We just wrapped up a very successful Technical Congress in beautiful Phoenix, Arizona!

Thanks in part to our fabulous hosts at the Arizona Department of Education, this Technical Congress was something of an “un-conference”—just as we intended.

We never want Technical Congress to simply be a long series of lectures. Instead, it was an opportunity to dig in and unearth some of the thornier topics—e.g., data standards, technical gaps, improvements to Ed-Fi tools, etc.

By facilitating working-group-style discussions, our community had the space to explore shared challenges, compare notes, and connect the dots between like-minded individuals all moving toward the same goal.

We kicked off the “un-conference” with a session named “Darts and Laurels”—a round robin-style meeting in which we learn what we can do better (darts) and what’s going well (laurels). It was highly interactive, and hard truths came to the surface. That was the point: How can we build the best tools if we aren’t identifying and addressing weaknesses?

We heard that one of our strengths is that we listen to the community and execute on the direction they give us. This practice has far-reaching impact, and lets our users know that they are a driving force behind our technical roadmap. Their challenges are our challenges.

The value of the Ed-Fi Community has been real and tangible at the Technical Congress. It’s inspiring to see connections forming that wouldn’t otherwise exist. In the coming days we’ll post all the materials, notes, and outcomes from the Technical Congress on our TechDocs site here.

But for now, that’s a wrap on the best “un-conference” we’ve ever hosted.