Attention teachers: Looking for some new arts education ideas for your classroom? An online conference is taking place next week and there's still time to register.
The Tuesday conference is a first for host Jessica Balsley, the founder of the online website The Art of Education. Balsley is a former K-5 art teacher. Her website and the upcoming conference are dedicated to helping art teachers via professional development.
"A lot of schools aren't paying for these conferences anymore," Balsley said. "To provide something affordable for everyone was our number one goal."
One expert says online training has some unique benefits.
"I actually think it’s a rather brilliant idea," said Associate Vice Provost Susan Metros, who coordinates online learning for the University of Southern California. "Interaction online is actually very rich. It equals the playing field."
Metros pointed out that learning online allows people who might not excel in a typical conference or classroom to engage on a deeper level. If you hesitate to ask questions in person, you may be more likely to do so in an online environment, she said.
The five-hour conference, which has been in the works for about a year, will provide presentations from more than 20 arts education experts. The online presentations will be available to participants for a year following the conference.
The conference costs $99 and about 600 people have registered so far, including many international teachers from places like Argentina and France, according to Balsley. The full schedule can be found here. Sunday is the final day to register.