Educon: Home — Yet There

Thursday afternoon, I began to feel queasy and by Friday afternoon….I knew (and the symptoms were proving it) — I had the flu.

So I headed home about 2pm….and crawled into bed.

Fell asleep for about an hour — and then rolled over and grabbed my ipad to watch the stream of the Friday night panel at Educon —

and thus began, my weekend, sick at home — and literally attended Educon in my PJ’s.

And here are my thoughts.

The panel on Friday night — was interesting.   The moderator did well, the questions were very good — and responded to well by the panel members.   But the panelist who caught my attention….was Jeff Pulver.
Perhaps it is that we are similar in age — and also on a recent journey of weight loss — but so many things he said resonated with me.   And when he said “sometimes you just have to reboot yourself” I literally clapped out loud.
That comment was my biggest takeaway from the Friday night panel.

Saturday’s sessions (in the morning) were acting a bit weird for me — but I realized later that the issue was perhaps my ipad and NOT the connection.

I did not catch the keynote — I admit I was sound asleep!

The first session I attended was Small Town School…….Global Education led by Daisy Dyer Duerr, Sabra Provence because I truly wanted to hear some people I had NEVER ever heard before.
And I heard what I already knew — but so needed to be reminded of — It ALL comes down to relationships and stepping out.   Class size does not matter……location does not matter……time zones do not matter……even language issues can be resolved…..what matters is FIRST the desire to connect and then TAKING the steps to connect.   It is easy to get so busy that you have no time to open the door of your classroom ….. but it is so important that you stop, slow down….and do open the door.

I really really wanted to hear Unraveling the Textbook but my sound was horrid — so I moved over to Curation:  Three Ways with Joyce Valenza.  I wish every school could have Joyce as their librarian — or I wish every librarian could just watch and learn from Joyce — and then take her passion back to their campus.   As someone who loves research — I enjoyed hearing her share of different ways to find credible research rather than just “googling” your answer.  My biggest takeaways were: and — and I will admit here and now….I had dismissed scoop it many months ago as just a quick click newspaper people were creating with no thought…..and Joyce showed me ways that it can be used very thoughtfully & powerfully.  Oh, and the song “Curation” to the tune of Tradition from Fiddler on the Roof was just good old fun!

While bouncing between several other sessions during this time….I began to wonder if the connection issues were my ipad and so I wandered over to my laptop and couch for the rest of Educon.

For Session 3, I teeter tottered between Scott Floyd’s Session:  The Utopian School: If you build it, will they come? and Jennifer Orr’s Session:  Reflecting on Reflections.  Scott’s session was such fun because there were so many familiar faces in this session — voices who easily could carry on conversations — and many people who were quite vocal.   I admit 100% I do not wish or hope for a school every to be an Utopian School — if that means to be perfect — but it if means to be highly desirable, then I am okay with that.  My biggest takeaway from Scott’s session are many.  #1 — no school is the same and we can take ideas from each other, but we still need to meld them into working on our own campus.  #2 — it is SO important to stop and listen when someone is sharing and NOT just jump right into responding.  (Scott is so good on reflecting before he responds)  #3 — teachers are hurting and Educon is a place where people are being brutally honest and we have to devise someway of reaching out and mentoring/encouraging/listening to these teachers.  #4 — Darren Kuropatwa, when he speaks — please listen.

In Jennifer Orr’s session, her part was hard to hear — but the participants could be heard loud and clear!!  Reflection is SO SO overlooked in so many classrooms.   My personal belief, and I would have shared this out loud if I had been there… giving time for reflection puts the teacher in a truly vulnerable moment…..and I personally believe many teachers do not wish to be vulnerable to their students.  So they remove reflection time….thus removing any chance of students comments/opinions/ideas.  To me — this was MY biggest takeaway:   I need to allow the time to reflect much much more than I do.

I also realized I enjoyed watching the dynamics of how men moderate a session and how women do.   Realized when seesawing back and forth between Scott and Jen that someone could do an entire thesis on moderating a session at EDUCON.   Both Scott and Jen did very very well……..but there were differences that are distinguishable.   (In My Humble Opinion Of Course)

The panel on Sunday was phenomenal!!  This will be it’s own blog post.   Very Very good!!

Session 4 I journeyed into Mr. Chase’s session:  Developing Our Online Voice.  Very much enjoyed this session — but they really really REALLY needed to have a back channel so that they COULD be developing their online voice.   I enjoyed this session — Zac did a nice job journeying from each level of online communication.  He passed out an article for them to read (I believe) before it began….so I was unsure what was happening at the beginning.  My biggest personal takeaway was when he asked:  How Do You Decide What Goes Online About You.   One gentleman said “I don’t worry about it.” because he put everything out there.   Which I am sure many of them agree with……
But then I started to wonder — how would I respond to that.
Do I worry about it?  Yes….not like “ooooo scarey worry” but more of an awareness that MY behavior says more about me than just an educator.  It also speaks of my relationship with God.  So I am aware of that all the time — try to stay aware of that all the time.   Not that I am perfect — FAR FROM THAT…..but I don’t want to let God down or give someone the opportunity to ever say “WOW, Jen, I thought you were a Christian?”   Yes, I am pretty transparent online….probably say much more than I should….but I still am always aware that I am a Christian first…..and choose my words wisely.
But to be honest — that is me offline as well.

Session 5 happened at the same time as my Live Stream church service — but I would have attended John Schinker’s Mind the Gap and Session 6 would have been Visualizing Data with Fusion Tables with Alvin Trusty.

And that, I thought — was the end of my Educon experience!!

Luckily for me — though — my phone rang at about 1:00 my time….and for about 20 minutes, I spent time on the phone with Rachel Small discussing her thoughts of the conference — she was REALLY there!   Turns out we attended some of the same sessions….and then she shared other sessions she really liked.   One was The Politics of EdTech that I will watch later.

My biggest question after EDUCON is always “HOW IS THIS GOING TO CHANGE ME & MY CAMPUS”?   Educon, to me, reminds me a lot about summer church camps – you come back so on fire — but then life gets busy again — and all your plans dissolve into nothingness and you continue on same old way.   Momentum slows down to a slow crawl.   We really REALLY need to find a way — more than just twitter — of posting of “I AM DIFFERENT & MY CAMPUS IS DIFFERENT BECAUSE I LEARNED THIS ___________________________ AT EDUCON AND THIS IS HOW IT IS WORKING NOW ON MY CAMPUS.”

My second biggest question after EDUCON is “who is a new person you met?”  So, when you write your reflection posts….please share the new names you learned from.

and my final question always is “Why did I miss this again?”   If you have not been to Educon…..put it on your plan for 2014.  Dates are January 24, 25, 26.   Chris Lehmann has realized that one important aspect of Educon is to keep the numbers small — so don’t wait too long to register.  500ish has become their comfy number.

Educon — great conversations — great people — great thinking — great connections.

from no matter where you are.

Just my thoughts.




  1. Kay Green says:

    I’m glad I read this before I attend TCEA next week. I needed to be reminded—“I AM DIFFERENT & MY CAMPUS IS DIFFERENT BECAUSE I LEARNED THIS ___________________________ AT TCEA AND THIS IS HOW IT IS WORKING NOW ON MY CAMPUS.”

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