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Friday, April 21, 2017

History of TIA: Roy Verges Muses on TIA 2012

TIA 2012: In this installment, we interview Roy Verges, another TIA veteran on the organizing committee, and a frequent contributor to this blog, about our third TIA outing.

Q: Going into 2012, your team was getting to be veterans at the game. Looking back, how did you & your team feel about your third time at bat?

A: We were feeling like we were really good at this now. We knew what to expect, what to do, and we knew how to expand our reach. We took on the moniker of Lone Star TIA, and this new logo emphasized the statewide scope of the event. We wanted to be the premier training event for the intersection of Technology and Education. We changed the dates to be in July - the 24th, 25th, and 26th.

Q: What’s developing with TIA 2012?

A: We had more attendees than ever, and from a broader geographical range – from Arkansas to Louisiana. We had more Texas school districts attending, from all across the state. We were working with restaurants and hotels to house people, and with DART to get people here from points south. Our Transportation Department really stepped up their game, making hourly rounds between the DART railhead and the ATC.

We’ve got more underwriters than ever – the list included the Delcom group, Adobe, Epson, Panasonic, Schoolwires, Jostens, Safari Montage, and Troxell. We featured our sponsors a lot in the afternoons, and had a “mystery sponsor” who the attendees had to discover early on. This got them visiting all the vendor booths. I thought that was a good idea.

Dena Wilson and Wil Milne continued with their all-day paid Photoshop bootcamps, and gave out certificates for those who managed to complete this very thorough course.

 During the end of each day we had lots of prizes, like an iPod Touch, or a couple of Nooks. Also an HP laptop, and a Photoshop Elements CD to a lucky teacher. Our prizes culminated with a Toshiba 32” television! 

The last day we reserved for administrators, e.g. principals, assistant principals, and other upper-level staff.

Q: Who were your keynotes this year?

A: Miguel Guhlin, Phil Stubbs (from Australia), and Dr. Craig Watkins were our keynote speakers. We also had speakers for lunchtime, and featured speakers from corporations and other school districts.

Q: How was TIA 2012 different for you?

A: I was especially busy this year, what with videotaping the keynotes and other events in the main seating area, and I gave my own presentation! Linux and Education. I scheduled it first thing – 8:00 on the first day. The vibe was really quiet – a silent, early-morning, pre-caffeine kind of feel, and my presentation was low-key. I was nervous, but my audience was interested in the content, or at least, they humored me well. 

I also had a corner set aside to promote our Cisco Show & Share – I streamed video from the 2nd floor, and showed it on a computer screen on the first floor.  I set up a poster and displayed it nearby, to get people interested. I was doing all this while I was not videotaping or doing something else. I just left it streaming all day.

Q: Does anything stand out in your memory about the event?

A: We had over 120 breakout events, and lunchtime discussions. We fed everyone box lunches, and  also, Carla Ruge, the dean of the ATC, worked with the student volunteers from the Cuisine department to make snacks for everyone. We had caterers too, in the afternoons.

Chris Vochoska, the man in charge of video production at the ATC, helped us out a lot. He shot video of the keynotes, and had an interview booth where people could give us their impressions of their experiences at TIA 2012.

THE HEAT! – we had to shuttle people in from the parking lot, it was so hot! And packing up at the end – we went from wonderful air-conditioning to blazing heat. Not a cloud in the sky. Still, it was better to have July heat than August heat!

We had a “mix & mingle” reception on Tuesday at the end of the day that was a lot of fun.

Q: How did your team feel at the end of your third TIA?

A: We felt the momentum increasing, and knew that we would soon run out of space at the ATC, which felt like home by this time. But the ATC still had one year left in it, with our current levels of growth. Carolyn Thomson and Leslie Taylor, our “lionesses” of TIA, were beginning to attend other regional training events, just to view them with a critical eye, to see how we could do things even better.

Note: We’re all looking forward to TIA 2017, our 8th TIA.

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