Thursday, January 15, 2009

Today is the last day to save on registration for the 2009 T^3 International Conference

Today is the last day to register with "Early Bird" pricing ($145) for the 2009 T3 International Conference in Seattle, WA from February 27 - March 1. The annual Texas Instruments event is the ultimate professional development opportunity for teachers who use their technology (which is a pretty significant number of people). The registration options look like this:
  • Early Bird Registration (Before January 15, 2009) = $145
  • General Registration (After January 15, 2009) = $180
  • Weekend Special (Saturday AND Sunday only) = $130
  • Pre-Service Student (Individual currently enrolled in college at any level) = FREE
It seems like after today, the weekend special will make the most sense: you'll save $50 on registration costs, not have to worry about getting PD on a school day approved, and maybe save on your housing as well. Click through for more details and online registration forms.

Now, I can't share this information without some caveats. To start, some of the TI-sponsored PD I've received over the years has been pretty awful. I found it was insulting that in 2008, TI workshops seemed to become little more than thinly veiled infomercials for their newest (and most expensive) technology, the TI-Nspire. Finally, I think the TI-Navigator system has its upside, but is not very practical unless you're willing to make it a permanent, daily part of your classroom (and I'm not sure I could ever recommend that).

That being said, there were many great lesson ideas presented by great teachers that I took back to my classroom to use. Most of these were fairly low tech, and worked great with just a graphing calculator. I also enjoyed the opportunity to meet and learn from teachers from other schools and districts. Usually, even when sessions were based on technology I wasn't high on, I was able to adapt at least some part of what was presented into a future lesson (even if the result was distinctly low tech and less cumbersome). You have to go into any PD opportunity with an open mind and the idea that you'll take away at least one thing you'll use in your classroom no matter what.

Despite my many reservations and a dwindling bank account, I will consider attending T3 this year, for a few good reasons:
  1. Despite weeks of previous TI training, I've never attended T3.
  2. You have to assume that as this is the flagship PD event for Texas Instruments, they'll be prepared with the best materials and presenters possible.
  3. It's being held in Seattle, a city I've been dying to visit.
  4. It's a chance to network with educators I might never meet otherwise--perhaps even some of you reading this right now.
Are you planning on or considering attending? Have you attended T3 in the past? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.