I can't believe the weekend is over. Luckily, we had great flights to and from Philadelphia. Some of our friends didn't and had to spend nights and days in layovers and cancelled flights just to get there or get back home. I do feel lucky about our travel. I had so looked forward to the conference, because I had heard so many great things. I knew a lot of people that would be there (because Twitter makes you feel like you are their friends), and had read a lot about past conferences. I was ready.
After the first couple sessions, I was blown away. Here we are at sessions, hoping to learn a few things about different topics, and we are right in the middle of conversations with people about the topics. This conference wasn't like most. We were there to have conversations, to share ideas, not only with the presenters, but also with the people sitting around us. It was incredible. The audience was filled with so many smart and insightful people, all willing to share their experiences and ideas. All thinking about ways to improve the experiences of students - and not focusing on test scores. Innovation - how can we do things differently to create outstanding, authentic learning experiences for our students? How can we help students become passionate about their futures? How do we create an environment in which students can fail, then learn from their experiences, so they can react to new situations and find success?
Sessions were held that covered many topics, presented by outstanding educators. Discussions between outstanding educators and non-educators provided insights as to how we can alter what we do to help all students succeed. We need to work to create environments where we can model skills that students need, providing mentorships and connections that will provide them support into the future. Helping make connections was one of the many thoughts I came away with. How do we make connections with people to help support growth?
Making connections was one of the things that I found so energizing about EDUCON. I was able to re-connect with some people that I had previously met. I had the opportunity to meet people that have influenced my growth over the past year. I was able to meet them face-to-face, rather than just communicating through Twitter and email. I think those contacts are so helpful. I was also able to make a couple new friends. Technology will allow us to continue to communicate easily. It is amazing how easy sharing thoughts and experiences is now that Twitter and blogging have become so popular. I hope that I can convince my colleagues of the importance of connecting with people in their areas of interest, learning and sharing with people with common goals and hopes. We need to support each other and grow together as we try to help our schools become better places for learning.
I'd like to give a special thanks to some of the people that I met and learned from. Theses are truly amazing people. You should follow them, to see for yourself.
Dean Shareski (@shareski) http://ideasandthoughts.org/
Alec Couros (@courosa) http://educationaltechnology.ca/couros/
George Couros (@gcouros) http://georgecouros.ca/blog/
Patrick Larkin (@bhsprincipal) http://www.burlingtonhigh.blogspot.com/
Chuck Poole (@cpoole27) http://www.throughourwindowroom101.blogspot.com/
Chris Craft (@crafty184) http://www.crucialthought.com/
Michael Wacker (@mwacker) http://mwacker.blogspot.com/
Troy Hicks (@hickstro) http://hickstro.org/
Sara Beauchamp-Hicks (@yoopertechgeek) http://hickstro.org/cccl/
Bill Fitgerald (@funnymonkey) http://funnymonkey.com/
Rodd Lucier (@thecleversheep) http://www.thecleversheep.com/
Leslie Davison (@lesliedavison)
Cindy Minnich (@CBethM)
These people, along with many others, shared of their time and knowledge so that many others can grow and learn. It is truly fantastic that all of you are willing to give so much back to the profession. Chris Lehmann and the students of Philadelphia's Science Leadership Academy should be so proud of the event they put together last weekend.