What woke me up this morning was thinking back to the EduBloggerCon at NECC and looking forward to Learning 2.008 in Shanghai — just over a month away. I enjoyed the NECC event. Even though there were many edubloggers who expressed some dissatisfaction with the event, I think that it was what it was intended to be — it was a bloggercon.
That said, it may not have been exactly what we needed at this point. At the EduBloggerCon in Atlanta, many of us were new to the practice, and just finding our voices in the education conversation. In San Antonio we were looking for the place for blogging in the classroom. Unfortunately, this conversation was destined to anchor on barriers — because it’s the barriers that so many of us are forced to deal with everyday. I don’t believe that educators from Scotland or even Canada, truly
appreciate the condition of education in the U.S. — especially as felt
by those of us who have known better times when motivating students
with creative and engaging learning experiences was part of our
language, not just political babel.
My good friend, Gwen Solomon, said something to me at the conference that I’ve heard spoken several times since. “Aren’t these the same conversations we’ve been having for years?”
We need something new or something more than a BloggerCon. Of course we can call it what ever we like, but we need opportunities to, in a sense, act out what we believe and to do it from the other side of the barriers. One of the EduBloggerCon critics, Ewan McIntosh, shared with me some brilliant ideas in the Bloggers Cafe the next day, many of them stemming from his experiences with TeachMeet.
I’m drawn back to something that I noticed and share through an unrelated blog entry a while back, about contests of skill that produce models. They were the game developing competition at the GLS Conference and the weekend Startups contest held here in Raleigh several weeks ago.
What we need are these kinds of creative educator-invented models, and the attendees of these EduBloggerCons are perhaps the best people to build and describe them. So what if part of these less formal events was for teams of educators to describe, in some way that draws on their inventiveness, a learning experiences (lesson) that teaches an assigned standard, utilizing technology, 21st century literacy, 21st century skills, constructivist pedagogy, blah blah blah. The presentations and recording of their lessons might help us all to better picture the target that is just on the other side of those barriers — and maybe those barriers may come to look less daunting than they do when they’re the focus.