This year I not only attended, I presented. I didn’t do this alone; I’m much too much of a chicken for that. Hadley Ferguson (@Hadleyjf), Philip Cummings (@Philip_Cummings), and I were a team. I have to say that when this whole idea began sometime in the fall on twitter, it seemed like a great idea. I think it went something like this: I saw some part of a conversation Hadley and Philip were having about EduCon. I replied to the both saying I would go to a session on the topic they were discussing. Next thing I know, Hadley has started a google doc, and we are collaborating on a proposal. The details are really a blur.
Well, it turned out we were accepted. (see our listing here) So, that lead to more collaborating, using google docs and skype to work out a real plan for the session. We all teach 5th-8th grade students, so we over plan, because upper elementary and middle school students don’t really do well with slacker plans. Even if you don’t use the plans you made, it’s best to have one or two to spare.
Well, I am happy to report that we had a very respectable number of people at our session, which meant for a reasonably full room. And, none of them left midway through. (Participants are encouraged to change sessions if they are not pleased.) There were even people following the livestream feed. There was lively discussion, people moved around, shared ideas, and left without throwing things. Victory!
This was the first time I had presented for people other than my colleagues or in-house events (Board of Trustees, alumni, prospective parents, etc). It was great to have a co-presenters. I can honestly say that I really enjoyed working with Hadley and Philip in both the planning and presenting. I think we did a good job combining solid discussions of risk-taking with practical “visible thinking strategies” (based on the book Making Thinking Visible by Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church, and Karin Morrison) that people could take back to their classrooms and use with all sorts of discussions. I know I got a lot of ideas from the people in the group and enjoyed talking with those participating.
We were all a little tired once it was over. Luckily, I had some chocolate with me, because I usually travel with snacks as I think it is the responsible thing to do. Anyway, I will write more about what I learned in other sessions and the ideas that got planted in my brain. But, I think I also learned a lot being in the role of presenter. I really did all those things I want my students to do. I truly collaborated with people who are not within my school building, learned a ton in the process, and shared my new learning with a wider community.