Educon 2.3 is over. Last year was my first year attending. I enjoyed it more this year than I did last. In part, this had to do with my being firmly entrenched in K-12. Though I got a lot out of the sessions last year, this year, they meant a lot more and I felt like I could take back some of the things I learned and apply them. I could also bring some of my own experiences and expertise to the conversation. Despite not being in K-12 for that long, I’m recognizing that my previous experience as a college-level teacher has not only helped me but is also valuable experience to share.
Some of my favorite sessions included Shifted Learning, a conversation about communities of learners, which looked at concepts such as PLN, PLC, and guild. We used a lot gaming terminology and gaming experiences to frame our conversation, so I felt right at home.
Another of my favorite sessions was Diversify your Rolodex, a conversation about the lack of women as leaders in educational technology. It was a fascinating conversation, one we keep visiting in the world of blogs, twitter, technology more broadly. We keep asking where are the women? I think they’re here. I’m here, but I think they’re not here as prolifically as men are. That’s not something that specifically came up in our conversation, but it’s a phenomenon I’ve noticed before. The male “thought leaders” in this field (in many fields) tweet more and blog more than many of the women out there. So they’re more likely to be noticed. Those same men often comment on each other’s posts, retweet each other, retweet each other’s work, etc. So again, more attention to those particular people. I don’t think anyone has done a full on study of this, but they have for political blogs and I suspect similar patterns hold true. The thing is, it takes some work to pay attention to people you don’t know and/or who are very different from you racially, gender-wise, etc. I probably am more likely to tweet or comment on posts by middle-age moms than I am other things. But I try to get outside my own demographic. So, I’d say to those of you out there who are considered “thought leaders” in ed tech. Make a point of looking beyond your usual suspects. See what you find.
I also got a lot out of a panel on The Future of the Book and about Is the Internet Making us Stupid, where I argued that we shouldn’t adapt to our tools, but build the tools we need through Computer Science. Of course!
Besides all the great scheduled conversations, I had many wonderful spontaneous conversations. I met a lot of new colleagues, including finally meeting Audrey Watters of Hack Education and ReadWriteWeb. I also got to catch up with old friends from UMW. I’m looking forward to future conferences to share more with new and old friends alike.
- EduCon – This Is Our School (practicaltheory.org)
- Expanding Our Reach: Engaging Parents (EduCon 2.3) (weblogg-ed.com)