Last week, I traveled half way across the country, enduring incredibly cramped conditions on multiple aircraft, waited patiently at various airports in uncomfortable chairs and took valuable time away from my classes. I didn’t realize how little time I would have to reply to email last week and am faced with a growing mountain of messages this week. I appreciate that my students are very understanding and patient as they await many items being graded and returned as well as responses to many email messages. However, I believe that I must also answer the simple question – why? As you know, my philosophy is “when the going gets tough – ROAD TRIP!” Seriously, why did I endure so much travel, a two hour time difference and time away from family, friends and students?
The short answer is that I simply could not afford to miss the wealth of information and networking opportunities afforded by AdobeMAX. It was a tremendous opportunity to learn from industry luminaries (and ask questions of them). This was an opportunity to network with over 4,600 highly creative and intelligent people. It was an opportunity to gain significant insights into the directions our industry is headed. Without a doubt, this is the one major opportunity I have each school year to enhance my skills and knowledge in the disciplines I teach. I had the opportunity to network with so many people (including colleagues I already know and many I met last week). What other venue allows you to sit next to industry leaders an engage them in conversation directly related to the technologies I teach. I also obtained a number of working (and mostly working) examples of code which I can use for demonstration purposes. Based on the information I received last week, I plan to incorporate a number of changes into various materials I cover in courses. I simply would not have been able to observe and obtain all this new information.
As an educator, this event was also important. In addition to AdobeMAX, I was able to attend the community summit and education summit held the Sunday just before the conference. I was also able to tour the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California and observe their efforts behind the scenes. I was able to ask questions of the professors who teach in both the George Lucas Building and the Steven Speilberg Building. I was also able to attend the Adobe Design Achievement Awards. I do hope to be able to inspire some of my students to enter this competition next year. I could observe industry best practices and listen to those who have established those practices and ask them questions. I was able to significantly update my skills throughout the week. I was also able to network with a number of fellow educators. None of this woul have been possible without attending in person.
The reason I thought it important to include such a post is that I want students to understand the importance of keeping their skills up to date, the importance of participating in conferences, and the importance of networking (and continually growing your network). In my opinion, any teacher who teaches this technology and is not keeping up to date (through networking and attending conferences and training) is doing their students a significant dis-service.