Professional Learning

AOE Winter 2015 Online Conference Recap


Another conference is in the books! On Saturday, January 31st, the live event of the AOE 2015 Online Conference took place, with 1650+ art teachers registered! It was an honor to work with so many talented and innovative presenters and companies to put together this one-of-a-kind event for art teachers!

If you attended, or if you missed it, you can catch up on some of highlights in this recap.



This is how WE Conference!

Online conferences are different. They may not look or feel the same as traditional conferences, but I guarantee the participants of the AOE Winter Online Conference had a great time, felt connected, AND learned a TON of new information to take back to their art rooms. We are calling this a Mid-Winter refresh – and it was oh-so-needed!

So, if you think you know what the word “conference” means… Let’s turn that upside down and see how attendees of the winter conference enjoyed their professional development!

Creative and modern art teachers: this is how WE conference!

This is How we Conference
Photo credits: Jen G, Megan F, Megan J, Natalie H, Theresa G. via Facebook

We conference with our babies,

with our colleagues,

while eating gourmet meals,

with our pets,

in our PJ’s,

and while cleaning our art rooms,

We hang out at school on a Saturday by choice!

and we do it from every corner of the world!

Yes, this is how WE conference! Art teachers unite!

.  .

Here’s What 1650+ Attendees Had to Say…

Prior to this conference, I was one of those art teachers wondering….”I wonder what I could do job-wise instead of teaching art.”  Thanks again for a great conference – it has helped motivate me and encourage me in my role as an art teacher! – Maria  

This was my first year attending and I was very impressed with the content of the presentations. I think AOE did a great job of covering all aspects of teaching art. It was great hearing about what other teachers have been successful at in their own practice and how they have adapted some of their teaching practices and lessons to be able to accommodate more of their students. I am definitely looking forward to next year! -Samantha

I enjoy the conference because it was all about the art. I will implement some of the ideas and use some of the coupons. I get so caught up in my world I forget to look up and see what is going on. Thank you, thank you! -Nancy 

Last summer’s was great but this was really phenomenal. I had to leave half way through and am so appreciative of the After Pass. I’m going to make SURE to have no conflicts next time! -Barbara

Another wonderful conference!!! It’s getting better each time. Thank you for all of your hard work. I am excited and motivated for the rest of the school year!!! -Kelly S.

Thank you to all the presenters and Jessica. I learned so very much and will look forward to revisiting the presentations and the after Pass. -Diane on Maui

Thank you – and this is just the time of year I need this type of collaboration and refreshment!! – Sarah M.

Even as a veteran art teacher, I still learn something new with every conference! Thank you, AOE!  -Kathy O.


Presenter Awards : Winter 2015

If you attended, you know the presenters were amazing! Each presenter brought his or her own ideas, energy, talent, and refreshing perspective to the table; they poured their heart and souls into these presentations. So, let’s give them even more love! Today I would like to announce the official presenter awards.

The winners in each category are…

People’s Choice Awards – Awarded to the top 5 presentations as determined by attendee feedback in the post-conference survey.

  • “Essential Clay Tools to Make and Buy” by John Post
  • “Monster Mediums” by Nic Hahn
  • “Warning: You May Become Addicted to Weaving After Watching this Presentation!” by Cassie Stephens
  • “Insanely Successful School-Wide Collaborations” by Nic Hahn and Don Masse
  • “20 Visuals in 10 Minutes” by Alecia Eggers
Top 5 Votes
The people have spoken! The conference has a little something for everyone, but these 5 presentations were the overall attendee favorites! Congrats!


Buzzworthy Award – Awarded to the presentation that sparked the most controversy, intrigue, and conversation.

“You Made a Print with What!? Pushing Printmaking to the Next Level” by Tim Bogatz 

Bogatz Afterpass Bonus
We received a TON of questions about this presentation. The advanced techniques really got people talking and thinking about how they could transfer this to other age groups. Safety concerns were discussed, and alternatives brainstormed. This really did ‘push’ us to think differently!


Performer Award – Awarded to one or more presenters who exhibited great energy, presence, and passion throughout the presentation.

“Flipping out for a Flipped Classroom” by Johanna Russell 

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 9.17.57 AM
We had so many notes thanking Johanna for her energy, enthusiasm and passion! It certainly showed, and many teachers said it was the mid winter boost they needed to improve their classrooms!


Production Award – Awarded to the presentation that had clear audio, good lighting and overall appealing backdrop

“10 Strategies for ESL Students” by Shelly Hardin 

Shelly so elegantly and fluidly took us though her classroom, covered a lot of great and we heard it all!
Shelly so elegantly and fluidly took us though her classroom, made us smile, covered a lot of great ideas, and we heard and saw it all with ease!


Comic Relief Award – Awarded to the presentation that provided a witty and humorous take on their topic: got the crowd laughing

“Insanely Successful School Wide Projects” By Nic Hahn and Don Masse

In addition to a humorous take on the weather differences between the Midwest and San Diego, the ‘Outakes’ that were posted on Nic’s Blog, Mini Matisse had us all cracking up!


Takeaway Award – Awarded to the presentation that provided well produced handouts and extras for attendees to use long after the conference has ended.

“Flipping out for a Flipped Classroom” by Johanna Russell 

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 9.17.57 AM
With over an hour of bonus video “extras” and sample packets to download – we thank Johanna for giving art teachers a complete guide to flipping their art rooms and for going the extra mile.


Information Guru Award – Awarded to one or more presenters who went deeper into a topic with rigor and plenty of research-based information(along with practical takeaways).

“Effortlessly Track Student growth with the “ARTifacts Method” by Tracy Hare

Tracy Hare
In 10 Minutes, Tracy incorporated the following influences in her one page “ARTifacts Assessment” piece: Marzano, Student Growth, PLC’s, Student Self Reflection, TAB, 21st Century Skills, National Core Art Standards. This hits it all!


Peer Choice Award – Awarded to one presenter, as voted by your fellow presenter colleagues, as an outstanding contribution to the conference and the field of art education.

“Essential Clay Tools to Make and Buy” by John Post

We could hardly keep up with the volume of questions coming in from John's innovative presentation. So many teachers have questions about Clay. You really got the conversation going!
Your fellow presenters have spoken! They voted John Post as their favorite for his wealth of information and the clear demonstrations he shared in a short period of time! Bonus Afterpass video is a plus!


SWAG Anyone?

I think it’s safe to say this conference had the most wonderful DISCOUNTS provided to attendees. The first 1000 registrants received a SWAG Box in the mail, but EVERYONE received a laundry list of hefty discounts and prizes from our partners! Thank you to all of the wonderful companies in Art Education who work hard to make products and resources that help us inspire students on a daily basis!


Here is what participants are saying about their Swag –

The Educational Sketchbook Program: Sample Sketchbook was my favorite! Thank you so mush for the sketchbook! It is going to be my “source” book- For all my inspirations and ideas from the conference! Thank you- Great quality! -Kathleen

I just started using Art to Remember this year. I loved receiving an example product to share with students and parents that has a fun Art of Ed logo on it that I can be proud to carry around to staff meetings! Thanks! -Camielee

Thank you Blick art materials for providing all the materials to experiment and complete an art project sample. I can not wait to use this technique with my students. -Stormy

Crystal Art Products-thank you for the poster. You make the best Art room visuals! I have many of them in my K-5 classroom and there are many more I want to purchase. They are great for any age level! -Mary


That’s a Wrap!

From all of us on the AOE Team, our technology crew and customer support team who worked behind the scenes for months to prepare for this event, the presenters, and all of the partners who helped make this conference possible – thank you! Who ever thought 10 years ago we would be learning this way? It’s so motivating to know we have more options when it comes to our PD. Excited to be one small part of this powerful movement. See you at the next one!

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is AOEU’s Founder and a former AOEU Writer and elementary art educator. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.

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