Constructor Lab
Leadership Summit
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

The UN-Conference Model: Lessons Learned From Re-Imagining Traditional PD

Location: W175c

Participate and share

Participate and share : Interactive lecture

Wednesday, June 27, 9:00–10:00 am
Location: W175c

Jennifer Cronan Flinn   Jen Gaspar-Santos   Jamie Sullivan  
Flip the traditional conference model that leaves teachers drained and overwhelmed and explore the unConference model. Schools strive to engage students, but how might we truly engage teachers with tech PD and support a spirit of lifelong learning? Leave with a set of tools, ideas for implementation and lessons learned.

Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Participant accounts, software and other materials: none
Focus: Professional learning
Topic: Professional learning models
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: Career and technical education, STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Coaches:
Content Knowledge and Professional Growth
  • Regularly evaluate and reflect on their professional practice and dispositions to improve and strengthen their ability to effectively model and facilitate technology-enhanced learning experiences.
For Educators:
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
For Administrators:
Excellence in Professional Practice
  • Facilitate and participate in learning communities that stimulate, nurture and support administrators, faculty and staff in the study and use of technology.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Educational or infrastructure challenge/situation: Why are teachers leaving technology PD bored, drained or overwhelmed. The Un-Conference Model puts a spin on traditional ways of learning technology.

Technology intervention and Models employed: Folks will be learning more about Technology PD --more of a professional learning model. We will be sharing tools that we used to organize the UnConference: Google Docs, Kahoot, Padlet and BackChannel chats

Objective: Teachers walk out with strategies on how to implement an UnConference at their schools.

Evidence of success: Here is an example of our last Un-Conference just to give you a sense of what folks will see/learn/hear about:


*welcome (5 min)
*lightning round: teachers walk around to get to know each other
*quick introduction to the UnConference Model (8 min)
*activity will be shared that we use during the UnConference Model, folks will be asked questions ---will be asked to respond via smartphone-- display results and outcomes. Questions include: wordle of thoughts that come to mind with Tech PD, their background --are they teachers, ed tech directors, school leaders (just to get sense of who is in the room) and then folks will also be asked to share their strengths ---this is to impress how we are all experts, we as teachers can tap into each other's technology strengths. One person may be good at blogging, others at social media, others with iPad apps. We can use the Un-Conference model to tap into each other's strengths. (8 min)
* lessons learned, we will share what we learned from hosting Un-Conferences the past 3 years. What we would have changed (9 min)
* strategies for taking the UnConference Model back to their schools a. letter to their principal or PD Directors b. sample invitations c. sample whiteboard sign-ups to organize the Un-Conference d. sample follow up letters to attendees e. ways to organize the day (10 min)
*end with Q/A (10 min)
*time permitting : one more lightning round of folks walking around and sharing ideas

Evidence of Success: Attendees come up to us and ask us for more resources, Attendees engage with each other during the lightning rounds, Attendees are submitting responses to our questions via smartphone, Attendees are tweeting out our session to others

Supporting research

"The unconference: a new model for better professional communication"

"UnConference: like a Conference, but Better"

"The EdCamp Model: Powering Up Professional Learning"

"EUnconference professional development: Edcamp participant perceptions and motivations for attendance"

Ed Camp USA YouTube Channel

More [+]


Jennifer Cronan Flinn, San Domenico School
Jen Gaspar-Santos, St. Ignatius College Prep SF

Jen has over twelve years of educational technology experience working in K-12 schools. She is Dir. of Ed Tech & Innovation and co-moderator of Girls Who Code. She has organized numerous PD events for faculty including UnConferences and various ed tech network meetings bringing together start-ups, ed tech developers and educators. She has launched 1:1 iPad and 2:1 programs starting back in 2011. She has presented at TEDx @ the Urban School, Ed Tech Teacher conference in Chicago in 2014, iTeach in 2016 and ISTE's Chicago in 2018. Her YouTube channel:

Jamie Sullivan, Castilleja School

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