I looked back on my post from EdubloggerCon 2007, 'Oh the Places You'll Go' and briefly relived the excitement of the first NECC unconference event. Once again this year, at EdubloggerCon 2008, I was able to meet more online friends, have conversations, and have some fun. The photos here show some scenes including the group photo, Person's recording a session, and Kevin Honeycutt with his Web 2.0 'smackdown' offering of a keychain with useful ideas and resources attached (we ALL thought this was such a great idea...and so simple!..and you can download the template from Kevin's blog!). Thanks to Lucy Gray for uploading these pics to Flickr NECC08 group.
So, last year I was contemplating the places we will go with such a dynamic collection of educators gathering in 'inconference' style, this year I am asking a question, 'where shall we go?' Numbers at EdubloggerCon08 had more than doubled from 07. With this increase the event lost some of its intimacy but gained ground on its diversity and potential to offer something for everyone. The addition of Pearson was a concern to some. It was a little comical the way they were handing out permission agreements for us to sign while filming us talking. Pearson did not bother me, I loved the informal sessions, found the 'smackdown' initiated by Vicki to be a real treat (see Nancy Pratt's great review of this) and in retrospect consider the day to be a 'success' in terms of what it set out to do which was to provide an alternative format for 'bloggers' to come together and talk and share.
However, what will be the evolution of this event? Will a continuation in the increase in numbers be a logistical issue that kills the event? Or will more numbers mean we can shape it and organise more sessions, be more diverse? What is niggling at my conscience is the thought that this EdubloggerCon could be more if we wanted to make it so. What I mean is, here we are again, talking about the need for leadership, awareness of 21st century learning modes and meeting perceived conditions for these, new tools and tricks, emerging pedagogies etc, bouncing ideas back and forth, engaging contributions from a global (more so this year than any other year I thought) gathering, but what have we actually achieved? I do not mean this as a criticism of course, don't get me wrong. What I do think is that we could grasp the opportunity to make a difference somehow. Rather than just talk, let's out together some actions, let's make alliances and follow through with objectives that will foster change in education. For example, many educators continue to be disadvantaged by Internet filtering, why don't a group spend most of the day on this and put together a resource/document that can be used at a different venue, higher level to start to affect change? I know we are not just gathering for the social interaction. But are we ready to take on more than we have so far? Conversation, debate and shared experiences are important.....effecting change is also high on my list.
What do you think? How will EdubloggerCon evolve? Are you prepared to step up and be part of the evolution?
In closing, I really like this line from David Warlick's NECC08 reflection,
"At any rate, it was a conference that glowed, in that there was teaching, learning, and conversation; and much of that teaching, learning, and conversation was electrified with tiny bits that transcended time and space."
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