The TESOL 2011 Annual Convention and Exhibit runs March 16-19 in New Orleans, and will surely be a dynamic convergence of TESOL professionals. This year’s theme, “Examining the ‘E’ in TESOL,” is going to be addressed in the conference’s plenary session, which will feature Thelma Meléndez with the U.S. Department of Education. The aim is to explore the diversity of the English speaking world, and of course the TESOL community that reflects that diversity. Check out the slick advance program book for specific information on the other plenary sessions and presentations with the best in the TESOL field reflecting on this theme. Descriptions of the sessions are easy to find by category, such as academic sessions and advocacy, public policy and professional issues.
 
Technology and TESOL go hand in hand, and this year’s event is driven by strong web resources that members of the field can use to enrich their overall experience. Particularly worth looking checking out are the online program and the accompanying itinerary builder, which will help you search out those sessions you are interested in. Match this with an interactive Virtual Expo – a veritable searchable map of the event – you can chart out your entire time at TESOL 2011.
 
Even with this kind of guidance, are there still too many events and sessions that you want to see? Hard to be in two places at once? Taking the technology to the next step, this year’s TESOL Convention and Exposition will feature a TESOL Live Learning Center. Sessions of the conference will be captured and made accessible as multimedia re-creations with synchronized PowerPoint presentations. Still not on-the-go enough for you? Attendees can also download MP3 files of recorded sessions, upload ready for the iPod.
 
The convention’s website is loaded with other great resources, from information on the city of New Orleans to travel details and registration information. (It’s not too late to sign-up on-site!) In addition to the Virtual Expo, you can check out the event’s blog, where you can connect with peers before heading to New Orleans, or even catch up with podcasts if you cannot make it this year.
 
Another repeated feature of the conference will be the Breakfast with TESOL’s Best” series, where attendees can enjoy a continental breakfast – here beignets and chicory coffee New Orleans style – and discussion on a current topic of interest with a leading expert in the TESOL field. For new members, there will be a specific outreach orientation, offered as a chance to learn about member benefits and a chance to win a free TESOL membership renewal. The event features a panel discussion of the TESOL organizations directors and board members, there to help explain how you can get the most from your membership in your first year.
 
Another major component of this annual event is the Job Marketplace, a premier venue for both employers from all over the world and job-seekers to connect. Interviews can be obtained in advance, and candidates walk out of TESOL with job postings overseas. Check out the conference website for the Job Marketplace, which has a strong online component. Search or post jobs, request and process interviews online – don’t miss out on this great job resource that is free to conference attendees.
 
Every year the best and brightest come out for TESOL, and veterans and newbies mix and mingle in this dynamic environment. Take advantage of all the resources at your fingertips with the TESOL Convention and Exhibit, and have a great time in one of America’s most exciting cities as you explore the ‘E’ in TESOL.