This year marked my fifth year at the Florida Association for Media in Education conference. I have to say that this year was definitely my best FAME experience yet. We had an amazing slew of awesome guests, a fabulous keynote speaker (my friend, Tiffany Whitehead) and it was my first time presenting at a conference.
I was super excited when I first heard that Tiffany Whitehead was scheduled to be our keynote speaker this year. I’ve been reading her blog and following her on Twitter for awhile, and I got to meet her and the rest of my awesome ISTE Librarian’s Network friends this past summer. Her keynote on Examining The Sacred Cows of School Librarianship was amazing, as were her other two sessions on Ditching Dewey and Connecting the Dots (her presentations are posted on her site – check them out!). Plus, she gave a shout-out to our Epic LEGO wall and my Makerspace presentation in the keynote! No pressure for a first time presenter, right? 🙂
My first presentation was on finding grants and other funding for your library. I may have been slightly freaking out and a bit nervous, but everything went well and I got a lot of positive responses from the thirty or so people that showed up. My presentation on Makerspaces was on Friday morning at 8am. While I was expecting a good amount of people, I didn’t think it would be packed being that early in the morning. People starting arriving at 7:30am, and by the time I was done, 92 people had shown up! It was standing room only, with people sitting on the floor and spilling out into the halls. I was so excited to see so many other media specialists who were interested in learning more about the Maker Movement and how it can fit it with their school. Many people came up to me afterwards and told me about how they’re planning to start creating a Makerspace in their schools when they get back. And there may be a few more LEGO walls in the works now too 🙂
My other favorite thing about conference like FAME is getting the chance to meet up and connect with people. There were a ton of fabulous authors there this year, and I spent a good amount of time fangirling and getting pictures with them. I was also excited to meet some awesome people who I had only known through Twitter before: John Schu (@mrschureads) and Susan Bearden (@s_bearden).
One of the most awesome parts of this past weekend was what came after the conference was over. FAME was in Orlando, which is near the Islands of Adventure theme park. I’d never been before, and while talking to Tiffany, I found out that she had some time after everything wrapped up and was thinking about going to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. So after the conference finished up on Friday, we headed over to get some butterbeer and see the awesomeness that is Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade in real life. It was so much fun to get to hang out with Tiffany for the day – it definitely made for a memorable ending to an awesome conference.