EduCon 2.4 — January 27–29, 2012 — Philadelphia

“Educon is both a conversation and a conference.” An innovation conference where educators come together, both in person and virtually, to discuss the future of schools. Every session is an opportunity to discuss and debate ideas – from the very practical to the big dreams.

This was my first visit to #Educon and the last days have been spent reflecting on what I learned, what I heard and what I would like to share. Going all the way to Philadelphia from Norway to attend a two day conference is certainly showing commitment, and I was really eager to connect and join in the conversations. First observation was not a surprise to me; Americans (Canadians) are more willing to share than Norwegians. My idea is to try this at our school’s conference this year and the outcome I’m sure will be a little different. That aside, finding the right balance between presenting and discussing is also important. 1.5 hours pr. session was too much time on some of the topics, but I know many disagree with that.  And the outcome will also be influenced by the group you are in and the conversations you have at your table.

Today I spent some time listening and watching the Live video they took at each session. The quality is not great, some have a slow start, but many are worth watching.Click on conversations and the topic you want to watch to find these videos. Some of the most valued takeaways are the documents produced by the presenters and the participants. The idea that “none of us is as smart as all of us” plays well at this conference.

The guiding principles behind Educon are worth revisiting:

  1. Our schools must be inquiry-driven, thoughtful and empowering for all members
  2. Our schools must be about co-creating – together with our students – the 21st Century Citizen
  3. Technology must serve pedagogy, not the other way around
  4. Technology must enable students to research, create, communicate and collaborate
  5. Learning can – and must – be networked

I did attend all 6 sessions and and if I was to pick and reflect on one of these “what happens when the kid run the building: school culture and progressive discipline in an inquiry school” with Chris Lehmann/Pia Martin is it. If you have the time you might want to watch it. I like the way they communicate with the students, what they do and the questions they ask:

Heard in session;  “Teach kids to make the smart decisions for themselves. Zero tolerance is zero understanding. Is there a link between your pedagogy and your school policy? How do you teach empathy? I showed you kindness and care. If you take advantage of that it is on you. I can get over that. It takes a lot of strength to be kind and caring. We structure care, we give students and teachers time. (read Chris’ blogpost about how they structure this here) It is all about your advisor and you, this way every student has an advocate. To make this happen the school has to structure for care. All that happens is through the advisor. We love them all, even when they do something wrong we remember that they are people. They have the rest of their lives to learn that people suck they don’t need to learn that from school. The teachers leave their ego at the door They are there to help students learn, Everyone is a collaborative learner, student and teacher. I also included a picture from my last session with “Forging student/teacher relationships in an era of shared learning with Jeff Kessler @jeffk8 and Tyrone Kidd. Great students at SLA, it was a good way to end the conference. Thanks guys!

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