23 Can’t Miss Edu Conferences

MOSCOW - JAN 28: People came to the exhibition Silver Camera 2012, Jan 28 2013, Moscow Russia. The exhibition was held in the Royal Tower of the Kazan Station

We’ve updated this blog for 2017! Check it out here.

Let’s start with the big 13 for digital learning:

1. iNACOL Blended & Online Learning Symposium 

“iNACOL” is the leading edge of blended and online learning, drawing an international audience of educators, policymakers, innovators, and everyone in between. The symposium brings together 2,500 experts, EdLeaders, and educators to explore next-gen learning for K-12 students in over 200 sessions in tracks like K-12 online learning, K-12 blended learning, competency-based pathways, policy, research, quality assurance and more.

2. SXSWEdu 

SXSWedu, is a mashup of crowdsourced sessions, keynotes, demos, with a chaser of great social gatherings. In it’s fourth year SXSWedu emerged as one of the top three learning innovation conferences on the calendar. Striking a balance between K-12, HigherEd, policy, and startups, 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 2015 conference. PanelPicker is back this year and opens up on June 29 until July 24.

3. ASU+GSV Summit

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 what it meant for educators and 20 high impact EdTech enterprises from our time at ASU+GSV last year.


With over 30,000 attendees from all around the world and thousands of exhibitors demonstrating the latest in EdTech, BETT is the world’s largest EdTech conference. Here’s highlights from BETT 2015.

5. ExcelinEd National Summit on Education Reform

This year will be the 8th annual summit hosted by the Foundation for Excellence in Education. The best and brightest from around the nation will meet to share strategies with the goal of improving education quality for all children. Sessions cover policies and practices so it’s a great opportunity for lawmakers, advocates and policymakers to learn more about reform. Here’s 10 lessons our team learned at last year’s summit.

6. NewSchools Summit 2016 

Hosted by New Schools Venture Fund, this invitation only gathering brings together entrepreneurs, educators, and policymakers who are focused on equity and transforming education for underserved children. Having just returned from the NewSchools Summit 2015 and we’re eager to see what next year has to bring.

7. National Charter Schools Conference

NCSC gives attendees an opportunity to connect with over 4,500 other charter school leaders and educators from across the country to share ideas and strategies for growing and improving charter schools.

8. SIIA (Education Industry Summit)

Edu-software companies should attend this edu conference to learn about ‘what’s next in 21st century teaching and learning. This industry summit will feature sessions, workshops and keynotes around building the best infrastructure, products, and services for K-12 education.


Next year’s theme for the 71st annual event is “Learn, Teach, Lead.” The conference aims to gather the best minds in educational leadership, especially campus administrators. Look for innovations in pedagogy, campus and district leadership, and more.

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10. ISTE

Dubbed as the “Premier forum in which to learn, exchange ideas and survey the field of EdTech,” ISTE Is where educators and school leaders go to learn about new tools and strategies. With over 18,000 attendees and growing, this event is perfect for industry reps, teachers, tech coordinators/directors, administrators, library media specialists and policy makers. Check out our posts from 2015 here, here and here.

11. CoSN

CoSN is the place to be if you’re a district tech director or leader. Sessions cover specifics around common challenges, emerging trends and best practices for what’s next in EdTech. There is also plenty of opportunities to network and share ideas with peers, presenters and industry reps.

12. SETDA Leadership Summit & Education Forum

One of the most important convenings for state EdTech officials of the year brings together leaders from over 40 state departments of education to join leaders in EdTech, assessment, instructional materials and professional development to collaborate and engage in in-depth dialogue.

13. BbWorld

Thought leaders, educators and other great minds from around the world join to “Learn, connect and advance the future of education.” In addition to the conference, system administrators, IT Professionals and developers can head to DC early to participate in DevCon for more detailed and indepth.

Three big regional conferences include

14. FETC

The biggest regional EdTech conference discussing tech trends and best practices.

15. TCEA

It may seem like just another state EdTech conference, but as they say, “Everything’s bigger in Texas.” With over 10,000 attendees, 850 presentations, 8 academies and 930 booths, TCEA is the largest state convention in the US. Sessions feature nationally-recognized experts with topics for both novice and pro campus and district-level educators.


16. CUE Conference

CUE is the largest and oldest EdTech conference in California and is targeted towards educators and EdLeaders looking to advance student achievement by using technology in the classroom.

And for good measure, here are six more conferences worth checking out

17. Global Education Conference

A cool virtual conference with sessions held around the clock to accommodate all time zones. Call for proposals opens up June 28, 2015.

18. Serious Play

This will be the 5th year for Serious Play, a leadership conference that embraces the idea that games can revolutionize learning. Speakers from around the world share tips on how to move game-based education forward and their experience creating or using games in the classroom as well as healthcare, government, military and corporations.

19. Miami Device

Educators looking to create learning environments that authentically engage all students and become masters of their teaching craft should attend Miami Device. Sessions will share best practices for student-centered learning, game-based learning, fostering 21st Century Skills and more.

20. Distance Teaching & Learning Conference

“Where education, technology and learning converge.” In distance education, keeping up means staying being up to date with what’s next. Attendees will connect with online learning leaders from around the world and will discover innovative ways to teach and support online learners as well as best strategies, practices, and solutions.

21. Annual Conference for Middle Level Education

A valuable and comprehensive PD conference for educators and administrators working with middle school students. AMLE features over 300 sessions in 60 topic areas with hands-on and meet and greet opportunities.

22. Learning Solutions Conference & Expo

Learn about technologies changing the world of training and development and enhancing learning experiences. Session topics include instructional design, blended, mobile, gamification, data & measurement, project management, social learning and virtual classroom.

23. OEB 2015

Learn from over 2,300 participants from over 100 countries in various hands-on workshops, plenaries, interactive breakout sessions, debates, labs and demos. OEB is a global, cross-sector conference focused around “accelerating the shift” of  technology supported learning and training and fosters connections and exchanges between the corporate, education and public service sector.

For more on edu conferences, check out:


Jessica Slusser

Jessica is the Senior Director of Impact at Getting Smart. She leads business development and growth of advocacy campaigns, advisory services, product development, marketing, and Getting Smart's blog. As part of her role, Jessica also oversees team events, conferences, and speaking engagements.

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Sam Daniel

Great. I am looking forward to Washington, DC. Thanks Jessica.

Jessica Slusser

Thanks for reading Sam!

Anthony Armstrong

Jessica, this list is great. Thanks for highlighting these learning opportunities. Can I add one more? Our conference (www.learningforwardconference.org) is focused on how to build and sustain effective professional development for educators. While it doesn't get the attention of tech conferences, we lay the foundation upon which educator professional learning is built.

Nihat Guvercin

This was very helpful. When I was building my 2016 PD calendar I found this page, thank you for your summary. Also it is the first time that I learned about Getting Smart page and I already added it to my fav.

Todd Heater

Why isn´t the BLC (Building Learning Communities) Conference listed? It´s going on it´s 16th year!

Brooke Junker

We're having our 30th Annual HSTW Staff Development Conference in Louisville this year! 600+ sessions, most of them led by teachers and school leaders, demonstrate best practices and strategies to prepare middle grades and high school students for college and careers.

Brooke Junker

There's also the College- and Career-Readiness Standards Networking Conference! Over 200 sessions focusing exclusively on the Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) and the Mathematics Design Collaborative (MDC) to help teachers in all classrooms engage students in higher-level thinking and assignments.

Brooke Junker



Are there any upcoming conferences ?? I've added some on my website at http://i17.in/keralasslcresults2016/

Jessica Slusser

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. We'll be updating this post soon and will review the conferences you've added!

Serena Ricci

Jessica, this list is very helpful. Thanks !! fI'd like to add Reimagine Education AWARDS & CONFERENCE to that list.
We have currently open the Call for Submission at reimagine-education.com!
eimagine Education is looking for projects that are truly innovative and scalable.
An international panel of 40 distinguished judges will evaluate the best projects and select the winning entries. The overall winner will receive a US$ 50,000 cash prize. The Awards ceremony and gala dinner will take place on December 8 at the Reimagine Education Conference in Philadelphia.

Serena Ricci
[email protected]

Annette Wilson

For those interested in travelling somewhere a little more exotic, the NIS Conferences in Kazakhstan are an excellent bet, http://conferences.nis.edu.kz.

Valerie Chernek

May I add EdNET, the U.S. education industry networking and professional development conference. Executives and teams from companies who market and sell to U.S. schools exchange ideas, discuss market trends and forge new business relationships. http://ednetconference.com/about/ Thanks!


Thanks for one marvelous posting! I enjoyed reading it; you are a great author. I will make sure to bookmark your blog and may come back someday. I want to encourage that you continue your great posts, have a nice weekend!

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