Every year here in Southern New Hampshire there is a seminar targeting technology teachers called the Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference. I’ve seen the catalog for the three day event for years, and one of my peers makes a visit each year, but last Spring I did something new: I applied to be a presenter.
I taught an APCS class last year, and like most of my peers around the world, I was faced with what to do after the AP exam. The time between the exam the first week in May and the end of school in June is a typical dead zone; there’s nothing more required of the course, yet you can’t just call it a study hall. So I decided to challenge my students with creating applications for a PocketPC.
Visual Studio .NET allows you to create PPC programs in either Visual Basic or C#, with almost as much ease as creating a Windows app. My students for the most part got excited by this prospect, and by the end of the year I was quite impressed with the variety of calculators, games and utilities that they created.
So I applied to the conference to show off these programs to any and all peers interested, to talk about Visual Studio .NET and its multiplatform support, and to demonstrate yet another idea of how to get students interested. Over the summer I got a letter confirming my application and my time slot (Wednesday at 1:30pm). I got the catalog with my name in it among of the dozens of other lectures and demonstrations. And I got excited at the prospect.
As the day approached (November 30th) I reviewed my notes, get the time off from school, created a PowerPoint slide show (of course), dug up a number of the more impressive applications to show. I got my PocketPC ready, brought my docking cradle, rehearsed my “dog and pony” show, and practiced making an application on the fly. I was ready for anything.
Well, almost anything. The show was going to be in the local Hotel / Conference Center.
When I got there, I was directed to the room I’d be presenting, an emptied hotel room with a table, LCD projector, screen, and 16 chairs. (Okay, so perhaps a smaller audience than my ego was expecting …) I set everything up, got the projector hooked to my laptop, warmed up my slide show, verified (again) the Visual Studio .NET to PPC connection, etc., and waited people to arrive.
1:25 … 1:30 … 1:35 and a woman walked in and asked if I was presenting. Yes, I said, and Welcome! She said, “No, I was wondering if I could borrow some chairs, there aren’t enough in the next room.”
Okay, so maybe it was the heavy rain that fell that day. Or that there were other really great presentations in that time slot. Maybe nobody could get the time off from school. Or the catalog didn’t give a good description of my presentation. Whatever the reason, no one showed up. At 1:45 I was thanked for coming, told I could go, and asked to consider presenting at next year’s show.
COMMENTS FROM theSpoke:
Despite what had happened, I sure hope this incident will not stop you from applying for other conferences.
Oh, I don’t think that I’ll give up on conferences. As the title of the piece implies, this is kinda what my life is like anyway, so I’m quite used to "rejection", even if this isn’t really rejection. 8^)