Yesterday was the 3rd Annual EdubloggerCon East. Among the sessions facilitated during the day, was our Web 2.0 Smackdown which we streamed and archived. Here’s a link to the archive as well as all the links shared. Thank you to all that participated both in-person as well as virtually. Enjoy!
I heard many educators last week at ISTE10 ask what an “unconference” was. Since so many hadn’t attended EdubloggerCon on Saturday, I could understand how they had trouble grasping the concept, especially after going back and looking through the Tweets with the hashtag.
Since Liz Davis and I have spent some time over the last few days making sure that everything is set for EdubloggerCon East in Boston this Monday, I thought I would break down, in simple terms, what my take on an unconference is, since there seems to be some different definitions floating around.
What is an unconference?
A participant driven gathering of people talking about a common theme
Everyone at an unconference has a voice. Here you would get to hear from educators you might not typically learn or share with at other more formal events.
You don’t have to feel obligated to stay in a session. Feel free to apply the “Rule of Two Feet”. If you feel you have joined a discussion that does not meet your needs, let your feet take you to another discussion.
There are no requests for proposals (RFP’s) for an unconference. You just put your name and session idea on a wiki or chart paper. These are just conversations and there is no need to have a formal presentation as you and your group should be having a conversations. Perhaps you’d like to start one.
You get to meet some of the people that you communicate with on Twitter, Plurk, in Nings out in the Edublogosphere.
Unconferences are typically FREE
How can you participate?
Unconferences are usually advertised via Twitter, conference sites, blogs, wikis. (Since they are free to attend, they don’t have any funding for formal advertising.)
You can participate in person, via the backchannel, or they are usually Ustreamed.
Come to the unconference in person. No one is ever turned away.
Having said all this, EdubloggerCon East is scheduled for this Monday, July 12. For the 3rd year, Alan November and the November Learning team have graciously donated space to this free unconference. Liz and I set up a wiki, communicated with Jennifer Beine with regards to how much space we think we are going to need and the rest is really up to the attendees.
This year session topics include:
Unconferences for everybody: edcamp
Renaming/Rethinking 21st Century Learning
Design Simplicity or “The Beauty of the Widened Vertical Scroll Bar”
Edubloggercon yesterday was amazing, to say the least. Reconnecting with folks I hadn’t seen face-to-face in almost a year was wonderful and making first-time connections was priceless as well. You can see everything from the day including pictures, the Twitter feed and blog posts about the event by visiting the official Edubloggercon wiki.
If you haven’t seen the video that Wendy Drexler published about the Networked Student, please view it now. It’s excellent and was the catalyst for her session yesterday at Edubloggercon.
I’m still trying to wrap my brain around this concept of the Networked Student. It’s crystal clear in my head. But as I prepare for my presentations for NJEA this July, I’d like to be sure that I can express what is seems clear to me in a way that will make sense to classroom teachers. I’ll be talking with educators about shaping their classrooms and working with their students in our changing educational environment. We’ll be talking about 21st classrooms and what they look like. Perhaps we should begin with what a 21st century student looks like.
According to the video, the networked (or 21st Century student) should…
build their knowledge base
Keep in mind, if at this point you still have not watched the video, that it’s five minutes long and I just summarized it in five bullet points. So we could spend an hour talking about each of the points in the list. One of the points that we spent time discussing in the session yesterday was the fourth – having access. Is this wireless? Is this bandwidth? Is this two computers in the classroom versus a laptop cart on each floor in the building versus a 1:1 initiative? Don’t even get me started on the 1:1 initiatives (tablets versus netbooks versus Macs versus PCs).
So here are my take-aways from the session:
students must have access in order for this to work
teachers must allow for self-directed learning. This is their learning environment – not ours.
students must be able to have some amount of power as this is NOT a passive learning environment – they must take ownership for their learning
it’s going to be messy – tough to organize – especially the first time
I think that we all know that change is hard. We also know that unless we commit to making change, it won’t happen. The fact is that there is uncertainty as to what jobs are coming down the pike. We don’t know what we are preparing our students for. So we need to create a model that they can carry into their adult lives.
I’m working on putting together some short video clips on what educators are doing in their 21st Century Learning classrooms. I talked with a college student, April, yesterday about how she felt that her high school, which she classified as a 21st Century Learning school, helped better prepare her for college. I almost jumped out of my chair in excitement when she explained to me how. If you want to know how, then — Please DM me on Twitter or find me at NECC and allow me to ask you a few questions about your classroom to share with educators in NJ. I’ll have my Digital Flip camera with me. Thanks in advance.
EdubloggerCon East blew me away yesterday.
I was so impressed by the educators that dedicated their day to joining our gathering at the Newton Marriott. Alan November graciously arranged for a room for us for the day and the accommodations were fantastic (including the wireless access).
I know many of the EBC attendees will be blogging about the day and you can view our notes on our Google Doc. Also, in the next few days, we’ll post a link on the wiki to the archived UStream and I’ve posted the Wordle that we tried to make yesterday here as well as in our Group on the BLC Ning. (I had fun Joyce!) But most importantly, I’d like to take some time to post my thoughts on the one idea I neglected to mention.
Over really yummy Mexican food, I looked at Liz Davis and said, “I just remembered what I wanted to ask everyone!” I wanted to have a conversation about what makes a blog worthy of being listed on your blogroll. I’ve noticed that some edublogger’s blogrolls have gotten quite lengthy. Some are even categorized. Mine on the other hand is quite short and is missing many blogs that I read on a regular basis. So I’ve gone in before posting this to fix that. I’ve also eliminated some of the blogs that I really haven’t been dedicated to reading.
Now that I’ve updated mine, I thought I’d share with you why I listed the blogs I chose. These are the blogs I have subscribed to in my Google Reader. They should give someone reading ThumannResources an idea of who I interact with and what topics I’m interested in reading. For the most part these bloggers are part of my PLN.
Questions for you:
Why do you share your blogroll?
Who’s blog is listed in your blogrroll that your actually read on a regular basis?
Who’s blog is listed in your blogroll that you really don’t read?
What other reasons are there that would cause you to list someone’s blog in your blog roll?