From EdCamps to Teachmeets and everything in between, about 5 years ago unconferences took over the professional development arena for educators. Teachers LOVED learning from teachers. Who better to provide expert advice than a boots-on-the-ground EXPERT?!

In The Nelson County Schools, the team leads created their own branded version of an unconference called “Backpack Days,” which replaced arbitrary “professional development” days built into the calendar year. During these district-wide Backpack Days, the entire Nelson County Schools family gathered in one location to learn from each other, connect & collaborate together.

My primary role in the creation of Backpack Days was the overall brand & “hype” leading up to this event. If our staff was to lead other staff, we needed sessions, programs (or magazines), a common identity, and a WHOLE LOT of excitement.

Partnering with Big Echo Creative, we created the logo for Backpack Days which aligned to the overall district branding & values. Next was the development of an “app” or platform to actually allow participants to browse sessions on their phone, the day of the event but also serve as a place to check for resources AFTER and hype them up BEFORE!

I chose a new edtech startup,, as my platform. I started with a blank genially and ended with this mobile friendly “app”: . All components of this genially are interactive, beginning with the sessions divided up by AM/PM and then subdivided by bubbles with their team headshots. On the individual session pages, I created interactivity by providing connection links to to their professional social media accounts and any session resources participants needed after.

Magazine design was also a big part of this Backpack Day process as we wanted participants to have a “notetaking” strategy with guided questions and a place to write content. We also leveraged the magazine to reinforce our values & overall brand, identity and storyline.