Conferences in a Pandemic

I think about conferences a lot. Anyone who has been a conference chair has a heightened level of appreciation for them. Conferences are yet another thing to add to COVID-19’s current list of casualties. Or are they? Educators are masters at thinking outside the box for new ways to make things happen.

North Carolina Technology in Education Society

Every March, many North Carolina school librarians look forward to the NCTIES conference. With the pandemic looming, the organizers switched to an online platform instead of cancelling. The theme for NCTIES was 2020 Vision, and they used the SCHED app as an event scheduler. As a result of using SCHED, sign up was really easy. I downloaded the app, registered as a user, and then found the conference. Besides completing my registration for the two-day conference, it also gave me access to the session schedule. I could pick and chose what sessions I wanted to attend and build a personal agenda.

The presenters were NC school librarians and many other education professionals. Topics included:

  • HyperDocs for Engagement
  • Having Fun with Bitmoji
  • No Login Necessary–Six Creation Tools That Are a Cinch!
  • Promoting SEL through Digital Storytelling
  • Using Nearpod as an Online Learning Platform
  • Student Created Comics Using Google Slides
  • Getting Fancy with Google Forms
  • eBooks for Remote Learning
  • Hacking Your Way Through Google
  • Using Virtual Meetings in PreK-2

We even got the cool badge to the right to use on our social media accounts.

Here’s a video that describes the process from the event’s co-facilitators Adam Wiseman and Stacey Lovdahl:

The experience was amazing, and despite being online, the conference had a very similar feel to the regular NCTIES conference. Through SCHED, I still got to digitally see and talk with librarian friends from across the state.

Below, you’ll see one of my efforts at using a Bitmoji for a sign for my website. In addition, I learned some great tips for using Google forms for reteaching and remediation. Without a doubt, student-created comics using Google Slides is the thing I’m looking most forward to trying.

This conference was so successful, that it looks like another one is in the works for late May! It will be interesting to see what changes they incorporate since the last one.


Author: Bitsy Griffin

Bitsy Griffin is the school librarian for Chatham Grove ES in Chapel Hill NC. She has 25+ years experience in elementary, middle, and high schools as a math teacher and librarian. She is active in AASL and the North Carolina School Library Media Association. Find her blog at .

Categories: Blog Topics, Professional Development, Technology

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3 replies

  1. I wish all conference pesenters would use the SCHED to post handouts for their sessions. the SCHED does not get its bang for the buck when presenters do not post their handouts. why so secretive?

  2. Is the session from the NCLearns Together Conference on “Promoting SEL through Digital Storytelling” available as a recording? I have checked the website and only see the “live” links which are obviously already passed. I would love to see how other states schools (I’m in Montana) and school libraries are utilizing digital tools for SEL curriculum.
    I also appreciated your perspective on the importance of conferences, especially in the current digital environment.

  3. Hey Robert!

    I don’t think it’s a secret in most cases, but rather a matter of time. I know sometimes, I’ve been prepping a workshop up until the last minute and then I just forget!


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