May 25, 2015
What city would you nominate for our next big educational technology conference?
I’m spending the weekend in Montreal, attending the Event Horizon: Exploring Higher Education in 2050 convening at McGill University. Fabulous gathering.
A few days in this city 1.7 million people have been enough to convince me that Montreal would be the perfect place to hold one of big educational technology conferences.
Reason #1 - Montreal Is a Giant College Town: Montreal boasts six universities and 12 junior colleges within a 5 mile radius. With almost 250,000 students, Montreal has either the highest or the 2nd highest proportion of postsecondary students in North America. (Depending on who you ask). The anglophone (English-speaking) big public universities include McGill (32,000 students) and Concordia (44,000 students). The francophone (French-speaking) big public institutions include Université du Québec (66,000 students) and Université de Montréa (55,000 students). How great would it be to distribute an edtech meeting across the campuses of these institutions.
Reason #2 - Our EdTech Conferences Need To Be More International: Our edtech conferences are too U.S.-centric. We work in a global higher education industry, yet our meeting places don’t reflect this reality. Ultimately, I’d like to see our edtech meetings occur outside of North America. Montreal would be a great place to start. Holding a big edtech conference here would be a stake in the ground that our industry believes that we are global.
Reason #3 - Montreal Has Excellent Transportation Links: Is it really more difficult to fly to Montreal than Los Angeles, Orlando, or Chicago? Montreal is surprisingly easy to reach by car. I’d love to take the scenic Amtrak Adirondack train from NYC to Montreal (a short 11 hours).
Reason #4 - Montreal Has Robust Convention and Hotel Space: There are over 15,200 hotel rooms in the city. The convention center is linked to 4,000 hotel rooms by its underground pedestrian network. (If our edtech meeting is in the winter). The Convention Center boasts over 550,000 square feet of space.
Reason #5 - Culture and Walkability: The real reasons that we should hold our next big edtech conference in Montreal is culture and walkability. Montreal is a diverse, energetic and and safe city - boasting a seemingly inexhaustible museums, theaters, galleries and entertainment options. Better yet, you can get to everything on foot. If you don’t want to walk, the Metro is fast, safe, cheap, modern, and convenient.
I’m guessing that there is a big tech scene in Montreal to complement all the higher ed action. Does anybody know other reasons why Montreal would make for a great edtech conference destination?
What city do you want to nominate for our next big edtech conference?
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