Greetings Test Lovers,
If you are like me, and you live for academic integrity, nothing makes you happier than getting together with several hundred academics and university staff to discuss testing. Next week I’ll be travelling to the greatest state in the union, Florida: where the sun is always shining and the people are all kind for the NCTA 2015 Conference. Last year the NCTA (National College Testing Association) conference was in Denver so the packing list was markedly different. As a native Floridian I take personal responsibility to educate my fellow conference goers on how to prepare and pack for a beach-side Florida academic conference.
First let’s be clear about something, anything less than SPF 15 is a joke. Leave it at home. 15 or higher – don’t mess with that Florida sun. It isn’t as friendly as the one on Raisin Bran boxes.
Now the really important stuff: gear. I love gear. I especially love tech gear. But I also love to travel lightly. So here’s what comes with me to the conference in my bag.
1. MacBook Air (charger not shown)
2. Headphones – clutch Skullcandy’s branded by Canvas, so you know I roll with the cool Ed-Tech crowd.
3. Extra USB drives – because you need a back up of your presentation, or you need to transfer files, or because Wi-Fi dropped, or who knows…sooner or later, you will need to pull this sucker out.
4. Selfie Stick – How else do I prove to my Facebook friends I went somewhere and did a thing?!
5. External Harddrive – this is the nuclear option. Have everything backed up, before you leave for the conference, and take it with you – just in case. This is the MyPassport ½ terabyte by Western Digital. I don’t leave home without it.
6. Mini-DVI VGA Converter – because the world is cruel and unfairly disadvantages Mac users you have to bring your own dongle when you present. Mine has my name and number on the other side in case I leave it plugged-in after my presentation or if someone needs to, inevitably, borrow it
7. Wired headset – I’ll be on the phone quite a bit when travelling for work, the headset is a necessity.
8. Back-up Battery – a last resort that I use constantly. Charge this little dude up via your computer, or 12 Volt USB converter (see?) and it’ll take your smartphone from 0-100%.
9. 12 Volt USB Converter – charge devices on the go. I use it rarely, but it is so tiny and effective, it comes along for the trip.
10. Coozie – because there is always a “Welcome Reception” at conferences. Which means drinks/happy hour.
11. Business cards – OK not tech gear, but don’t forget these.
12. Outlet multiplier – this is the smallest one I own. I have several in different configurations. Some have a few feet of cord, some have more outlets, but this one has never let me down. It’s also a great conversation starter. Try this – go to a busy airport and walk up to a full outlet and unplug someone’s device. Just as they begin to process their flight-or-fight reflex you’ll pull this out, swap connections, and multiply the ports coming from the wall. I like to say, “Look, I made it better.” All but once people have thanked me. Then other travellers come by and plug in. Next thing you know you are the most popular fellow at the airport. Charge up your phones the rendezvous at the Chili’s-To-Go and share an Awesome Blossom with your new friends.
13. Padfolio – keep paper versions of reservations. Every so often you need pen and paper over technology.
And of course, bring some beach-wear for in-between sessions or post day activities. I hear there are some good shuffleboard courts nearby!