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My EduCon Proposal

Proposals for EduCon 2.3 are due the day after tomorrow so, as always, I’m down to almost the last minute finishing mine.

However, unlike most other conferences, they aren’t looking for people to stand up in front of a group to do a demonstration/lecture/slide show.

EduCon all about conversations and a real exchange of ideas, which makes the conference far more interesting than more conventional meetings, but also makes it harder to design a session proposal, at least it does for me.

So, I’m going to lay out what I’ve been thinking of submitting and maybe someone can let me know if I’m on the right track or totally off kilter. The sound of crickets might also be a good indicator.

This idea for this session stems from the fact that I work in an overly-large school district, something like the 12th largest in the country, and for all the claims by our administration of being innovative, we still need to make major changes to the way we educate our students.

But how does someone affect change in a large system, especially when you have very little direct, positional control over things?

Even in school districts much smaller than ours, and I imagine in most colleges and universities, I suspect people have found ways to “manage up” or have developed an active underground in order to inject new ideas.

What’s worked? How do you make lots of small changes that add up to big ones?

If this proposal is accepted, no one should attend expecting someone to provide the answers.  I would like this to be an honest exchange of ideas that have worked where you are along with the opportunity to brainstorm more.

Incidentally, EduCon usually has the tools to allow you to participate even if you can’t be in Philadelphia so this could potentially include many more people than just those in a relatively small classroom.

Ok, so that’s the concept?

Is this a session you would want to attend? Is it something that’s not worth the effort to enter it and press the submit button?  Should I be riding a donkey looking for a Sancho Panza?

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3 Comments

  1. I want to applaud the spirit of your talk and will be there in person or in data.

    I received an email from my county which has awards to reward the behavior they wish to promote. Awards for “keeping to the county standards” and “adherence to county web policies.” One gets a badge for their website for following the rules – best.

    Why not have an award for:

    -Imaginativeness of Content: Awarded to the school which implements content through technology in unique ways.

    -Most Creative 2nd Use of Standard County Issue Gear: Awarded to the school which finds 2nd lives for older equipment

    -Bending County Web Policies (without breaking them): Awarded to the school which finds the most innovative ways to push at the boundaries imposed by county web policies without actually breaking the intended “spirit” of the policy.

    We could meet at a bar and have an award ceremony three times a year.

    Or make it quasi official, thereby creating “facts on the ground.”

  2. T.J. Hart

    Though I currently don’t live in your part of the world, I would want to attend you session. I have learned that I can’t change what is above me, but I can change what is below me. I would love to hear how others have managed and what has been successful for them.

    I have found, for major changes in a school to work, the principle, admin, teachers, students, parents and community must be committed to a common vision for what the school is to do. This vision allows for everyone to strive for it, albeit via different paths. Teachers are the key, in a no blame environment, where experimentation is allowed. Google IDEAS USQ to get an idea as to how that might work.

  3. D.M. Turner

    It’s a preoccupation of mine. In grad school, I read Gareth Morgan’s IMAGES OF ORGANIZATION and he devotes a good bit to the “informal organizations” that (I have noticed in the past seventeen years) actually run many effective schools. I would come, if only to contribute (yes, I’m attending EduCon 2.3).

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