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Microsoft 365 EduCon is a conference bringing together Microsoft experts and members of the tech community. With a focus on Microsoft 365, SharePoint, Teams, Power Platform, Viva & Azure, 365 EduCon is truly a Microsoft-centric education and excellent networking experience. The Seattle conference took place August 21st – 25th 2023 at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle.
With over two dozen sessions focused on Microsoft Teams alone, this was indeed a busy week! I was delighted to deliver three conference sessions during the week, and I attended so many other sessions that really brought that “ah-ha!” moment for me over and over again. Details for the upcoming Microsoft 365 EduCon events are on their website 365educon.com.
The first conference day started off with a keynote titled ‘New Era of Work’ and displayed the future of collaboration in Microsoft 365. Through the keynote, led by Adam Harmetz, Karuana Gatimu, Miceile Barrett, Nicole Woon, and Liz Sundet, Microsoft showed how our work life is already being revolutionized and reimagined. With major changes and inclusion of Artificial Intelligence in SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Lists, OneDrive, and Microsoft Syntex, we truly are entering in a new era of collaboration and work.
The keynotes, workshops, and sessions provided many chances to learn and grow. Sessions ranged from ‘introductory’ to help you get started and went all the way to technical deep dives for IT Pros and developers. The sessions were delivered by Microsoft speakers, as well as Microsoft MVPs who are independent experts in their own focus areas. This event had sessions and discussions on Microsoft Viva, Teams, Microsoft Fabric, the Power Platform, and so much more.
One session I really enjoyed was presented by Max Fritz, a Microsoft Product Manager, that discussed what was new in Microsoft Teams for Education. So much innovation in Teams is being driven by the need to help connect and educate. This was a super informative session detailing how Microsoft is delivering to educational institutions. Another session that stood out to me was a deep dive into Microsoft Teams channels, presented by Microsoft MVP Mike Maadarani. Mike explained how the Teams architecture plays a role in how each channel type functions.
The sessions are only part of the story with the conference though. The networking opportunities are plentiful, and I took full advantage of the time! Throughout the week, there were expertise-focused lunch tables, an Ask the Experts area, and other ways to enable connecting attendees based on their field of work, geographical location, and social interests. I was also able to meet with several of my customers to discuss what they had learned and how we could work together to help their organization adopt new technologies.
The Vendor and Expo Hall was buzzing all week too! There were so many great companies showcasing how they add value to Microsoft 365 and the Power Platform ecosystems. From big software companies to medium-sized integrators, the expo hall was the place to go to meet with experts to find answers to any question!
Another opportunity to get answers happened during Microsoft’s live Ask Me Anything (AMA) session. Ten Microsoft employees who work on products ranging from Dataverse and Microsoft Lists to the Power Platform were on hand to answer all questions presented to them by attendees. The always entertaining Mark Kashman, Senior Product Manager at Microsoft, was the emcee and made sure everyone’s questions were answered – and that they left with a prize!
Ask the Experts and Microsoft Community Booth
The Ask the Experts and Microsoft Community Booth were both located in the expo hall as well. The Ask the Experts tables were staffed by the experts and Microsoft employees that were delivering sessions throughout the week. This was one way 365 EduCon really set itself apart – attendees can sit down with the experts, for free, and obtain answers to their questions regarding their specific scenarios.
The Microsoft Community Booth was also a great place to stop by and not only ask questions but also meet members of Microsoft’s product groups. From keynote speakers to the engineers laying down code for the next product release, the Community Booth was the best meetup location. I found information on how to get further connected to the technology community and even got some tech stickers! I heard from so many attendees that the Microsoft Community Booth was so fun.
I am looking forward to the next Microsoft 365 EduCon conference, which takes place in Chicago, Illinois starting October 30th, 2023. I will again be speaking and participating in the Ask the Experts times, and I hope to see many of you there as well. If you want to learn more about new technologies, network with experts and your peers, and find the best solutions for your organization’s Microsoft 365 and Power Platform needs, make sure to attend 365 EduCon!
Owner and Microsoft 365 Consultant at CollabFront
Daniel is a Microsoft MVP and Independent Consultant working with organizations throughout North America to help them understand, adopt, and love their technology. Daniel is a sought-after trainer, providing customized Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, Microsoft Viva, Power BI, and Power Automate training for companies around the world.
Daniel is passionate about building technical community in Tennessee with his roles as the co-founder and current President of the Nashville Microsoft 365 Users Group and Director of Microsoft 365 Nashville. He is also co-host for the popular "365 Message Center Show" at https://365MCS.com. You can follow Daniel online at https://DanielGlenn.com and @DanielGlenn on Twitter.