I’ve been pretty vocal about my view of conferences in the past. They seem to me to be a less than optimal format of professional development, and I feel inauthentic standing up and lecturing (presenting) about not standing up and lecturing in the classroom. In short, I don’t think that most conferences model the kind of professional learning we are striving for.
Another issue I have with ed tech conferences in general is that I think “ed tech” as an isolated area has outlived it’s usefulness. It’s time for technology to be integrated with other instructional pursuits. Having separate staffing, budgets, etc. for technology does not serve our students, in my opinion. (Yes, I know there are other considerations.) That’s why you may have noticed that I’ve been participating in more curriculum conferences and fewer ed tech ones lately.
Still, I believe deeply in technology as a tool to further learning and know that much of that is moved ahead by the “ed tech” agenda.
So this year, I’m doing something about this and trying to broaden the conversation with some innovative new models for professional learning.
At NCCE 2013 in Portland, Oregon, I’m helping to coordinate the “Make Your Future” pre-conference summit on February 27. We’ll have five different summits focused on a full-day of reflection, collaboration, and hands-on time focused on topics of critical importance to educators of all types.
- Leadership summit
for superintendents, principals, and other school leaders
- Common Core summit
for curriculum coordinators
- Teacher-librarian summit
- IT summit
for information technology directors
- Teacher boot camp
for teachers who are not “connected” in terms of using social tools for their own professional learning
I hope that these summits begin to build bridges for district and school teams to have thoughtful conversations across the disciplines. I hope that the participants find value in an entire day in which they can think about issues that are important to them and spend time planning how they can affect change in their own districts when they return home. And I hope to see you there.