Every year I like to go to ISTE a day early so that I can attend an unconference of educators that feel the same way that I do about education (at least in part). We get together for one day and discuss the matters that need to be discussed. No agenda, no lectures, just educators getting things done. We start the day by throwing ideas against the wall and seeing what sticks. Topics are discussed and voted upon until we have a "rough" outline for the day. Here are my five big take-aways from this year's unconference...
- iPads Rule! Sorry Android users, but iPads were everywhere and were talked about all day long. Ideas, projects, concerns, and hopes for the future made the iPad the number one talked about subject at this year's unconference. I am not being part of the platform war -- I am just stating the obvious.
- Educators and Entrepreneurs. Who knew? As it turns out, there are a lot of educators that have entrepreneurial ideas, and many of them already have side businesses to support their addiction to teaching.
- Teaching Teachers Technology. Still a big topic, ideas were shared and frustrations were evident as we discussed different ways to get teachers to have the tech skills that their students desperately need them to have. In the end, many success stories were told to inspire us all how to go back to our districts with at least a few ideas to help to process move forward.
- Changing the name was the right thing to do. Many of us boohooed the changing of the name of our unconference from EduBloggerCon to SocialEdCon. But in the end we all knew is was the right thing to do, this group of people are much more than just edtech bloggers, they do so much more with different types of social media -- some are Twitter tweeter, Pinterest pinners and yes, there are even a few bloggers.
- The Renaissance is Here. In case you didn't get the memo, it has begun and it cannot be stopped. The educational renaissance is going to change everything and at this conference we got to peek into the crystal ball and let me just tell you, it is going to be amazing. Students and teachers are in the thick of ed reform and change, and like the original renaissance, it is being let by people who are willing to stand up and be counted, people who take risks, people who are proud of who they are and what they represent. The days of educators being the scapegoats for the problems of society are over, because we are going to be the ones who are going to move education forward in ways that students and the public can't even comprehend. We are the ones in the trenches and we are not going to be told how to fix it by a disconnected group of people who sit in an office somewhere far from the playground.
So that was the SocialEdCon. Now what are you going to do? What changes are you going to make? What are you going to bring to the table next year? Together we are the renaissance that is happening in education. (comments welcomed below)
- Brad Flickinger, Tech Teacher, Bethke Elementary School