A Full Meal!

The view from the 11th floor.

Early in the day before these stairs were packed

Today was #edcampbos. I have so much to digest from being there. Literally and figuratively. The food was good and plentiful; the space was amazing. It was hosted at the Microsoft NERD Center overlooking the Charles River on a beautiful day. Sailboats, rowers, and duckboats speckled the water.

Inside, people led a nice array of sessions, and I came away with so many resources, I don’t know where to start. Today, I’ll just list the top ones that jump out at me:

  • The most influential session I went to was on blogging. This blog, along with my Dadding Ideas, have been something of an exercise in writing and creating focus. I have worried less about my audience. That might change with some elbow grease, digital elbow grease. I need to think about how or even if I want to do this, but I amcharged up. Thank you @WorldLillie.
  • The conference was hosted by several sponsors including Evernote. I guess I just have to bite the bullet and do the work to get going on that. I even picked up a month (insignificant value) free card at the sign in table.
  • The Smackdown at the end, in which people quickly shared sites and apps, resulted in a long list of cool things to go back over. There are several lists like this to go through and turn into bookmarks, etc.
  • Made some great connections which I have to nurture through Twitter and Facebook among other places. This means I have to be more active on Twitter

    Setting up a session on the wall

Gearing Up

The classic scene in action films: Batman getting his suit on for the first time, Rambo painting his face before battling unbelievable odds, the hero gearing up. I’m not a hero, and I am certainly not going into battle tomorrow. Yet, I am doing something I have never done before; I am attending Edcamp Boston. Tonight, I’ll lay out my tools: the tablet, the case, the stylus, the chargers. Which bag? What extras? Should I go light or heavy? These things that I put together to be my kit are the familiar tools I will use to help make sense of the experience and to provide a grounding in what I anticipate to be an experience that pushes me outside my comfort zone in a healthy way.

As a teacher, I regularly seek out opportunities to learn and to be well outside my comfort zone. As adults we tend to avoid or judiciously limit our time spent in the discomfort of uncertainty. As educators, however, it is important to reacquaint ourselves with the feelings and emotions that come with the uncertainty of learning.

Getting Something out of a Conference

Today, I attended a conference aimed primarily at CFOs with some sessions for tech people in schools. It was like many conferences in that the best things I got from the experience were the connections I made and the side conversations. I nabbed one of the opening panel speakers and got some info about the BYOD program his school is implementing. I also ended up sitting next to a tech coordinator of another elementary and middle school, so I talked to him about MEMSET, a group for elementary and middle school educational technologists and teachers using technology in the Boston area.

I found the same to be true of this year’s MassCUE conference. The conversations and chance meetings were what I valued most.

For this reason, I am totally pumped for EdcampBoston this weekend. This will be my first edcamp, but from the reviews and the setup, there is such a higher probability that I will get a lot out of it.

#edcampbos vs. Summercore

In the last few weeks, I have registered for two very different conferences. Edcamp Boston is an unconference devoted to K-12 issues and ideas. From the edcamp foundation:
Vision: Promoting organic, participant-driven professional development for K-12 educators worldwide.

Mission: To support free edcamp unconferences for educators to exchange ideas and learn together. Edcamps are:

  • free
  • non-commercial and conducted with a vendor-free presence
  • hosted by any organization interested in furthering the edcamp mission
  • made up of sessions that are determined on the day of the event
  • events where anyone who attends can be a presenter
  • reliant on the “law of two feet” that encourages participants to find a session that meets their needs

Summercore looks very different, yet it also looks very enticing. From their website:

Founded in 1982, Summercore prides itself on its passion for teaching teachers about technology skills and pedagogy. Because we are all teachers, we know the curriculum and the strategies necessary for meaningful integration. We empower teachers and administrators to move forward with technology by supplying them with the necessary expertise and excitement.

One is the leading edge of crowd sourced, non-commercial, on-the-fly session planning. The other is a venerable conference. One would expect from the title of my post that I will now see them in opposing terms and find a winner. To the contrary, I am really excited about both, and I am really excited by any opportunity to push my learning boundaries.