Professional Learning

AOE Summer 2015 Online Conference Recap

Another conference is in the books! On Thursday, July 16th, the live event of the AOE 2015 Online Conference took place, with nearly ~2,000 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.


Jessica Conference


Location is Irrelevant – Inspiration is High

The great thing about an online conference is your location is irrelevant! If you have a busy day, a child to care for, or happen to be on vacation, you can still squeeze in some PD. Many teachers told us this is SUCH a fun way to learn and interact without leaving home.
Here are some of the interesting locations of the attendees and the photos to prove it!

  • PD by the pool. What could be better?! -Rachel
  • Just got off the lake, watching and chatting in my sweats! Love it! -Molly
  • 5am in Hawaii…Coffee, sleepy puppies, a million pens and Prof Dev in my PJ’s. Yes please! -Jennifer
  • It’s about 7pm and this is my first AOE conference from Germany. -Jacquelyn
  • Enjoying a ridiculously relevant conference while sitting on my back porch! -Kari
  • Watching lakeside in Maine! -Elke
  • My kids connected my laptop to a TV screen, so I’m comfortably laying on my bed and enjoying the wonderful presentations from Costa Rica. – Patricia
  • 36° C degree outside, I’m waiting with an Italian coffee! -Miriam Paternoster


Conference Companions at their Best

Online conference attendees don’t conference alone! There were many companions cheering on these motivated art teachers who were taking control of their learning even on summer break! Because everything is more fun when shared with a friend!
Kerry Pup took spot

  • I got up for break and came back to this – even my pup is enjoying the day! -Kerry


  • Enjoying the conference from home with my baby girl in the woods of East Texas near Huntsville. I’m getting great ideas for my 3rd year as the “mighty art department of 1 teacher” at tiny New Waverly High School. I love traditional conferences too but with a newborn and being a first time momma, finding online workshops and other opportunities was key this summer 🙂 – Leslie
  • I’m at my house looking out the window and enjoying my granddaughter while watching my conference. -Denise
  • Kitty in the window, dog on the ground and husband working from home next to me! The family is all together and I am learning so much at the AOE online conf. -Heather


Art Teachers Layer While they Learn!

In my presentation on productivity, I talked bout the idea of “Layering” –completing two tasks at once that don’t conflict cognitively with each other. Art teachers are good at layering! Many were learning and layering the entire conference by creating art, getting household tasks and projects done, and sometimes relaxing, too, all while getting in some PD hours!

Brittany Hallick

  • We are graduating with our Masters Degree in Art Education currently decorating our caps while attending AOE conference online!!!!!! – Brittany Hillock


    Learning, Notes and BIG Takeaways!

    Of course, teachers come to a conference to learn something new. SO much information was jam packed into each of the 10 minute, TED Talk-style presentations.
    Teachers were taking notes like crazy to review in the upcoming year. The After Pass allows teachers to view everything for up to 6 months, so re-watching any presentation is no big deal.
    Notes 2
    Here are some of the favorite highlights from the presentations from attendees:

  • It’s good to see some in-depth info on ceramics – Andy
  • Enjoying and learning a lot in my living room, Atlanta, GA. I really liked Mathew’s Take Your Art Room Public, and Change the World presentation. I’m working to bring my art class to another level upcoming year! -Mi
  • I am so excited to be “here!” First time…This is great! While here I am waiting to hear about being hired fo r my first art job in 13 years! Renewed my license 2 years ago and subbed all last year. *Took some AOE art classes in my renewal stage. -Lee Ann
  • OMG…my new favorites: Cassie Stephens, Laura of Painted Paper, Miriam the Restorer. I love working through the swag box and having giveaways throughout the conference. (Even though I didn’t win anything, I was super excited to hear what the others were getting from the vendors.) I wish that all disciplines would use CRIT outlined by Beth and Jenna; it would make critical thinking and independent learning for kids so much easier, as well as help them to be the agents of change. I’m really interested in Molly’s choice based, on line classroom. Andrew and SumoPainter and Nic’s Artists’ Trading Cards, oh my…how much fun for the kids in those virtual lessons. Thanks, Jessica & the AoE team! – Natalie
  • I am in love with the idea of art trading cards… – Aimee
  • I learned a lot today. I especially the air dry clay ideas. thank you for a great conference. -Regina
  • This spring I discovered Cassie’s blog and Painted paper… and the INSTANTLY became my 2 new favorite blogs. I was so excited to hear from them today!! -Melissa

    SWAG-Tastic: Art Teachers Share Their Favorite SWAG!

    The first 1500 participants received a SWAG box in the mail. This was arguably our BEST box yet, featuring over 10 products from companies in Art Education. The box included a full length DVD from Crystal, a complete project kit from Blick, a full tissue paper package from Pacon, a Gelli Printing plate from Gelli Arts, Gel Stick and Oil Pastel samples from Faber Castell, Art History goodies from Teacher’s Discovery, a coaster from Square 1 Art, A sketchbook from the Educational Sketchbook Program, a coil bracelet kit from Twisteez Wire, a mousepad from Art to Remember, Artist Trading Cards from Strathmore and Blick, a Magazine Sample from Arts and Activities and a sample from Sticky Putty!
    Here are some reactions from both the SWAG box and the Digital Swag package, which contained tons of discounts for all attendees.  


    • Thoroughly enjoying this PD. Loved my SWAG! Looking forward to reviewing several videos later as well, as some of them have such excellent tips and techniques I want to see them twice. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR EXISTING, ART of ED! – Paula Jean
    • My box showed up 20 minutes before the conference started!! Timing is EVERYTHING!! -Linda M.
    • Shannon Bass Kerscher Each conference keeps getting better!!!! Hard to pick just one. My son was all ears for all the raffles. He would shush us and then “oh man!” With dramatic flair when I didn’t win. -Shannon


    Hands On with Blick’s Start with a Circle!

    Julie from Blick encouraged everyone to ‘play along’ with her presentation entitled “Start with a Circle: Geometric Art.” The first 1500 participants had all the supplies needed to get started.
    By the end of the conference, there were some pretty great products being produced!
    Here are some of our favorites spontaneous pieces of circle art:

    Creativity Chat with Cindy Foley

    The featured presenter of the conference was Cindy Foley. She talked about the importance of defining creativity and being the leader and champion for creativity in your own school and community.
    Known for her popular TED talk, she elaborated on this topic just for art educators at the conference. The discussion was lively!
    Here are some quotes from Cindy, and below, what attendees were saying about her keynote after.

    • Art Skill does not equal Creativity! Great statement to spread for student confidence! -Dawn
    • Hate when other educators tell me that Art is Fun and that is why kids like it. We are not about just fun -Kim
    • Thinking can be viewed through 4 lenses: Fluency, Flexibility, Originality, and Elaboration. (Paul Torrance) Make these words transparent to students, as they become aware of how they are thinking they will be able to articulate the importance between generating many ideas and elaborating on other good ideas. -Cindy Foley


    Empowered Art Teachers: UNITE!

    This day was about YOU, the attendee. It’s about taking yourself seriously, knowing what you want, and going after it. This day was about growing professionally on summer day not because you have to, but because you want to. We are the modern art education generation! The possibilities are endless.
    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. AOE is 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.


    Amanda Heyn

    Amanda Heyn is AOEU’s Director of K–12 PD & Media and a former AOEU Writer and elementary art educator. She enjoys creating relevant and engaging professional development just for art teachers.

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