Tuesday, July 14, 2009

NECC - Day 1

I missed the Sunday Keynote of Malcom Gladwell, so my first real day at NECC was on Monday. Since I was staying for friends I navigated the metro in from Maryland to the convention center. I was extremely grateful that NECC not only has an online planner, but that I can subscribe to the feed on my iCal & iPhone. I didn't have to carry my program around, I could just look at the calendar on my phone & see where to go. The only drawback is that it doesn't designate who the presenter was - so it was hard to decern where I wanted to go.

My first day was mostly tied up with meeting with the University of Texas at Austin about their College of Education 1:1 laptop program & meeting with my fellow presenters for our Ning presentation the following day. I atteneded about 30 minutes of an Ian Jukes session - but he said "Digital Natives" just too many times for my taste. I missed Scott McLeod's session, that everyone raved about, but luckily it was recorded on http://www.istevision.org/

The best part of the day was getting a chance to meet Lee & Sachi Lefever of Common Craft and talk about their creative process as well as how their videos are used in schools. I also discovered that Lee grew up a few miles from me in Kernersville, NC before moving to Seattle, WA - whereas I was born in Seattle & moved to Winston-Salem. It was great to talk to them about their travels and their process and I hope they enjoyed their first education conference!

EBC - Can we change education?

One of the reasons I love EBC is getting to meet with the people I follow and talk to on Twitter. Jon Becker is one of the those people I was looking forward to seeing and talking to face-to-face. His Edubloggercon session reminded me of what I wish every graduate course had been like. An informed and honest discussion about the state of education. Specifically his session was titled, "Where School Reform Meets Madonna: Can public schools fundamentally reinvent themselves? (Jon Becker & All the Cool People) [NOTE: anyone who mentions a tech. tool has to stand on a table and sing "Loving Feeling"]"

Because even though technology is what this conference "is all about" - really it is about changing our schools. We had an honest and frank discussion about the changes we wanted to see in education and the reality that it may not come to pass. What interested me is all these pockets of innovation that never really seem to be accepted into mainstream education. That innovation is not a new idea and so many of these ideas about changing the status quo have been around. So why not? Can change come from the inside? Does there need to be an outside event? Do we need another Sputnik? And if so - does that leave educators with our hands tied behind our backs? It was almost a bit disheartening, but then you realize that all the people in this discussion are "Fighting the good Fight," and I like to think we are making a difference, but can we make systemic change - I'm not sure .

Oh and Kristen Hokanson mentioned a tech tool - but didn't have to sing :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

EBC - Professional development

I started out with a discussion on Professional Development which Liz Davis started (and Alice Mercer covered in her blog). We had a great discussion (and commiseration) about how difficult getting teachers to come to PD is, and ways that we can change our strategy for PD. Jeff Utech shared how he puts his teachers on an individualized "tech plan." Although I love this idea, I doubt my professors would be up for it. But I do like the idea of customizing goals with our instructors, and meeting with them one-on-one to tailor tech integration to their needs.

We also had a great discussion about different ways of offering PD, from Open Lab sessions, to planning time, etc. Most of us have found that doing a teaser (such as the Wired Wed I conduct) work as effect teasers, as well as give us an idea of interest before having a full blown workshop. I struggle with the idea of consistency (something every week or every other week) vs. only holding them based on interest. Last semester I didn't host any workshops, only Wired Wed. I'll try to do a bit of both this year, but definitely focus on more one-on-one interactions.

The only down side is that I missed the Web 2.0 smackdown AGAIN! Luckily you can get all the great Web 2.0 tools & UStream Video on http://coolcatteacher.wikispaces.com/Web+2+Smackdown

Edubloggercon 2009

This year Steve Hargadon once again outdid himself as our "ambassador" to ISTE and arranged for Edubloggercon. Edubloggercon, which I agree with Steve has less to do with blogging, and more to do with subversive teaching, is a chance for educators to get together and share ideas about what technology integration really looks like. For me it is also a chance to connect with those that I converse with online. Face-to-face is still important to me. I get a good deal of info online, and enjoy making friends on Twitter, but I still want to just hangout sometimes :)

Edubloggercon is set-up as an unconference, I like to think of it as controlled chaos. Pick a topic any topic, see if people show up to talk about it, you get an hour and then do it all over again. I made it to about 3 sessions before my brain went into overload, and I needed a mental break - but I did make it into the picture this year :)

NECC & Edubloggercon

NECC & the pre-cursor Edublogercon have become one of my favorite events of the year. I get a chance to connect Face to Face with all of the people I tweet or Ustream or blog with. It gives me a chance to be inspired about the possibilities of education again and how true technology integration can occur. This year however, I found myself Tweeting much more Blogging and I find myself almost an entire week later without a single blog post. I'd like to say I've spent that time "reflecting," but really it has been more about recovering!

Hopefully the following blogposts will highlight some of the best reasons why so many of us go to NECC every year, most of us on our own dime.

Created with flickr slideshow.