20 Can’t Miss Edu Conferences

We’ve updated this blog for 2017! Check it our here: 25 Can’t-Miss Education Conferences in 2017.

Let’s start with the big 12 for digital learning:
1. iNACOL Nov 4-7, 2014; Palm Springs, CA. This is the leading edge of blended and online learning, drawing an international audience of educators, policymakers, innovators, and everyone in-between. The symposium includes more than 250 sessions, with tracks for K-12 online learning, K-12 blended learning, competency-based pathways, policy, research, quality assurance and much more. Check out these sessions:

  • Nov. 5, 11:00am – 12:00pm, Innovations in Blended Learning: Creating a Student-Centered Learning Environment
  • Nov. 5, 11:30am – 12:30pm, Micro-Credentialing & Competency-Based Teacher Preparation & Professional Development; Karen Cator, Digital Promise, and others
  • Nov. 5, 11:15am-12:15pm, Elevate and Empower: World Language Teachers as the Key Players in the Shift to Competency-Based Blended Learning; Carri Schneider, Nicole Wilson, Rosetta Stone, and others
  • Nov. 5, 3:15pm – 4:15pm Smart Cities: Sparking an Urban Education Revolution
  • Nov. 7, 10:00am – 11:00am, To Tweet or Not to Tweet…That is the Question

2. SXSWEdu March 3-6, 2015; Austin, TX. Austin is weird–and so it SXSWedu, it’s a mashup of crowdsourced sessions and great parties. Some of the keynotes have been weird choices, but in its third year SXSWedu emerged as one of the best three learning innovation conferences on the calendar. Striking a balance between K-12, higher ed, government/policy, and start-ups, SXSWEdu is as much a tastemaker for what’s next in education as it is a true thought-leadership summit.  Check out our recaps of the 2014 conference here, here, and here.
3. Education Innovation Summit April, 2015; Scottsdale, AZ.  Forbes magazine says this is ‘the can’t miss education innovation event.’ We agree. The best and brightest minds in business, entrepreneurship, higher education, and education innovation converge for three days to transform the way you think about innovations in learning. Check out our Talking Points, recap on expanding access, innovators we met, and how education powers the American dream.
4. BETT Jan 21-24, 2015; London, England. Simply put, it’s the world’s largest EdTech conference drawing more than 30,000 international attendees and thousands of exhibitors, demonstrating the latest in education technology.
5. Excellence in Action National Summit on Education Reform Nov 20-21, 2014; Washington, D.C. Hosted by Gov. Jeb Bush and the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd), this event makes school reform actionable by pairing policy and practice. Digital Learning Now, an initiative of ExcelinEd, adds a timely online and blended focus to the Summit.
6. NewSchools Summit 2015 April, 2015; San Francisco, CA. Hosted by New Schools Venture Fund, this invite-only convening is the best equity-focused convening of reformers and innovators on the calendar. Check out our recap of Summit 2014.
7. National Charter Schools Summit Summer 2015. Learn, connect, and share ideas about how to grow and improve charter schools. The Getting Smart team participated in three sessions in 2014, which you can read about here.
8. SIIA (Education Industry Summit) May 2015; San Francisco, CA. Learn about ‘what’s next’ in edu-software at this industry summit.
9. ASCD March 21-23; Houston, TX. The annual gathering for the best minds in educational leadership, especially campus administrators. Look for innovations in pedagogy, campus and district leadership, and more.
10. ISTE, June 28-July 1, 2015; Philadelphia, PA. Where teachers go to learn about new tools and strategies.  Check out our 2014 recaps here, here, and here.
11. CoSN March 16-19, 2015; Atlanta, GA. This is the place to meet other district tech directors and advance best practices for what’s next in education technology.
12. SETDA Leadership Summit and Education Forum, October 26-29, 2014, Arlington, VA. The most important convening of state EdTech officials of the year.
Four big regional conferences include:
13. FETC, January 28-31, 2015 in Orlando, FL. The biggest regional EdTech conference
14. TCEA Feb 2-6, 2015; Austin, TX. More than just a state edtech conference, this one has surpassed 10,000 attendees, 400 companies and exhibitors. Check out our 2014 coverage here.
15. IntegratEd Oct 3-4, 2014; San Francisco, CA & Feb 2015; Portland, OR. IntegratED is a boutique ed-tech conference with an emphasis on active, hands-on learning for anyone looking to make a difference in the classroom.
16. CUE Conference, March 19-21, 2015, Palm Springs, CA. Great for educators and leaders looking to advance student achievement through technology in the classroom.
And for good measure, here are 4 more conferences worth checking out:
17. Global Education Conference Nov 17-22, 2014; online. A cool online affair.
18. Yale School of Management Education Leadership Conference March 26-27, 2015; New Haven, CT. The best student led conference of the year.
19. Serious Play July 22-24; Los Angeles, CA. The idea is that games can revolutionize learning. Learn from Google, Electronic Arts, and other leaders in the field how to lead in serious play.
20. Big Ideas Fest Dec 7-10, 2014; Half Moon Bay, CA. Transform the future of K-20 education with leaders in policy, research, teaching, entrepreneurship, and more in a format like none other. Action-based workshops, anyone?
And, finally, catch a Maker Faire anywhere you can.
For more on education conferences, check out:

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Greg Garner

Greg Garner is a Digital Innovation Coach for the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation in Raleigh, NC. While much of his work is focused on leadership and capacity building, Greg cares deeply about kids' education and is relentless in doing everything he can to improve their learning opportunities. He is passionate about pedagogy, innovation, and technology. Connect with him on Twitter: @classroom_tech.

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1 Comment

Monique Manuel

Will any of the conferences offer a virtual attendance option?

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