What We Know
Themes: What We Know About Conferences and the Archetypes of Conference Goers
Consider two specific conference you’ve attended. How were they different?
- See things vs. think differently
- Size (number of attendees) & variety of offerings
- Time allocation for digesting information
- Social/networking opportunities
What are the different types of “sessions” you’ve participated in?
- One person organizing/presenting, rest receiving knowledge; Most of us have participated in keynotes, lectures, panel, meet-ups, and workshops
- Experiences that may be more self-directed; less traditional sessions that people have learned from such as films, museums, demos, show and tell, 3 day self-directed learning experiences, flipped experiences, fire sides, edcamps/unconferences, ignites, round tables, and challenge/inquiry-based experiences.
Does learning happen at conferences outside of “sessions”? Explain.
- (Majority) Yes! The conversation continues in hallways, on escalators, on break/during lunch, at happy hours, etc.
- Reflection/process the learning: Debriefing with team after helps with reflection. Need to individualize the main ideas for your class, & collaboration makes that happen.
- Learning happens everywhere.
- Conversations about others districts and situations broadens our view.
- Networking- Often learn the most from networking with others.
- Application: The most valuable learning comes when you attempt to apply/interpret information.
- Also, No- some learning after, but limited + Often feel motivated but never revisit.
Think of your best conference experiences - what made it feel that way?
- Robust workshop offerings - voice, choice, time
- Relevant, useful workshops designed to engage, inspire, and motivate attendees
- Varied session experiences: hands-on, reflective, collaborative
- Opportunities to make connections to others in fun, meaningful ways
- Strong, accessible presenters
Think of your worst conference experiences - what made it feel that way?
- Things that are the worst things that people say about school: assigned seats, lack of choices, "sit and get," required attendance
- Vendors running the show and doing much of the presenting :(
- Lack of opportunities to make connections - "cliquey," no backchannels
- Poor Logistics and Disorganization: disorganized, workshops not on topic as advertised, single-session type/no variety, asynchronous/too many options at once/same type of sessions happening at once
- Speakers: unprepared, assumed that the participants didn't know anything
- sending a hug to the one person who was so traumatized that s/he blocked it out. ((HUG))