Bring ISTE to Your Teachers: Building an Exciting Local Conference

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Listen and learn : Snapshot

Snapshots are a pairing of two 20 minute presentations followed by a 5 minute Q & A.
This is presentation 1 of 2, scroll down to see more details.

Other presentations in this group:

Mike Johnson  
Jeremy King  
Katie Nettles  
Sarah Thorjusen  

You can't bring all teachers in your district to experience an ISTE conference but you can build your own mini-conference to bring the same excitement and learning to your teachers. Learn how to build and grow a local mini-conference that brings innovative learning ideas to teachers without traveling.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Professional developers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Topic: Professional learning
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: For Coaches:
Professional Development and Program Evaluation
  • Design, develop and implement technology-rich professional learning programs that model principles of adult learning and promote digital age best practices in teaching, learning and assessment.
For Educators:
  • Pursue professional interests by creating and actively participating in local and global learning networks.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

It’s not possible for a school or district to send all of their teachers to ISTE. Instead, we bring the excitement and professional development of ISTE to all teachers in our district with a summer mini-conference.
Summer PD used to be boring sessions throughout the summer that very few teachers went to. Many would sign up for them in May but few actually wanted to give up any of their summers to show up.
We reworked our summer PD to pack it into a four day mini-conference held shortly before school starts. This mini-conference started as a 2 day technology training but has now grown to four days of district wide professional development focused on improving teaching with a very limited budget.
The Gulf Regional Innovative Teaching Conference (GRITC – pronounced like grits) is an exciting mini version of the ISTE conference filled with engaging sessions, fun activities, contests, prizes and activities that make teachers want to give a few days of summer to attend.
The purpose of this session is to discuss the entire process we go through when planning the our mini-conference.
Participants will be able to:
- Develop a plan for their own mini-conference
- Share ideas for engaging teachers during the mini-conference to make it exciting
- Identify local resources that can make the mini-conference a success.


Introduction – 2 minutes

Summer PD – the old way - 5 minutes
Background about how summer PD and other district trainings were done in the past
Discussion of why that was so ineffective

What is GRITC? – 10 minutes
Overview of mini-conference
Planning, organization, registration
Working with community partners/foundations
Site selection and set-up
Getting buy-in from other departments

Building Excitement and Engaging Attendees – 10 minutes
Preconference marketing to teachers – engaging teachers before the conference
Fun activities during the conference – Twitter contests, scavenger hunts, photo booth, food trucks

Conclusion – 5 minutes
Bringing it all together
Contact info for follow-up questions

Supporting research

More [+]


Mike Johnson, Baldwin County Public Schools
Jeremy King, Baldwin County Public Schools
Katie Nettles, Baldwin County Public Schools
Sarah Thorjusen, Baldwin County Schools

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