Every summer, Corwin holds a dynamic conference that showcases world-renowned educational thought leaders and the latest research in K-12 education: The Annual Visible Learning Conference. This year’s event took place from July 9th through the 10th at the Sheraton Grand Chicago Hotel in Chicago, IL. The conference was particularly significant as it followed closely after Corwin’s April global acquisition of Visible Learningplus, the model of school change based on John Hattie’s significant research base.
Planning a conference for 1,800 attendees is no small feat. It takes months of strategizing, diving into the details, blood, sweat, and fortunately, no tears. Leading the charge of the Annual Visible Learning Conference was Katie Hann, Senior Events Manager for Corwin. When asking Katie how this conference was different from the previous years, she said, “AVL 2018 was beyond everything I dreamed it could be. Watching all of our innovative ideas come to life and how we came together as an organization to truly impact educators was a true career achievement for me. The institute team has really upped the ante this year with the on-site badge printing, the event app, opening student performance, and all the digital branding. This, by far, set us apart from previous AVL Conferences.”
If you were fortunate enough to attend the conference, here is a stroll down memory lane. If not, here are a few highlights of what happened in Chicago:
Hearing from Student Voices
It is safe to say that educators have one major goal: to make an impact on student learning and achievement. At Corwin we live by that mission by helping all educators realize their greatest impact through sustained professional development. Because of our mutual mission, we thought what better way to start the conference than with voices of students who have already experienced an impact.
We kicked-off the conference with a profound musical and spoken-word performance from Benjie Howard and Wade Antonio Colwell, co-founders of Youth Equity Stewardship (YES), and a few students from DuPage 88. The students’ performances of “My One Beat” are self-composed poems that describe the hardships they face in their daily lives and accepting the differences that make them unique. These students participated in the YES program and educators were able to see first-hand how the program has empowered these students to be change agents in their community and embrace their vulnerabilities as strengths. What is even more inspiring is that the skills the students of DuPage 88 have developed will help them deepen their relationships across differences and nurture their creative expression for the rest of their lives.
Connecting with Keynote Speakers
It is a rare opportunity to gather the greatest minds in education in one location. Fortunately, we were able to do that that in Chicago! Bestselling authors and award-winning consultants were our keynote speakers at AVL.
Attendees had the opportunity to hear and learn from John Hattie, Marcia Tate, James Nottingham, Zaretta Hammond, Douglas Fisher, and Nancy Frey. The keynotes were informative yet thoroughly engaging, with activities during the presentations. Not only did attendees hear the latest about the Visible Learning research and best practices in engaging students, but they were able to collaborate with their colleagues.
One of the main objectives when planning a conference is to create an environment for our attendees to share their thoughts and ideas with their peers. Providing educators with the opportunity to discuss their experiences in their schools and districts provides an additional value that we cannot measure. After keynotes, attendees were able to meet their educational heroes during their book signing at the Corwin bookstore. A few educators where even able to attend lunch and learn sessions with John Hattie and James Nottingham where they could ask the questions they have always wanted to ask.
Trending on Twitter
What happens when you start a discussion online with 1,800 of your closest educator friends? You trend #2 on Twitter! Our hashtag #AVL2018 was tweeted out 4,981 times during our conference with over 7.8 million impressions. By 7:02 AM on Monday, July 9th, we were trending #2 on Twitter, right behind #motivationmoday. Our audience was phenomenal in carrying the conversation in the social media universe. Our social media wall featured a-ha moments from breakout sessions, keynote speaker sightings, and Chicago landmarks.
Counting Crows in Chicago
The conference was definitely designed to provide the most learning opportunities packed in two days. However, we did want to add a little fun in between the sessions. We created a scavenger hunt activity that lived in our Corwin events app. Attendees competed by uploading photos for a chance to win amazing prizes such as free books, a consulting day, and a free seat to the 2019 Annual Visible Learning Conference. Attendees had to complete a set of various challenges such as finding Corwin Ravens throughout the venue, taking selfies with their favorite presenters, and we even had our attendees venture out of the hotel to explore Chicago! They took pictures of landmarks such as Cloud Gate or Wrigley Field and snapped photos of themselves trying the local cuisine such as Chicago’s famous deep dish pizza. The scavenger hunt was a great way to meet other colleagues, interact with Corwin Staff, and see Chicago.
If you weren’t able to attend the Annual Visible Learning Conference this year, don’t worry! We are already in the planning stages for AVL 2019 in Las Vegas. You can register now to reserve your seat at www.corwin.com/avl2019. See you next year in Las Vegas!