How to Make the Most of a Playdate as a Creative Technologies Major

Creative Technologies has always had strong ties to us here at the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology. As a CT student, you may not be totally aware of all the great learning opportunities that an ICAT Playdate has to offer or know how to optimize your time at one. Below we offer 5 easy tips on making the most of Playdates.

1. Stay up to date on weekly topics

Our biggest tip for making the most of Playdates is to come prepared. Our weekly email newsletter always announces what the topic is going to be for the upcoming week. If you don’t want to have updates sent straight to your inbox, our website is also always up to date on all of our upcoming events. These messages/pages always provide a description of who will be the speakers and what they will speak about. This way, you’ll have a chance to look up bios and get curious about the projects, leading us to our next tip.

2. Ask questions

At the end of each of our Playdates, we open up the floor to questions. This is the perfect time to take an active role in your education and ask a question that will help bring clarity or bring up something else that might have been related to the person’s project.

Here we provide some template questions:

  • I heard you talk about [x], is that related to [y]?
  • From what I know about the topic, I can see you simplified [x] and I was wondering if you could go into more detail on that?
  • How did you choose [x] in this project?
  • Where do you plan to take this research in the future?
  • What were some things you had to consider while you were doing [x]?

ICAT encourages you to be curious and follow any threads of interest that you find during the conversation. Remember that we always want to foster a friendly and inclusive environment toward our speakers and every member of the audience, including our live audience online.

3. Talk to the speakers

After our Playdates, many people stay and talk to other members of the audience or follow up in a more one-on-one conversation with that day’s speaker. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself! A Playdate is the perfect occasion for you to meet your next collaborator on your next project, or ask about any project opportunities that the researcher might have in the future. Our speakers come ready to talk about their work to other people and meet people who are interested in the same problems they are interested in, so don’t be shy!

4. Learn more about completed SEAD grant projects

A part of making the most of our Playdates is learning some of the more nitty-gritty parts of completing your Mini SEAD project with ICAT. A part of every SEAD grant is an ICAT Playdate, so if you don’t know anything about the process or want some inspiration for your next project, Playdates are the perfect place to start.

Playdates are hosted for certain projects at many different points in their development. For example, you might come and see a project that’s completed one week, and a project that is still in the development phase the next week. This variety of speakers will help you to understand more about the process.

Plus, as a *bonus public speaking tip,* if you know you are going to be the person up there giving a presentation at a Playdate one day, watching other people do it first helps you to prepare better by learning from them. Learning about structure and delivery right from the source will only make your presentation stronger.

5. Follow up

After asking good questions and talking to the speaker after the Playdate, follow up with them. This means making sure you get their email address or other contact information before you leave. Remember that even if they don’t have the room in their schedule or in their lab for you right now, it doesn't mean that they aren’t going to be a phenomenal contact for you later down the line.

“Following up” might also apply to ICAT. If you have a stroke of genius, make sure you look out for when we start accepting applications for Mini SEAD grants typically at the beginning of every semester, or any other grants that we offer throughout the year.

We believe Creative Technologies majors would all feel right at home at our Playdates. We hope to see you all on Friday!