Academic Tech Retreat 2017

May 11-12th, 2017 12th Annual Academic Technology Retreat!

Brainstorm Sessions Ideas or Wants:

Create Sessions Before and During the Conference: (if posting a session before Thurs May 11, we may move the session to another location due to space needs)

Virtual App Smack Down Share Form:

Rather than holding a live Smackdown we are doing it virtually, please feel free to share resources you recommend through this form. Resources will be visible in the spreadsheet below. Feel free to fill this out prior to the retreat!

Virtual App Smack Down Resource Spreadsheet:

Follow the conversation on Twitter: #caisct or at __

Join our CAIS Google Community: Open to all CAIS Educators so please spread the word and invite others to join!


The CAIS Academic Tech Retreat was created as a time and place for busy academic techs to get away from the pressures of school to reconnect with colleagues and professionals in their field. Moving into its twelfth successful year, the conference focuses on such topics as curriculum integration, new technologies, customer service and professional development. The relaxed format of the retreat allows conference attendees to form connections and become comfortable with new concepts and ideas to bring back to their work.

The Guest House is a beautifully renovated country inn on private wooded land, adjacent to a state forest with hiking trails and two neighboring lakes. Conveniently located midway between New York City and Boston, Guest House is easily reachable via major highways or by train. The Guest House is the perfect place to reconnect and rejuvenate! We look forward to seeing you there!

Who should attend?- Academic Technology Coordinators, Technology Integrators, Directors of Technology, Faculty with a leadership roles in or significant users of educational technology.

What is an open forum or "unconference"?

An unconference, according to the Wikipedia entry, is a "conference where the content of the sessions is driven and created by the participants, generally day-by-day during the course of the event, rather than by a single organizer, or small group of organizers, in advance." While unconferences are popular (because they provide an excellent, flexible venue for ideas, networking, and participation), they have been around for decades, with the best-known format articulated by Harrison Owen as "Open Space Technology ". For an excellent description of the unconference format, see this Huffington Post article, An "Unconference" for Online Communities.

New this year we are adding some planned longer sessions to dive deeper into topics that are relevant to today's educational technology landscape. These sessions will more hands on and will be directly facilitated by the CAIS Commission on Technology members. These dive deep sessions require pre-registered and space is limited.

Thursday May 11th:

9:00-9:30 Sign in, Continental Breakfast and Conversation (The White Barn)

9:30 -9:45 Welcome, Introductions, Open Forum Explanation & Resources - Sharon Plante, Eagle Hill Southport School

9:45-10:45 Keynote Speaker- Tim Fish, NAIS Chief Innovation Officer

Keynote: Innovation and Learning- Trends, Discoveries, Failures, and the Joy of the Journey

Innovation is everywhere in our schools. Teachers, students, and administrators are constantly trying new things to enhance learning and advance the mission of our schools. It is an exciting time to be in a classroom. Yet, how do we know if our innovations are making a difference? How do we capture our learning when we experiment and how do we scale our innovations beyond our classroom, lab, studio, or field? In this session Tim Fish will deconstruct several innovations that he has seen in his travels to over 100 independent schools. He will share the idea behind the innovation and talk about how the school worked collaboratively to execute and evolve the idea over time. Tim will focus on the how of innovation as much as the what. He will also talk about the trends in technology that seem to enabling success in schools where active, student-centered learning is thriving.

10:45-11:00 Break/Session Creation

Unconference sessions

11:00-11:45 Open Forum (Session 1) (Various Locations)

11:45-12:30 Open Forum (Session 2) (Various Locations)

11:00-12:30 90 minute session (must pre-register/limited # of participants)

Google Certification

Add-ons sheet

Coding for Beginners

12:30 - 1:30 Lunch

Unconference sessions

1:30-2:15 Open Forum (Session 3) (Various Locations)

2:30-3:15 Open Forum (Session 4) (Various Locations)

3:30-4:15 Open Forum (Session 5) (Various Locations)

1:30-4:30 3 hour session (must pre-register/limited # of participants)


1:30-3:00 90 minute session (must pre-register/limited # of participants)


3:00-4:30 90 minute session (must pre-register/limited # of participants)


4:15 Check in at front desk

4:30 CAIS Commission on Technology Members - Meeting

5:00-6:00 Cocktails -The Sun Room or Outside

6:00 Dinner

Thursday evening:

Relax and enjoy each other’s company- Hobby/skill share, Music, Games, Conversation…

Friday Morning, May 12th:
8:00-9:00 Breakfast

9:15 - Schedule Additions, changes and Viewing

9:30 -10:15 - Open Forum (Session 5) (Various Locations)

10:30-11:15 - Open Forum (Session 6) (Various Locations)

11:30-12:15 - Open Forum (Session 7) (Various Locations)

12:15-12:30- Conference Wrap Up & Giveaways (The White Barn - Sharon Plante)

12:30 Lunch - Conference Ends but the Connections Continue!