Saturday, February 09, 2008

Matt's Summary of Educon 2.0 conference

EduCon 2.0 is both a conversation and a conference.
And it is not a technology conference. It is an education conference. It is a School 2.0 conference. It is, hopefully, an innovation conference where we can come together, both in person and virtually, to discuss the future of schools. Every session will be an opportunity to discuss and debate ideas -- from the very practical to the big dreams.
Two weekends ago I attended this grassroots conference that took place at the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, PA from the comfort of my home (thanks ustream and thanks for the students at SLA for doing the broadcasts). I participated in several sessions over the course of the weekend. One session that I particularly enjoyed was Dennis Richards' session on school change and "Claiming What We Imagine." Dennis is a superintendent from a school district in Massachusetts. He is a true administrator-leader in the area of 21st century classrooms and learning. He is an active, engaged participant in online professional learning networks and he shares his practices with other teachers and administrators around the country (and the globe!) And he does a wonderful job of effectively modeling the use of 21st century communication tools for teaching and learning.

I followed several other sessions Saturday morning as well. On Sunday morning I watched and listened a panel presentation on the "Future of Learning." This panel featured David Jakes (who is consulting with USM on an instructional technology plan), Will Richardson, Gary Stager, Sylvia Martinez, Joyce Valenza, and Chris Lehman (Chris is the principal of Science Leadership Academy).

One of the things I enjoyed most throughout my participation in the conference was engaging in the back channel chat that took place. I enjoyed the conversation and exchanges with educators from all across the globe-this conversation really helped stretch my thinking.

This conference was totally grassroots, with over 200 face to face participants. The cost for each one of the attendees was $50. There were several 'big name' session facilitators, and they presented without charging a fee! Many participants attended at their own expense. It was wonderful to see so many passionate educators participating in the conversation at Science Leadership Academy two weeks ago. Congratulations and thanks to Chris Lehman, principal of SLA, and his students and faculty members for putting on a wonderful conference for both the physical and virtual attendees.

Finally, I had the honor of participating in a live conversation the Wednesday following educon with Alex Ragone and Arvind Grover, the hosts of the weekly webcast show, "21st Century Learning." Bill Knauer was the other guest participant on the show (Alex, Arvind and Bill are educators at different independent schools in New York City). Alex actually attended the conference at SLA while Bill and I tuned in from our homes. I enjoyed processing the conversation and sharing our unique perspectives on our experiences in attending educon. The audio recording of the conversation I had with Bill, Alex and Arvind should be posted at the 21st Century Learning page of the website shortly.

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