2013 AOE Online Conference Recap: The Inside Scoop

On the 25th of June AOE was tremendously proud to host the first ever AOE Online Conference with over 700 art teachers from around the world in attendance. Perhaps you heard the buzz, maybe you were an attendee, or perhaps you couldn’t attend. An online conference? you may have asked asked. What is that all about? What does an online conference really look like? How did it all go?

Well, after finally ‘coming up for air’ from the big event, I wanted to provide you with a little recap of how it all went down, what it was like, and what people are saying about the conference. So, here we go!


The Idea.

Any time a large event occurs, the details can get in the way of remembering the original intent for the event. View the video below to see WHY this all started.

Registration for the event was well over what we expected. In fact, we had to upgrade our software plan several times to keep accommodating the numbers. Who knew! By the time it was all said and done, we had over 700 people – art teachers from all over the world – in attendance. To those of you who made it, thanks for taking a chance on us for this first event. I even got to participate in a fun interview with NPR out of LA about the event.


The Big Day. 

On the day of the conference, we opened up the Online Conference Portal around 9:30 am. People started to join instantly. 10…50…75… Art teachers were quickly uniting from all around the country and world. Someone from Japan logged on and said “Hello – it’s midnight here!” This was fun to see.

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Here are some anecdotes from the ‘crowd’ as they waited for the conference to start.

Matthew Martinez from Fort Stockton: I lower my head to have some breakfast and we have increased by 50! Wowsers!

Stephanie Gullifer from Minneapolis: in my workout gear, sitting on my porch, ready to learn!

Tricia Fuglestad from Arlington Heights: So great to have so many art teachers in one “place” 

Each presentation was a concise and energy-filled 10 minutes, and everyone attending was able to view ALL of the presentations. This fit in with my “TED Talks” vision of short bursts of information from experts in the field – The presenters were AMAZING. The content was practical and everyone was so down to earth; our presenters were truly committed to sharing and elevating our profession, I can’t thank them enough. Here is Ian Sands, AOE Team Member, as he started his presentation to kick of the conference.

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One nice feature of the conference was that teachers could ask questions directly of the presenters. The chat feed was full of great comments, questions, and other interactions for the entire day! My job was ‘host’ of the conference which meant I was introducing each ‘act’ and conducting awesome giveaways and swag announcements, as well as interactive polls and questions for discussion.

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Oh, did I mention the goodies that were dolled out? Everyone at the conference was able to get $50 off their next AOE Class, a 20% discount from Blick Art Materials and Artsonia even gave one lucky attendee an iPad! This is just to name a few of the swag items from the day.


The Feedback.

So, what are people saying about the conference? The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Here are a few quotes from the survey we sent out:

“There were SO many options that informed and equipped me for this coming year! The emphasis on data-based assessment that feeds advocacy was my favorite part. I feel empowered to lead my fellow teachers and especially my students in higher more effective learning.”

“I loved seeing all of the art education blog super stars all day long! You really did get a lot of the art blog royalty!”

“Having speakers who were using their techniques in real life. Also they had a plan as to how you could approach their idea in baby steps.”

“The short sessions! I hate sitting in a conference where the information is soooo redundant! Sessions were short and to the point and that worked well for me.”

“I loved how I could view it from the comfort of my home. The cost was extremely affordable and worth every penny! The presentations were fantastic and for lack of any other terms, RIDICULOUSLY RELEVANT! I have so much to do now. I want to see these presentations over and over again! I love that I can do that.”

One attendee, Amanda, (view her blog here) shared her perspective of the conference in the photo below. Her cat enjoyed it, too. ;)

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Definitely check out what other bloggers, and even of our presenters, had to say about the conference:










Here is what some of our fans on Facebook said about the conference:

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One of our favorite Blogs, Art Teachers Hate Glitter weighed in with her thoughts on Twitter, too, which summed up the day nicely.

What other conference allows you to eat nachos, fold laundry, catch up on Fringe and shop online for your upcoming vacation all from the comfort of your own couch cushion floor bed? None other than the Art of Education 2013 Online Conference, woo-woo!#yousayADDIsaymultitasking #aoeconf2013 The Art of Education


What did conference attendees get out of the conference? A lot! Here’s a shot of Instagram user “tootleootle’s” notes from the big day!



Looking Ahead.

All in all, the biggest question we’ve been asked is: “When is the next one!?”

To answer your question (and in response to many requests) – we’re proud to announce that we’re definitely planning on doing this again – sooner rather than later! Why? Because online events like this clearly fill an important PD gap for art teachers. It was a true honor to be able to provide art teachers with such an incredibly valuable PD opportunity, and we can’t wait to do it again – so stay tuned.

Thanks for your support, everyone! Keeping it new, fresh and innovative… signing off for now!


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.