This week I had the privilege of attending the #140edu Conference in Manhattan, where innovate educators, officials, and social media entrepreneurs got together to share ideas, ask questions, and offer inspiration.
The entire thing was incredibly worthwhile, but here are a few topics that are particularly resonating with me at the moment (doubtless more processing time will make this list grow):
- Dean Shareski reminded me about how important it is to share the journeys I take with my work. I often get too hung up on wanting to project perfection to the outside world, and not admit that I often have questions that go unanswered and sometimes need to change course when things don’t go as I expect. By sharing the questions and challenges that I face as well as the successes, I can offer so much more.
- Eric Sheninger presented the most compelling, succinct, and comprehensive reason to develop a PLN (Personal Learning Network) that I’ve ever heard. I can’t wait to share this talk with my teachers. If we want students to become lifelong learners, we need to practice it ourselves. With a free, available-whenever-we-want-it PLN, all we need to invest is time. The potential return on this investment is huge.
- Chris Lehmann convinced me of the effectiveness that inquiry-driven, dilogic learning can have in his fantastic keynote. Students can be expert voices when we give them room. Asking questions that don’t have predefined answers – finding out what students think and feel – opens the door to a more authentic and powerful learning experience.
- Jamie Leo shared a ton of fantastic tools for creative integration. I’m going to need to carve out some serious time playing around with these things. Amazing. I also love his site’s clean, attractive web design.
- Steve Dembo electrified me with his call to take risks, connect with others, and share stories. In the world today, for both teachers and students, creation in isolation is more than just a missed opportunity – it’s a waste.
The student panel was also fantastic, as was the talk about Dance Floor Theory … I could certainly go on. If you didn’t get the chance to attend or watch the live video stream, check out the videos when they’re available in a couple of weeks.
Lastly, I have to extend a huge thanks to Jeff Pulver (@jeffpulver) for making these connections happen, and for enabling ordinary teachers like me to attend. The warmth and generosity he expressed was extraordinary … I’ve actually changed my home page titles to purple in his honor (plus, I like how it looks).
More importantly, Jeff’s challenge to take action based on the experience – not just sit there watching from the sidelines as I too often do – was my real takeaway. It has me fired up and ready to take some new risks this year. Bring it on!