Here are a few of my takeaways from this year's event, hosted at Chicago's McCormick Place, July 23rd through July 26th.
- Kudos to the planning and marketing teams at Schoology. I attend about six conferences each year, the attention to detail is unlike anything I've experienced at any other event. The signage, the badges, the publications; it was effortless to plan and navigate this conference experience. Admittedly biased because I live forty minutes from downtown, Chicago provided a perfect backdrop for this event. Excellent choice!
- The variety and quality of the breakout sessions were extraordinary. I learned gamification strategies from Glen Irvin, digital storytelling techniques from Dylan Rodgers and Brad Kemp, and embedding modified HTML media from Jen Jonson. Always engaging and energetic, Jeremy Friedman and Ryan Hwang shared Schoology's vision, product roadmap, and new features. Get ready folks, 2017-2018 is going to be something special!
- Mindblowing and inspiring workshops with all of the relevant materials; slides, pages, links, and e-books posted within a highly organized, easy-to-navigate Schoology course. It was a pleasure getting to present with a few of my EDU-heroes; Gina Hartman, Kristie Burk, and Jared Lopatin. The pace of the conference schedule and the layout of the meeting rooms were much improved over previous events.
- The learning didn't stop there. In the evening, you could have attended the popular Chicago architecture boat tour or the scrumptious Chicago pizza tour. Who rents out an entire museum for their conference dinner party? Schoology does. After snacking on delicious appetizers, Stephen Rao, Schoology's Ambassador of the Year, and I toured almost all of Chicago's Field Museum while others danced the Cha-Cha Slide on the main floor. Who says you can't mix culture and entertainment? It was an unforgettable night!
- I have yet to mention two essential ingredients of a tech conference, food, and wi-fi. Off the charts! A rock solid connection throughout the event, no lagging or dropped signal whatsoever. Charging stations strategically located around heavy traffic areas within the conference hall. Bridget Heaton, Cory Klinge, and I co-hosted a live #SchoologyChat session Tuesday during the lunch break. People got to put faces to avatars, very fun! The provided breakfasts and lunches were outstanding, nutritious and flavorful. Bacon three mornings in a row, what could top that?
DId you attend, physically or virtually, SchoologyNEXT-17? What are your takeaways, what did you enjoy most? Your comments are welcome and appreciated.