Sunday, January 22, 2012

5 Things I Love about Educon

At my first Educon 2008
This will be my fifth Educon, and over time, my relationship with this conference has changed, from the freshman excitement of meeting everyone for the first time at Educon 2.0, to the highly anticipated sophomore year, when I couldn't wait to go back and see everyone, to my junior year, where the the familiarity of a place I know well led me to give some Educon advice, and finally my last year as a senior attendee I shared a bit of my disillusionment. And even though I should perhaps have graduated, I'm still committed to this extraordinary conference.

Here are a few reasons I keep going back.

1. The People - For this reason alone I would keep going back. My Twitter network came alive at my first Educon and now it feels like a reunion every time I go back. There are people there I only see once or twice a year, with whom I have developed strong relationships. Every year I add more people to the list. 

2. The Conversations - I can always count on having interesting conversations with people who are facing the same issues I am at their schools. In so many places I am ahead of the pack, doing things others have yet to try.  Not so at Educon, where I can always find someone who is far ahead of me. I learn so much from those folks. 

3. The SLA students - I am always impressed and inspired by the kids who help run this conference. They are an example to me of what students can accomplish if they are given the responsibility, trust and inspiration that The Science Leadership Academy provides for them.

4. The Challenge - Challenge comes in many forms at Educon, there are people who challenge your beliefs and ask tough questions. There are events that require meeting people you don't know (which can be scary at times). And this year I am challenging myself to do an Encienda Educon presentation, something I have never done before.

5. The Sessions - I guess it is ironic that the actual sessions are last on my list. I certainly have not forgotten them. I always enjoy both presenting and attending sessions with this community. There are som many great sessions to choose from, it can be difficult to choose one.

Liz and Lisa
And then there are the purely personal reasons. Hanging out with people I have grown to love, driving 3 blocks down the road when we should be walking, laughing at Chris Craft as he freezes his South Carolina tush off, following around "my conference wife" Lisa Thumann, eating some delicious Philly steak, catching up with Joyce Valenza, David Jakes, Alec Couros and so many more I can't name them all here.

I can't believe it is less than a week away. See y'all there!
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