Education

On-site educational activities are back. But if they host, will you come?

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After an arduous and long-lasting pandemic, the schedule of educational conferences all over the world has piled up, and the event attracted thousands of attendees, which is almost like a relic of a bygone era.

Recently, however, a light at the end of the tunnel suddenly appeared in the field of vision.An educational institution claims that 14 months after lockdowns and seemingly endless uncertainty put the event industry into a virtual dormant state, a group of cautious educational conferences now list face-to-face dates for the rest of the year Event tracker Co-managed by EdSurge.

With a few exceptions, including the higher education giant Educause and the ASU+GSV summit centered on startups and investors, most of them are small professional conferences and are expected to attract up to hundreds of attendees.

The annual summit of the Latin American Association of Administrators and Managers is scheduled to be held in Washington, DC in October. The annual meeting of the Secondary Education Association to be held in Louisville, Kentucky next month. The National Social Research Council held not one but two live events in November and December.

But first there will be DLAC, Digital Learning Annual Conference, Scheduled to be held in Austin, Texas from June 14th to 16th-there is a parallel circuit running online. This is the so-called “hybrid” meeting, which combines on-site and virtual elements, similar to how many schools slowly returned to full-time learning last fall.

“In digital learning, we always talk about the importance of relationships and participation,” said John Watson, founder of the consulting firm Evergreen Education Group, which founded DLAC (pronounced as Dirac) In 2019, making it one of the newer conferences on the track. “In fact, I really feel that we are practicing what we are preaching in this field through mixed conferences.”

There are indeed some caveats in the live events section of DLAC. The maximum number of attendees is 500, which is about half of the attendance at the beginning of 2020. To encourage social distancing, tables and chairs will be generously separated. Standing space during the meeting is strictly prohibited. Popular buffet-style lunches are prohibited.

As for other safety precautions, the organizers rely on the health guidance of the city and state, as well as the requirements of the Hyatt Regency Austin, which will host the event. “We are not going to be more radical than coaching,” Watson said.

Currently, the face-to-face part is almost sold out-although Watson pointed out that before May 1st, attendees may change the way they want to participate. “We have a lot of people lost, a lot of people go in two directions,” he added.

By design, most DLAC meetings are short—only 20 minutes in duration, including discussion time. Some people will have a live host behind the laptop to encourage cross-participation between presenters and online attendees. Others will be conducted completely online, which may cause strange situations where on-site attendees travel long distances to watch meetings that they can see at home.

“When you consider the reasons people are attending meetings, I think there are two general use cases,” Watson said. “One is the person who wants to go because they want everything they want from the meeting, and then there are completely different types of people who go almost exclusively for the Internet.”

Participants don’t have to make such worrying choices at the annual meeting Broadband Alliance for Schools, Health and Libraries The organization’s executive director, John Windhausen, stated that the organization’s executive director, John Windhausen, said that their meeting in Arlington, Virginia-was originally scheduled for October 27 to Held on the 29th-just because there will be no online support staff. Shell bee) Abbreviation.

“We are not a big conference,” he said. (The attendance is usually up to about 350 people-although membership surges during the pandemic and broadband subsidies also increase.) “Our budget does not allow us to have a virtual version. This will greatly increase our costs.”

Given that there are more than five months to go before the meeting, Windhausen does not have a reliable number of attendance. Although many broadband experts on his track have requested confirmation of the date so that they can lock in the fare before the fare rises. Encouragingly, the recent call for proposals resulted in approximately three proposals for each meeting session—an increase from two years ago. However, he added that about half of the attendees usually register a few weeks in advance.

This is a luxury for investors, startup founders and educators who want to attend large conferences ASU + GSV Summit Maybe not.California currently limit For gatherings of 5,000 people, all of them must provide proof of vaccination or have recently tested negative for COVID-19. 3,000 people have already registered for the event, which is scheduled to take place in San Diego from August 9th to 11th, including last year’s carry-over-this is a strong performance considering that the marketing of live events has only recently started in earnest .

Last year, at the height of the pandemic, the ASU+GSV summit was completely virtual and achieved some success. Deborah Quazzo, managing partner of GSV Ventures and co-founder of the summit, said that more than 15,000 people come from 70% of the world. “It’s very cool, and it’s something you can never do physically,” she added. “That being said, we all know that we want to do our best to try to achieve live events in 2021.”

This will mean some compromises. International travelers must present a vaccination certificate to participate, not a negative test. Due to the travel ban, sources from China and India-GSV’s fertile investment locations-may remain virtual. On-site attendees can even watch remote speakers enter the conference, such as the conversation between Pinterest co-founder Ben Silbermann and Marc Brackett of Yale University’s EQ Center.

Safety precautions, including wearing masks and keeping a distance, are still being worked out.

“We haven’t actually decided what kind of rules we want to establish,” Quazzo said. “I have been vaccinated, at least in a closed environment I may continue to wear a mask. I guess many of us will choose this path.”

As in any year, Quazzo said her team put a lot of pressure on herself to get things done. These changes will be obvious, but hopefully they will not distract people from returning to live events after a turbulent year and a half. Other event organizers also expressed this view, and their business model may depend on a certain degree of sunny optimism.

“My hope and expectation is that I will find this great,” Watson said. “It’s great to be back. It’s great to connect with people from all over the country again.”

“Yes, it means we have to eat takeaway instead of buffet lunch. Yes, it means I can’t attend that meeting because there is no standing space—and so on. It will only slightly match your expectations for the pre-COVID meeting different.”

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