By Robyn Shulman | 11 February 2018
Every year, thousands of educators, innovators, and education entrepreneurs gather around the globe for various meetings, summits, and conferences. Throughout my career as an educator, I’ve been to many education and technology conferences.
This year, I’m starting a new series highlighting the conferences that bring together innovators, educators, and entrepreneurs from around the world. The recommendations below are based on my experience as a teacher, with input from others who have shared some golden gems.
The meetings below provide education entrepreneurs with the ability to network with like-minded people, learn from teachers, share their innovative ideas, and find new capital opportunities.
To highlight this series, here are my recommendations:
1. ASU-GSV Summit, April 16-18, San Diego
This is edtech’s go-to convening, and is a “not to miss” for investors and entrepreneurs. Deborah Quazzo, Mike Moe, and the GSV and ASU teams pull together three full days of programming and keynotes. This is the best conference for investors to attend who are looking to get a lay of the land and spot promising new ideas and investments. Their back-to-back company presentations make it convenient for investors who want to learn about and meet as many edtech companies as possible.
2. Close It Summit, October 15-18, Brooklyn
You can’t have a conversation today about education without also discussing the talent development and the future of work. The Close It Summit is ahead of its time. This year, the conference is entitled: SHIFT Happens: Work+Learn Futures. U.S. News & World Report will join the Summit as a media partner, and Whiteboard Advisors and JobsFirst NYC will participate as leading strategic partners. Keynotes will include top CEOs from innovative Fortune 1000 companies, leading educational programs, and leading tech strategists. Attendance will continue to include industry, philanthropy, venture capital and national education and workforce leaders sharing their views of the shift in work and learn models with themes to include innovation, automation and technology. Close It is the “don’t miss” event for employment tech, a sector that has quickly overlapped and complemented education technology.
3. ISTE Conference, June 24-27, Chicago
With more than 16,000 educators and 550 exhibitors, ISTE is recognized as the most comprehensive educational technology conference in the world. Educators, administrators, technology coordinators, library media specialists and more travel to this premier EdTech conference to engage in hands-on learning, connect with top education experts, participate in hundreds of sessions and enjoy world-class keynotes.
4. EDUCAUSE, October 30-November 2, Denver
Like ISTE, EDUCAUSE is a grand event. With over 300 sessions and over 700 presenters, it’s the place to be if you want to learn from CIOs, edtech directors, and technology-minded faculty. At EDUCAUSE, professionals and technology providers from around the world gather to network, share ideas, grow professionally, and discover solutions to today’s challenges. There’s a great deal of critical content generated from those working directly in higher education, and the exhibit hall will enable you to get a glance of the entire sector.
5. BrainStorm Conference, March 4-6, Wisconsin Dells
The goal of the BrainStorm Conference is for K-20 techs to network with their counterparts and connect with technology vendors who cater to the K-20 community. The heart of the conference is the exchange of ideas among fellow education technologists and education tech vendors. Attendees make connections that last through the years and learn from expert technology professionals. With more than 120 technology-focused sessions, guests hear from industry leaders. At this conference, you can learn new skills, and check out cutting-edge products that make work easier and more productive. They also highly focus on infrastructure, servers, storage, security, networking, hardware selection, system management and other related technical areas.
6. SXSWedu, March 5-8, Austin
The SXSWedu conference is internationally recognized for its captivating sessions, in-depth workshops, engaging learning experiences and networking events. SXSWedu provides attendees with an environment that nurtures innovation in learning and connects educators to work towards the goals of impacting the future of education.
ChickTech is a conference hosted by a nonprofit to inspire more females to pursue a career in technology.
ChickTech is hosting its first annual ACT-W National Conference. This conference includes 2,500 influential leaders and professionals holding speaking sessions, educational training workshops, one-on-one coaching, a career and exhibit fair, after-hours activities, networking, and more. All proceeds go towards providing free STEM education programs to local high school girls and expanding the global ChickTech network to truly impact the reach of women in tech.
ACT-W National is an engaging three-day conference where talented women and supporters in tech can accelerate their careers by connecting with organizations and leaders in the community. The conference includes speaking sessions, “training the trainer” workshops, one-on-one coaching sessions, after hours parties, networking, and more.
ChickTech’s development of high school workshop programs for girls and giving them access to female role models to spark interest in STEM fields and ultimately improve female representation in tech— the conference is a reflection of just that and a chance for women to further education themselves about the field of technology.
8. CampusInsight, April 16-20, Orland0
This year marks the 30th anniversary of CampusInsight, bringing together hundreds of college and university leaders from around the world to discuss their perspectives on how new technology can help to meet the educational needs and career goals of students and institutions.
This is a can’t-miss event for edtech professionals. At a time when higher ed. continues to face major headwinds such as shrinking student populations, increased competition and budgetary constraints – colleges are at a critical moment in history. They need to leverage technology to help drive student success and manage the student journey to benefit students and the schools themselves.
9. CUE – Computer Using Educators, March 14-17, Palm Springs
This conference is a good introduction to computers and technology for teachers and site administrators. They provide teachers with tools that can be used in the classroom immediately, and it’s appealing to all levels of teachers – from novices to tech experts. It is an essential conference for teachers who want to learn how to use technology, and for administrators who want to know how to support that use. It’s also a great place for connecting with established companies that offer technology that teachers can use in their classrooms every day.
10. Reimagine Education, December 2018, Pennsylvania
As disclosure, last year for the first time, I served as an unpaid judge for the Reimagine Education Conference. I found the talent, innovation, and startups to be fascinating. Reimagine Education aims to acknowledge and reward those most successful in creating transformational educational initiatives, enhancing student learning outcomes and employability. Google, Microsoft, IBM are just a few companies that support Reimagine Education.
Each year, over 1,000 educational innovators from all the world submit their projects to their 17 Award Categories at no cost. The overall winner receives $50,000 in total funding for their award-winning project.
According to their site, delegates can:
- Participate and choose the year’s champions of educational innovation. Reimagine Education Award Winners are selected by the judging panel and by the delegates at the conference;
- Present in front of a global audience! All shortlisted applicants for the Reimagine Education Awards are eligible to present their project at the conference.
- Network with innovators from across the educational landscape, and form collaborations with those they met;
- Discuss key issues facing the world’s educators, from the future of work, to potential uses of virtual reality in the classroom; from the need to create new learning spaces, to the future of the university itself;
- Meet other delegates from groundbreaking ed tech companies, providing an opportunity to identify valuable investment opportunities.