How to write a successful session proposal

For the upcoming Bring IT, Together Conference, the committee expects to review over 500 session proposal (50 minutes sessions on Thursday and Friday) and offer about 150 to conference attendees.

This post will help you become one of the chosen few after a committee reads and reviews each and every submission.

Don’t Procrastinate

It’s OK to submit your proposal at the last minute.  But, that doesn’t mean you write it at the last minute.  Start mind mapping what you want to submit now.  That will start your brain thinking about it and help you write a successful proposal.

A Great Title

It’s the first thing that people see.  You need something that’s going to grab the attention of those looking for sessions to attend.  Look for something that will intrigue and encourage further consideration.

You – A Great Bio

While sessions aren’t judged by the name of the proposer, a solid background on the topic speaks volumes.  Include your background, social media presence, internet resources that you’ve developed, your work in Ontario education, …  All this counts for a strong presenter.  If you’re co-presenting, make sure that you treat all presenters in the same way.

Don’t Name or Theory Drop

Unless you’ve written or co-written some educational theory, adding a line describing it doesn’t add anything to a successful proposal.  Focus on you and your presentation instead.

This is Ontario

And your audience will largely be Ontario educators.  You know what the priorities are for Ontario schools and your own district.  Identify these as solid reasons that your proposal should be accepted.  If you have a unique way of teaching geometry with technology, we want to read it.

The Proposal is Electronic

There was a time when proposals were done on paper and there was a 200 character limit to save on paper printing costs.  Your proposal is electronic and the conference program is as well (Lanyrd).  Use the technology to its best to explain exactly what the session will cover.

Takeaways

What will the audience leave with if they attend?  Specifically identifying the takeaways will make it easier to understand your proposal.  Too often, reviewers will say “I wish they had explained it in more detail.”

Followup

If it is your intention to create a community of learners or sharers, make sure that you include that.  Will there be a Twitter list or Facebook/Google+ group created as a result?  Are you looking to share resources?  What will be the URL to your blog/website/wiki?

Exhibitor Connection

Do you have connections with an exhibitor or other commercial entity?  Include that.  The worst thing you can be accused of is being an advertisement for XYZ if people didn’t know that going in.  Let them know up front and they can choose to attend not attend.

Have another set of eyes

Share your proposal with a colleague and ask for their opinion.  “Would they attend something like this?”  “What wording is needed to convince them?”  

Intended Audience

There is a really good chance that your proposal isn’t for everyone.  Clearly identify that the audience is for “Grade 5 Special Education teachers” or “Superintendents in charge of technology use”.

Engagement

How will you engage your audience?  Unlike the Wednesday workshops, chances are you won’t be hands-on – you’ll be presenting to an audience seated and focused on you.

Good luck!  Please consider these points as you prepare for your proposal submissions.  We want you to be successful.

Check back to this blog regularly for additional tips and information as we lead into Bring IT, Together 2016.  Follow #BIT16 on Twitter and Facebook.

Doug Peterson
Presentations Committee
presentations@bringittogether.ca

Session Proposal Ideas from BIT Social Media

Jeff Reaburn’s post outlines the various opportunities for sessions at #BIT16.  The next logical question is,  what topic should I present?  Perhaps I can help….

I scan a variety of news sources daily and post links on @BIT2016  These posts represent what I feel to be topics of interest to the target audience of BIT – members of ECOO and OASBO-ICT.  Any of the posts could be a possible topic for a session at #BIT16.  We are especially interested in presentations that truly “Bring IT, Together” where both ECOO and OASBO-ICT members present a topic of combined interest.

After a few days I review the @BIT2016 posts to see which posts generated the most interactions.  I then post those links to the BIT Facebook Page.

A possible topic for a session most certainly need not be limited to one from our social media posts.  Great things are happening in education in Ontario and this is your opportunity to share.

Get your thinking caps on.  Consult with your colleagues.  Refer to the social media posts.  Select a topic, or topics, for consideration as a proposal for #BIT16.

The next step is to submit your proposal and to help with that, later this week there will be a BIT Blog post from Doug Peterson on “How to write a successful session proposal”.

Peter McAsh
Social Media Portfolio
socialmedia@bringittogether.ca

Something for Everyone

The BringIT,Together 2016 conference offers a variety of presentation opportunities to meet the various learning styles of attendees and presenters alike. If you are considering submitting a proposal for a session at this year’s conference (#BIT16), take a look at the session types listed below to see what best suits your topic or presentation style. Every year we are looking for new presenters: if you have never presented before, we encourage you to take the plunge and submit a proposal.

Wednesday, the opening day of the conference, is intended as a hands-on workshop day where attendees learn by doing. For several years, the largest session on Wednesday has been the day-long “Minds on Media” organized by Brenda Sherry and Peter Skillen, who assemble a team of expert presenters on a range of topics. Attendees have the opportunity to spend as much time as they like with any or all of the presenters. Here is how the hosts described it last year: “Imagine a room full of teachers who are skilled in using new technologies for learning and teaching. Visit one of the centres or visit them all! You might be an absolute beginner or a whiz with technology—but this is about using new technologies with students through a ‘tinkering’ lens. You choose your ‘entry point’. Build your own plan for the day or be led by one of our facilitators or pedagogistas.” (A list of the topics at last year’s Minds on Media can be found at http://lanyrd.com/2015/bit15/sdptfb/ .)

Brenda and Peter are once again hosting Minds on Media but we are aiming to make this an even bigger session, a Mega Minds on Media, with a new wrinkle. In the past, Brenda and Peter have assembled the team of presenters themselves: this year, they have graciously agreed to extend the opportunity through the Call for Proposals. So, if you have a topic that lends itself to this style of workshop and would like to be a part of this mega session, we invite you to submit a proposal for a Wednesday session and then answer yes to the question on proposal form that asks if you would be interested in the Minds on Media format.

Not all hands-on topics lend themselves to the learning stations approach and so we will also offer the traditional half  and full-day sessions on Wednesday. These are intended for topics that delve into a topic in depth or take attendees on a step by step learning experience. But we do want to emphasize that these should be active and interactive sessions for the attendees in keeping with our workshop theme.

On Thursday and Friday, in addition to outstanding keynote presentations, BIT16 will offer a variety of 50-minute presentation opportunities. These typically take a variety of forms: formal presentations, panel discussions, presentation of research studies, guided conversations, demonstrations of technologies and teaching/learning strategies, and more. The choice is up to you, the presenter, to pick the style that works the best. For an idea of what these are like, you can see descriptions of all of last year’s sessions atlanyrd.com/2015/bit15/ .

Each year we reserve a number of the 50-minute blocks for French language sessions and we are always looking for new French language presenters. So if you have experience or expertise you would like to share en français, please submit a proposal.

Last year we added a new type of presentation that we called Innovation Stations. This is a less formal presentation in a trade show style of setting during the lunch hour on Thursdayand Friday. Presenters are set up at a table in the Learning Hall with a screen and data projector and they share or demonstrate their learning with attendees informally. In the past these have been called poster sessions and they encourage a less formal, more conversational style of interaction.

Throughout the conference venue there are seating areas, nooks and corners for quiet conversation where presenters and attendees can meet to extend conversations that may have started or been prompted in a session. These are great opportunities for both learning and networking, a great way to expand your PLN.

As I mentioned earlier, we are always looking for new topics and especially new presenters. If you have expertise or a learning experience to share, please consider submitting a proposal for BIT16. Click on the Call for Proposals link on the left to read the Call for Proposals message and get access to the proposal form. We are confident there is a presentation opportunity that will work for you.

Jeff Reaburn
Presentations Committee
presentations@bringittogether.ca