Over the course of the past 4 years, 2 months and 13 days that I have served as Chief Information Officer for the MCSD - I have attended some excellent/worthwhile conferences and I have attended conferences that made me want to gouge my eyes. What is the purpose of an IT conference? Is it to interact and discuss topics with vendors? Find new solutions you can implement in your organization? Share ideas with colleagues? Attend the cutting edge session on a new gadget, gizmo or solution?
I often find myself perusing the conference agenda weeks in advance trying to find that one session, that one booth that will make the difference. After all if my district is willing to spend hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars to send me (and my team members) to these events - isn't it my responsibility to provide something in return? This year that is my challenge, not only for me personally, but for my team members - "Attend a Conference - and Make a Difference." Don't just attend the conference to get a vacation from your job, to attend the social functions (which are enjoyable), or to get free t-shirts - attend the conference to enhance your job, learn a new skill, find the innovative and cutting edge tool that will increase student learning in your building.
These are the conferences I currently plan to attend this year (subject to change, of course). Should anyone out there know of a conference that can impact student learning, provide solutions and is on the cutting edge - let me know.
October 24th, 2008
New DTC / CIO Training (KY Specific)
Frankfort, KY - Capital Plaza Hotel
More Information (http://www.kyste.org)
The purpose of the New DTC / CIO training is to provide information (both technical and instructional) to new technology leaders in our state. They will receive an overview on various topics and have the opportunity to interact and ask questions with our state leaders, vendors and behind the scenes personnel.
November 20-21, 2008
More information (http://www.kyspra.org)
This conference will be new to me. A new role in my job this year is managing our district's public relations. I felt attending the KY Public Relations conference will help provide me ideas on how to enhance that role. I hope to make connections, ask questions and share my brief experience with people who have more experience and perhaps some words of wisdom in the area of PR.
December 10-12, 2008
More information (Click here)
The TETC (or Tennessee Educational Technology Conference) is a conference I have attended for three of the last four years. I began attending this conference because of its close proximity. (Nashville is a mere 1 hour and 45 minute drive.) The first two years I attended this event, it was full of vendors, excellent sessions and interesting technology leaders. However, last year the attendance (both from a participant and vendor standpoint) was down. I left disappointed and felt I gained little value from this event. I am planning to give the TETC another opportunity to provide me and a few of my district personnel with some ideas, tools and information to improve our district. Don't let me down again TETC.
January 21-22, 2009
Louisville, KY (Galt House)
More information (click here)
The Infinite Campus Interchance is an opportunity for KY districts to share, discuss and update users on how the implementation of our new Student Information System (SIS) is progressing. As a pilot district last year, I had the opportunity to present at two different sessions. I found it very rewarding to share my insight and experience with other districts. I hope again to be able to share my experience of this past year and our districts trials, tribulations, successes and overall feel of the Infinite Campus product.
March 4-6, 2009
More information (click here)
The Kentucky Teaching and Learning Conference was once THE great technology event for our state. (Part of this took place before my time.) Over the past few years, the event has changed and is geared less for technology leaders and more for teachers and other school personnel. Technology is still a driving force behind the conference themes and many of the sessions and vendors - but finding that session for my district technology team or school teachnology leader is becoming more of a challenge. I am able to send teachers and they find this event very worthwhile (actually this is event last year is my teacher came up with her idea for the paperless classroom that is a huge success). KTLC continues to serve as a venue for other meetings and interactions for me and my collegaues, thus I will continue to attend. I spend most of my time in the exhibit hall talking with vendors and sharing ideas and listening to new concepts. There will come a day (probably sooner than later) that I will no longer attend this event.
KySTE Summer Conference
Location: TBA (Possible destinations are Louisville, KY; Lexington, KY and Bowling Green, KY)
More information (http://www.kyste.org)
This is the conference I am most excited about. This is the conference that I spoke about last June that had the most impact on me as a technology leader in the past 4+ years. I attended sessions that insipred me, forced me to think outside the box and started discussions on how to make change in our district. I interacted with vendors who assisted with this change, I heard keynote addresses (and I am not typically one for a keynote address) that had the venue been different - would have captivated the audience. This conference will become THE technology event for the state of KY. Inspired by technology leaders across the state who felt they no longer had a technology conference (see the change in KTLC above), the KySTE Summer Conference is still undergoing a radical change. With this year's event being held in a central location, thus allowing more people from across the state the opportunity to attend - combined with last year's success and the vision of the organization's leadership team - I am most excited about this event. Rest assured - I will provide information 10 months from now.
So...if you know of other events here in the Bluegrass or across this great nation that have the ability to change an organization, inspire life long learning or engage our students beyond our wildest dreams - please share with me.
JDS | CIO