Thursday, February 4, 2010
"At SLA, learning is not just something that happens from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm, but a continuous process that expands beyond the four walls of the classroom into every facet of our lives." -Science Leadership Academy, Mission and Vision
Each person brings to an event his/her own prior knowledge, expectations, and level of commitment.
Each person then departs having undergone a unique experience.
During MY EduCon, I particularly enjoyed Sylvia Martinez's exploration of Tinkering Towards Technology Fluency and the Alec Couros/Dean Shareski conversation about technology innovations in teacher education.
Sylvia suggested that schools provide time for tinkering: an opportunity for unstructured exploration and creative risk-taking. To the well-known Sustained Silent Reading, she would add a period of Sustained Noisy Tinkering...for both students and teachers...where trying something new, that may very well "fail," is celebrated rather than censured.
Alec and Dean described their interactions with pre-service teachers. This led to an exchange of ideas about being a transparent, reflective practitioner and reiteration of the importance of becoming a member of communities "connected by passion."
Both of these sessions deepened my understanding of, and extended my thinking about, innovation and the nature of learning.
Falling Down the "Alice Project" Rabbit Hole was valuable to me for a different reason: it beautifully modeled the ideal of students and teachers in a mutually-enriching educational activity. Listening to Benedikt and Mike articulate their classroom experiences, watching them maintain their composure in front of a large group of interested adults, was an impressive demonstration of what young people can achieve when given the chance. Whether or not their blog postings were consistently of the highest caliber, these teens have obviously learned how to effectively collaborate, create, and communicate...all those skills we label "21st century."
I enjoyed the informal lunchtime Encienda, where presenters had 5 minutes each to share an idea via 20 slides (which automatically advanced every 15 seconds). It was a good object lesson in how to compress and refine information, then enhance it with attention-grabbing images, while communicating effectively with your audience.
Above all, the most important aspect of EduCon (or any other conference) for me was the opportunity to connect personally with people: some old friends, some new, equally valued, equally valuable.
I'm still processing my EduCon experience. Next year I plan on returning to Philadelphia, to continue my learning journey. I hope will join me there.
You can see a slideshow of my Philadelphia/EduCon photos here.