education · technology


A good retreat is better than a bad stand” ~Irish Saying


For a day and a half in the middle of May, #CAISCT edtechs, from Information Techs to Tech Integrators to Academic Tech Coordinators, escape to the hills of CT.  The annual Academic Technology Retreat is the oasis away to learn, share, and grow to benefit the staff and students back in our buildings.

This “unconference” is homegrown PD for all areas of academic technology.  Sessions are created on the fly and ledimages by attendees to discuss and learn together, with the ability to move between sessions, as needed, to fit ones needs. It begins with an engaging keynote, this year Dirk DeLo from @AvenuesEd  talked about the use of technology within and to enhance curriculum.  This was followed by the “Smackdown” where for 10 minutes attendees brainstorm apps and websites to share for personal and professional usage.  The rest of the time is spent in awesome real time dialogue with people open to question, share, and demonstrate for all areas of academic tech.


This is authentic Professional Development (PD).  It is need based, it is real life discussions, and it brings together people, from a variety of schools and levels, together to build together to benefit staff and students.  To be able talk with others who understand my job ups and downs, and speak the same language, where others might think its all “Geek Greek” makes this such an awesome couple days.

It is a fabulous way to end the year, to address those woes and go into the nearing summer with great ideas and a renewed vision to work on so that the next year might be a bit smoother.  Also, with the fast pace growth and changes related to educational technology, what a better way to learn than by collaborating with colleagues who are also in the trenches.

What a smart group of people who decided to plan such PD at the end of the year, when we are all overwhelmed and burning out, to be able to get away to a beautiful location, do some authentic learning, and have many laughs.  If you are a CAIS educational technology professional, you need to put this retreat on your radar.  You have so much to gain in knowledge and relationships from this fabulous form of professional development.  21teacher4

Thank you to the CAIS Commission on Technology for planning another fabulous opportunity for educators to have authentic professional development.









2 thoughts on “Retreat!!

  1. I haven’t attended in several years, but certainly the “unconference” model is a vast improvement over the traditional fixed agenda conference where attendees essentially listen to presentations, and perhaps have a few minutes for questions at the end. I think the CAIS Retreat and conferences with similar formats will dominate the interactive and collaborative components of PD in the short-term. I am hoping that we will also turn our attention to personal models of PD as well because they can occur all the time and on demand, whereas even an “unconference” has to be planned to ensure there is a synchronous moment, either F2F or online. Let’s start to look more closely at Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) so we can all stay educated on a daily basis. There are strategies for doing so, and perhaps they can be introduced during some workshops next year.

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