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
    • Vibe
    • 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))

Archetypes of Conference-Goers

Who was missing from our 8 archetypes?