An Idea

Posted: February 13, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Read down a little and then imagine this scene with teachers (so more women) and better snacks and some comfortable chairs

So, I’ve been thinking about EduCon and conferences. EduCon is always in Philadelphia at SLA. I live in the area and can get there easily. So, even if not every session I attend is earth shattering, and really that is a lot to expect, it’s worth it to me for a number of reasons: ideas, interesting people, good conversations with people I don’t see everyday, short travel time.

I’ve been trying to read what others have written about their experiences at EduCon. Shelly Krause (@butwait) keeps an unoffical collection of blogger reflections here. There is a real range. Some people can’t get enough of it. Other attendees found the conference not different or ground breaking enough. Personally, I was looking for great conversations around what to do better and I found that in many (not all) sessions. I don’t think it’s that I had low expectations. I expected to hear some new ideas. I also expected to have to bring something to the discussion myself. The attendees at this conference are generally not people who haven’t done a lot of thinking already. The low hanging fruit is gone. If even half of the several hundred people in attendance could be truly innovative on command, the last weekend in January, in the midst of whichever dramatic weather Philadelphia is featuring this year, then the world would be a very different place.

I think I might feel differently if I were traveling a long way and paying lots of money. Last year I went to ISTE, which was also in Philadelphia. It’s not free, but my school covered registration and a little more for train tickets. So again, a no-brainer for me. However, this spring ISTE is in San Diego. So, let’s see– registration $, flight $$, hotel $$, food $, extra childcare and babysitting while I am gone $$. That’s approximately $$$$$$$$, which I could ask my school to help cover. However, as I was talking with Hadley Ferguson (@hadleyjf) about it she made some good point. First, it’s a lot of money (well, this was not new information, but she got more thoughtful as she went on). Second, she said that she didn’t need more ideas so much as to implement the ones she already had. Isn’t that the truth!

Let me be clear: I am sure I would find new and more ideas at ISTE this June. And yet, I haven’t even made sense or sifted through all the ones I got last year or ideas from the many edcamps I have attended. I have some ideas that I have been meaning to implement for a while. I got to thinking about what kind of PD I really need. Here’s what I decided.

I need the following:

  • Dedicated time, duh, and not an hour here or there, but a whole day or days.
  • To do some pre-sifting of ideas before this dedicated time begins.
  • A group of colleagues who want to meet and collaborate. A lot.
  • A space with good wifi, power sources, and proximity to food, water, and bathrooms.

Here’s my idea:

  • I don’t go to ISTE.
  • I do meet with some amazing, interesting, and interested teachers during that time.
  • We come with ideas that we want to evaluate and/or work up into units/lessons/game changing events.
  • We meet in groups and work on whatever projects grab us.
  • We meet some more and revise what we did.
  • We share this with whoever cares to listen/read.
  • Some of those ideas that we have so many of, turn into action.

Who’s in?

I’m thinking Phila area around the time of ISTE. I can work on a location. I have ideas a plenty and energy to commit. What can you contribute?


(Creative Commons licensed photo by Johanna Kollmann)

  1. Maggie says:

    Of the qualities you are looking for in participants, the only one I can claim authoritatively is “interested” – but end of June and some time to play with ideas to enhance instruction with others would be fantastic. I’d bend things slightly as my students are teachers… but the underlying ideas would be similar enough, I think, to make it workable. If the idea catches fire, I’m in the blaze!

  2. hadleyjf says:

    Count me in! I love the idea of taking time with other teachers to think through how to make some of the ideas that are floating around in my head come to life.

    Thanks for moving forward with this!

  3. mseiteljorg says:

    Yay! I’m excited to try to get something going. My school space is available. Spread the word!

  4. I love this, hoping to be able to make it happen!

  5. Western Dave says:

    One of the things I hated about ISTE was (is) they don’t really allow critical perspecitves on tech. It’s all good all the time. I’ve had two different papers rejected for being insufficiently linked to corporate product or too critical of tech. I’d love to do a panel on what’s “old” about tech or when to say no.

    Plus, how odd to meet you again on the internet. If you are who I think you are (Swattie?, husband worked at the Wagner?).

    • mseiteljorg says:

      Thanks for your comment. Sorry you didn’t like ISTE. I did like it.

      What I am hoping to do is not a conference or panel. I just want to get people together who have projects they want to make happen but haven’t done so yet. The idea is to work in teams to create units/courses/course altering projects from the ideas that we all have collected but not acted upon so far. If that sounds interesting to you, please hop on board.

      (I am not a Swattie, although my sister-in-law is, Amherst for me.)

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