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    The Conference App Guide: Part 2

    By Wesley Ford
     | Jul 16, 2018

    At this point, you’ve downloaded the ILA 2018 Conference app (right?) and started making your schedule. This time, we’re going to look at some features you might have yet to explore.

    That three-line icon thing

    I never know what that icon is called. Oh, it’s called a hamburger button. Thanks, Google!

    As you may have noticed, it’s quite easy to get a few menus deep looking for things, going from session to speaker to session to exhibitor and the like. The hamburger button offers you quick and easy access around the app and a whole lot more.
    07-Hamburger menu
    • Home: Brings you back to the Discover tab.
    • Map: Takes you right to your choice of maps, either the Exhibit Hall Floor Plan and the Conference Floor Plan.
    • Near Me: This helps you find nearby exhibitors in the Exhibit Hall to help optimize your time.
    • Agenda: This takes you to your personal conference schedule.
    • My Show: This opens the My Favorites page. More on that later.
    • Inbox: Here, you will find messages you have sent to and received from other attendees and the show news, which are the messages sent through the app to you. If rooms change or sessions are canceled, you’ll receive the notification right to your phone through the app—which is why we recommend keeping notifications on.
    • App Info: This contains info about the app. (I think that was well named.)
    • Settings: Here, you can check for app updates and change if and how you receive notifications from the app.

    The Connect tab

    The Discover tab contains all information about the show, including your schedule, whereas the Connect tab helps you track your individual information and connect with other attendees.

    • 09-ConnectMy Profile: From here, you can add and edit your profile image, email, website, and social media profiles, which other app users can find through the attendee directory. You can also remove yourself from the attendee directory, if you wish.
    • My Contacts: This lists the people with whom you’ve connected via the app.
    • My Messages: Here, you will find all the messages you have sent and received through the app.
    • My Favorites: All starred sessions and exhibitors are listed here as well as any added notes.
    • Attendee Directory: This is the list of all attendees.
    • Social Media: These buttons will open your social media platform and take you directly to ILA’s accounts to easily see what is being shared about conference.

    So how best to make use of these features? I have a couple ideas:

    Update your profile

    Make sure your profile is up to date, has a recognizable picture, and lists the information you are comfortable sharing, and then use the ILA 2018 app to connect with other attendees. Perhaps you had a great conversation with someone next to you at a session or several speakers really impressed you and you want to follow them on Twitter. Just search for their names in the attendee directory and click Add Contact, and you’ve saved their information for later.

    You can even message others through the app, which is a great way set up impromptu meetings or schedule a lunch with people you just met.

    Favorites and how to use them

    08-MyFavoritesI’ve played around with these for a bit, and I’ve come up with three ways I think they work best:

    • Preplanning: Go through the sessions, speakers, and exhibitors and star everything you are interested in doing. Go to your My Favorites page and refine your agenda from your selection.
    • Sharing: The Export My Show feature lets you create a text-based list of everything you have starred or added notes for. If you are going to ILA 2018 as a team, you can star all the events you plan on attending and then text or email that list to your team so they know where you will be.
    • Tracking: Use the stars to note the sessions and exhibitors that you liked the most so that when ILA 2018 is over, you have a record of your favorite events.

    Sharing My Schedule

    10-ExportAgendaI’ve discovered another way to share your LA 2018 agenda. If you go into My Schedule and hit the three dots at the top right, there is an option to Export Agenda. This will push your current agenda items to your device’s calendar. I exported my agenda to my Google Calendar, which I have shared with my colleagues. They can now access my calendar and see exactly where I’ll be throughout ILA 2018.

    I haven’t had the chance to test it yet, but I believe an entire team could share a calendar, export their agenda to it, and have a team-wide account of where everyone will be during the show.

    I hope these tutorials have helped you become comfortable with the various features available on the ILA 2018 Conference app. Remember, if you have any questions or issues, you can contact customerservice@reading.org or tweet to @ILAToday and use the tag #ILA18App. Or you can come to the App Demo in ILA Central on Saturday, July 21, at 10:00 AM and ask me. I’ll be the guy in the hat.

    See you in Austin!

    ConferenceVeteranWesley Ford is a conference veteran and the resident ILA 2018 Conference app expert. He is presenting a demo of the app in Austin on Saturday, July 21, at 10:00 AM in ILA Central. Add it to your schedule and add him as a contact as practice.


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    ILA 2018 Exhibit Hall and ILA Central Happenings

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | Jul 12, 2018

    Exhibit Hall HappeningsOften cited among conference highlights, the ILA 2018 Exhibit Hall connects attendees with cutting-edge classroom tools, technologies, and solutions. Those joining us in Austin, TX, July 20–23, will have access to more than 130 vendors, book signings, giveaways, photo ops, product demonstrations, and more education than ever before.

    A short walk from the Exhibit Hall, in the first-floor atrium, lies ILA Central, your one-stop shop for all things ILA.

    To ensure you make the most of your time, review the list of offerings in both locations and create your plan of attack beforehand. Here are some we recommend.

    • Take advantage of the Friday preview: Stop by the Exhibit Hall on Friday, July 20, from 3:00 PM–6:00 PM for a special preview of the space.
    • Shop ILA merchandise: Show your ILA pride with the latest collectible ILA 2018 Conference T-shirts, notebooks, water bottles, tote bags, and more.
    • Explore your ILA membership: Membership staff will be on hand to help you sign up to be an ILA member or to renew or update your current membership. Take advantage of our conference-only special: a free, one-year subscription to an online ILA journal of your choice.
    • Get involved: Learn about ILA's literacy projects from the ILA staff members who lead them, including Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017, the What’s Hot in Literacy report, and the Choices project.
    • Meet your favorite authors: Browse a broad selection of titles and get them signed by attending authors, such as Megan McDonald, Carole Boston Weatherford, and Peter H. Reynolds.
    • Stock up on swag: Leave extra room in your suitcase for the endless free books, classroom supplies, and “swag bags” from vendors such as Scholastic, Fountas & Pinnell, and American Reading Company.

    This year’s Exhibit Hall will feature more than 30 PD sessions on topics such as emerging digital literacy strategies, effective phonics instruction, and creating inclusive learning environments.

    For full Exhibitor Session descriptions, visit the iPlanner or download the ILA 2018 Conference app. View the Exhibit Hall floor plan and full list of vendors here.

    Register for the ILA 2018 Conference at ilaconference.org and receive Standard rates through July 18. 

    Alina O’Donnell is the communications strategist at ILA and the editor of Literacy Daily.

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    Standards 2017 Cochairs Share Their Can’t-Miss Sessions at ILA 2018 (Continued)

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | Jul 05, 2018

    Standards-Related SessionsSeveral sessions at the ILA 2018 Conference, taking place in Austin, TX, July 20–23, tie to Standards 2017 in terms of its topics or roles. In this three-part blog series, Standards 2017 project cochairs Rita M. Bean, University of Pittsburgh, PA, and Diane E. Kern, University of Rhode Island, identify sessions you don’t want to miss:

    Add these Sunday offerings to your schedule*:

    Don’t miss Bean and Kern’s workshop, ILA/CAEP Reading/Literacy Specialist Program Writers and Reviewers. Alongside researchers, teacher educators, and CAEP representatives, they’ll provide an overview of standards and the key changes; review model assessments, rubrics, and scoring guides; and share the most recent developments from CAEP. Attendees are encouraged to bring sample assessments and questions. Individual 30-minute consultations will be available.

    *Please note
    : Both Institute Day and the ILA/CAEP Workshop require an additional fee and are not included in the cost of registration for Core Conference.

    Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017 
    is available here.
    Alina O'Donnell is the communications strategist at ILA and the editor of Literacy Daily.

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    Part 1: Terms and Definitions for Gender-Inclusive Classrooms

    By Dana Stachowiak
     | Jul 02, 2018

    gender-inclusive-classroomsThis is the first installment of a five-part series on cultivating gender-inclusive classrooms. It was written as a complement to “The Power to Include: A Starting Place for Creating Gender-Inclusive Literacy Classrooms,” an article that appears in the July/August issue of Literacy Today, ILA’s member magazine.  

    Understanding the appropriate terms and their definitions is incredibly important in cultivating gender inclusivity in your classroom.

    The terms sex and gender, although often used interchangeably, are defined differently. Sex refers to the biological and genetic makeup of a person’s body—a binary used to label someone a man or a woman. It is important to note here that this binary fails to create a space for people who are intersex, or those born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that is both or neither male nor female by definition.

    Gender refers to the socially constructed rules and roles that exist to define what it means to be masculine or feminine. Over the past several decades, gender rules and roles have been challenged, largely in the name of equality and inclusion. For example, where women were once told that only men could be mechanics because it is a more “masculine” line of work, women are now being told they can do anything a man can do in the workforce. If we think more deeply about gender as a socially constructed concept that has changed over time, we can see how it is different than sex. Sex, on the other hand, has remained a constant binary of male or female (again, though, with the  exclusion of intersex individuals).

    This leads us to the next term: gender identity. Gender identity is how an individual personally identifies in terms of their gender. Because sex and gender have gone hand in hand with binary thinking, people whose sex aligns with the female gender often identify as feminine, thus embodying traits that have been named as such. Likewise, people whose sex aligns with the male gender often identify as masculine, thus embodying traits that have been named as such. When someone aligns their sex with these gender norms, they are cisgender.

    Western society is one of the few societies that only recognizes two genders, but when we think in terms of gender identity, we recognize that there is more diversity in gender, including transgender, genderqueer, and gender nonconforming. It is important to note a few things before reading forward. First, I recognize there are many more gender identities than these; however, for the scope of this blog, these three will be discussed in depth. Second, the definitions I use for each of these terms are general and meant to be a starting point for understanding. I encourage readers to seek out information about the other genders and to listen to how people identify themselves. Honor all identities, do not assume pronouns, and respect each individual’s choice. Gender identity is personal to each individual, and any definitions used here reflect my positionality (as a white, genderqueer scholar), research, and experiences.

    The term transgender (or trans), is becoming more familiar, but is still not widely understood. Transgender is often used as an umbrella term to describe individuals who transgress gender norms, but more often, transgender is a term for people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were deemed at birth. It is not appropriate to ask a trans person to identify their sex. Genderqueer is used by individuals who identify as both male and female, sometimes only male or only female, and sometimes neither male nor female. Gender nonconforming individuals do not conform to gender norms. If we think of transgender as an umbrella term, both genderqueer and gender nonconforming could fit under this category, but not everyone who identifies as genderqueer, for example, also identifies as transgender.

    The topic of sexual orientation is beyond the scope of this post, but it is important to know that discussing sexual orientation is distinct from discussing gender identity.

    Stachowiak will participate in ILA’s Equity in Education Program at the ILA 2018 Conference in Austin, TX. Literacy and Our LGBTQ Students: Starting and Sustaining Schoolwide Transformation, a panel featuring a cross-sector of literacy leaders, inclusive educators, and activists, will take place on Saturday, July 21, from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM at the Austin Convention Center. The full recording will be archived on our Facebook page.

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    The ILA 2018 Conference: Know Before You Go

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | Jun 28, 2018

    ILA 2018 Must-Read TipsThere are only three weeks left until the International Literacy Association 2018 Conference, which takes place July 20-23, in Austin, TX. Your flight is booked, your hotel room is reserved, and you’ve already begun to make room on your shelves for new titles from your favorite authors. Soon, you’ll be face-to-face with some of the biggest names in the field and thousands of educators who share your passion for literacy education.

    This year’s conference features more than 300 sessions and events—that’s a lot to cover in just three days. Whether you’re an ILA conference first-timer or a seasoned veteran, we want to make sure you are prepared to take full advantage of this transformative experience.

    Here are some tips and tricks to help you hit the ground running in Austin.

    Before you arrive:

    • Start planning your conference experience. Use the iPlanner, which allows you to search by topic, audience, speaker, and more, to create a list of sessions and activities that catch your interest. Be sure to register for any add-on events (e.g., Institute Day, Edcamp Literacy, or the CAEP Workshop) in advance. These require separate registration and frequently sell out. Want a more personalized learning experience? Read about the three conference tracks here.
    • Download the conference app. Available now, the ILA 2018 mobile app isyour go-to resource while at conference. Use it to manage your personal agenda, find and connect with attendees, read session details, and access venue maps.
    • Connect digitally. Follow ILA on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to get the latest information and connect with other attendees using the hashtag #ILA18.
    • Participate in the #ILAchat on July 12. Conference speakers Matt Kay, M. Colleen Cruz, and Tim’m West, along with ILA staff members, will provide a sneak peek at what to expect from ILA 2018.
    • Pack wisely. Make sure to bring comfortable shoes and layers to accommodate for fluctuating temperatures in conference spaces.  
    • Print important materials. Make travel less stressful by ensuring you have all your confirmation emails, tickets, maps, and contact numbers printed out or saved on your mobile device before you head to Austin.

    Once you arrive on-site:

    • Visit the Registration Area. Pick up your materials, including printed copies of this year’s program and a coupon booklet (if you're taking a shuttle bus, it will drop you off near Registration).
    • Swing by ILA Central. From swag to information about membership and literacy projects, ILA Central is your one-stop shop for all things ILA. Show your ILA pride with all-new merchandise, including a collectible ILA 2018 Conference T-shirt. Don’t wait—they sell out fast.
    • Find the "Ask Me" guides. Look for these friendly folks wearing bright yellow shirts—they’ll be prepared to answer all your conference-related questions.
    • Grab a shuttle schedule. ILA provides complimentary shuttle service between official ILA 2018 Conference hotels and the Austin Convention Center. Schedules will be available in the app, on-site, and in the lobbies of hotels on the official scheduled route.
    • See the sights. Find out about museums, historic sites, famous bookstores, and other literary landmarks to visit on your free time.

    See you in Austin!

    Alina O'Donnell is the communications strategist at ILA and the editor of Literacy Daily.

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