If you were sitting in a conversation at this weekend’s EduCon and felt like you were being watched…you were. You didn’t see me but I was there. I was watching you interact. I was listening to your conversations. I was stealing your ideas to bring back to my school. Thankfully none of you pulled a Mark Sanchez while on camera.
It was kind of surreal watching some of the people I follow on twitter in “real life”. It was nice to put faces and voices to folks that I have met and learned with over the past three months on twitter.
This was my first EduCon experience and much like the Reform Symposium, it was inspiring. My first thought was how the sessions were called “conversations” and not presentations. That is truly what they were; conversations with dedicated and passionate educators.
I was able to creep in on the conversation on standards based grading and listened to some great ideas. One idea that resonated with me was when they broke into small groups. The question being posed was “how would you design a better grading system.” The camera on the live feed jumped to a conversation that included @thenerdyteacher who said, “no grades”. I completely agree with this as it would put focus on learning and not the grades themselves. I just wish out educational system was not so neck deep in standardized testing to support this type of thinking.
Another conversation I jumped in on was hosted by @shareski and @courosa who talked about the global community of educators. As teachers we have an obligation to teach our students and help develop staff members we work with. However, what is our obligation to work with students and teachers across the globe? There is nothing in my contract that says I have to chat with a teacher in Ohio about grading practices. There is also nothing that tells me to have my students chat with kids in Pennsylvania. However, I do these things because I feel obligated to help others and be helped in return. Also in that conversation is the idea of sharing and being open with what you are doing. While this sounds easy there are issues with copywrite, citing, and ownership of curriculum by school districts.
Looking forward I feel inspired to figure out ways in which I can bring the power of the conversations of EduCon to my school and community. I would encourage anyone who wants to learn from passionate educators to hop into the twitter stream from #educon and read some of the conversations that are taking place.