Written by Kia Keyton, 2020-2021 PLSP Fellow
Though I have never attended the VISION conference before now, I have attended many other conferences in-person. In the past, I have had difficulty finding the appropriate workshops and sessions where I can gain the most knowledge for my students while simultaneously being interesting to me. Usually, I am uncomfortably cold with sore feet. I am also uninterested while stuck in a session where I have wondered by happenstance. However, those same sessions have little to do with me or what I do. This conference allowed me to invest time into sessions that interested me. I could stop or “leave” a session to which I could not relate. The virtual format saved so much valuable time for me. I could watch the sessions at my leisure, in the comfort of my own home.
This conference reiterated the importance of career and technical education (CTE) to me. I realized how valuable it is for me to recruit for CTE and why I need to promote its importance to stakeholders; especially students. I am the director of Greenville Technical College’s (GTC) African American Male Scholars Initiative (AAMSI). The students at GTC will benefit from my attendance at the Virtual VISION conference because I plan to continue to enact the ideas of VISION for AAMSI scholars.
I learned new and innovative uses for technology and ways to introduce these practices to my students. I had the pleasure of virtually attending a session about podcasting for high school students studying computer technology. This idea led to an invitation that I extended to a local pharmacist to speak to AAMSI for a Lunch and Learn. One student was so intrigued that he asked the staff to support him in starting a podcast. Because of the diversity and inclusion workshops that I attended, I worked to find ways for scholars in AAMSI to benefit from diversity and inclusion training. I am thrilled that Enacting Equity is now preparing a Lunch and Learn for AAMSI scholars in 2021.
This year’s VISION conference was delightful. I enjoyed the sessions, workshops, and networking. Also, I was pleased and honored to have gained so much more knowledge about CTE. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to attend VISION 2021 in historic New Orleans, LA. There, I will gain even more CTE knowledge and finally get to network with like-minded CTE practitioners in person amidst the beautiful backdrop of an enjoyable city. I cannot wait!