Educon 2.2 Update

Here’s some observations so far from Educon 2.2

“What is Smart” Panel discussion: many attendees felt that the discussion was too broad and focused too much on trying to decide what “smart” meant. Some general ideas about areas of affinity, finding a passion, differentiated learning, inquiry-based learning, project-based learning and memorization were tossed in, but the conversation seemed to go in a lot of directions at once. Last year’s topic about “what is a school” sounded more interesting.

Friday Night Independent School get-together: Great people, but the Public House music was way too loud and it was hard to have conversations even in the private room. Leaving the place, the music was almost making people bounce out of chairs…

Many to Many Session: I greatly enjoyed the conversations and points brought up, and I hope the Prezi I had didn’t take too long to get through. There was some debate about open source– the ideas behind it should be part of what we define digital citizenship to be (doing things for love, collaboration, contributing to many helping many) and there are open source solutions schools should consider (as we use Moodle and Zimnbra, and others use Drupal and more). There was also very good conversation about social networking initiatives that have failed (bulletin boards, wikis, threaded discussions, more). As Shirky notes, we have to be careful about the Promise, the Tool and the Bargain. If one fails, the project fails. Also, scaffolding is needed to push contribution and collaboration– it does not happen automatically out of the goodness of the hearts of users.

Managing your digital lifestyle session: Wow, that was a group of serious list-makers, calendar makers, tweeters, Evernote users, Google Apps users, etc. I actually felt a little left brained in the session, because I don’t use 800 tools to help organize myself or tweet my life or Facebook my family. (Not that I don’t have a blog, a twitter account, photo galleries online). I am much less connected than some– which is okay by me! One tool that was recommend, and I intend to look into, is Evernote.

Leadership 2.0 by Chris Lehmann of the Science Leadership Academy (hosting school). Chris has a great personality and can definitely talk to teachers. Hearing more about the story of the creation of SLA over the last four years was very good, as well as hearing about the cross disciplinary Inquiry philosophy they have, and the creation of a Caring Community. All good stuff, but again a bit scattered. So many topics (tech, inquiry, caring, collaborative decision-making) were handled at once. I would have enjoyed a little more focus on the changes in leadership that all schools are considering or engaged in as a new generation of administrators step up to the challenge.

Last night I took myself on a walk downtown to Rittenhouse Square. It was snowing and 17 degrees, but it was great to walk by the places where I once taught night courses to adults for Temple University. That was a good time, back in the late 1980s.

Okay, time to participate in an Inquiry session.

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