Schoology NEXT: A Theme Park For Educators
As I prepare for what will be my third Schoology NEXT conference, I can’t help but reflect upon the experiences I had during my first two. In fact, I’m overwhelmed with nostalgia when I think about my time with Schoology users and employees in Miami (2016) and San Diego (2018). The larger than life characters, the fairytale lifestyle, the thrill-seeking… wait a minute. Is Schoology NEXT a theme park for teachers?
Larger Than Life Characters
Schoology NEXT conferences are populated with the best and brightest minds in education. Teachers, coaches, and administrators all attend with the same goal in mind: to improve the learning experience for students and better their own practices, using Schoology to “advance what’s possible.” First-year teachers mingle with superintendents, Schoology Ambassadors rub elbows with new users, and even the co-founders of Schoology are there to participate in and share the experience. The #SchoologyNEXT hashtag trends on Twitter, with photos from sessions, networking events, and meals taking over feeds and timelines. Spotting a Schoology-famous Twitter-lebrity from across the room at an event can feel akin to seeing a favorite princess at the ball. The interactions at NEXT, both casual and meaningful, offer an unparalleled networking and PLN expansion opportunity, and attendees have the networking equivalent of character autographs to prove it.
I’m not sure how the NEXT team does it, but each year, the conference experience gets better and better. It seems impossible that learning could take place in the beautiful locales typically chosen for the conferences… but, amazingly, it does! At every turn, you’ll see participants raving about sessions or new knowledge, enthusiastically collaborating and sharing information. Beyond the content of the sessions, the NEXT team thoughtfully plans each event, taking into consideration the needs of its guests. Without exception, the venues are beautiful, the meals are delicious, and the atmosphere can’t be beat. I don’t know about you, but my daily life doesn’t offer me many opportunities to analyze SAMR and OER with a backdrop of palm trees and ocean waves, so when NEXT comes around, I seize the chance to live in the teacher version of a fairytale!
The Thrill [of] Seeking [New Learning]
NEXT is essentially an amusement park for your brain. The ride begins as soon as you pick up your badge and swag at registration, and it doesn’t end until you catch your ride home at the end of four incredible days. Professional development is so often a burden, filled with mandates and requirements beyond our control. NEXT allows you to choose your track and seek the learning you need. With session themes tied to Curricular Framework, Student-Centered Learning, Student Assessment, and more, the options are endless for new and continued learning. You’ll feel dizzy at times and giddy at others, but by the end you’ll be clamoring for just one more go around on the crazy ride we call Schoology NEXT!
If you haven’t yet planned your trip to Schoology NEXT, what are you waiting for? Join us in Boca Raton from July 9-12, 2019. For more information, along with a justification letter, visit our conference site.