swap ∙ noun
Defined by the Girl Scouts as “Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere”

swap meet ∙ noun
A gathering of enthusiasts to trade or exchange items

Swap + Meet

In the spirit of creating, making, and connecting, the OLC Innovate 2018 Swap + Meet is meant to be a simple way for conference participants to share a fun or symbolic item that is a reflection of who they are and what they represent.  These swaps will ideally serve as the catalyst for a fascinating talking point or engaging conversation between colleagues new and old.  

Let’s #meetup throughout the conference and exchange innovative ideas, creative learning strategies, and cool swaps.


Tell me more about swaps – why are they awesome?

Do you remember swapping lunchtime snacks, scratch and sniff stickers, pins, garbage pail kids, baseball cards, friendship bracelets, handmade keychains or plastic charms?  This currency of exchange always provided folks opportunities to share laughs and stories focused on commonalities, forging strong bonds and fond memories.

This sounds cool, but what’s the teaching and learning connection to this?  

Let’s face it, in many cases, the “best way to learn something is to do it.”  For example, the Instructables website is a virtual community where students, makers, educators, and crafters collide, exchange, and share.  A portal of how-to’s and mini lessons provide a means to learn something new without consequence, prejudice, or judgement.  Imagine if our learning environments modeled a similar ideology or practice – learning without fear or boundaries. The possibilities are endless!

The OLC Swap + Meet will provide a mini-version of this experience, highlighting creation and design, the pinnacle of Bloom’s Taxonomy. In addition to swapping your creation, demonstrating to someone your creation process, is reinforcing one of the highest levels of learning…teaching.

Where can I find swaps at the conference?

We want you to take part in both exchanging swaps and meeting folks throughout the entire conference, and as such, will have folks peppered throughout the various spaces ready to give you a swap.  Part of the fun of swaps is discovering them, but here are some locations where one might find a swap:

  • From select Exhibitor booths
  • At the Emerging Ideas sessions
  • At the Ranger Station or from an OLC Innovate Ranger 
  • From a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee
  • From select members of the Steering Committee
  • From a member of the OLC Marketing Team

This list is not exhaustive, so be on the lookout for swaps, including from participants just like you who decided to bring swaps to exchange.

Be sure to take and share a photo of the best swaps that you receive and tag with #olcinnovate #olcswapmeet – you may just win a prize for the masterpiece in the OLC Innovate 2018 Social Media Contest. Learn more (link coming soon). (Detailed flyers will be available at onsite registration)

Can I make swaps at the conference?

We’ll have tables in the SWAP+MEET area inside the Exhibit Hall (Ryman Hall B1-B3, Conference Center Level 0) with swap-making supplies, as well as upstairs in Tennessee Lobby A.  Bring some friends from a session to make swaps together as you continue conversations that were sparked during the presentation.  Also, if you plan to arrive on Tuesday evening, come out for a formal introduction to swaps at our Evening Campfire Gathering from 9-10pm in the Delta Pavilion.  This not-to-miss session will include snacks and drinks and a way to get ready for the official start of the conference on Wednesday.   

Can I make swaps before the conference? How many swaps should I bring?  

Absolutely!  You can bring as many as you would like to exchange, but coming in with anywhere from 10-20 will give you a good number of swaps to exchange with folks.

I want to make swaps, but I need a jumpstart.  Where can I get some inspiration?

Here are some images and websites to get you inspired!

friendship pins swap      Safety pins and really tiny beads were used to make friendship pins – a classic.
3D Chairs Swap Enjoy taking several seats with these mini chairs created on a 3D printer.
macrame bracelet swap Macrame and beaded bracelets were once all the rage.  Will it become a trending topic at this year’s OLC?
wooden cog swap Steampunk lovers, any takers on this wooden cog?


And of course, you can flex your creativity to do something completely different!  Want to stick a pin on a sticker to make a swap?  Yup!  Want to trade a cookie as a swap? Why not!  Any way to connect you with new folks to spark a conversation is game.

Where can I find more information on swaps and on “making” in general?

You’ve got it – here are some of our favorite DIY sites for fellow makers: