NECC to me: Ten of my takeaways

My Leadership Day 2008 post

Note:  7/ 7/2008 - This post is revised.  I was exhausted after NECC and feel that my wording should be more improved now that I've had time to reflect.  Thank you for your comments.  None of us are perfect, particularly me.  Thank you for making room in your rss reader for a flawed person like me.  ;-)

Many people have reflected on "their" NECC experience.  While I was at NECC, to me the most important thing was to focus on sharing and sending out as much as I could with those not there (or with my future self.)

Here are my thoughts:

1 - NECC is Overwhelming
Julie and I helping teachers interested in flattening classrooms to meet one another.No one can be everywhere.  And with the total overwhelming fatigue that sets in after the first few hours, I doubt any of us are at our 100% best anyway.

I'm going to spend practical time going back through and viewing ustreams and blog posts about the content that was shared.  There was a lot of great stuff, and I a particularly enjoyed Chris DeDe's presentation on the evolution of assessment.  It was brilliant and I felt my own educational viewpoints evolve as I heard him speak.

I also heard that Hall Davidson's cell phone presentation was amazing and am looking for the ustream of it.

At edubloggercon, I enjoyed the Web 2.0 smackdown (the great links are on the page-- the world wide participation was awesome.) Joyce Valenza and Blogwalker took great notes of the session.

Web 2 keychain from joyce valenza

I loved Kevin Hunnicut's Web 2 keychain (shown above courtesy of Joyce Valenza), it is worth forwarding through the ustream recording on the wiki to see him describe use of this amazing tool!

2 - Time to Rename
With the increasing focus on global connections and the second day keynote of two amazing Canadian educators, it is time to either:  1) rename necc the ietc (international education technology conference) or 2) start a separate international conference that is either held in conjunction w/ an existing conference each year or is merged w/ necc. 

3 - Remember Interpersonal Skills
To say I was quite annoyed at the bloggers who blogged publicly asking Steve Hargadon to state his relationship w/ Pearson (there is none) instead of walking up to him and asking (as I and some others did) was dissapointing.  (Ask before you blog!)

Bloggers should understand that once it is blogged, it cannot be taken back, so as a good journalist would do... go to the source.  Ask, then blog.

So, this is not a defense of whether Pearson should be there or not, just pointing out that Steve has done a lot of hard work and should have been asked before being blogged about.

3 - It is about the students.
I loved meeting the students.  I loved their voice.  What is wrong with that?

4- I feel so unimportant. and yet...

When I go to NECC, I always leave feeling very very small and like I have a long way to go.  I hate to say I feel unimportant, and yet, my own contribution to this web 2.0 movement is such a small blip on the radar.  And I do feel pretty unimportant.

And yet, my part is so very important to my students.  I love them and am delighted to be their teacher.

Those who leave a legacy are those who:
  • Intentionally seek out beginners to encourage them.
  • Intentionally welcome beginners and all people.
  • Look others in the eye and take a moment to listen when they meet them face to face. (This one was hard while getting ready for sessions.)
  • Treat others with respect in their words and actions.
  • Understand the power of the written word and take what they blog very seriously.
  • Blog the truth and not accusations that may or may not be true.
This is a challenge as the email gets fuller and there are more people who know you, however, it is part of what I aspire to be.

 Thanks for saying "hi"
I'm so thankful for all of you who came by and introduced yourself and said hello and told me your story. 

I was also so amazed talking to bloggers like Dean Shareski, Jo McLeay, Julie Lindsay, Scott Meech, Lisa Parisi, Kristin Hokanson, some really amazing middle school teachers, elementary teachers, and others in brainstorming how they can flatten their classrooms across subject area.  As a whole edubloggers are just great, humble, wonderful down to earth people.
Mark my words, some people are just emerging into Web 2 right now that will literally change the face of education.  Don't discount the beginner.

No one "owns" the Web 2 story
Sitting on a Classroom 2.0 panel with Steve Hargadon, I heard a person beautifully describe Web 2.0 that I had never met.  I didn't know her.  But the way she described it was so amazing and wonderful. It was then that I realized that none of us "own" this story.

Web 2 is growing far past the ability of any of us to lay claim to it and really it is quickly merging into Web 3d which is quickly becoming a topic of interest.

5 - The Redefinition of Computing
Cell phones, ipods, and other handheld gadgets are rapidly moving mainstream as IT personell realize the struggles created by shrinking budgets and the futility of spending money on voting devices, when students who have cell phones can do the same thing using polleverywhere.  This is why I think "computing" should come out of the name of the conference.

I heard it said that "in the 90's content was king, now contact is king."  I would add, it is less about computing and more about contact.  The content should still always be there, however, contact is very important!

6 - Meeting Face to Face
Meeting someone face to face does something.  It changes the relationship and for me, it almost always improves it.  There is still a really long list of who I want to meet, but also, this includes people I want to "help discover" and bring into the radar of the edtech community.

Meeting people face to face helps establish trust as well as idea generation when something "clicks."  There is value in this.

7- The evolution of assessment
Chris DeDe's presentation on the evolution of assessment was truly a hinge point for me as he discussed River City and the research emerging from this 3D immersive environment. (See multi user environment paper.)

I've been looking for the 3D maps that he used to map stronger students and weaker students but cannot find them.  The whole idea of data mining wikis and other tools in order to get at student behavior more readily is very attractive to me.

8 - The Ascyronicity of Conferences
Talking live on edtechtalk via cell phoneTo me, the great challenge of conferences is making them evolve into both sychronous environments and asynchronous.  As an ISTE member, I think I should be able to attend NECC all year long.

With 100 volunteers this conference could be ustreamed and affect many.  It could become part of iste membership and provide far reaching benefits for many.

There is an inherent selection process that goes on for those who can attend NECC. 

I literally have to work and speak at conferences to save all year long and send myself to NECC because it is not in the budget for our school.  Is it worth the effort?  Yes.

However, there is a great need to podcast and stream sessions and I believe it can be done in a way that is open and yet still preserves the value of the NECC conference.  I believe if people could see for themselves the sessions at NECC, that it will make them want to go more.

It will also include those who need the pd.  There is a digital divide between those who can go to necc and those who cannot and if we talk about digital divide... we need to bridge this one as an example.

9 - The hypocrisy of our delivery methods
We talk about engaging, interactive spaces and yet, there is way too much lecture still.  We need backchannels and meaningful ways to engage learners.

It is so ironic to hear the profound lectures on how sage on the stage doesn't work.  And yet, the actions of those lecturing show what they truly believe.  This evolution is tough and none of us have the answer yet for how this engaging experience for massive groups of people should look, but we still need to work with it.  (I mean, who wants to experiment w/ a keynote!?  High risk!)

10 - Necc 2009
So, to make 2009 be what we think it should be, it is time to suggest things now.  Fill out the surveys that they e-mail to you.  Talk to Steve about edubloggercon.  Tag it Necc2009. (Hey, so here's my Necc 2009 page like we had for necc 2008.)

So, enough about what "I" think.  The NECC experience will be as diverse as we all are and each person must decide for themselves what things are worth their own time in light of their own jobs.

We have a lot of work to do.

It comes down to:  what will help me be a better teacher?  What will improve my classroom? What will enhance the lives of my students?

I'll work to share some of these things with you soon.

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