After eight years, six live events, twenty-nine speakers, approximately one hundred follow-up experiences, and thousands of live tweets, we have made the decision to sunset the ShadowCon experience.
ShadowCon began as an experiment to explore ways to amplify new voices, build community, and to extend the NCTM conference experience. What it became was something so much bigger - a community event and an anchor of the NCTM Annual Conference for many of y’all.
We don’t take this decision lightly. We know the ShadowCon experience meant so much to so many of you. And, trust that it meant that much to us, and more. But, after careful consideration, we’ve decided it’s time for us to step aside. Although we still have lots of questions about how conferences can do a better job of innovating, building community, and being more inclusive, we want to make space for other folks to raise new questions and experiment in new ways.
When we look back on what the ShadowCon community accomplished, we are beside ourselves. Here are a few things we tried that have made an impact on the greater math conference experience, both at NCTM and at other conferences:
Exploring how attendees wanted to engage after the live experience
Including educators that could not attend in person through live-tweeting, live-streaming, and posting recorded talks after the conference
Partnering applicants with mentors to support them through the proposal process
Pairing speakers with ShadowCon alumni so they could get plenty of feedback while developing their talks
Holding rehearsals to build trust and community among each cohort of speakers, as well as further refine the talks
Elevating new and underrepresented voices in our field
So what now? Well, that’s up to you. This open letter is a call for the next thing. For your ideas. How can you push the conference experience forward? What thoughts do you have? We challenge you and our community to keep questioning. To keep pushing. We are excited to make space for your innovation, and we are here to support others who might be interested in trying something new to make conferences even better.
Let’s do this, and as always, we can’t wait to join you there.