This past weekend, I attended Educon 2.2 in Philly, hosted by Chris Lehmann and the Science Leadership Academy. I don’t have time for a huge post, so let me just make a couple of observations. As far as I could tell, both by the sessions I attended and the overall list, there were very few presentations where people talked at you or went through a step-by-step how to. The conversations that occurred, and they were conversations, were about big issues: what is professional development, what is the role of play in learning and how do we incorporate more into our teaching, what will schools of the future look like. And it wasn’t presenters telling us what they thought about all of those things. Instead, they had us talk to each other about them, recognizing that we all have ideas and expertise to share. The more the session was about us talking to each other, the more I liked it. I liked hearing from other people and meeting other people. I made some very nice and quite unexpected connections.
I had this weird sensation for much of the time as I shifted roles from teacher of teachers to teacher to parent. I had some interesting conversations around getting parents involved beyond bake sales. My frustration over the lack of transparency in my kids’ classrooms found a voice and a sympathetic ear. I spent a lot of time with some colleagues from University of Mary Washington and we were marveling at how similar the conversations that were occurring were to those that occur around teaching in higher ed. We also noted that more faculty should be knowledgeable about K-12 education beyond their own children’s.
If you’re involved in education at all, this is a conference I urge you to attend next year. It is lively, informative and inspirational. I couldn’t have picked a better way to spend my time this weekend.