By Scott Sterling
Naturally, summer is the most popular time for educators to grow and hone their craft through learning, collaboration, and connecting with other educators. A lot of this occurs at conferences. There are quite a few out there this year, but here is a selection. Some are huge and others serve niches that you might not have thought could have their own conferences.
One of the world’s largest education technology conferences, with over 16,000 attendees annually, ISTE is being held on June 26-29 in Denver. Teachers who are interested in technology in their classrooms (which is most of them) can expand their horizons through 1,000 different sessions. The keynote speakers include Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist, author, and futurist television personality.
Perhaps you are an Apple-only school or district. Perhaps you also would rather not be crushed by thousands of people. iPadpalooza (June 22-24 in Austin) is held at a local high school and focuses on how your favorite slabs of aluminum and glass can inspire creativity, social collaboration, and engagement in the classroom. If you have great Apple-based ideas on those topics, this is where you share them. If you’d like some creative ideas, this is where you find them.
The Distance Teaching & Learning Conference is hosted by the University of Wisconsin in Madison on August 9-11. Distance learning is becoming a more viable education alternative in many diverse situations, including homebound students, credit recovery, and credentialing. This would be the place to learn how it could benefit your school or district. This conference is not just for the education sector, but for others that see the value in educating students remotely.
The National Association of Elementary School Principals is holding its annual conference in the nation’s capital on July 6-8. It’s the leading gathering of elementary and middle school leaders in the country. NAESP’s keynoters include Daniel Goleman, the father of the concept of emotional intelligence. Administrators and other education leaders can have trouble networking outside of neighboring districts. If that’s the case for you, NAESP is a must-attend.
FlipCon is the oldest gathering of those interested in or practicing flipped learning. It’s being held July 19-21 in Allen, Texas and features a focused agenda and manageable number of attendees to make sure everyone gets the most out of the experience. If you’ve flipped or are considering it, this is a great way to become more familiar with one of the hottest strategies in education.
Educators who have been sold on the benefits of game-based learning converge on Chapel Hill, NC on July 26-28. Serious Play is not only for education but for any industry in which gaming can be used in learning, so you will get to meet other educators in fields like healthcare, government, business, and the military.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention our own conference, which has grown every year since its inception. Building Expertise has been known primarily as a conference centered around the research and insights of Dr. Robert J. Marzano, and he is still the host and principal speaker this year, but we’ve diversified the program by including LSI authors such as assessment guru Dylan Wiliam and cognitive neuroscientist David Sousa. In 2016, the conference takes place June 15-17 at the Coronado Springs resort in Orlando.