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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Edbloggercon 2007 - My take aways




My blogger is acting up as are many of my add ins. I'll do my best to hand code this post, but oh what a pain!

Today was like trying to cram a watermelon down the throat of a squirrel -- lots of sweet goodness and not enough room to hold it all! I will be writing about the things I have pondered from today for months and even years to come. Here are my major "take aways."


  • I believe that every NECC and every state technology conference should have an Edubloggercon of sorts

    -- perhaps bloggercon is a misnomer because we had podcasters and others there. However, the need for informal discussions and tackling of projects with those who have a certain knowledge base is something that should be harnessed and directed.


  • I believe that educational organizations and lobbies should advocate mandatory digital citizenship courses for all early middle school students.

    We had discussions at the early morning session facilitated by Will Richardson and Chris Lehman about this. Please read the notes!!

    My dad was very active in another very misunderstood profession -- I believe more misunderstood and less respected than teachers -- farming. And he always said that when the farm bill came out that it was better for farmers to "pick their poison" than to have it picked for them.

    Internet safety requirements for schools is an inevitable fact -- the reason DOPA emerged is because educators have not proactively advocated an alternative. We discussed it, though and digital citizenship is much more than safety although safety is a component. It is something that all students need.

    And one way to get nothing from politicians is to go with a "laundry list" -- too many things -- pick one thing, get behind it, advocate it, and support it. It is time for some cooperation.


  • "If you're not willing to lose your job, you're not going to be able to do your job. -- Chris Lehman

    What a sad state we are in -- Chris says that in his circles this is the quote in the "gotcha" one slip up and you're gone environment. I seem to recall that dictators like Stalin and Hitler were some of the few who got away with shooting a person for one slip up. Even in baseball you get three strikes. In football you get four downs. ONe strike and you're out? That type of mentality is a recipe for disaster because the whole process of teaching is about trial and error in the first place. This mentality needs to be pointed out and talked about because it is harming education and the ability of educators to innovate and make progress. If Thomas Edison can try 2000 ways to make the light bulb, I think we can let administrators and teachers make mistakes and learn from them.

    This was from the session on the future of schools and David Warlick did a beautiful job facilitating.


  • There is a lot of interest in multicultural collaboration

    It was exciting to see the vision that others have for what needs to happen. The desire is there, the willingness is there and there are some organizations that are doing it. We need to be looking at multicultural components as standard parts of all courses as appropriate. What opportunities we have with this one but it is going to need to be much wider scale than it is now. Julie and I are talking about standards for international projects and the group gave us some great feedback on this.

    After watching some of the other unconference masters, I think we'll run our session differently next time if we get an opportunity, but it was still a good one.


  • Tagging Standards by Strand and Grade Level

    This is a must-do, folks. We have got to standardize tagging so that we can find things, catalog things, share things, much more efficaciously than we do. We don't need to build new things, let's use what we have and simplify things for all of us in education. Let's teach teachers in education programs to use the standards in college and then continue them as part of being an educator. We can then aggregate, mashup and do things we can only imagine now! -- the world will become our database.


  • Beauty in diversity

    It is beautiful that edubloggers, podcasters, photographers, educators can collaborate and work together -- it is also wonderful that such a diverse group of people can be allowed to have different opinions. It is great to converse and rejoice in our non-homogeneity because there was a bit of diversity in the discussions -- although there could always be more.

    It was great meeting the amazing people who shape my life and my classroom. To ask them questions and learn. To soak in the goodness of being a part of people who have a passion for the same things... at least for one day. A happy place it was, but the other great thing was the people who were skyping in questions and following via twitter and blogging as we wrote. That was great. It was great that the second life group had others who weren't there who were there in second life. It was great that podcasts were recorded (they will be published somewhere and I'll let you know.)

    But most of all it was nice to laugh and be human and realize that we're all here and want to do a good job, enjoy our family, and make a difference while we have a lease on life. We're not so different in that we want these things. And to laugh when David Warlick misread his watch (he got the hands mixed up) or Terry Freedman told us about his nickname in college (I'm not telling) or we told funny stories about typos on student papers or hilarious stories out of the random past or when I skyped Jeff Utecht, Julie Lindsay, and Steve Dembo when they were sitting beside me (just to show myself that I really was connecting with them.)-- we connected with others and realized that, although they may be hours away and even in a whole other date and time (literally) that we can have common passions to push forward this thing we love called education to pursue excellence in teaching and understanding.

  • So many cool people, guys! I felt like I was amongst some really amazing folks -- Chris Sessums is really cool, so is Chris Craft, Brian Crosby, Anne Davis, Darren Draper, Christin Frodella, Brian Grenier, Kristin Hokanson, Dana Huff, David Jakes, Doug Johnson (he is brilliant), Tim Lauer, Scott Merrick,Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, Cheryl Oakes, John Pederson (so cool), Sharon Peters, Danita Russell, Kathy Shields, Gwen Solomon, Tim Stahmer, Alfred Thompson, Joyce Valenza, Mark van 't Hooft, Vinnie Vrotny, Mark Wagner, Chris Fitzgerald Walsh, Tom Woodward,
    our uber-organizer Steve Hargadon, the folks I've mentioned elsewhere in this post, and all of the other amazing attendees.

    It was enjoyable. But do not think that we solved the worlds problems, we didn't. But when you build relationships you work better together for the future.

    OK, goodnight for now (I've got to take some notes now for the curriculum proposal I'm working on for a class in the fall - David Warlick gave me some more great ideas for my classroom -- Yahoo! You'll be hearing about those in the future.)

    So, I'll share more tomorrow, for now, I'm pole vaulting into my bunk bed, tucking in under my covers, saying a quick prayer that I won't fall off and that I'll get all my presentations done and heading off to lala land! Goodnight!

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