Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Innovative Educator’s 2011 Educon Picks!

Friday, January 28th marks the start of my favorite conference of the year. The brilliant, visionary, thought-leader, and ultimate player (Frisbee that is), Chris Lehmann and SLA’s Educon 2.3. I love this conference, because it’s all about the conversation. At Educon, the idea is that participants and presenters share ideas and get smarter. It provides a more intimate setting to give attendees the opportunity to talk, think, grow and connect in a setting much more intimate than larger conferences. The other nice thing is it takes place at the school with many of the students on hand. One of my favorite things to do is eavesdrop on their conversations that are so filled with excitement, pride and enthusiasm. The same can be said for the teacher conversations.

If you rare planning to attend and like my blog, you might find my recommendations for sessions and events helpful. Following each session I share exactly why I’m interested in each session selected.

12:00 – 3:00 - Spend the day at Science Leadership Academy. EduCon attendees have free admission to the Franklin Institute and other local Philadelphia institutions on Friday.
6:00 – 8:00 - Panel Discussion at the Franklin Institute: Why Does Innovation Matter?—Come to the Franklin Institute to see a group of societal visionaries speak about the role of innovation in our society in a panel discussion moderated by Frederic Bertley of The Franklin Institute
8:00 – 9:30 - Reception at the Franklin Institute

Saturday - 9:15 a.m. at SLA
Keynote: Leroy Nunery, Deputy Superintendent, School District of Philadelphia

Saturday - 10:00 a.m. in Drama Studio

"I'm From the Education Department and Am Here to Help" and other bedtime stories: A conversation about how to make and influence policy with some who do.

Who: Jonathan Becker, Julia Fallon, Cathy Higgins, Doug Levin
Policy development is a lot like watching grass grow and the process can look different depending on the view from your perch. Let's dissect some recent education policies and brainstorm ideas to encourage educational activism (e.g., creating networks of people and organizations) at all levels to influence future policy.
Why I’m attending this session: I’ve been spending more time participating in the ed policy conversation in person, on my blog, and most recently at the Huffington Post. I appreciate any advice on updating outdated policies.

Saturday - 12:30 p.m. in 308

Online Professional Development...moving away from post three times and submit

Who: Michael Wacker, Chris Craft
Online professional development facilitators often measure the success of a learning experience by analyzing time spent, clicks, posts and other assignments. How can we change online PD to be more community-based where content combined with context and conversations guide learning? To that end, what tools does a facilitator need in his/her toolbelt?
Why I’m attending this session: I’ve been talking and writing about online learning both on my blog and at EdReformer. Online learning is growing fast both in secondary and higher ed. Most of us agree with the need in moving from seat time to demonstration of personal mastery. This means that time, clicks, posts should have less relevance than they do. What are more effective measures of learning? This is the right conversation to be having.

Saturday - 2:30 p.m. in 313

The Great Prohibition: Using Cell Phones Outside the Ban

Who: Lisa Nielsen (That’s Me!), George Engel
Participants will learn to work with cell phones outside of school bans by developing several different cell phone based activities done outside of the classroom.
Why I’m attending this session: Because I’m leading it with George Engel, oh, and I’ve just written a book on the topic. I also write about this a ton on my blog with the “Cell phones in Education” tag and I have a facebook page called, “Let Students Use Cell Phones to Learn.”. I hope to see some of my readers at this session :-)

Saturday Evening
4:30 – 6:30 - Making Connections: "Philly Classic" Dinner at SLA
  • I may skip the Philly classic. Dinner with some attendees might be nice.
7:30 – 11:00 - Networking at Rembrandt's, 23rd and Aspen St
  • This is an absolute and where last year I had a chance to have great conversations with Chris Lehmann, Christian Long, Will Richardson, FunnyMonkey, Jon Becker, and more!
Sunday - 9:00 a.m. in SLAPanel Discussion Can Schools Support Student Innovation Engage with a panel of education leaders discussing how we can reform our schools to empower students to learn and create in powerful, meaningful ways.

Sunday - 10:30 a.m. in 208

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Who: Darren Kuropatwa, Dean Shareski
Room 208
This conversation will explore curriculum and cross disciplinary opportunities to explicitly teach visual literacy skills using concrete examples from the news and a Mythbusters approach to YouTube. Bring your laptop and be prepared to play and learn and talk.
Why I want to attend this session: I <3>Controlling your digital identity is as easy as 1-2-3.

OR....(The Jakes VS Shareski Dilema)

Sunday - 10:30 a.m. in 204

Why Johnny Can't Read: A Conversation About What It Means to Be Literate...Today

Who: David Jakes, Laura Deisley
Nicholas Carr argues that we live in The Shallows. Clay Shirky writes that the literary world is now losing its normative hold on culture. So, is literacy changing? As we incorporate connective technologies in our classrooms, are the skills associated with deep reading and critical thinking being lost? What does it mean to be literate in 2010 and beyond?
Why I want to attend this session: As I shared in my post The Kids Are All Right, I disagree with Nicholas Carr and his “Shallow” philosophy. I always learn a lot when I hear David Jakes speak so I look forward to his views.

Sunday - 12:30 p.m. in 301

iSchool Area of Focus: Helping Students Become Experts

Who: Alisa Berger, Mary Moss
Only in its first year, the NYC iSchools Area of Focus program, which requires juniors to select a two-year focus for their studies, is already increasing motivation and attracting college interest. Come learn about how the program works, share and discuss suggestions for improvements, and evaluate the program for use in your own school community.
Why I’m attending this session: I’ve the iSchool and its brilliant leaders since my first visit to the school when I discovered it provided an Immunization to an Uninteresting Curriculum. This new program sounds simply wonderful and I hope it is something that becomes an opportunity for other students. I look forward to learning, writing, and sharing more about their work.

Sunday - 2:30 p.m. in 207

Teaching Middle School in an Age of Autodidacts

Who: Andrew Carle
We’ll explore the viability of open-inquiry classrooms, where students pursue skills of their choosing, supported by teachers with unrelated expertise. Where's the "sweet spot" for student inquiry, balanced between the learning habits of obsessive hobbyists, realities of the middle-school classroom, and the absentee approach of Minimally Invasive Education? ( Is it worth looking for?
Why I’m attending this session: Autodidacts, free/dom/un schooling has been of tremendous interest to me since I was introduced to the philosophy just a short time ago. I’m interested in talking about it more with others face-to-face.

Those are my picks. If you’re a reader of my blog, or a social media friend, I do hope we’ll have a chance to connect during my stay. Advance warning, please remind me how we’re connected. While it’s wonderful to meet my brilliant social media friend’s minds before I see their faces, it makes it a tad hard for me to solidly connect who’s who. Apologies in advance.

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to hear your reflections on this conference! Check out my latest post on how I plan to use cell phones in my classroom! Love to hear your thoughts on this!