12 technology coordinator. I always try to find some sessions that will help me with that area of my responsibilities. A large part of the session dealt with SmartBoards and their use in the classroom. If you have a SmartBoard question, RoseAnne O’Brien Vojtek would be an awesome resource. The presenters also provided a list of helpful Web sites as well as some vendors that their schools use for technology needs that are high-quality, reputable, and very competitive. That information might end up being the most helpful from the whole session!  
The presenters also talked about the three R’s: rigor, relevance, and relationships. Because technology makes a lot of content available to all in a very quick manner, schools are challenged with applying the three R’s to that content in order to make their students productive citizens in this ever changing world.
The first general session was in the speaker’s phrase, “Info-Whelming.” Ian Jukes is a top ten education speaker who challenged the audience’s assumptions about education, especially when looking at how technology has affected it and will continue to affect it in the future. My “tech coordinator” mind was spinning at high speed as he shared all the changes that have come to pass and are coming at us like a freight train. The problem is that the speed at which change is taking place is exponentially accelerating and our ability to comprehend can not move that fast, hence the term: info-whelming.
I also attended the “Grand Opening” for the exhibit hall. It is really nice to have a lot of the top education vendors all under one roof. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather visit with someone face to face then over the phone or by e-mail. The vendors are of course a very important part of the national convention. Hopefully many of my peers will take advantage of the opportunity to visit the exhibits.
I did not attend a concurrent session this afternoon because I was scheduled to work at the North Dakota state booth. I have worked at the booth in previous years and have found it to be a lot of fun. We are sharing a booth with Minnesota (an attempt to be more fiscally responsible), and we appreciate their willingness to work cooperatively. I really enjoyed visiting with all the principals that came by to sign up for our prizes.  
The Welcome Reception will take place later tonight, but I wanted to mention it because it is a great time to see old friends and make new ones. If you can find friendlier folks than elementary principals, I would like to meet them. As I stated in my initial post, taking time to strengthen and create professional relationships is an important part of the national convention experience.
It has been another exciting and professionally stimulating day. My wish is that everyone would have the opportunity to attend at least one national convention during their tenure. If your school doesn’t support travel to a national convention, I would be more then glad to write your school board president or your superintendent to plead your case. That’s all for now; I look forward to reporting to you in the coming days.

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