Wednesday, July 30, 2008

EdubloggerCon NECC 2008 - Where shall we go?

For a start, a very big thank you to friend Steve Hargadon for his work in organising and essentially running this 1-day event at NECC. Steve is a true visionary and hard worker for better learning opportunities for all and I really admire his genuine and committed approach.

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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5 comments:

etalbert said...

I have enjoyed all the post NECC08 posts. Reflections, but mostly like yours with a future focus.
Gotta have that "can do" attitude!

"Rather than just talk,..together some actions, ... educators continue to be disadvantaged by Internet filtering,...start to affect change?

This should start now. The research, issues and experiences just need pulling together.

Elaine

Anne said...

Julie
you raise some very interesting questions here, not least of which is the fact that the edublogger community is growing in strength and at such a rapid rate. I think that it is time that we recognise the growing power in collaboration and shared beliefs that arises from this bond that we all feel through our blogs and other online social networking and communication tools. What better way to get our message out there. This is what makes me so excited about this way of learning and teaching. It is the global aspect of it; it's the communication and reflections which are fundamental to the process; it's the shift in the classroom and in the teacher's and the student's roles and responsibilities. And all of that leads us towards global change in the way we work, learn and teach. I agree with you, let's really do something that affects the decision makers. Whether it is, as you say, through creating resources or papers that challenge internet filtering for example, or whether it's challenging and questioning curriculum design or the myriads of teachers who still refuse to entertain the possibility of introducing ICT into their classroom. There is strength in numbers. There is strength in the technology itself. Look how easy it is to communicate and collaborate now.
I don't think we can ever underestimate the power of physically getting together in one room and talking but those relationships can only be strengthened through continuing online collaborations. If we all undertook a commitment to really try to support each other and to collaborate in driving change I think we really could make a difference. As a teacher who works in a small rural school, my online community keeps me focused on what I want to achieve and gives me strength when I feel like I'm banging my head against a brick wall. Count me in if you want to get something happening.

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Lucy Gray said...

Hi Julie -

Thank you for an articulate synthesis of NECC and Edubloggercon! I also appreciate that you are calling for next steps, and I agree that we need to take our ideas/dreams to the next level. Count me in if you start anything and I'll be thinking of ideas.

One thing that has occurred to me is that we need to hone our arguments and evidence around technology as a transformational element in teaching and learning. I've started a wiki to slowly build resources around this, and anyone is welcome to jump in: http://sites.google.com/site/edtechelevatorpitch/

Anyway, it was great to meet you in person at NECC, and I'm looking forward to continued conversations!

Lucy Gray

Julie Lindsay said...

@etalbert Yes, I feel very strongly about this. Once again it comes down to leadership and opportunity. I also feel strongly about taking a global view of how education is changing. I know this is easier perhaps for me as an international educator however we can all learn from each other no matter where we are and what system we are teaching under.

@Anne Wow! Well said! Yes, the technology is powerful and we can use it to affect change. There are options and opportunities now for us all, no matter where we are...and yes I agree coming together in the same 'room' cements the online relationships we have made.

@Lucy Yes! great wiki.....when I get back to school and start the year I will be contributing to this. It is so important to be able to 'justify' what we do and show how learning is improving, for teachers as well as for students. Thanks for sharing once again.