Learning Together at the VSTE Conference

Attending the VSTE Conference is a great learning experience.

Attending with a team from your school or district can make that experience even better.

VSTE member Margaret Sisler came to the 2016 Conference in Virginia Beach with more than fifty of her colleagues and reflected on those three days in this post from last December.

Learning Together

Last week each school in our pyramid sent a team of educators (a mix of admin, teachers, tech coaches, and tech specialists) to the Virginia Society for Technology in Education (VSTE) annual conference.  This is our state conference, attended by over 1200 educators from all parts and regions of our state.  Presenters are educators, administrators, tech coaches, vendors and cover so many topics I couldn’t even list them all here!

I’ve been to VSTE many times and serve on the Outreach Committee.  I usually attend on my own and present a session or two.  Attending with a team was both awesome and sooo different than what I was used to!

Divide & Conquer: When I’ve attended on my own (or with a friend or two from another school), I’m usually very conflicted about what sessions to attend.  I was presenting 4 times this year, so that meant 4 sessions that I couldn’t attend and there were so many great offerings!  When there was a session I was super interested in, I asked if someone on my team could present.  It was incredible to work together this way because it meant we learned and gathered the resources from all of the sessions that anyone on our team attended.  We used a note-taking template that I got from my #TOSAchat friends.  I made a copy of the template for our team and we all added our notes to the template as we went.  My team took notes on one google slide deck.  Other teams from our pyramid took notes collaboratively in google as well and we all shared those notes.

Relationship Building: Being together with teachers, admin, tech coaches and tech specialists from my school and these 9 other schools allowed us to relax and really get to know each other and build connections.  THIS is what going to these conferences does for me.  I’ve now got this huge network of people that I can reach out to.  I KNOW that I don’t have the answers to every question, but I bet someone in this group does!!   We were also able to connect with folks from around the state who are deep in the work we are all doing.  It’s so interesting to hear this wider perspective.  We often get bogged down by the district way of doing it and this helps us to open that up view of things!

Read the rest of the post on Margaret's site, Edutechnically Speaking. VSTE thanks her for allowing us to share her experience with our members.

Margaret is an Instructional Technology Coach in Chantilly, Virginia.  She works in a large high school with over 3000 students and is passionate about building relationships with staff and students, engagement, Google Apps for Education and innovative teaching ideas! She is a former elementary teacher and has been a Tech Coach in both Elementary and High Schools. In addition to her blog, Margaret frequently shares her thoughts on Twitter: @TechyMargaret.

Registration for the 2017 VSTE Conference, December 3 - 5 in Roanoke, is filling fast. Plan now to join us.

If you write about learning and technology on your blog, related to the Conference or not, and would like to share one of your posts here at VSTE.org, we would love to hear from you.  Send us the link and your email address, and we will get back to you very quickly.