Here are the best reasons I can give for a media specialist to attend all 4 days of FETC. (Please feel free to use this post as evidence when negotiating your attendance.)
Best Practices of nationally recognized programs
Ida Teacher: Mrs. Tune, I am going to need 150 pieces of 20' x 30' bulletin board paper and 3 boxes of markers so that my students can make informational posters about the causes of crop failure.
Media Queen: Uhm, Ida, we no longer have markers and I am afraid we no longer have any light colored bulletin board paper for writing on. May I suggest an alternative way to complete the lesson?
Ida Teacher: Mrs. Tune, I really don't have time to change my plan.
Media Queen: No worries, how about we book some time here in the computer lab and we have students use TACKK to create informational pages. The students can use a computer or they can use the TACKK app on their personal device. I will instruct the students on using TACKK and you will have a chance to learn it, too. Did you know that it is compatible with EDMODO? Here is a some info about TACKK (handout given to teacher) and I am going to book you and your students for Thursday and Friday. See you then.
Ida Teacher: Okay, Mrs. Tune, but if this doesn't work, you owe me some markers.
Media Queen: You got it.
In that moment, I convinced a teacher to allow students to step into the 21st century and use technology in their learning. I learned about TACKK at a conference in an introduction of apps...FETC has about ten concurrent sessions introducing apps, a keynote session that will be introducing new apps, and a few workshops as well for apps in special situations. In other words, check out one of these apps sessions. It may be the best piece of learning you get and you will add to your tool box.
Develop Digital Literacy
Explore Technology Across the Curriculum
Exposure to Trends
Informal Meet and Greet Opportunities
The other type of media specialist explores the exhibit hall with a plan of discovery. They ignore the booths of the products that they already use other than to say a quick hello to the sales representative unless they are presenting a new innovation. They walk the lanes to find out what products are worth the investment of time and money in which to pay attention. Trust me, the vendors are listening to you. The vendors are looking for the explorers. They are looking for the media specialist who will spend five minutes listening to their demo and who will ask questions and tell them what they want out of their product. This is your chance to make clear what is missing from the products you use or want to use. Make use of the time wisely. You won't get another opportunity and you simply don't get the same experience from a catalog in your media center.