Organizing Technology Conferences in Your School or District


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About Us

Trussville City Schools
April Chamberlain, april.chamberlain@trussvillecityschools.com
Shawn Nutting, shawn.nutting@trussvillecityschools.com

Please feel free to contact either one of us!

Why should you consider organizing a tech conference for your faculty and staff?

There are many reasons to consider organizing a technology conference for your school or district. By choosing the content, you can direct teachers to specific workshops that would best help them in their classroom or school. Our first year focused on making sure everyone understood how to use the tools and programs already in our district. This included STI, SharePoint, Class Server, basic troubleshooting, what your laptop can do for you and a few sessions demonstrating 21st Century tools. The AETC conference is great but our district cannot afford to send 300 teachers. By creating our own conference, every teacher in the district is required to attend. The first year cost for the conference was low. Our main cost was copies for handouts. For our second conference, we make the decision to invite a keynote speaker, Sheryl Nussbaum Beach, who opened the teachers eyes to moral obligation we have as teachers to prepare students for the 21st Century.

Steps we used to create Trussville Educational Technology Conference in 2007

1 Set the date for the conference as soon as the new school calendar is released. We are very fortunate that we were allowed to use the first teacher workday after the Christmas Break. By the conference begin on a system wide teacher workday, all teachers attend.
2. Decide on the locate and time for the event.
3. Define the objectives for the conference based on the needs of the teachers. This is also a great time to train teachers on programs that are required for day to day working such as STI, SharePoint (teacher web sites), basic troubleshooting, etc. If you are not the technology department, if it VERY important that you include the Director of Technology and others throughout the entire planning process. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page and will also allow you to show the technology department how important technology is for you and your staff to efficently and effectively engage students in the learning process.
4. Look to your faculty and staff for presenters. Are there any teachers, administrators, and/or staff who are using technology that meets the objectives defined above?
5. Locate other resources for presenters for objectives not filled. Last year over half of our presenters was from the K12 Online Conference. The K12 Online Conference takes place all online over a two week period. The conference organizers are Sheryl Nussbaum Beach, Darren Kuropatwa, and Wes Fryer.Presentations are posted so that attendees can select the presenation they wish to take part in when their schedule allows. Most presentations are in the format of a podcast or video. One of the benefits of the K12 Online Conference is that you can revisit any session or actually visit m. ore sessions than you were able to at our scheduled TETC.
6. Last year's schedule consisted on the keynote that everyone attended followed by 3 self selected concurrent sessions. The teachers registered for the concurrent sessions online using STI PD.
7. Meet with presenters from your school or district several months before the conference to make sure everyone understands the objectives of the conference and answers any questions.
8. Organize conference materials that will be handed out when teachers sign in the morning of the conference. We included a map with class assignments, personal schedule, letter from Director of Technology, and article to read. We placed our materials in white 8 1/2 by 11 envelopes.

The week before the conference,
9. Print out sign in sheets from STI PD and place in class folders to be placed in classrooms.
10. Contact principal at school that is hosting the event to go over timeline of event and ask any questions.
11. Print any handouts needed for presenters.

The day before the conference,
12. Place handouts, sign in sheets, etc. in classrooms where presentations will be deliver.
13. Hang maps around the school directing people to classes
14. Set up sign in tables in central location. We set up 5 tables to help with traffic flow - primary school, intermediate school, middle school, high school, and board of education
15. Test audio and other technology needed by keynote speaker

The day of the conference,
16. Take pictures
17. Have several technology staff on hand to assist with any problems.

What we learned from TETC 2006 and TETC 2007

We used STI PD for pre-registration which helped tremendously with time. We restricted the class size to 20 so that classes were not too large. Any class with under 3 attendees were asked to locate another sessions they would like to attend and that class was canceled for that time period.

Plan, Plan, Plan

Check and then re check any technology you will be using for your conference. Make sure all sites that you will be visiting are working and open for the day of the conference. This may require a meeting with your IT staff.

Check out pictures from TETC 2007