Catching Up!

Clint Kennedy’s Podcasting Session with attendees spilling out into the hall

Will Richardson once said that, “When I’m not blogging, it isn’t because I do not have time to write, it’s because I do not have time to read.” I think that this statement says a lot about blogging. In my case, I’ve not had enough time to breath. Yesterday had me at home for the first time in a week, and I always look forward to such times for the rest I’m expecting. As it turned out, I got to about a quarter of the e-mails that had backed up, not counting the ones that came in yesterday. This is actually quite serious, and I don’t know what I’d do without Brenda to handle the ones about business.

Without much time for thinking, I thought I would just jot down some reflections on the various conferences I have been to lately, and a couple that are coming up.

  1. ACTEM in Maine (hh) — I’ve tried, but I just can’t put my finger on my impressions of this conference. The best I can do is to say that I felt more like I was in another country, with another language, than going to another state. It isn’t that people seemed foreign or the language was different, but that what people talked about was different. Teachers were asking different questions. They were telling different stories. The sessions were different. When they talked about what they were doing in their classrooms, it was the students who were doing the doing. Again, I can’t pinpoint why, but I left even more convinced that the threshold for retooling education for our children and their future is every teacher and learning (interchangeable) with ubiquitous access to digital, networked, overwhelming information.
  2. K12OnlineConference (hh) — This conference has turned into something of a controversy, but fortunately, more people are paying attention to the conference than to some of the back-of-the-room murmurs. I must admit that I haven’t had time to pay attention to much of the goings on (I’ve downloaded a number of WMP and QuickTime files to watch on the plane today), but my experience in producing the keynote was unique, and seemingly well received. I listened to the first few minutes of Jeff Utecht’s LAN party with seven of the educators at the Shanghai American School today, and was intrigued by the concept of a Tupperware conference. My hope is that the real value of this conference will be realized when it’s over, and people continue to come and learn, and interact.
  3. ERB Conference in NYC — Part of the charm of this conference was taking Brenda with me, though I still refuse to allow her to see my keynote. I’m not sure I want her to see that person I become on stage 😉 The conference was national, put on by a company that produces and markets assessment tools. They use this conference to explore advancements in teaching and learning technologies, and they invite their national customers (mostly independent schools) to participate. The keynote was well received, but I have come to enjoy the perspectives brought to these conferences from schools that are not so constrained by the strings tied to federal dollars. I sat in on a session about writing AUPs that was presented and moderated by the tech coordinator at a Quaker School. Again, the conversations were a bit different. They are thinking hard about filtering, policy, implications, and the instructional opportunities of inappropriate content, rather than simply reacting to federal laws. They were conversations that I do not regularly hear at conferences attended more prominently by public school educators.
  4. CECA (hh) — The best thing that I can say about this Connecticut conference, and really all of them, is the incredible hospitality. It’s a conference that is struggling with venue to support the numbers of attendees (almost every session was PACKED), the incredible menu of presentations by people who are both locally and nationally known, and continue to spearhead with conference innovations such as giving each attendee a digital camera for recording the conference, a hand-held computer, and, this year, a Nano MP3 player to take much of the conference home with them through a conference Podcast. Incredible!
  5. MAME (hh)– Today, I head up to the Michigan Association for Media Education conference. They’re trying something that I do not recall seeing before. They have a conference wiki. I posted some content on the wiki, more of a comment, on the page for the keynote address. This is an interesting idea that may get some real traction in the future. Anyway, I’m looking forward to this conference because it will be attended by librarians. I like this, because they get it. It isn’t about the technology. It’s about the information. Blah blah blah. You’ve read this before.
  6. TechForum (hh) — From Grand Rapids, I’ll fly to Austin, Texas (what the heck am I going to do with my overcoat?). This will be the second of this season’s TechForums. I will get to enjoy my friend, Dave Jake’s keynote address, and then moderate a panel discussion on video games in education, a roundtable discussion on open source (which I’ll probably podcast), and a beyond the basics session on Web 2.0. For the new web session, I’m thinking of making it a modified unconference session, where I’ll moderate (and podcast) an open discussion about blogs, podcasting, RSS, social bookmarks, social media, mashups, and what ever else comes up. I tried this at CECA and it seemed to go well. Several people came up and said that it was a great session to attend and participate in at the end of the conference.

So that gets me up to the weekend and another…

2¢ Worth…

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Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.