The CEC Convention & Expo is the event of the year for special education professionals and stakeholders in special education. There are many exciting opportunities to learn new strategies for teaching out students, updates from Washington, D.C. and the CEC on policy, and amazing fellowship opportunities.
Another exciting component of the Convention is the Expo. The Expo is a large showroom of hundreds of vendors from across the nation—all there to disseminate their products, information, educational programs, and even job opportunities. At first glance the Expo can be a bit overwhelming. You are greeted with smiling faces and aisle after aisle of colorful, moving, and exciting products for special education practitioners.
I started small, talking with CEC division and caucus tables to get more information on the happenings of my divisions and caucus, as well as how to become more involved. Next was the vendor portion, which included booths from the Department of Education to ALEKS, a wonderful math program, to a booth on using Yoga with students.
I surveyed the Expo and decided on a theme—for me it was behavior and began to walk each aisle looking for products related to behavior and EBD students. I met researchers of great products for tracking and modifying behaviors, social skill, and emotional awareness programs, to journals and other publications on the student with an EBD.
While walking through I realized I would be missing out on so much if I only went to those booths concerning EBD. So I devised a plan to fully experience the Expo as a new teacher and first year CEC conventioneer. Pick one topic, math instruction or maybe Autism, and stroll the aisles and only go to those booths. Once you have made a pass under that theme, take a break, review all of the information and products you have and prepare to head back under a new theme.
The Expo is huge and it can easily become overwhelming with salespeople vying for your attention and trying to pitch their products. Keep in mind your theme and stick to it, one aisle at a time. Always keep a smile on your face, and a pen in your pocket. Most of all take a moment to simply take in the awesomeness that is a convention of people who love what they do and are there to make each day for you better!
Happy CEC 2012 Convention!