Organising a Tech Conference – 2. Getting the boss to say ‘Yes’
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I’ve wanted to organise a large scale event for teachers for many years, but the conditions were never quite right. That is until I joined Bavarian International School. In this post I share 7 benefits of organising a conference at your school.
I joined Bavarian International School (BIS) in August 2013 and very quickly realised the huge potential that the school has. The IT facilities are amazing, the campus is beautiful and well-appointed and the technical team is second to none.
The idea of organising a tech conference at BIS was born in a car, on the way back after a great weekend of learning and getting to know one another in Prague, at the European Google Apps for Education summit in October 2013. We all agreed that BIS had all of the ingredients to organise a great tech conference.
It was clear after that weekend that we all shared the same views on educational technology, and teaching in general. It was obvious that we are all passionate teachers who do not count the hours if we strongly believe a project will make a positive change to students and teachers. We had a team. The spark was well and truly lit!
Getting the boss to say ‘Yes!’
Organising a conference is extremely time consuming and carries a financial risk, in case break-even numbers are not reached. That’s enough to scare away most school administrators (or any boss for that matter). The key is to get management to realise return-on-investment is real, and involves more than just turning a financial profit.
Here are the benefits we outlined to management when we first introduced the idea of organising a conference:
- Great professional development opportunity for our staff
- Opportunity for our staff to extend their professional network
- Cost-effective and scalable professional development
- International exposure for the school
- Increase profile of school in the immediate region
- Help with recruitment
- Tidy financial profit
We first introduced the idea to management in late 2013 and after a long deliberation, the idea of organising a conference at BIS was rejected by the panel. However, we did manage to secure a whole school professional development day in early May 2014, which we turned into an internal edtech conference. The day was highly successful, with over 40 of our teachers presenting in stranded sessions. Feedback was positive and it comforted our belief that BIS is a great place to organise a large conference.
August 2014 saw the arrival of new school management, who would clearly be open to organising a conference at BIS. We knew at that time that we would have to wait at least until 2016 to organise a conference, as 2015 would be the ECIS ICT subject conference, which had already been awarded to another school in Europe.
In October 2014, the opportunity to host the ECIS ICT subject conference became available again. We jumped at the occasion, and management agreed. 6 months to organise an international tech conference? Challenge accepted!
In the next post, I will explore how we performed our feasibility study, before fully committing to the project.