Goodbye, conferences as we know them — Hello, authentic PD | Joel Backon | 5 Min Read

October 19, 2021

My most recent memory of a traditional onsite education conference was Spring 2019. It was similar to so many of the conferences I had attended over the past 25 years. Let’s review the typical scenario:

  • Location, location, location — Big conferences aren’t held in Gary, IN (famous for The Music Man) when they could be in Hawaii, Orlando, Austin, New Orleans, Charleston, or San Diego (on an aircraft carrier, no less).
  • Variety and volume — Both the theme and the program provide something for everyone and the program is so packed with sessions that it can take a half-day to decide which to attend.
  • Vendors, vendors, vendors — There is an exhibit hall with hundreds of vendors sharing their products and services for one-stop shopping. You can even get a seated massage. The vendors also finance large parties/gatherings during the evenings (costs are passed on to you in the form of higher prices).
  • Inspirational and worldly keynotes — Speakers of national and international fame provide inspiration to your large audience. It’s a great energy boost to prepare for what is to come, but like most energy supplements, they wear off quickly. It’s cheaper to eat…
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Joel Backon

Joel Backon has been the Editor of Intrepid Ed News since its inception in January 2021, responsible for all educator content on the website. He joined the OESIS Network, owner of Intrepid, in 2019 as Vice President. Joel spent much of his career at Choate Rosemary Hall (CT) where for 27 years he held founding roles in Information and Academic Technology, as well as being a classroom teacher, curriculum designer, coach, dorm head, and student adviser. Prior to Choate, Joel spent 15 years in the printing and publishing industry educating printers on how to maximize their strengths and minimize weaknesses. He has crusaded to achieve consensus on the question of why we educate kids in an effort to meet the learning needs of every student.