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Vermont Connected: Envisioning the Future of Vermont's Economy

Workshops

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A. Stories & Ideas.

A1. K-12 Goes Digital

Moderator: Peter Drescher, Vermont Dept. of Education

Speakers: John Dawson, Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union; Jeff Renard, Vermont Virtual Learning Cooperative; Betsy Calhoon, M. ED, Teacher, Lake Region Union High School

Through presentations by those who work in and for Vermont’s schools, as well as those who develop and implement online educational platforms, we will explore how technology can aid and improve student learning, in traditional classrooms and beyond.

A2. Digital Literacy for a Thriving Economy

Moderator: Martha Reid, Vermont State Librarian

Speakers: Linda McSweeney, Teacher Librarian, Stowe Middle / High School; CCV; Joe Fusco, Vice President, Casella Waste Systems

Vermonters need to be “digitally literate” in order to thrive in today’s high-tech world. Hear from those who are working to provide instruction to ensure that citizens have the skills they need, as well as a statewide employer who understands how digital literacy strengthens our economy and workforce productivity.

A3. Nonprofit Problem Solvers

Moderator: Lauren-Glenn Davitian, Executive Director, CCTV's Center for Media and Democracy and Common Good Vermont

Speakers: Alex Tursi, Fletcher Allen Health Care; Kathryn Blume, Vermontivate; Elizabeth Craib, Woodstock Job Bank

Digital tools can do a lot to help nonprofits become more effective in achieving their missions and more resilient. Our three speakers will speak to their successes with social media and digital tools, as well as how these tools have strengthened their organization and aided outreach.

A4. Business Digital Champions

Moderator: Matt Dunne, Head of Community Affairs, Google

Speakers: Suzy Hodgson, YourFarmStand.com; Carl Russell, Earthwise Farm & Forest; Adam Grinold, Director, Wilmington Works

Using online tools can help strengthen a business’s presence and make it more efficient. They also can be part of the core system that helps to create new businesses. Our speakers will explain how, from farming and logging operations to tourism-based industry, digital tools are key to business success.

A5. A More Open Government

Moderator: Mark Snelling, President, Snelling Center for Government

Speakers: Jamie Gage, Vermont.gov;
Steve Sharp, Vermont Center for Geographic Information; Miro Weinberger, Mayor of Burlington VT

There many ways in which a government can keep itself open, transparent and accountable. When municipal and state governments use digital tools, from online mapping tools to easy-to-find and use websites that host downloadable sets of information, it can encourage citizens to contribute their own time, resources, and ideas more effectively. These types of collaboration are key to finding forward solutions to societal problems, and are thankfully abundant here in Vermont. It is also appropriate to see “open data” as a public asset.

A6. Engaged Communities

Moderator: Michael Wood-Lewis, Front Porch Forum

Speakers: Steve Butcher, Mad River Valley; Sarah Manning, VTResponse.com; Janette Shaffer, Middlesex

From helping citizens and volunteers rally within a community post-disaster, to creating a system for better transparency, collaboration, and communication within a community, our speakers will tell stories of how social media, mobile phones, websites, Front Porch Forum, and more helped their own communities become more engaged.

A7. Why Do Tech Businesses Choose Vermont?

Moderator:  Jeff Couture, Vermont Technology Alliance

Speakers: Lisa Groeneveld, COO & Co-Founder, Logic Supply; Dimitri Garder, Exec. VP, Global Z; David S. Brown, President & CEO, Manufacturing Information Systems, Inc.

Vermont is not always the first place people think of when they are asked to consider call out tech hubs, but our state has been noticed on a national level as a burgeoning place of technological innovation. Three business owners will share their perspectives on why they started their companies in Vermont, and why they stay.

A8. Promoting Innovation in Vermont

Moderator: Lars Torres, Vermont’s Director of the Creative Economy

Speakers: Emily Piper, Co-Founder, Launch VT; Cathy Resmer, Online Editor, Seven Days; Paul Budnitz, Founder & CEO, Budnitz Bicycles

There is an increasing number of resources for those who want to either grow their own company, or work for an existing technological company in Vermont. From business accelerators for entrepreneurs to job fairs for the tech industry, we will hear about what options are available to people who are interested in working in innovation in Vermont, and why the people who created those resources did so.

A9. Tell Your Digital Story

Moderator: Nate Herzog, Storyhack

Take ten minutes during this morning session to tell us your own experiences with technology. Sit down for a videotaped interview, or write out your thoughts, which will be incorporated into our end-of-day summit presentation.

B. Education and Best Practices. Choose from 8 Educational Workshops led by experts:

B1. Getting the Right Training For the Right Jobs

Experts: Tanja Hinterstoisser, Director of Career Services, Champlain College, and Dr. Daniel Connolly, Senior Associate Dean, University of Denver's Daniels College of Business

What does it take to graduate from college with the training to compete in today’s economy, and how will the younger, “millennial” generation interact with the workforce from older generations who grew up without the technology that many now take for granted? This workshop will walk you through suggestions for helping to create the next, most prepared workforce out of today’s college generation.

B2. iConnect: Everyone Teaches Digital Skills:

This workshop was conducted using the materials provided here.

Expert: Mary Kay Dreher, CCV

This workshop helps participants get into a “beginner’s mind” and look at computers and the internet through the eyes of people who are unfamiliar and even intimidated by the technology tools that are second nature for many of us. It will help participants understand the basics of digital literacy, explain core Internet skills, walk beginners through specific online tasks, and give beginners the resources they need for further learning.

B3. Mission Critical: Evaluating & Optimizing Digital Tools

Expert: Rob Fish, Nonprofit Advisor, Vermont Council on Rural Development

This interactive workshop will discuss how to strategically evaluate areas within a nonprofit in which integrating digital tools can increase an organization’s effectiveness, while also saving time, money, and stress. The workshop concludes by zeroing in on steps a small to medium size organization can take to optimize their Facebook Page, and help to answer the ever-elusive question of how to effectively use Social Media without it becoming a full-time job.

B4. Emerging Trends in Digital Marketing for Small Business

Expert: Pat Ripley, eCommerce Director, Vermont Small Business Development Center

The digital landscape continues to change and what worked 18 months ago may not be paying off like it once had. Several changes to social media outlets, mobile marketing tools, search engine systems and various other online platforms in recent months have forced small businesses to change their digital marketing strategies in order to remain effective. This session will explore some of those changes and provide steps and strategies small business owners can take to stay ahead of the game. 

B5. Advancing Municipal Communications

Expert: Tess Gauthier, Snelling Center for Government

What does it take to create a successful website as a municipality? How can technology be used to improve citizens’ engagement and overall interaction with their municipal government? This workshop will walk through the building blocks of what it takes to have a municipal website that will perform well and be adopted by the community.

B6. Human Centered Design to Improve the Delivery of Government Services

Experts: Amanda Levinson, ThirdSpace, and Erika Lowe, Today Box Co.

Human Centered Design is being used in the US and in the UK as a way to complete tech projects through policy teams with people, officials, and others who surface problems in their community and then design the solution together. This focus on collaboration allows for the designing of solutions that truly meet user needs. This workshop will walk through the model and leave participants with a good sense of how they can use it to create effective solutions in their own community.

B7. Marketing Vermont as a Place to Live, Work & Play

Expert: Steve Cook, VT Dept of Tourism and Marketing

Vermont is known as a place to go to experience an outdoor paradise, but what can towns, business groups, and others do to create an image of Vermont that moves beyond its idyllic landscapes? Through online ads, great press, and other important efforts, this workshop will explain how Vermont can be shown as a place not only to visit, but also to live and work in.

B8. How to Foster a Creative Economy

Expert: Lars Torres, Director of Vermont’s Office of the Creative Economy

There is much that towns, business-owners and residents can do to allow for creative people to grow their ideas into a contributing part of the local economy. This workshop will walk through what steps participants can take to create an effective ecosystem to allow creative ideas to flourish from the development stage into a prosperous business.

C. Discussion Sessions: Raising Questions & Developing Ideas for Action on the Future of Vermont’s Digital Economy.

C1. The Role Technology can Play in Education

 

Expert: Dan French, Superintendent, Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union

Action Plan Facilitator: Rebecca Holcombe, Secretary of Education

C2. The Causes of the Digital Divide and Possible Solutions

 

Expert: Samantha Becker, Principal Research Scientist for the U.S. Impact Study, University of Washington

Action Plan Facilitator: (tentative Anne Lezak)

C3. How Nonprofits Can Keep Pace with New Technology

 

Expert: Kate Jellema, Chair, MS in Managing Mission-Driven Organizations & Director, Program in Nonprofit Management, Marlboro College

Action Plan Facilitator: Stuart Comstock-Gay, Vermont Community Foundation

C4. How Small Businesses Can Keep Pace with New Technology

 

Expert: Linda Rossi, State Director, Vermont Small Business Development Center

Action Plan Facilitator: Andrea Cohen, Executive Director, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility

C5. How to Ensure Technology Supports Civic Life and Enhances Open Government

Expert: Susan Clark, author

Action Plan Facilitator: Steven Pappas, Editor, Times-Argus

C6. The Role of Technology in Resilience, and How Communities Can Become Tighter Knit

 

Expert: Ben Rose, Recovery and Mitigation Section Chief, Vermont Dept. of Emergency Management & Homeland Security

Action Plan Facilitator: Lucy Leriche, Deputy Secretary, Agency of Commerce & Community Development

C7. What is Needed to Foster New Technology Industries in Vermont

 

Expert: Mark Heyman, Human Resources Director, Logic Supply

Action Plan Facilitator: Patricia Moulton, Secretary, Agency of Commerce & Community Development

C8. The Value of Broadband and How to Keep Pace with Needs

Facilitator: Mary Evslin, Evslin Family Foundation

Action Plan Facilitator: Anne Galloway, vtdigger.org

C9. Un-Conference: Attendees choose what they would like to discuss

Facilitator: Kristin Carlson, Director of Media, Green Mountain Power