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RootsTech Conference: 10 Tips to Make the Most of Your Virtual Experience

 
Thursday marks the start of the RootsTech Conference in Salt Lake City. While I’m a little saddened that I can’t be there in person this year, I’m thrilled to be attending virtually through the live streaming lectures.

RootsTech celebrates its 3rd year and combines the worlds of genealogy and technology through this unique conference. The focus of many of the lectures and workshops is to demonstrate the various tools and tips on combining your technology world with your family history research. Over the course of Thursday, Friday and Saturday of this week more than two dozen lectures will be presented to the online community, while they are happening live in Salt Lake City. It was through these lectures during the first year that I was inspired to attend last year. Unfortunately, the timing did not make it possible this year. However, I’m quite content to be watching from my armchair.

To watch the live streaming videos, check out the schedule and just show up at RootsTech.org on the appointed time. There will be easy prompts available to instruct you when the lectures are ready to start. The nice thing about live streaming, unlike webinars there is no pre-registration and there is no limited seating. You don’t have to worry about getting there late and not getting a seat. You have a front row seat reserved for you for each lecture.

Here are a few tips to consider before you sit down to watch these lectures in order to make the most of this learning opportunity.


1. If you haven’t already done so I would suggest you download the app on your smartphone, even if you’re not attending in person the app can be handy. If you don't have a smartphone, it is also available for your iPad or PC. If contains the live streaming schedule through the RootsTech.org icon. Click on it and you can easily view this schedule.

2. Proceed to picking out the lectures you wish to watch and mark them in the My Schedule section of the app. Keep in mind these lectures are Mountain Time, so convert to your time zone. For example, those of you in my time zone EDT, there is a 2 hour delay. So the keynote starting a 8:30am MDT will be 10:30am EDT. I like to do all the conversions ahead of time and put them in the schedule so I don't get confused.

3. In the News Feed, you’ll find all the latest posts from the Official Bloggers at RootsTech. This is a great feature because you don’t have to jump all over the internet looking for them; they’re tied up in a nice neat package right in the app.

4. There’s an icon that sends you right to the RootsTech Facebook page if wish to follow the postings there over the next 3 days.

5. If you’re on Twitter be sure to follow the feed available in the app or from your favourite twitter app such as Hootesuite or Tweetdeck. Create a stream for the #RootsTech hashtag and engage in some lively conversations and interaction with those in the lecture hall and many of us watching from home. Be sure to follow @RootsTechConf for twitter updates and news.

6. Plan ahead and grab the syllabus material before the lecture. I’ve included the live stream schedule below and a link to the syllabus for each. Download the documents to your computer or print them out ahead of time. Personally, I’ve save them to Evernote. I will then make my notes in Evernote alongside the document while the lecture is happening. And even though not all the lectures will be available online all the syllabus material is, so peruse the entire conference schedule and download any of the material you may find interesting.

7. Keep an eye on the videos, picture gallery icons. There just might be some great stuff posted here while the conference is happening.

8. Get your headphones ready. I’ll be wearing my wireless headset so I can still have some mobility around the house. (Yes I will look like a geek, but I'm long past worrying about that.) Make sure you go looking for them ahead of time so you’re not frantically searching them out at the last minute. A headset or earphones makes for a much nicer experience if there is a lot of commotion around your house that you need to tune out.

9. If you are busy over these next 3 days and think you might miss a lecture consider listening to it from your smartphone. Seriously, I did this 2 years ago. Plugged in my headphones and listened to a lecture while grocery shopping. Make sure your phone is fully charged in advance.

10. Plan your meals or order takeout and take it easy these next three days. While you may not be able to attend in person, you can still dedicate this time to learn and get the most out of this opportunity. I’ve found all the lectures in years past to be packed with valuable information. Don’t miss out!

There you have it 10 tips to make the most of your next 3 days. I’ll see you in the virtual audience at RootsTech 2013.

Will you be attending the virtual conference this year? Any advice?


Live- Streaming Schedule 

Thursday
8:30 AM
Keynote – Dennis Brimhall, Syd Lieberman, Josh Taylor
11:00 AM
The Future of Genealogy - Thomas MacEntee and panel
Syllabus
1:45 PM
Tell it Again (Story@Home) - Kim Weitkamp
Syllabus
3:00 PM
The Genealogists Gadget Bag - Jill Ball and panel
Syllabus
4:15 PM
Finding the Obscure and Elusive: Geographic Information on the Web - James Tanner
Syllabus
 
Friday
8:30 AM
Keynote - Jyl Pattee and Tim Sullivan
9:45 AM
Researching Ancestors Online - Laura Prescott
Syllabus
11:00 AM
FamilySearch Family Tree - Ron Tanner
Syllabus
1:45 PM
Google Search… and Beyond - Dave Barney
Syllabus
3:00 PM
From Paper Piles to Digital Files - Valerie Elkins
Syllabus
 
Saturday
8:30 AM
Keynote - David Pogue and Gilad Japhet
9:45 AM
Using Technology to Solve Research Problems - Karen Clifford
Syllabus
11:00 AM
Digital Storytelling: More than Bullet Points - Denise Olson
Syllabus








































7 comments:

  1. Thanks for this Lynn! I had not downloaded the app thinking I wouldn't need it since I wasn't attending in person. I have it downloaded now, and I have a #rootstech stream in hootsuite :)

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  2. WOW thanks....will certainly try and see some of these on my days off :0)

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  3. That's just what I did last year & will be doing this year: use the app & listen/watch the stream! The app looks like it has even more cool stuff than last year, too.

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  4. Really enjoyed it last year and looking forward to virtually attending again this week!

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  5. We really should add snacks and your favourite beverage to the list. And feel free to stay in your jammies if you wish. I love virtual conferences.

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  6. what is better Hootsuite or tweetdeck? I haven't tried either one, are they quite easy to use?

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  7. Patricia, I like Hootsuite. I've tried TweetDeck early on but prefer Hootsuite now. It's really just a matter of preference. Don't wait until tomorrow, set it up tonight. It will take a few minutes to get it up and going and find your way around but it's not difficult. I just wouldn't try to do it a couple minutes before the sessions start.

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