This year’s Ed-Fi Technical Congress is right around the corner! As the name implies, this event is not a traditional conference; it is an assembly—a “congress”— for the technical and programmatic leaders and doers putting the Ed-Fi Data Standard and technologies to use in K12 education.
Newcomers are often surprised by the interactive format of the Tech Congress. This year’s event will again reinforce the community-based nature of Ed-Fi, and will also introduce some new elements.
Here’s our guide on what to expect, so you can decide whether TC is the right event for you!
Continuing from Previous Years
Setting the Direction of Ed-Fi
The Tech Congress is about gathering smart people who are “in the weeds” with Ed-Fi to identify and focus on Big Gnarly Problems. Per that goal, the heart of the Congress is not to “learn about Ed-Fi”, it is to help set the direction for the future of Ed-Fi.
To facilitate strategic conversations, there will be plenary sessions similar to those of previous years that focus on the identification and prioritization of opportunities and blockers. If you want to know what to expect, take a look at last year’s recap blogs written by our team and an Ed-Fi Community member, and the 2019 Tech Congress Report Out (this one requires an Ed-Fi login).
Dialogue over Presentation
Sessions at the Tech Congress prioritize community discussion and ideation. Don’t expect sessions where various organizations present their Ed-Fi use cases as in a traditional conference. Instead, come expecting to participate by contributing your experience and your ideas. TC sessions are designed to expose and illuminate the hard problems through collaboration and discussion.
Getting into the Weeds
Don’t worry—we will be celebrating plenty at the Tech Congress (hint: the evening events will be particularly awesome this year), but we will also be getting to work. We have a long way to go to solve tough, intractable issues around the effective use of data at scale in K12 education. Come to the event prepared to spend your days “getting into the weeds” on the issues.
What’s New This Year
More Sessions and Topics
Not surprisingly, with the growth of the Ed-Fi Community, we are seeing a corresponding expansion in the variety and depth of our event sessions. Up from 28 sessions in 2019, we are anticipating about 40 sessions at this year’s Tech Congress.
Per the format of the TC, sessions are mostly designed to be interactive and solicit dialogue and feedback, but there is also a sprinkling of deep-dives on technical topics and a few training sessions, generally on advanced topics.
A New Location
We are excited to be in downtown San Diego this year at the beautiful US Grant Hotel! You can book your discounted stay at the hotel here.
A Community Showcase
There are so many new community tools and resources, it’s hard to keep track of all of them all—a great problem to have! The final half-day of this year’s Tech Congress will be devoted to a Community Showcase, an event designed to highlight new tools and resources coming out of the Ed-Fi Community including Ed-Fi Exchange offerings, new features, contributions to core products, and tech providers offering new integration features based on Ed-Fi.
The Showcase will feature a “lightning round” that provides a brief overview of each new tool and feature. Following that, attendees will have the opportunity to visit stations, learn more about these tools, and engage directly with the developers of these resources.
We Hope to See You There
We have a saying around the Ed-Fi office that goes, “If this was easy, it would have been done a long time ago.” This phrase captures the spirit of the Tech Congress—only the concerted, collective action of a community can solve the intractable and insanely complex issues that stand in the way of transformative change for K12 education. If you are up for being a part of that change, we think the TC is perfect for you and hope you will attend. Get ready to roll up your sleeves (and maybe stick your toes in the sand)!