How to Host a Fall VirtCon Viewing Party

Falling leaves, pumpkin spiced coffee, apple picking… all pale in comparison to everyone’s favorite Fall activity, the Fall VirtCon!

While many enjoy participating from the comfort of their own home, hundreds of others will be gathering at Viewing Parties around North America! Why not host your own?? Whether you’re a seasoned vet of previous VirtCons, or a first time host, we’ve got all the info you need to organize a spectacular professional development day for you and your colleagues.

The Fall VirtCon will be broadcast once again from Discovery’s global headquarters in Silver Spring, MD on October 24th, from 9am to 4pm ET. If you’re in the greater Washington DC area or interested in making the pilgramage to the mothership of Discovery Education, we’d love to have you join us. Registration will be opening soon, and seats are VERY limited, so only register if you are committed to being there.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a Viewing Party is basically a professional development event where all the presenters are streamed to you live via the internet. We’ll put together a fantastic day of inspiriing presntations, and all you have to provide is find a space to host it and send out invitations. This year, the entire event is revolving around Kathy Schrock’s Thirteen Literacies for the Digital Age.

The presentations begin at 9am ET, which may be a little early for those on the west coast! However, every session is being recorded and will be available immediately. This way hosts are able to tweak the schedule to their own needs. For example, Californians might choose to begin their day with the 12pm ET session featuring Hall Davidson. Then, when the live broadcast wraps up at 4pm ET, They can go back and stream the sessions that they weren’t able to view live.

Another way that Viewing Party hosts customize their own events is by combining the virtual sessions with conversations, reflections and presentations by the people attending at their event! For example, they may watch one of the keynotes, and then choose to turn the projector off for an hour and share amongst themselves. Afterwards, they can rejoin the broadcast at the point where they stopped, or attend the next live session. The options are endless, and there’s no wrong way to VirtCon!

You can see the current map of Viewing Parties on the VirtCon homepage. The only thing missing from the map… is yours! Here are a few tips to get started hosting an epic VirtCon Viewing Party

Before the Fall VirtCon

  • Find a location and get it reserved. While most people host it at their school or district office, we’ve seen people gather together at Panera’s, Starbucks, or even open up their own homes!
  • Register your event.  Once you know where you’ll be hosting your bash, submit the registration form here. We’ll add it to the official list as well as the map of VirtCon viewing parties. We’ll also be sending you over a small party kit from Discovery Education to help make the event even more memorable.
  • Spread the word!  Email your colleagues, post a note in the teachers’ lounge, tweet it to your PLN, walk next door and invite your neighbors. It’s never too early to start promoting your event, and the more you remind people, the more attendees you’ll have!

During the Fall VirtCon

  • Make it festive! Streamers are optional, but people do love the personal touch. Have pens and notebooks available for jotting down ideas, or perhaps sticky notes so people can add them to sharing wall.
  • Feed your guests (bodies AND minds). Everybody needs a little nibble while they learn, so have a plan for feeding your guests. You can ask them to bring their own, bring something to share with the group, or provide a spread for them. It’s your event, there’s no wrong way to do it.
  • Tweak the agenda to suit your needs. We know it’s a long day, and not everybody is in the same time zone. Boston’s lunchtime presentation might be the opening session for a party in Los Angeles. Every session will be archived in real time and made available immediately, so feel free to re-arrange the order for your attendees. We’ll still be there when you get back!
  • Join the conversation at #FallVirtCon2015.  Share with the people in the room and online.  We’ll be sharing our favorite tweets live during the broadcast, so if you post a pic, you just might see it on the screen!

After the Fall VirtCon

  • Take a well deserved evening off! Cash in that coupon for a free foot massage and bask in the glory of having created a phenomenal learning experience for your attendees!
  • Share out the archives. Every session is being recorded and saved, share it out with any colleagues who weren’t able to attend.
  • Send us a picture of your event.  We love to see the learning in action! Share your pics with the hashtag #FallVirtCon2015 and we’ll find them.

We’re looking forward to another incredible virtual conference and we hope you are too. So what are you waiting for? Choose a location get your Viewing Party registered today!!


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