Your Complete NOW Conference Guide (Ep. 327)

The Summer NOW Conference starts tomorrow, and Tim is here to talk you through what you need to know for each of the next three days.  He will share what to expect each day and some of the highlights of the Conference Kickoff, the Main Event, and the After Pass. And he might have some tips on how you can make the most of your professional learning on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Join us at the NOW Conference on July 27th, 28th, and 29th, where we will share three days of PD that will have you excited and ready for the school year to come! Full Episode Transcript Below.

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Welcome to Art Ed Radio, the podcast for art teachers. This show is produced by The Art of Education University, and I’m your host, Tim Bogatz.

As you are listening to this episode, I am very likely in my car on the way to Chicago for the 2022 Summer NOW Conference. We are excited to go to Chicago. Amanda and I talked about that a little bit last week on the podcast, just because it’s a new place. We have a lot of new ideas to share, a lot of new things to do, and we’re going to have a lot of good Instagram content with Amanda and me.

We’ll be visiting some museums, some public art, some sites throughout the city, and I’m hoping that I will get the chance to talk about some of the incredible architecture and history there in Chicago. There’s even an outside chance that some cupcakes will be involved. I’m pretty excited for all of that. Make sure you’re following the Art of Ed on Instagram, so you can keep up with those shenanigans. But the most important part is that we have our NOW Conference coming.

I think what we’re most excited about is the expanded conference. There’s a lot to it and we’re doing a lot of new things so I thought it would be worthwhile to do a short podcast today to give you a guide to, I guess, the next three days of the NOW Conference. I’ve received a lot of questions about how everything works, what people can expect, et cetera, et cetera. I’m hoping that I can answer all of those questions in this episode.

I want to just tell you about the three different parts of the conference, and then just explain each of them to you. Just so, like I said, you have a better idea of what’s coming. Hopefully this can answer your questions and we’ll be good to go for the next three days. There are three parts to the NOW Conference. Number one is the conference kickoff. This is going to be on Wednesday night. Number two is the main event, okay? That’s going to be on Thursday. Then number three is going to be the After Pass and that will be on Friday.

We have done the conference kickoff before. We’ve called it the pre-conference where we’re playing games and having a good time hanging out with other art teachers. It’s always fun. The main event is the NOW Conference that you know and love, just five hours on Thursday of all sorts of incredible PD. Then the After Pass we’ve done before with just a handful of videos, but we are going all out and turning the After Pass into an asynchronous day of learning.

There are going to be so many videos, so many opportunities for you to learn. It’s going to be great. Let me break down each of those three in depth for you. What I want to do is talk about each of the three parts of the conference and give you the who, what, when, where, why and how of all of them. You’ll hear me repeating some categories that tell you a little bit about each of them, but the conference kickoff, we’ll start with that.

It’s going to be Wednesday night. That’s the 26th. It’s going to start at 7:00 PM Central, so 8:00 Eastern, 6:00 Mountain, 5:00 Pacific, and it’ll last for about two hours. What is it? It is an evening of games, of fun, hanging out with other art teachers and just some sweet, sweet prizes. They’re going to be a lot of fun. We’ve done this in the past. We’ve done Kahoot! trivia, we’ve done Family Feud. We’ve done the game Password.

This time around. We’re going to play, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? I’m very excited about that. Now, obviously we’re not giving away a million dollars. I feel like we need to continue that. Having that caveat so we don’t get everybody’s hopes and expectations up too high, but we do have some very cool art-related prizes and it’s definitely going to be worth your time if you can come to that.

Then after we are done playing millionaire, we’re actually going to break out into four different sessions with some art making. I’ll tell you about those in a little bit, but yeah, the first half will be trivia. Second half will be a chance for you to make some of your own art, which is always worthwhile. It’s always exciting. Something that most of us don’t have a chance to do or don’t take the time to do. So we are happy that we can give everyone the opportunity as part of the conference to do some art making as well.

Okay. Who usually attends the kickoff? Basically just our teachers who are looking for an evening of fun. This started during the pandemic where we are all sort of in quarantine, we needed an evening to take our mind off of things. But we also needed to connect and continue to support each other and continue to build our art teacher community.

It started for that reason, but then it’s just been so much fun that we continue to do it. We continue to bring it back for every conference. We would love to have you there. Even those who are not art teachers are welcome to come. We would love to have everybody there and it’s a really, really enjoyable evening, so it should be a good time.

Okay. How? How can you access the conference kickoff? There’s going to be a Zoom link that you receive via email once you’re registered for the conference. I believe we’ll be sending that the day of, tomorrow, but don’t quote me on that. You may be seeing it already before you even listen to this, but check your email and there should be a link there for you to access the conference kickoff.

Okay. Highlights. We have quite a few things that I think are worth highlighting with the kickoff. Usually we do the artistic drink menu, but this time we are changing it up and we are going to go for a dip menu. We had… I don’t know what. We’re going to call it a social media stir last time because somebody had put on social just the cutest Crockpot ever that they were using while they participated in the conference.

We decided that not only were we stealing that idea and giving away a couple of great Crockpots as prizes at the kickoff, and we’re also going to create just this great menu with some incredible puns for our artistic dip menu. Frito queso, Salvador aioli, just some wonderful wordsmithing there. Check out the menu. It’s, very cool. It’s in your conference guide or we’ll give you a digital copy as well when we are at the kickoff. Very excited about those dips.

Other highlights, the game, those are always great. However many rounds of a millionaire we can fit in are going to be super entertaining and just everybody who’s playing and watching has a chance to win some prizes. I think that will be a really, really cool experience. Okay. The art making is going to be spectacular. I told you before I’d give you a few more details and basically it’s going to look like this.

After the games are done, you’re going to have your choice of four different art making sessions you can attend. Number one, Alanna Wilcox is going to be doing a fibers project. Number two, Khadesia Latimer is going to be doing a digital art project, and number three, Yvonne Lopez Taylor is going to be doing some printmaking. Number four, Eric Scott will be doing some visual journaling.

You can choose which of those you want to attend and hopefully in your email, you should have one coming through that tell you the supplies you need for each of those projects, no matter which one you choose so you have a little bit of time to gather those up before things get started.

Then finally, what you should know. What you should know about the kickoff I would just say, this is a great chance for you to relax, connect, have fun, and just make art. It’s a great way to get things started at the beginning of the conference, a great way to kick things off.

All right. Let’s talk about Thursday and the main event. All right. This is our full day of PD. It’s going to start at 10:00 AM Central on the 27th on Thursday. That will be… Or excuse me, I have my date wrong. The 28th on Thursday. Oh man. I’m messing everything up. I am so sorry. Okay. The conference kickoff will be Wednesday night, which is the 27th. Then the main event will be Thursday, the 28th. Okay. We’ve got that cleared up.

Apologies for everybody who stopped listening after the first four minutes and are showing up to things on the wrong day, but Thursday, 10:00 AM Central, so 11:00 Eastern, 9:00 Mountain, 8:00 Pacific, early in the morning, I’m sorry for all of you on the West Coast. What is it? It’s five hours of some of the best professional development you will ever get. We are so excited about it.

Who usually attends? We have our K-12 art teachers coming out in force this year. We’re so excited about how many people we have registered. Okay? But we also have principals. We have fine arts coordinators. We have other administrators. We have university professors. We have preschool teachers. We have classroom teachers and everything in between. A huge wide audience and we are thrilled that all of those people can join us to learn a little bit more about Art Ed and to support art educators.

How can you access the main event? Same as the conference kickoff. Check your email for a Zoom link. You’ll be able to access the conference through that email. If you don’t see it come through or can’t find it, just connect with our help desk for AOEU and we have some awesome people working there that will be very happy to help you with what you need, help you find what you’re looking for and get you connected with the main event.

What are the highlights for the main event? For me, we have two incredible featured presenters. Number one is Ulcca Joshi Hansen. She has a wonderful book called The Future of Smart, just talking about how students need to find their niche. They need to find what they’re good at and we need to stop asking the question of, are you smart? And start asking the question of, how are you smart?

Find our kids’ talents, nurture those talents, nurture those interests. She’s going to have an entire presentation on how we can start thinking differently about the world of education. It’s going to be informative. It’s going to be inspiring. I’m very, very much looking forward to hearing from her.

Our second featured presenter is Ekow Nimako. He is a sculptor who builds with LEGO pieces, creates these incredible sculptures out of different LEGO elements. I was able to visit his studio. We were super excited to talk to him, to see his studio and have him tell us about his work, his methods, his time in the studio, his inspirations, all of those things that go into his incredible artwork. If you’re not familiar with him, look him up, Ekow Nimako. It’s going to be great to hear from him.

We also have a couple of live presentations during the main event. Chris Cusack is going to be doing an interview about behaviors, and Dr. Eva Norman, she’s a physical therapist, is going to be talking about how we can keep ourselves healthy this school year. Those are both going to be really worthwhile.

Then the rest of the day is just hearing from amazing art teachers about the great things that are happening in their classroom. New ideas, inventive ideas, best practices, new ways of looking at old things, just a huge variety of art making, learning, connecting, collaborating. You are going to love it.

Then finally, what you should know about the main event Thursday, the 28th, let me be clear, is just a great day of professional development. That’s going to be our focus, is getting art educators the tools they need to improve on what they’re doing. Some opportunities to try new things in their classroom and really get everybody ready for the coming school year. On a lighter note, the other thing to pay attention to is just the huge number of giveaways that we do throughout the day.

So many cool things that we’re giving away from FLEX Curriculum and PRO Learning subscriptions, to prizes from all sorts of different art companies to, yeah, just lots and lots of great things that we’re going to be giving away. We’re hoping you can make it there and best of luck to you on all of those great giveaways.

Now finally, the third part of the conference, the newest part is our asynchronous day of learning, the After Pass, which will be on Friday. When is it? Whenever you feel like getting to it. That’s the beauty of asynchronous learning. If you’re on the West Coast and you had to get up at 8:00 AM for the Thursday sessions, and that was way too early for you, I understand. If you roll out of bed at like 11:00 on Friday and log on and get to the After Pass, then totally fine. Totally worth it. Just whenever you want to get around to it.

What is it? Just it’s another day of additional learning. As I’ve said earlier, we have done the After Pass before with just one or two videos, maybe four or five. We really have a lot that we want to share. This time we have like 15 or 16 extra videos, just a ton of additional content that I think is going to be really worthwhile for a lot of people. Just like I said, it’s another day that’s at your pace that follows your interests and you can set it up however you want. Do the learning however you want with whatever works for you.

Who usually attends? Same people who attend the main event also come to the After Pass. Like I said, you have the chance to find what you need there on that day of learning. Okay. How to access it. You will also have an email that will come from AOEU telling you how to access the After Pass on the AOEU site.

Make sure you save that email because everything in the After Pass, which includes the art making sessions from Wednesday night, includes all of the sessions from Thursday and then all of the additional videos that I was just talking about from Friday. All of that is available for an entire year after the fact.

Make sure that you know how to log onto that, make sure you save that so anytime you want to revisit any of those presentations, anytime you want to go back and find the PDF or the other handout or whatever other resource that you may be using, you can easily do that in the After Pass.

Okay. What are the highlights? I think just the sheer number of presentations available. There’s just so much learning that you can do. The nice part about this is with so many presentations, we have specific topics for whatever level you teach. There are things that are geared toward admins that maybe you don’t want to watch, but you want to share with your administrator. We have a lot of admins coming to the conference and so they can check those things out.

We have something for elementary teachers. We have something for middle school teachers. We have something for high school teachers. On top of that, of course, just a ton of presentations and ideas that are applicable to everyone. I think that there are just a lot of opportunities for you to find what you need. Of course there are resources that go with every single presentation, which is a really, really cool way to help you bring your learning from those presentations into your classroom. Make sure you’re checking out the resources.

Then finally, what should you know about the After Pass? Basically, as I’ve said a few times here in the last couple of minutes we want to give you the opportunity with the NOW Conference to tailor your learning with things that work for you and work for your classroom. We are hoping that you can find that in the After Pass.

All right. I think that is it for the NOW Conference explainer. I will see you from Chicago tonight. Then again for the NOW kickoff on Wednesday and the main event on Thursday. I will let you continue on your own with asynchronous learning for the After Pass on Friday, but I have no doubt that the entire day there will also be worthwhile.

Art Ed Radio is produced by The Art of Education University with audio engineering from Michael Crocker. If you have not signed up yet for NOW, this is your final chance, last call, last chance to do so. We have less than 24 hours, but if you’re dying to get there, please, please try and get there. You can head to the AOEU website, get yourself registered, and hopefully we’ll see you later this week.

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.