Thursday, August 12, 2010

A New Endeavor (#TSETC)

So many exciting things have happened recently as a result of my own learning and growth in educational technology and leadership.  As a result, I have seen my own knowledge increase in these areas, participated in exciting professional development opportunities, presented at both my school and at other events on web 2.0, and begun to collaboratively change the culture of my school.  I have been so inspired and motivated as of late that I guess it was just a matter of time before I would be presented with an opportunity to really share with local educators what I have been experiencing on a global scale.

Forming partnerships are an extremely important aspect of educational leadership.  A few weeks ago Schoology, an educational technology company based in New York City, approached me and wanted to hear my views on technology.  After the conversation we threw around the idea about possibly collaborating in the future.  The end result has translated into an educational technology conference being held at New Milford High School, which is set for 10/2/10.  After throwing around numerous options we decided to call this event the Tri-State Educational Technology Conference (TSETC).  So why is this a big deal? Well, for starters we have a vision to host a free event for any teacher unlike anything they have ever experienced (at least that is our goal).  
It seems like my area in particular is saturated with traditional forms of professional development and that teachers are craving to learn about exciting, innovative practices that effectively integrate technology.   Here is a great example.  The other day I was talking to a friend of mine who teaches in another part of New Jersey.  I was telling him about how excited I was to co-host this conference with Schoology and proceeded to tell him about some of the potential presentations on web 2.0.  He had no idea what I was talking about, but was really eager to learn more.  Our conversation also validated my point made earlier that educators want fresh forms of professional development that are meaningful, multi-faceted, and cost-effective.  This is exactly what we are setting up to accomplish.

The event is still in the early development stages and there will eventually be a website for registration as well as an array of promotional materials.  Overall the objective is simple.  Provide any educator that wants to attend a variety of free learning experiences complete with applicable strategies and ideas that can be used either as a teacher, administrator, or parent.  We also want to make this event look and feel like a real conference, but without the cost!  The following are some strands for workshops and sessions we are currently throwing around: School Improvement, Digital Age Learning Experiences, Professional Growth & Leadership Best Practices, and Technical Support & Infrastructure.  It doesn’t get any better than this!  All I have to do now is keep my fingers crossed that this endeavor is a success and sustainable in the future.  We really hope that this conference becomes a yearly event attracting immense numbers of passionate educators.  I am also excited to announce that Project ABLE, a subsidiary of The Madison Institute, will be helping to sponsor the conference.  Here are some other little tidbits that we plan on including:

Keynote Speaker
Bloggers Café/Networking Lounge
Virtual Learning Lab: Attendees can experience and explore the latest tools in EdTech
Catered Lunch
Bring Your Own Laptop (optional, not required): My school has a wireless infrastructure
Official Twitter hashtag: #TSETC
Live Video Feed: We plan to stream all major sessions on the internet for virtual attendees.

If you are a local educator who would be interested in presenting please let me know.  We are also looking for potential sponsors for the event to join those that have already pledged support and anyone else that has an interest in getting involved.  Please keep your eyes open for future updates and announcements. For more information on the evolution of the TSETC check out this post by Schoology.

In case I didn't mention, TSETC is FREE and will be open to ANY/ALL EDUCATORS!!!!! Mark your calendars now for Saturday October 2, 2010 and join us in New Milford, NJ.


  1. This is very exciting, Eric! Very happy for you and the school communities surrounding New Milford.
    Hoping you will stream some sessions, if possible so other HS admin across the country and the world can tale advantage of this awesome opportunity...Bravo!

  2. This is fantastic. I think this will be the way we get most of our PD in the near future. I'm also excited to be organizing an edcamp event down here in Citrus County, FL on December 5th. EdCamp Citrus will be a gathering of local and regional educators. I look forward to following the hash tag for your event and joining in virtually.

  3. I am certainly looking forward to supporting this very important initiative. A must attend for any educator who is dedicated to providing each of her/his students with innovative, engaging and meaningful learning...see you on October 2nd!

    Visit: and!

  4. Sounds great, and I love your enthusiasm. One thing I would really like to see is remote access to this conference. I live in Japan, but would be very interested in attending virtually.

  5. Elizabeth: I will see what can be done :)

  6. Eric,

    This is an amazing opportunity for your school. I can only imagine the possibilities this will have to really inspire your student body, along with your staff. I think it is essential that we provide more opportunities for free PD such as this as well if we are really interested in furthering education. We do not have the funds to support some of the insanely expensive opportunities that are offered sometimes and need to ensure that we are being fiscally responsible. With opportunities like this, there is no reason why people should not attend.

    Good luck in this endeavour although I know it will be a huge success!

  7. Eric,

    This is a great idea, and one that I am excited is happening in my proverbial backyard. Additionally, the timing of the conference couldn't be better for teachers and administrators: we have moved past the opening days, settled into some routines, but we'll still be clinging to our "new school year resolutions." Hopefully, we can shift some thinking here. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to lend a hand.

  8. Looking at my calendar and thinking about plane tickets!

  9. Eric,
    I just recently discovered your blog and Connected Principals. I have learned so much in such a short time from you and your colleagues. I am starting to build my PLN and am glad to have you all as resources. I'm in Chicago but taught in NY (Rockland) for 7 years! I would love to attend this conference. Thank you for organizing it!
    Jill Maraldo
    Director of 21st Century Skills

  10. I have the same problem with Elizabeth, and hope I can attend it virtually!

  11. Eric,
    I sent you a tweet, but I am definitely interested in presenting and helping out with the event. Please let me know what type of presentations you are looking for and what else I can do to help:)

  12. Wow Eric, this is pretty great. It's so nice to see education moving in a forward direction. You are an inspiration. Looking forward to seeing you again. Let me know if you need any help with these endeavors. I am always happy to pitch in and aid my alma mater.


  13. Hi, Eric. Put me on the mailing list...would love to participate and will share with my colleagues here in Ridgewood NJ and encourage them to attend!

  14. I am a Mercer County math teacher, middle school. I can not wait to go. I am also on my local school board and we aprroved a million dollars for tech. I am going to recommend it to the superintendent. Follow me @tristatemathtutor

  15. Hi Eric,
    I marked my calendar - let me know how I can help!

    Sr. Specialist in Technology Education
    CMSCE, Rutgers University