There have been some rumors floating around that maybe this year we would have a conference after all. Some have heard that it would be done virtually so people could attend from anywhere. There are also rumors that the week-long conference would be free to attend.
Those are all true. It’s really happening!
For those of you who don’t know, we spend an entire year in advance of our Professional Development Conferences planning each detail. When the COVID-19 pandemic ripped up our plans for the 2020 Professional Development Conference in San Antonio, we weren’t quite sure how to move forward. Not only did we already have six months of planning and development into the conference, we were extra excited because this year we celebrate our 75th year as an organization. Yes, we’ve been serving braille transcribers, teachers of the visually impaired, and braille readers for seventy-five years! This year was going to be particularly special.
After careful thought, we’ve decided that even though a worldwide pandemic has changed everyone’s plans, we are still going to find a way to make our 75th anniversary one to remember.
The final details won’t be ready for at least a few more weeks, but we wanted to confirm that the rumors are true. The conference is happening!
Here’s what we know right now.
It Will Be Virtual
There are a lot of firsts this year, and this conference will be the first NBA one that you can attend from your living room.
With an arrangement similar to our webinars, we’ll be conducting all of the conference workshops this year virtually. We will be using GoToWebinar software to make that happen. We’ll miss being together in person, but this software will allow us to connect with one another from anywhere in the world.
It Will Be Free
What better way to celebrate our birthday than to give back to the folks who have supported us for so long? This year, you’ll be able to attend the entire conference at no cost.
You will need to register in advance, but there won’t be a cost to do so. Registration will be available soon. Don’t worry about things filling up or needing to register early or any of that. Registration is needed just so we know who to deliver links and materials to.
It Will Be An Entire Week
This one was tricky. We typically do 2.5 hour workshops twice a day for three days during the conference. During each session there are typically five workshop choices and attendees choose one. So, out of thirty workshops, attendees usually attend six. For a few reasons, that wasn’t going to work smoothly for a virtual conference.
Instead, we’ll be conducting one workshop at a time. Some will be a couple hours, some will be shorter. There will always only be one at a time. So, if you’ve had a hard time in the past with having to pick between a couple workshops happening at the same time, that problem is solved. This year, you can attend one workshop, or all of them. You won’t have to miss out on anything.
The dates for the conference are Monday, November 16th, through Friday, November 20th. We’re still finalizing a schedule, but generally, we’ll be starting late morning east coast time to keep our west coast friends from having to get up too early. Each day we’ll have multiple workshops extending into the early evening.
As you can imagine, an undertaking like producing an entire week of virtual workshops isn’t a small task. We won’t be able to have our Exhibit Hall like we have in the past, but we do have ways for businesses and organizations to get involved.
If you’d like to sponsor a portion of the conference, contact us for info.
We are working daily to finalize plans to make this happen. You can expect over the next few weeks that we’ll be closer to revealing a final schedule with workshop descriptions and making registration available.