A new era in state-of-the-art virtual conferences will be on display at the upcoming New Zealand Vocational Education Training Research Forum (NZVETRF) forum.
This is the first NZ event to use the ground-breaking 6Connex technology where participants are hosted in a high-tech, interactive virtual conference environment that looks and feels just like the real thing.
Event participants can ‘walk’ into a registration lobby, enter the auditorium to listen to a keynote speaker, pop into a sponsor booth to have a chat, or saunter over to one of a number of networking lounges to ‘catch up’ with the other participants already in that room.
Everything about it is designed to feel extremely familiar to participants, even though it’s all held in a virtual world.
The Skills Organisation – one of the organisers of this year’s NZVETRF forum alongside Ako Aotearoa – partnered with cloud-based event provider 6Connex because they wanted to ensure the event not only allowed a way to hear from speakers but also provided every opportunity, in the face of Covid restrictions, for people to network and interact.
“This is a superb tool that allows us provide a unique experience for those attending the forum,” says Garry Fissenden from The Skills Organisation. “This event is known as the event for education researchers and experts from NZ and around the globe to share best practice and discuss ‘what works’ in vocational education.
“This new conference technology allows for much more than just your standard conference. It allows us to offer a layer of interactivity that is truly impressive. And, since we have had global interest in this event, it’s perfect to be able to provide a virtual environment with no physical boundaries.”
The NZVETRF forum, which is co-sponsored by The Skills Organisation and Ako Aotearoa and is in its 16th year, brings together education researchers and experts in vocational education from New Zealand and around the world.
“The international interest in the forum shows that this is an important discussion for not only New Zealand right now, but the rest of the world as well,” says Helen Lomax, Director of Ako Aotearoa.
“Covid has had a huge impact on economies round the world, so this, along with the changes that are now taking place within New Zealand’s own vocational education framework, means the forum is timely.”
The NZVETRF forum’s keynote speakers include some big names in the vocational education community, including Dame Karen Poutasi, former NZ Director-General of Health and former Chief Executive of the NZ Qualifications Authority; Professor Stephen Billett, pre-eminent researcher and author on workplace learning from Griffith University; Professor Leesa Wheelahan, internationally recognised author and leading tertiary education researcher from the University of Toronto and Nazrene Mannie, Executive Director from the Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN Global).
As well as the speaker programme, the 6Connex conference environment allows the forum to also host participants in a range of interactive experiences.
“We know that that one of the things people enjoy about the NZVETRF forum is that as well as listening to the speakers, they also have some really important conversations with others over a cup of coffee,” says Fissenden.
“So, this interactive experience, with the ability to move around, pick-and-choose different rooms and interact with other participants, really allows us to offer the best of both worlds.”
Participants can join virtual hangouts and interest-based expert sessions – and even initiate video chats with other guests one-on-one, in groups, or in topic-based hangouts in a purpose-built networking lounge.
The 6Connex platform is used around the world for virtual summits, conferences and webinars – with a broad range of options for personalising an event, as well as gathering an impressive range of broad data and metrics.
“Interestingly, the Covid environment meant we needed to host this year’s NZVETRF forum as an online event,” says Fissenden.
“But given the global interest, we knew that the 6Connex platform would allow us to take this important discussion to a broader audience in a truly immersive and interactive way.”
The NZVETRF forum will be held on 12 November 2020. Visit the website to find out more or to register. Numbers are limited.