A more teacher-friendly format has been adopted for the Design and Technology Association's annual conference, which starts next week in Sheffield.
In previous years, the conference has been held in a hotel, but the new venue, Sheffield Hallam University, is equipped to run practical sessions.
The new-style conference features fewer, but longer, workshops and will provide a real opportunity for professional development says DATA chief executive Jenny Jupe.
"We are very aware that it is difficult to get away from the classroom for professional development," she says. "So rather than coming for a series of fixed seminars where they dip their toe in the water, teachers can attend a longer workshop where they can really get an in-depth focus on their subject."
The food science and technology workshops for secondary teachers are a good example of the new hands-on style sessions. They will be held in dedicated food labs and led by a senior lecturer from the centre of food at Sheffield Hallam.
The sessions will give teachers the opportunity to use food-processing and manufacturing equipment, as well as providing ideas for practical sessions.
Primary workshops include sessions introducing new Damp;T teaching materials from from Gatsby Technical Education Projects, CAD for KS2, and the role of the subject leader.
The secondary programme includes individual CADCAM workshops for product design, materials technology and textiles and sessions on electronics and communications technology.
Celebrating the achievements of design students is also a key feature of this year's conference. On Thursday and Friday there will be keynote speeches from the Intermediate Technology Development Group which runs the Sustainable Design Awards.
Some of the best entries from this year's event will be displayed at the exhibition (see story above). Innovative work by KS34 students will be honoured at the Technology Design innovation (TDi) Awards ceremony on Friday evening. Primary schools get their moment in the limelight with the announcement of the DATA Leading Primary Schools Awards on Saturday.
As usual, the International Design and Technology Association research conference will be held at the same venue. The conferences overlap, allowing teachers to listen to and meet with some of the leading researchers in the field.
* The DATA annual conference and the IDTA research conference, July 1-3, Sheffield Hallam University. For full details and registration, Tel: 01789 470 007 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org