Reflections…EDUCON 2.2

Had some time on my train ride home early this morning (30th street at 5:22am).  Reflections on my first EDUCON:

  • it was/is truly about the learning
  • it is about conversations, on-going
  • it is done through tech (use of tech/network is a prerequisite)
  • my PLN is feeling fresh and expanded
  • the heavy hitters in this space are obvious and important
  • Chris Lehman was online after mid-night Sunday night after the conference??!!
  • more water less soda next year ūüėČ
  • put students (and only students) on the panel for Friday night!¬† Let them pick the topic(s)
  • have the opening keynote be a “sophomore” EDUCON participant (maybe @profespringer)
  • I will return…
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Thoughts/Lessons from EDUCON 2.2

Finishing up my first trip to EDUCON and I am thoroughly impressed.  It was/is an incredible opportunity to have face-to-face conversations with the people who make up my vPLN.

The processing will continue for some time but for now I wanted to share my thoughts/questions/take-aways in the form of a mindmap.  Enjoy!

BLC and Conference Format….An Open Letter to Alan

Hi Alan,

My name is Clint Kennedy and I am currently enjoying my last session of the last day of the 2008 BLC conference.  This is my first time attending the conference and I very much appreciate what you have done and are doing in the world of education and learning.

I do, however, have what I hope is some constructive criticism in regards to the conference and the way it is setup. ¬†Twice during the conference I heard you mention that the real benefits of the conference come from the conversations attendees will be having by coming togther in this location for this week. ¬†You and Ewan also mentioned that you believe the collective wisdom of the conference attendees is far superior to the ¬†collective wisdom of the presenters. ¬†Marc Prensky stated that “in 10 years the BLC conference will not be lecture based because people attending will not learn that way.”¬† Pedro Noguera stated that “teaching and talking is not the same.”¬† If we accept these statements as true, for arguments sake, why do we continue to sit in conference sessions as they are designed currently?¬† Who is to say that we are learning optimally with the lecture model?¬†¬†Do we think that lecture is the way we as adults learn optimally?¬† Why do we continue to “sit and get” as opposed to having opportunities to be active learners? ¬†The non-keynote sessions I have attended have ranged from very informative to very boring but most if not all were delivered using a teacher-centered model. ¬† Can we change the format of the conference to be more attendee centric? ¬†Could we¬† organize the conference around components of the unconference model? ¬†

I would propose keeping the keynote speakers (they have been very thought provoking and they can and should provide theme and context), however, I would change all other sessions to unconference sessions.  Support teams would be needed to organize rooms, times, resources, etc.  Teams could organize and support the recording/capturing/tagging of the sessions.  And November Learning could certainly help educate the conference attendees as to what to expect from an unconference before they arrive.

I am writing this to you Alan because I think our community needs you to be the one that takes the learning conference to the next level and I think you are a leader that can make this happen.  I also think it would be great to be able to practice the pedagogy that we discussed so frequently during the last week.  Again, I want to thank you for a wonderful conference.  The people I met and exchanged ideas with were top notch.  I can only imagine the time and effort that goes into this production.  See you next year!

Thank you,

Clint Kennedy

Mystic, CT

“Who is going to question the way we do business?”

Random Thoughts – Day 1

I am too tired and overwhelmed to bring this all together but I wanted to share some of the random ideas I was “saturated” with today and which I am currently “incubating” on:

The average K12 classroom in the USofA is indeed “boring”

There is no such thing a a “digital native”

Everyone in an organization plays a role in R&D…if they don’t they should be replaced/removed/fired

MySpace is the 3rd largest country in the world

Creativity: Saturation->Incubation->Illumination

Schools are based on convergence, the world is based on divergence

Johnny Lee is a divergent thinker

I want to create a parady of the old Apple “Think Different” ad for Ewan.¬† It would be called “Think Divergent[ly]”

Be a “retro-planner” not a “pre-planner”

Peer assessment online will lead to summative assessment genius (“2 stars and a wish”)

A Question for tomorrow?

What are the activities that can lead students to divergent ideas/thinking versus brainstorming/convergent ideas/thinking?

Day 1 at “Open Minds” – Too much but not enough!

After my first official full day at the Open Minds conference I can officially say that I am totally blown away.  The culture and climate of the community supporting and using free and open Source software in K12 education is amazing.  This are passionate people that are not going away.  I think what the State of Indiana has done with great success is a true sign of what is to come.

More to come but for now check out our keynote speaker’s website:  mako.cc

See what Indiana has done:  http://www.doe.state.in.us/technology/inaccess.html

Day 0 at “Open Minds” – I met the ASUS Eee PC

I just arrived in Indianapolis for the “K-12 Open Minds Conference”. The conference keynote and sessions begin tomorrow but I got a chance to swing thru the vendor area tonight and I got my first shot at the ASUS Eee PC. I first read about the Eee a few months back. I have since ordered one to test it out. I am very excited about this little machine.

1) Form factor – It is small, but to be fair it is billed as a sub-notebook. I wouldn’t want to use it for 8 hours a day with the smaller scratch pad and keyboard but if I were in 4th grade it would be perfect.
2) Linux/Intel – It runs Linux. It can also run Windows. The customized Linux version is built with the student in regards to software and configuration. No reason you couldn’t put your own OS of choice on it.
3) Speedy – It ran OpenOffice and FireFox on a free Sheraton wifi network very smoothly.
4) VGA output – With a VGA connector and 2 USB ports on the right side you could easily plug into a montior and full size keyboard/mouse. The native resolution is 800×480 but I was told bu ASUS that it will go 1024×768 on a separate monitor.
5) Multimedia – Built in mic and webcam!!
6) Expandability – You can upgrade the 512MB of RAM or you can add to the built in 2 or 4GB flash drive thru the SD slot.
7) Price – $250-$350 (depending on camera and memory options)

I am excited with what could be done with this machine in the hands of students. The price is low enough for schools to afford (we spend the same amount for a PDA or Alphasmart) and/or for parents to afford on a regular basis and there is no compromising functionality. Yes, the keyboard and drive and other features are “smaller” but it is a fully functioning laptop.

I was very impressed with this machine. Even more impressed that this is only rev. 1. I can’t wait until mine arrives!

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David Warlick at CECA

David Warlick gave the keynote address at the CECA Conference 2006. I got a chance to talk with him the night before the confeence when we were setting things up for the next day. I have followed David quite closely the past 2 years via his blog and podcast.

During the course of the day I heard from numerous attendees how “enjoyable” and “enlightening” the keynote address had been. I missed it but I am looking forward to listening to the audio version in the CECA podcast (the keynote and all breakout sessions will be avilabel 11/01/06 at http://feeds.feedburner.com/CECA).

IMHO, David does a remarkbale job at making connections between the technology we use and our learning needs and objectives. While many of us often get sidetracked into discussing technology for technology’s sake, David has a knack for bringing the conversation back to how the technology will impact student learning. His remarks as well typically involve the “new” technologies that specifically impact learning as opposed to the scatter shot school of thought that “all technology is good” which we see at most conferences. These technologies include but are not limited to wikis, blogging, podcasting, many Web 2.0 applications, etc.

David…you continue to speak and the people are listening…thank you and keep spreading the good word!