How Do I Apply What I Learned at Tech Conferences as an Educator?
William Jackson, M.Ed.
Teacher of the Year in Duval County Schools Venetia Elementary
and Instructor at Edward Waters College in the Education and
Urban Studies Department
The availability of conferences allows educators to engage with
educational peers, learn new strategies, how to apply differential
instruction, how technologies are used to teach students of
all backgrounds and abilities. Tech conferences support the
instructional and educational process.
As an educator my goal is to empower myself with knowledge
and share that knowledge with my students and even my community.
The field of education is not and cannot be a place for selfish individuals
and opportunistic groups lurking to make money off of children, with
that said the reality is, this happens every day across this nation in
educational circles, but too many don’t have the political clout to
correct or change this.
Even with that reality there are educators that are passionate, honest,
self-sacrificing for their students, parents, and their communities that
they live in and make their careers in education.
It is commonly known that a progressive and growing community has a
strong educational community with engaging partnerships, solid
mentoring programs, stakeholders in diverse areas of business,
commerce, economics and even in political sectors. Education is seen
as an investment in the future of its citizens that allows for global
competition and commerce. Quality education has the promise of
The majority of educators understand the demands and sacrifices of
being a professional educator, serious professionals are not waiting
for summer breaks or extended holiday vacations. The majority of
educators utilize and sacrifice their time, resources, talents and abilities
to invest in their students. This can never be overlooked or taken for
granted that some in political circles and lobbying groups seem to do.
I love my educational career even after 27 years and had a great role
model and mentor in my mother, she taught over 30 years in Camden,
New Jersey until passing in 2004. I’ve seen her advance from being a
beginning teacher to a Master Educator. My mother excited me to
attending conferences when she would take me, my brother and
sister with her so we can learn and explore. I in turn did the same for
my children, both are now in college and know how to “act” in public
because of exposing them to these unique educational opportunities.
It cannot be overlooked how important it is for educators to attend
conferences, workshops, seminars, and other events where there is
sharing and the exchange of information. The quote, “The best
professional development is when teachers meet and talk,”
paraphrasing Arne Duncan shows that professional development
does not have to take place in formal learning environments, it can
happen anywhere educators meet, greet and speak.
Educational opportunities from conferences opens doors to collaboration
between teachers that surpasses in some cases the mass training’s teachers
are involved in because there is the chance to casually talk and connect.
Having attended Blogging While Brown the premier blogging conference
for people of color (www.bloggingwhilebrown.com), Florida Blogging
Conference (www.flblogcon) and WordPress conferences I was exposed
to a great deal of information that I can share with my educational peers
on the elementary and college level.
I encourage educators of all levels when the opportunity presents itself
to attend as many conferences, workshops, trainings, and seminars, as
your skill level grows take the chance to present and share what you know
to help other educators grow in their skill level. Applying what you learn
from conferences is not challenging, knowing your curriculum,
understanding the learning objectives and the capabilities of students,
teachers can apply new strategies, concepts and even applying skills
related to differentiated instruction.
Conferences allow for teachers to experiment with concepts that
encourage collaboration and peer cooperation when implementing
different types of technology for different styles of learning. It is
important for teachers to know their students in order to create
progressive and transformative learning occurrences.
“No other profession as education has individuals that have so much
control of the learning of children over an extended amount of time
than educators.” William Jackson, M.Ed. Conferences allow for the
growth and development in a profession of continuous learning.
1. Make a list of strategies and concepts that are new to you
from the conference. Plan how to implement them over time.
2. Be sure to cite online resources and even books to reference
after conferences for later use. Make a resource list to share.
3. Obtain business cards and connect with that person or
company right after the conference so memories do not go stale.
4. Create personal learning objectives so you remain on point
when you attend conferences.
5. Learn how to apply standards to the learning objectives of
6. Find out if differentiated instruction has been addressed and how
you can apply to your classroom.
7. Find out the operating systems compliance for new software’s you
come across and like.
8. Find out if your district is supporting software and hardware
before you purchase it.
9. Is software single or multiple user, does a site license need
to be purchased and additional support?
10. Can students access the digital resources from home, and
what is the learning curve?
11. Be sure to educate administration about your objectives
and get their support.
12. Find out are there educational associations, groups, clubs
and other conferences you can attend.
13. Be sure to answer emails in a timely manner to show
professionalism when making connections.
14. Add to your Resume or Curriculum Vitae all the professional
development opportunities you are / were involved in?
15. Make as many connections as possible so you can connect
across multi-disciplinary and multi-curricular subjects.
16. Share – Share – Share with others.