14 Apps That Should Accompany You to the Next Conference

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You may have a conference you are preparing to attend in 2011, such as IATEFL, ISTEK, ISTE, or the upcoming EduConn conference. These are some of the face-to-face conferences, but many conferences are also free and can be enjoyed in the comfort of your home for free, like the upcoming Reform Symposium E-Conference on Saturday, January 8th.  With mobile devices and apps, you can do so much at conferences. In the palm of your hand you have the power to connect with people at the conference instantly, keep record of the speaker’s key points, collect favorite sayings, and share these key points virtually with others who cannot attend. Mobile apps are additionally environmentally friendly and make it easier for you to organize the information you gather digitally. You can keep a record of the information you gather in various forms through audio, video, images, and text. You can tag information in order to refer to it later when you need it. I find that I remember more using apps to document and share information. Moreover, toting around my iPhone is much easier than lugging around my Macbook. The apps are very easy to use, often free, and have various multimedia options. Many integrate images, audio, text and audio. I also recommend having the usual suspects for social networking and sharing images which include Echofon (Twitter), Tweetdeck (Twitter), Facebook, Flickr (Photo sharing), and 4 Square (not one I personally use but many conferences will now let you win prizes through this app).

Networking Apps

These are some of the free great apps! These are available on the iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad. Some of these may have Android and Blackberry equivalents.

My Name is E– Share business cards phone to phone or through e-mail with 3 taps. Add notes to newly received cards and view social networking information. Add new cards instantly to contacts. E saves the location of where a business card was shared. Receive updates of your contacts’ information when they update. Also share cards with those who don’t have the application. Free version available on iPhone, iPod, Android, and Blackberry.

Bump– Share business cards phone to phone, even Android to iPhone, by bumping the phones together. Share contacts info, pictures, calendar events, and connect on social networks. Free version available on the iPhone, iPod, iPad and Android. Both parties must have the free Bump application for it to work.

NoteTaking Apps

These are some of the great apps! These are available on the iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad. Some of these may have Android and Blackberry equivalents.

Evernote– Create text, photo and audio notes that auto-synchronize your notes to your Mac or PC. Makes text within snapshots searchable. Add, sync, access, and share files (PDF, Word, Excel, PPT, and more) among the different versions of Evernote. Free version available on iPhone, iPod, Android, and Blackberry.
** Try keeping notes of the presentations and workshops you attend or try brainstorming and planning your next presentation on this app!

Posterous– Want to blog and report the workshops or presentations in one location on a website quickly? Although, Posterous is the easiest way to blog it can also be used to effectively collect notes to publish immediately on a blog without any registration. Include a mix of text, photos, and videos as well as tags and location information. Share immediately on Facebook and Twitter! Even allow others to add to your posts (set this up through the web app vs. the mobile app). Free version available on iPhone, iPod, Android, and Blackberry.

Mindblowing– Gather audio, video and photos into a colorized mindmap. Enter the main topic, title, or theme in the main node then create branches with images, audio, or video attached. Send the mindmap with the attachments through email. Free version available on the iPhone. This is my recent review of this app which gives several ideas on how to use it with students.
** Try keeping notes of the presentations and workshops you attend or try brainstorming and planning your next presentation on this app!

Free Storage Apps

DropBox– Get 2 GB of storage for free to upload photos, videos, documents, presentations, and audio. You can make these private or public (provides you a link to share for others to download). Save photos and videos taken with your phone’s camera, share and send files via email, or copy and paste links to share with another app. Export files to other apps and favorite them for offline viewing. Free version available on iPhone, iPod, Android, and Blackberry.
** Try storing your presentation slides or handouts and easily provide a link to your participants to download.

IBooks– I access my conference pdf programs, transportation maps, and other documents offline with this free app! You have scrolling features, zoom, bookmarking and more. You even have a great looking shelf to organize your collection. You can also have access to some free/paid books to keep you entertained during your free time! Any pdf attachments in your email can automatically be opened and immediately stored in this app! Free version available on the iPhone, iPod, and iPad.

Streaming Apps

Ustream Broadcaster- I always find events at conferences I want to livestream and have available online. This free app allows me to livestream and when I am finished it will be available online in case people missed the event or presentation. You can even tweet and chat while livestreaming the event. You have to register ahead of time (free) but when you do you have your own channel created that others can visit. Free version available on the iPhone and Android.

Ustream Viewer- This app simply allows you to watch Ustreamed events on your iPhone.


Try one of these apps at your next conference!

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What apps do you love using at conferences?

Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell), Facebook.com/ShellyTerrell, and on her blog, TeacherRebootCamp.com, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at https://www.slideshare.net/ShellTerrell/presentations


    • Hi Lindsay!

      Always a great day when you pop in! Sorry took so long to comment! I know you understand the busyness factor. I hope these suggestions give you more time to enjoy the conference instead of messing with all the extra. At TESOL France I didn’t look at the other programme at all. I loved having everything on my iPhone!

  1. This is a great list, Shelly! I’ve taken your advice and added these to my cluster of applications. Can’t wait to use them at TESOL Spain and IATEFL in the spring.

    I’m also a big fan of MetrO (public transportation routes around the world). Essential for any traveler to conferences.

    Hey Where Are You (HeyWAY) is for those who find Facebook’s new “Places” feature just too darn creepy. Use it to find friends to hang out together after the talks (tweetups!!! 🙂

    And TripIt is also handy for keeping all of one’s travel and conference location information (flights, hotels, maps, etc) in one place.

    And yup: these three are free too!

  2. I recently went to a conference and left the laptop behind, bringing only my iPad. I used a stylus and the app Notes Plus to take all my conference notes on the iPad. It’s a pretty sweet app, and the developer is actively adding new features. Some cool features: zoom in on a section to write big but have it appear small, a palm rest so you can rest your hand on the iPad’s surface while you write without writing with your palm, select written text and move it around, scratch back and forth through stuff to delete it…

    It’s an app that highlights the difference between Teacher Me and Student Me — this is definitely an app that is useful to me in a student scenario, not as a presenter/teacher. Although I only have a use for it a couple of weeks out of the year, it’s so cool that I was happy to pay for it 🙂 You can check it out at http://notesplusapp.com/

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