Monday, March 8, 2010

Educon 2.2

I promised myself I wouldn't read or post any blogs until I posted on my Educon 2.2 experience. So with my Google Reader Feed exploding, I am finally writing about my experience. And Educon 2.2 is definitely more about experience than anything else. There is something about being in that building and meeting everyone Face-to- face that is beyond anything I have experienced in a long time in education. But let me back track - what is Educon?

Educon is the brain child of the principal of The Science Leadership Academy (SLA), Chris Lehman, in Philadelphia. SLA is a charter school associated with The Franklin Inst and is an example (to me at least) of how charter school's can change the way we think about education. Educon 2.2 takes the best part of a conference - the conversations and focuses on them. It reminds me of how we say that edtech is about "Content not Tools."

Friday started with a very insightful personal tour from one of the students at SLA. Muhammad was so excited to show me around his school, and what he was passionate about. To me that is the best testimony you can have of any school - kids excited to share what they are doing and happy to be there. And isn't that excitement, that enthusiasm we have for school - don't we want our students to have that as well?

I had an incredible time at the rest of the conference discussing "What is Creativity?" or "What can we learn about learning from Play?" and even "How to stump Education Lawyers" but what it came down to me was the conversations I had with other both in and out of sessions. My Dad used to tell me how important it was to "network," and I never really believed him until I started creating and cultivating my own PLN. And what I've discovered is that these in-person connections at places like Educon make my online connections much more richer.

In the end - I think it is my interaction with people, especially Muhammad that I will take back with me. I believe my friend Jason said it best when he says,
What will you do tomorrow in your schools to help those around you ‘defy gravity? Will you merely return to school re-energized by meeting many of your PLN face-to-face looking to improve what you do? Clearly, that is one reason we attend a conference like EduCon but what about those around you? Will you reach out to the folks in your department, down the hall, even in a neighboring school across the district or in your state?

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