Educon Conversation – Learning Spaces of Tomorrow

Learning Spaces of Tomorrow This past weekend, I had the opportunity to facilitate a conversation at #educon23 in Philidealphia with Rodd Lucier (thecleversheep).

Because we were presenting during the last time slot of the conference, Rodd and I felt is was necessary to give participants a chance to apply the knowledge gained throughout the weekend to our session. Ultimately to make the session, their culminating activity.

Performance Task: Capturing the Conference

We used a Livescribe Pen, a tool that records in both ink and audio we asked the participants to literally design a learning space using the themes and principles of Educon itself.

The results of the Pencasts are quite remarkable really and captured those conversations that don’t normally get the attention – the small groups and 1:1 discussions. The groups themselves consisted of a variety of stakeholders in education: principals, teachers, consultants, students, academics, writers, and designers.

These pencast also provide an example of another way to present and share information – not just the transcript or text but can hear the passion in the voices themselves. Take a listen.

n)

AND THE ONLINE FOLKS CREATED MAGIC:

Educon changed my Monday morning lesson

It is Monday morning and as I drive to work, my mind is racing trying to make sense of the key themes and ideas from Educon2.3. How will this conference change my thinking? Where do I go next? How will this impact my students? How has this network educators from not only my own province, but across the globe changed my own ideas about teaching?

On the radio, I listen to CBC updating the world about Egyptian protesters who are holding huge rallies in Cairo and other cities as they step up their efforts to force President Hosni Mubarak from power.
Simlutaneous Face-to-Face AND Offsite
(This pictures is @Roddlucier communicating with our online learners during our session)

I reflect my key learning from #educon2.3 – that there was clearly a common theme of networking and sharing in every session, table conversation, social gathering and hallway talk. Over and over we referred to students as “our learners” and our colleagues as “our PLN”. We talk of learning as though it has no boundaries and we model this through our vast network of expertise that allows us to customize our own learning.

Again, my mind focuses back to the radio.

“One demonstrator, Tarek Shalabi, told the BBC that groups were camped out in tents or sleeping out in the square, and described the atmosphere as “overwhelming”.
“We’re here because we want to make a statement. We’re not going until Mubarak steps down,” he said.


I think about Educon, and boundaries – that the boundaries of Schools, Districts (public/private), Cities, Provinces, States, Countries were becoming irrelevant. That there was a common language of learning that revolved around themes of inquiry, of problem solving, connectivity, critical thinking, experiential learning, engagement and of course, FUN.
My mind shifts back to the CBC reporter who quotes Jack Layton (an NDP leader),

“Ultimately of course these things are up to the Egyptian people, but it seems quite clear that significant change is what is being sought by people in Egypt right now, and so let’s make sure that that process is democratic as much as that can possibly be achieved

Read more
As I drive to work, with my lessons ready to go, I feel a strong connection to my experience at #educon2.3 with the current news story that I hear on the radio. Our boundaries, our borders are concepts. Distance and time are now irrelevant. As world citizens, teachers, learners, it is our obligation to be aware, to advocate, to speak out for human rights and to listen closely to the people of Egypt.
I can’t teach my planned lesson.

As a classroom teacher, I would not let this go. I would want my students to engage in conversation, to analyze and synthesis the news stories, to compare perspective and opinions. I would want them to understand why the front of the newspapers show burning buildings, why they hear words like “revolution”, “dictatorship”, “democracy” and “human rights” on the radio. I would want them to connect this to their own lives and why it matters.

This is what we talk about at Educon2.3 – Making learning authentic and meaningful. Providing learning that uses current tools and methods. Connecting students and teachers to the world around them.

My pre-service students and I spent the next four hours discussing authenticity in learning which resulted in some inspiring conversation.

As there contribution to this issue in education, these students worked together to create a series of lessons relating to these current news events.

LESSONS HERE (and more to come)

Educon2.2 – not just a technology conference….

From the beginning, Educon 2.2 presented by Science Leadership, asserted that it is not a “technology conference”, but a conversation for educators to come together from across the world to talk about strategies, best practices, changes, ideas and concerns relating to education for today and for tomorrow. This post will focus on my experience and how this experience satisfied the Guiding Principals of Educon, that:

– Our schools must be inquiry-driven, thoughtful and empowering for all members

– Our schools must be about co-creating – together with students – like the 21st Century Citizen,

– Technology must serve pedagogy, not the other way around

– Technology must enable students to research, create, communicate and collaborate

– Learning can – and must- be networked (from: Educon, The Axioms)

The idea of Educon, in itself was built on the above ingredients and like chemistry, these Axioms rely on one another for the whole to function.

First – ‘inquiry driven, thoughtful and empowering’. I attended a conversation with Ben Hazzard and Rodd Lucier that was just that: A Field Guide for Change Agents. The main idea for this conversation was, that educators need to build trust with colleagues in order to bring about effective change in our schools. The presentors  asked questions like –  How can we ensure professional discourse effectively considers voices of students, parents and teachers? What is at stake if change agents fail to engage others? Continue reading