ITEEA 2022 Conference


Getting support to attend conferences is going to be especially challenging over the coming year. ITEEA member, Naveen Cunha, shares how he has created “leverage” to be given consideration through long-time relationship building and follow up. Naveen is a Robotics Programming and Design Instructor at Stephen F. Austin Middle School in Bryan, TX.  

I will be forever grateful that ITEEA was set in my path. The things I have learned, that my students have experienced, and that the district has benefitted from due to my participation in ITEEA conferences and committees are numerous.

Watching the Perseverance Mars Rover Pre-launch news conference replay reminds us that tasks such as having a rover drive across another planet is the result of many organizations and thousands of people. This is the attitude every teacher should realize and work on. Teachers can have as many supports as they allow. They should not be afraid to do so.  

There are several points I share with teachers contemplating going to a conference and looking for support.

• Be specific about reasons for attending and let the admin/person responsible for sending you know those reasons when applying.

• Why THAT particular conference? This requires a bit of homework. What has that organization done? Again, be specific.

• When participating in the conference, collect as much information as possible. Don't be selective. Talk to people. Take notes. Hand out your cards (make some and take some).

• Networking is huge. Get to know people and let them get to know you. I have made many connections during casual times at the conferences.

• When you return, go through what you brought back SOON, while it is fresh. Share with those who sent you the things that apply to them or that would benefit knowing. I shared the STEL information with my directors as they are all under technology. I also shared many resources with our STEM directors. All have shared their appreciation.  

• Share information with colleagues, even though you may not need them.

Most teachers do not report back and therefore those who sent them do not know how effective the conference was. They do not know the value of the experience. Was it worth it? Reporting back is so critical for future support. Share how it is benefitted your program and classroom.  

This may sound like a lot. Remember the more you put into something, the more you will get out of it. My attitude is that the funds used to send me to a conference and meeting are from the taxpayers. It is my duty to use it wisely and effectively. If you do these things, the support will grow and be strengthened. In return, when I ask for things, more often than not, it is met with a positive response or an alternate solution. With COVID, I intend to ask my supervisors to step into my classroom for me while I participate in online sessions during the school day. I know they will do what they can to make that happen. I will also point out to them the opportunity it offers for them to see our efforts at work.

ITEEA Conference Funding Ideas and Sources
Need Funding for the ITEEA Conference?

NOW . . . is the time to start finding financial assistance to attend ITEEA’s 83nd Annual Virtual Conference, March 9-12, 2022. There are numerous places to find financial support, and it takes a certain mindset to be successful. Here are some hints:

  • Facts to support your case to attend the annual ITEEA conference, such as:
    • It is the largest technology and engineering education professional development experience in the U.S. and provides you a great integrative STEM experience.
    • Skilled professional educators share their best practice through Integrative STEM Education PreK-12.
    • The largest technology and engineering education trade exhibition in the country will be available, showing the latest in resources, materials, and equipment.
    • The nation’s educational leaders meet here to network, determine directions, and share decisions on issues that influence the profession.
  • Create talking points after reviewing the program strands as to how this conference program could improve education for your students. Don’t forget to share that you will learn more about interdisciplinary approaches to teaching math, reading, and science concepts!
  • Stress to the administration that you will be attending an international conference as a representative of the school and district and that it would be an honor to go as an ambassador for the school. Administrators appreciate opportunities to highlight their schools.
  • Print the Preliminary Program and share it with your potential funder.
  • Apply to be part of the program, e.g., the technology and engineering education teacher showcase known as the STEM Showcase. Here you can share your best ideas, activities, or teaching strategies in a one-to-one discussion with other teachers.
  • Apply to be a Teacher or Program Excellence winner, bringing positive recognition to your school and a reduction in registration fees.

Most technology teachers have found success when applying for professional development monies early in the school year. Don’t wait until the last minute and expect success. When school starts, your funding efforts should start as well! Determine multiple funding sources. If one does not work, another might. The one that doesn’t work this time just may be the place to go next year. Where to look for funding sources...

  • Talk to your immediate supervisor about using professional development monies. That person may also be the principal, district curriculum specialist, county supervisor, or a combination of any of these individuals.
  • Ask your local PTA for assistance.
  • Search for project monies that relate to your school system’s special projects. Sometimes a project on special education, special needs, or some other area of emphasis includes professional development funding. ITEEA conferences have an array of programs that touch on many different areas of education. Make the relationship and seek their funding.
  • Become friends with local civic groups that support education. For example, the Lions or Rotary Clubs often will support teachers seeking professional development. Assure the group that you would be pleased to give a small report on what you have learned. They will be thrilled to know that they have helped your program and you will have an opportunity to sell your good work to the community.
  • Contact your district or state supervisor who deals with technology and engineering education. Frequently, they know of funding, such as the Perkins Legislation or the Math/Science Initiatives, that can be used to help you. You will have to complete paperwork, so start the process now!
  • Currently, the Wells Fargo Bank (if in your community) is willing to provide limited awards for professional development.
  • Do a search of local educational foundations. For example, selected companies have national educational funding programs that they wish to go to state or regional company locations. A local representative of a large organization may be able to find funding that will help you.
  • Check with your local teachers’ union. You pay dues, and they may have a program that will help you.

Assume that you are going to get funded with every potential source that you ask. You may be surprised to find that the one place where you thought there was no funding, will be your new source. Remember, most of your colleagues are not aware of the potential for funding. That makes your opportunity for success even greater.