Teach this Teacher what to do at SIGGRAPH
July 28, 2009 12:32 PM   Subscribe

High School Teacher going to SIGGRAPH for the first time. Please hope me.

I teach basic animation and digital art in High School. I am lucky enough to go to SIGGRAPH this year in NOLA. I have the Basic Conference Pass (no way school would pay for the full conference pass). I have NO idea what to expect.
I found a K-12 Education Sub-Committee, but the info is old.

Can anyone tell me what I can't miss? What I have to go to? ANY info is appreciated.
posted by nimsey lou to Technology (8 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
~Looks over at his pass for SIGGRAPH '92 on his wall...remembers how insanely cool his first time was...~

Pick up every freaking freebie/giveaway you can find. Especially DVDs. Have you looked over this page? I would tend toward checking out everything I could that I truly was excited about, and not force myself to attend lectures that I felt I should attend, just because I'm a teacher.

Since you teach animation/digital art, focus on those areas specifically. You'll come back with amazing tales that you can use to spark your students.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:07 PM on July 28, 2009

a lot of the big effects houses have huge amazing parties! schmooze around for invites.
and yea, pick up all the fun toys and promos they give away, your students will love them.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:45 PM on July 28, 2009

And, if you find yourself talking with people from any of the FX or animation shops, be sure to tell them you're a hs teacher and ask them what sort of stuff they wish they had been taught. And ask them about how to prepare your kids for college. Where they should go, etc. etc. You'd be surprised how eager people are to connect with an educator as opposed to yet-another-industry-flack.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:59 PM on July 28, 2009

Best answer: Jackpot! I'm on the SIGGRAPH 2009 conference committee. Here's my list of can't miss stuff.

Art Galleries and Etech (Emerging Tech) are a must. This is where most of the whiz-bang that is amazing or beautiful or who are they kidding kinds of things will be. It's best consumed in several trips through as it can be overwhelming to try to do in a hurry. You'll have access to all the Galleries and Experiences.

You'll have access to the Keynote Speakers but not the "Featured Speakers". Out of the the three keynotes, do not miss Will Wright on Tuesday at 10:30 and strongly consider Steve Duenes on Wednesday at 10:30

Take a good look through the Studio on your first day and figure out which of the stuff in there you'd like to try and plan your other days around that; some things are timed in there and some are walk-up. With the basic pass you won't have access to the real courses but the Studio can be almost as good. You'll have a chance to get your hands on some seriously expensive hardware and software; bring some stuff on a thumb drive to play around with, especially if you've got any 3D objects you'd like to have printed by devices no high school would ever spring for. You could really spend almost all your time in the studio and get a lot out of it.

Don't waste too much time on the show floor. It can suck a day away and all you have to show for it is a bunch of crappy pens. That said, Pixar's booth usually has some very special giveaways and they usually have a schedule of the times they'll be given out throughout the week; line up early if you want a teapot or whatever they're giving away this year. (it's usually a teapot of course but they'll surely be giving out UP posters too.)

Be sure to check out FJORG! (Pronounced FORGE! and said wearing horns) and GameJam!, 36 and 24 hour creation contests. These are great events to try to replicate for high schoolers. Don't miss the Judging Ceremony on Thursday night if you're still around as your pass will get you in to that. Speedlab presentations can be awesome too if you're around on friday.

Your pass doesn't authorize you for the Geek Bar, which is too bad... It's nice because you can watch live video feeds from many talks at once and not be stuck in any of them if they're snoozers or nonapplicable.

Your pass also doesn't get you into the CAF, but if you can spare $50 I would highly recommend buying a day pass as this is really the heart of the show. The evening screenings are all the same and not to be missed, so look at the afternoon and 3D screenings and decide what day would be best for a day pass and plan that day around it.

Finally, sign up for Encounter SIGGRAPH, a super-cool sms-powered scavenger hunt that will have you all over the venue on Wednesday. It's shaping up to be a very cool event and shouldn't be missed, especially for first-timers.

And come see me in the Sandbox! Have fun and let me know if you have any other questions.

On preview, I have to say that the vendor parties are usually a drag and overstuffed and I wouldn't prioritize that personally. Also, bear in mind that this is a pretty down year in the industry and marketing budgets are tight... also NOLA is Not LA. It's a much less schmoozy, more researchy / teachery scene when it's not in CA.
posted by ulotrichous at 2:17 PM on July 28, 2009 [4 favorites]

I think ulotrichous pretty much covers it. One specific thing: some colleagues from my grad research program will be demo-ing SMALLab, a mixed-reality environment for use in the classroom, as part of the Emerging Technologies track. I'm not part of the demo, but I imagine they'll be doing educator-friendly stuff, and can probably direct you to other educator-friendly stuff.
posted by Alterscape at 3:14 PM on July 28, 2009 [2 favorites]

Hah, ulotrichous nailed it. If you can't get the pass for CAF, buy on DVD at the shop later - and maybe pick up some Electronic Theatre Dvds from previous years. You can show those to the kids for years on end, we still watch ours from 14+ years ago.

Wear comfy shoes, take your own food, have fun. :)
posted by tilde at 4:49 PM on July 28, 2009

Response by poster: Oh my.... Thanks to everyone. This is going to be exciting! I can't wait.
posted by nimsey lou at 7:52 PM on July 28, 2009

Woo Hoo! This is my first year going to Siggraph as well. I'll be student volunteering throughout the week- all very exciting. It seems as though I'll be doing chalk drawings out the front of the conference centre on 4 of the five mornings if anyone wants to pop up and say howdy :)
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 12:54 AM on July 31, 2009

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