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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?

EduCon Proposal

Since EduCon 2.2 proposals were due today, of course I submitted mine just a few hours ago. Nothing new… I usually do my other homework assignments at the last minute as well. :-)

EduCon is something unique among the many education-related conferences out there.

Sessions don’t involved being lectured at or about playing with the coolest new tools. It’s all about the “opportunity to discuss and debate ideas” dealing with just about anything to do with education and learning.

Anyway, my little proposal borrows ideas from the book Disrupting Class, in which the authors note that we’ve spent a lot of money on computers for classrooms while getting very little change.

In the book Disrupting Class, the authors make the observation “While people have spent billions of dollars putting computers into schools, it has resulted in little change in how students learn.”

They also ask “Why haven’t computers brought about a transformation in schools the way they have in other areas of life?”

Excellent question. Certainly there are plenty of answers, including this one also from Disrupting Class “…the way schools have employed computers has been perfectly predictable, perfectly logical – and perfectly wrong.”

But the focus of this session will not be about placing blame. Instead let’s discuss what we can do and what is being done to change things. Come join us for a discussion centered on these ideas and bring any and all ideas, whether from your personal experience or elsewhere. Invite your friends and colleagues who aren’t attending EduCon to be part of the conversation from wherever they are.

With any luck, the program will see fit to include that in the agenda. I did a session at the first iteration of EduCon and it was a great experience.

If you haven’t made your plans to attend EduCon, do it now. If you’re not able to come to Philly in January, watch for how to participate from wherever you are through a variety of back channels.

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