Sunday, January 29, 2012

Educon 2.4 Reflections 2012

Lisa & Liz Presenting at Educon 2.4
There is always so much to think about on the way home from Educon. And this year was no different. As I sit home unraveling my experience, I am feeling a mix of emotions. As always it was wonderful to see my old Educon friends and meet many new ones. I attended some interesting sessions, presented an Encienda (20 slides, 15 seconds per slide), and presented a session with Lisa Thumann.

Here are some of my take-aways.

Boy is this a heady experience! Educon lives in the brain. It is a conference of ideas and ideas and ideas. Each session tries to think positively about ways we can improve our educational system. When I leave the conference I often feel my head is going to explode. The next step is to take all of these swirling pieces of something in my brain and put them together to create an actionable step in my professional life. That is the biggest challenge.

Boy do I dislike panels. I finally came to the realization that I just don't like panels. It isn't the panelists, it isn't the setting, it isn't the topic, it is the structure itself. First of all, I'm not afraid to admit I have a short attention span. Listening to people talk, without being able to interact with them, is not my favorite type of learning. I can stand a lecture if it is well crafted with a story to tell and an interesting message. The problem with panels (for me) is that the topics jump all over the place. I often feel like the panelists are just vying to get their voices heard (as opposed to having something to say). There are occasionally bits of genius mixed in, but I find it hard to pay attention enough to catch them. This year I watched the Friday night panel in the overflow room (next year I might watch from Mace's crossing ;-). If I follow the Tweets, I might glean more than if I were in the room.

Boy does the Educon crowd use social media well. The aggregation of information through a single hashtag is brilliant. I know I can look back and learn from the sessions I couldn't attend. This level of comfort brings the technology the closest to "oxygen" than any conference I've been to.

Boy are there a lot of good teachers at Educon. Half of what I learn by attending sessions are pedagogical teaching methods and protocols that I can try in my classrooms. I don't just come away with ideas, I come away with methodologies that I can use to support learning (regardless of the content) with my students.

Boy have I heard a lot of this stuff before. I can't deny I'm getting a little jaded. Each year we talk about the same ideas - giving students more choice, students as teachers, problem based learning, innovation, 21st century learning, higher level thinking, blah blah blah blah blah.

Using the What if, and, and, and protocol introduced to me by David Jakes, What if Educon did the talking and the walking, and each one of us left with one concrete action that we could bring back to our schools, and we made a connection with one other person who promised to support us in that endeavor, and we publicly shared our progress on completing that action, and we came back each year and built on that action until all the little pieces made a big change? Wouldn't that be cool!
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