“You all are uniquely positioned during this new era of online education, helping to lead it forward with your experience.” Cindy Mi, VIPKid founder and CEO
Earlier this month, more than 3,000 VIPKid teachers, staff and education thought leaders fired up their computers to tune in for VIPKid’s first ever virtual Journey Conference. The theme of the event was, How do you create joy through a screen? A theme close to our teacher’s hearts, after all, that’s what they do every day when they connect with their students in the classroom.
And though our teachers are far from strangers to the online classroom, this year has certainly looked a little different for all of us. Journey Staff for example, had a particularly unique role to play in this year’s Journey planning. To get the inside scoop on how the event unfolded, we sat down (er, virtually of course) with Rachel Travolta and Dana Sprole from VIPKid’s events team.
Why did VIPKid feel it was so important to carry on with Journey despite not being able to meet in-person?
RT: Journey is such a special event for the teacher community and staff. It is the one time of year we get to share ideas, connect and learn from each other in a formal setting. 2020 has been such a difficult year for our community and it was important to us to end the year on a positive note and summarize what we have learned as online educators. As online educators, VIPKid teachers are at the forefront of something the rest of the world is just starting to get familiar with and it’s important to us to recognize that and provide a forum to share those experiences.
What do you think made the event a success?
RT: The energy and spirit of VIPKid teachers is one of a kind! This event also allowed for great accessibility. Teachers from all over the world could attend and connect, which can be much more difficult with in-person events.
DS: We also felt it was important to have a diverse set of speakers for various topics that could reach a wide range of teachers. A big part of that is also our ability to bring in lots of content from our teams in China HQ as well as staff speakers.
RT: We also really focused on making the event engaging. We branched outside of Zoom and used a platform that allowed attendees to “explore” the event like you would in real life: pop into different sessions, 1:1 video conferencing with other attendees and staff along with a custom VIPKid photo booth.
What are your hopes for the next journey conference?
DS: We hope to continue to expand accessibility for teachers. Virtual and hybrid events allow us to serve a larger audience than traditional events in a hotel ballroom. We also want to focus on speaker and content diversity and how we can continue to work towards every teacher in attendance finding something that caters to what they want to hear or experience. We also hope to spread the word even more to the VIPKid community so that more teachers can attend!