2014 Winter Conference Recap!

On January 25th, The Art of Education was proud to host the second ever AOE Online Conference, just for art teachers! We had over 1,300 register to attend, and 900+ join us for the live event.

Maybe you attended, followed the hashtag #aoeconference on Twitter, or saw your favorite bloggers posting about the conference. Today we want to recap the event for you!



Our Reflections on the Day

“Hosting this event for the second time reaffirmed my faith that art teachers need new and innovative ways to receive their PD. I used to be that young mom who couldn’t travel across the country. I WAS that young college student who couldn’t afford a night in a hotel room! Now, after helping to build something the helps to solve these problems, hearing your stories about how the conference worked with your family, your budget, and your schedule AND you learned a ton in the process… well, all I can say… is my heart is skipping!”

– Jessica Balsley, Founder


“Yesterday left me truly honored to be part of the art ed family, and anxious to provide even more relevant, more innovative, and more valuable PD opportunities for art teachers going forward! The conference wasn’t perfect -there were some tech issues… but as a whole the presentations, handouts, tips/tricks, freebies, and giveaways we were able to assemble really blew me away! I wish there were events like this for all professions. Thanks to everyone who attended!

– Derek Balsley, Founder


Information Overload!

But again, my favorite part is all the new information that was shared in such a short amount of time. Thank you to the amazing presenters who took risks, gave so generously, and thought about ALL aspects of art education by bringing you the hottest topics around (from the best people for the job!)

Here are some favorite quotes of the day, taken directly from the presentations:


It was also great to see several male leaders in art education rocking it. In fact, the dudes really stole the show! From Mr. E’s amazing bulletin boards to Ian Sands and Andrew McCormick’s choice based – it’s ok to fail attitude – there was a little something for everyone!


Stories from Attendees

Stories from attendees on what their conference day looked like:

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  • One art teacher shoveled her driveway during our 10 minute break: multitasking at it’s best!
  • Heidi was folding laundry, and caring for her sweet baby, who was even snoozing during the presentations!
  • When it was ‘lunch time’ teachers posted photos of their re-heated pizza and shared their meals via text chat with the rest of us so we could ‘have lunch’ together.
  • The power went out for Helen in Ethiopia, so she enjoyed the conference by candlelight on her charged laptop!
  • One art teacher received a gift card from her husband to attend the conference because she hadn’t been able to attend anything for 3 years!
  • Sherrill used her smartphone and a hot spot to ‘attend’ the conference while driving across the state!


What Attendees Are Saying…

“I hope this is the wave of the future. Art educators are so fortunate to have opportunities like this to learn and share globally, without having to leave their home. Worth every penny!”
“Excellent content, amazing ideas, handouts for everyone, and swag from art vendors…all from the comfort of my home! No more standing line for a workshop only to be turned away because it is full…I LOVED the AOE Online Conference!”
“This conference surpasses my expectations. I got more from attending than I have when going to 4 day conferences out of town! Having the live chat at the same time made it a very real interactive experience.”
“I love that with the aoe online conference, I am able to attend EVERY presentation, and get handouts from every presenter. This is just not possible at any of the state conferences I have attended. Furthermore, with budgets so tight, the art department is low priority. The aoe conference is so affordable, I was able to send myself! : )”
“The AOE conference reminded me why I love my job and how blessed I am to teach art as a career. Hearing/seeing the passion others have for this profession inspires me to bring it to my art studio. Can’t wait to share all I learned! Thanks!!!”
“This was inspiring. As a first year art teacher I got so many great ideas and tips to make my classroom run better. It is so encouraging to see how many of us there are out there!”
“This conference is worth it! It’s affordable, relevant, and I learned some great tips that I can use in my art room. I don’t have to figure out how to adapt this for my art class room because it’s designed for the art classroom.”
“I did not find any presentation boring, irrelevant to current teaching or difficult to follow. It’s was a great day…time well spent. I would recommend this to any of my art colleagues.”
“Tons of great information and a wonderful way to connect with art teachers from all over the world! I live in a rural farming community, things like this make me feel a little less isolated.”
“Most relevant and easy to access professional development I’ve ever experienced. I was able to wash my dishes, eat lunch, and stay in my sweatpants while the AOE conference validated my wonderful but exhausting job, taught me new techniques and strategies for teaching, and clarified educational buzz ideas that I’ve never understood before! Thank you Jessica and the AOE team!”


What Attendees Would Change

“The feed could have been better. It was easier to just watch the recorded presentations then worry about seeing them with over 1200 people.”
“More discussion of art-on-a-cart situations.”
“Wish I could read the chat easier… That is minor… But all I could think of.”
“Video streaming wasn’t perfect, I know the kinks will get worked out. Thank you for all of the time and energy that you have put into this new enterprise.”
“A few more breaks…I didn’t want to miss anything but had to move around every now and then. Also, more examples of how to do effective peer critiques.”
“Chat was distracting – too much unrelated conversation.”



The first 1,000 attendees received a swag box mailed right to their doorstep with fabulous hand picked items from some of the best companies in art education! Everyone received a digital swag package with discounts, freebies and coupon codes to use as well!

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Social Media

Here’s a sampling:

Blog Posts About the Conference

We’ll add more blog posts here as we find them!

The Art of Education Winter Online Conference Recap by Michele Gorham

I just wrapped up the Art of Education Winter Online Conference and I am going to breakdown some of the best things I got from the day!


AOE Conference Twitter Moments You Missed by Mrs. ATHG

Some of you joined us at the cool kids table on Twitter to share your experience. For those of you who didn’t make it, here are some moments you missed.


Why an Online Art Ed Conference is Awesome by Heidi O’Hanley

Free stuff you don’t have to pack away in your suitcase.  Instead, AOE mailed “swag boxes” with free supplies for registered attendees, plus we had access to free digital handouts, apps, and e-books!  I didn’t have to figure out how much my suitcase weighed when packing up to go home!

That’s about it!

Overall, I hope everyone agrees the AOE Online Conference was a huge success! Together, with you’re help, we’re excited to keep improving the availability of relevant PD for art teachers! Whether you attended the conference or not, thanks for being a loyal AOE reader/follower/customer – we can’t wait to see what’s around the next corner!

Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is the Founder and President at AOE. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.


  • Amanda Novak

    HAHAHA I love how all the pictures posted of people attending the conference – we were all on Apple Laptops! Suppose we couldn’t get Apple in on the swag huh?

    But more to the point – the day was nothing short of AMAZING!

    • Michele Gorham

      I couldn’t get the conference to work on my laptop-had to use my husband’s Apple! Weird?

  • Lisa

    LOVED the online conference! A co-worker and I joined forces (and attendance fee) and watched it together!
    One question, related to the swag boxes, and maybe this was answered at some point and I missed it. I LOVE the sketchbook we got in the box. It seems like the perfect answer to my problem of inconsistent sketchbooks in the art room. Curious to know which ordering option to choose and which was the one we received? Beginning? Intermediate? The paper in the one we got is perfect for my elementary students and don’t want anything of lesser quality.

  • Elizabeth Oh

    This was by far the very best event for all art teachers hands down!
    The enthusiasm generated by the presenters & follow art teachers at the conference was music & poetry : ) I cannot thank Jessica and Derek and everyone who put this together enough. Oh! And the SWAG boxes were fantastic!!!! You guys are the bomb!

  • Paula Oddo

    I was looking for a list of winners of the door prizes. I’m sure my name isn’t on it but it would be fun to see who won what.

  • Sean

    Another amazing job by everyone involved – I’ve passed this conference on to art ed students I know and my current student teacher

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  • I payed for the Winter conference and watched the videos afterward. I know I got a certificate with the hours of PD I earned for the conference. I can’t seem to find it, though. Is there a way to find it again so I can print it out for work?