How to Evaluate if Education Conference Attendance is Paying Off for Your Edtech Company
Most people agree that if you are new to the industry, education conferences are the best way to get lots of good information in a short time. But, for those who have been attending these events for years, there are some reasons to feel that they might not be worth attending. Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether attending an edtech conference is worth it for your company.
Does the conference offer meaningful network opportunities?
Edtech professionals rely on colleagues at peer institutions to advance their work. They don’t work in isolation. A lot of edtech conferences have too many scheduled sessions and not enough time for meaningful discussions.
These type of opportunities are being provided by virtual conferences. For instance, VirtuallyConnecting connects onsite conference presenters and attendees. The volunteer organization uses emerging technologies to connect onsite conference presenters with virtual participants in small groups. It’s even possible for virtual conference attendees to meet and talk with conference presenters.
Does the conference resonate with the aim of the edtech industry?
The great irony of Edtech conferences is that while speaker upon speaker talks about active learning and how lecturing to an audience is not the best way to share new knowledge and skills, that is exactly the format of current edtech conferences. These events still mainly rely on conference lectures and PowerPoint presentations, which represent passive listening, not active learning. Will your company benefit from that?
Does the conference provide enough opportunity to be productive or is it just talking?
Edtech professionals want less talk and more action. They want events that are productive, where participants are encouraged to use session time to create, build, hack, and solve problems. Events like THATCamps fulfill this need. THATCamp stands for “The Humanities and Technology Camp.” It is an unconference: an open, inexpensive meeting where humanists and technologists of all skill levels learn and build together in sessions proposed on the spot.
Will all stakeholders be present at the conference?
Edtech companies build for teachers, faculty and students, but these are the people who are notoriously missing at edtech conferences. Faculty and students are often the subjects of edtech conference discussions, but they seldom participate in those discussions to give input into the solutions that are being built for them. Consider whether you want to attend an event that excludes important stakeholders.
Is it worth the cost?
Attending a two-day edtech conference is expensive. There are the registration, transport and accommodation costs and that’s not all. While you’re away there is the cost of loss of productivity. Time away at an edtech event is time away from work. Consider whether you can justify the cost and time away. Will you be able to prove return on investment? Conference attendance should help companies to improve and adapt to the needs of the market. Is attending a conference indispensable to achieving that aim?
When deciding to attend an edtech conference or not, you might consider these questions. If the answers are mostly “no”, then attending it might not pay off for your edtech company.