Unpacking conference learning


Image by Alf van Beem (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

When I return from a conference, I share what I learned there.  Often I learn as much from the travel as I do from the event itself.

The night before one conference I discovered stains on the top I’d packed.  Since it was a one-day workshop, I had brought only one dress top, and spot cleaning did not save it.  Fortunately a local friend knew of a nearby Goodwill® store, where I found a suitable top.  I learned to check my clothes in varied lighting before I pack.  More to the point, I valued  local information even more than I had before.

While packing for another conference I used a checklist.  I had made the list overwhelming, though.  Next time I’ll follow Atul Gawande’s advice in The Checklist Manifesto and better tailor the list to my needs.

My examples may seem trivial, yet they both involve using information.  By paying attention to such everyday information use, we can encourage our students to do likewise.  Then we can build on this existing information literacy–both theirs and ours.


Gawande, A. (2010). The checklist manifesto: How to get things right. New York, NY: Metropolitan Books.