In an effort to improve virtual learning and address online knowledge gaps in Panama’s leading private schools, last year’s professional development conference used Sched to plan, present and manage the entire conference virtually. The collaboration continues as the company tackles the shift to in-person events in 2023.
Integra Schools’ story
Founded in 2018, Integra Schools is the leading school conglomerate organization in Panama, serving +4,300 students with +400 educators and academic staff across 13 schools.
The heart of Integra School’s mission is to provide good education to the community’s students and to nurture social responsibility for the field of education.
Evelina Preciado, Integra’s Chief Academic Officer, is responsible for organizing the company’s annual professional development conference. The event brings together a large pool of educators to share strategies and insights, as well as boosting morale and advocating for improvement in the academic field.
Last year, the professional development event primarily focused on virtual learning and the knowledge gaps students face post-pandemic. The event aims to tackle strategies and tools for educational practices, technology and measuring student data. The content also covers social-emotional topics such as creating mindfulness in the classroom and work-life balance and self-care for teachers.
Previously, the organization’s professional development events have taken place virtually. With the help of Sched, Integra Schools is now switching to in-person events in 2023 to further enrich the exchange between the community’s educators.
The challenge of organizing professional development conferences before Sched
Before using Sched, Integra Schools relied on a basic setup. The event organizers manually sent out links to one-page Google forms that only included the conference dates and times.
This process proved time-consuming for the organizers. With only three organizers and over 500 attendees, this was a complicated process before Sched. They needed an easy-to-use platform with all the core features for organizing virtual events and, eventually, in-person events.
The original system also risked taking the ‘professional’ out of their professional development events. Sometimes teachers don’t feel appreciated and considered as professionals. Other professions are used to attending sleek conferences at impressive venues, while professional development events tend to be more informal.
Integra Schools aims to emphasize their community’s professionalism and celebrate their collective skills and commitment. The conference is an opportunity for educators to pause and understand the impact they have on their students. Educators can sometimes lose sight of their impact on our future generations and it’s important to recalibrate the whole team.
How did Sched help Integra Schools?
- Fast implementation
While there’s often a learning curve when implementing event management software, Sched was intuitive to learn. Evelina quickly understood how to use the platform and could easily explain it to colleagues.
- Saving money
Sched’s nonprofit and education pricing plan saved Integra School money that could be spent on other areas dedicated to enhancing the quality of their professional development conference.
- No time wasting
Sched provided the skeleton of the event; all that was left to do was input the session information. As the platform is so easy to use, Evelina could pass this to someone who wasn’t as deeply involved in the event planning, freeing her up for more critical tasks.
- Minimizing attendee confusion
Integra School’s personal development conference included concurrent sessions, so it’s easier for attendees to get lost during an in-person event. Sched allowed attendees to select the sessions they were most interested in and build personal schedules they could refer to on their phones during the event. This reduced stress and resolved questions such as ‘where should I be and at what time?’.
How did Integra Schools choose Sched?
After determining that Integra Schools needed event management software, Evelina built the budget for the event and started investigating what was available on the market.
A high-priority feature was the capability to create simultaneous time slots so attendees could sign up for different sessions. Evelina used to be a teacher and used Sched as an attendee during a large-scale professional development event. Evelina was impressed by how well-organized and easy-to-use Sched is. As a participant, it allowed her to select which sessions she wanted to attend and build a personalized schedule ahead of the event.
While researching competitors, Evelina didn’t find another event scheduling software that matched Sched’s value. Other platforms didn’t provide the scope of features at Sched’s pricing. While most tools typically charge $10, $20 or even $40 per attendee per event, Sched charges just $4 or less per attendee.
After settling on Sched, Evelina had to present Sched to Integra School’s CEO, who was quickly convinced after a brief demo.
The educators, teachers, and presenters that attended Integra School’s professional development conference were extremely satisfied with Sched because:
- The event scheduling software made speakers and presenters feel proud of their work because they got to create their profiles and upload their own content.
- The organizing team and presenters liked that attendees could give the speakers feedback after the event, which can help them to improve the content for next year’s event.
- Attendees and organizers found that the platform was very user-friendly.
- Sched is a well-organized platform that helps everyone to be at the right place at the right time.
- Sched was key to creating a professional, high-end environment that left attendees feeling that ‘as an educator, I deserve to be valued and appreciated as a professional, and I deserve to have a platform like Sched that allows me to showcase everything I do for my field’.