Historically, conventions, such as the Academy’s AudiologyNOW!, have provided the opportunity to learn new knowledge and skills, evaluate new equipment and technologies, and to network with fellow audiologists. Over the past decade, the emergence of online learning, or greater access to electronic journals, or the opportunity to interact with experts in real time has expanded our opportunities for learning and to acquiring new skills and knowledge. Today, the options for learning are myriad, easy, and instant.
These new learning formats, however, have not yet replaced the convention and conference features of evaluating new equipment and technologies, or of the ability to network with like-minded individuals. Attending a convention allows one to view and test diagnostic and treatment technologies, assess the benefit of changing suppliers, or identify methodologies that may enhance a practice. Similarly, one can benchmark their practice, their procedures, their technology and their successes by connecting with other audiologists in similar practice environments, or even those in different practice settings.
Perhaps most notably, on-line learning options do not yet replace the opportunities to reconnect with friends, colleagues, classmates, or former students that is a wonderful part of the convention experience. The best part of conventions might be, in fact, the collegiality and camaraderie that occurs outside of the formal educational sessions. Having attended every convention of the Academy since its inception, I can personally attest to this benefit. The conversations that occur in the hallways, the exhibit space, the parties, and even the bars have provided immeasurable opportunities for my practice, my professional growth, and my personal connections.
AudiologyNOW! 2017 is scheduled for April 5-8, in Indianapolis, IN. Some have questioned the choice of Indianapolis, not from the sense that it is a bad place to have the convention, but rather from the sense that most people don’t know much about the city. Having visited Indianapolis recently, I came away impressed with the convention center, the hotels, the restaurants, and the entertainment options. The convention center is connected to most of the hotels by skyways, and the layout of the convention center makes it easy to find the meeting rooms. The airport is highly rated and the cost of travel to the city is less than traveling to one of the more major cities. The hotels are less expensive than other similar convention cities, and there are restaurants to fit every budget.
All of this is to way that Indianapolis provides great opportunities to meet up with friends and colleagues, and to connect with fellow audiologists. I know the convention planning committee is planning to initiate new learning options, and will report on these developments in an upcoming column. So save the dates and make plans to join me in Indianapolis next April! See you there!