I have never been to a conference that was so full on from the get go as Learning 2.012 in Beijing this year. WOW!! From the time I arrived in Beijing on Wednesday morning until I flew out at midnight on Saturday night it was non stop action… but in a really good way!
I felt as if the conference had an aura more like a music festival than an educational conference. People were pumped to be there. Although I have attended this conference before this was hands down the best yet. Kudos to the organizers for constantly working to tweak and improve the format. They are an impressive bunch!
I was lucky to be able to attend the preconference with about 40 other participants. The focus was to look at emerging trends in education with the hopes that people would be inspired to participate or engage in action research about these topics. The preconference participants narrowed it down to three very relevant topics and we broke up into groups to work on making a short video trailer that would be shown at the conference explaining these ideas to attendies. The three topics centered around professional development, game based learning, and teacher anxiety toward technology use. All the videos were well received and I want to tip my hat to all who participated in the process. I was lucky enough to work with Dave Caleb(@davecaleb), Jeff Dungan(@jdungan), Patrick McMahon, Justin Hardman(@jahardman), Doug Taylor(dtaylor2008), Jason Graham, and Zoe Page who were all an awesome, creative, and skilled team. Jeff Utech(@jutecht) and Jeff Plaman(@jplaman) popped in every now and then to lend a guiding hand. Here is the fruit of our labor:
Big things are happening.
Lately I have been thinking about synergy and how collaborative work and projects inspire and often benefit from synergy. I felt there was a lot of synergistic energy at this conference. Many of the workshop presenters are creating amazing things. They are documenting the process and product in ways that allow them to share this content with the world. People are using and building on this and then sharing back again. Many, if not all of the presenters have a close connection to the classroom. I think this made them accessible to participants. I more often than not saw people wanting to get started on something right there during the sessions. They didn’t want to wait until they got back to their schools to review their notes, they wanted to get going right then and there and they felt comfortable enough to go for it. I think this speaks volumes about the level of comfort people felt at the conference even though for many it was their first time at such an event. Things have shifted from show me how to please support me as I try to learn this myself. Time and time again I saw educators going for it and taking ownership in their learning. It was awesome!
I was lucky enough to co-host a Guided Discussion with Zoe Page (@pagezoe). I had so much fun and I think most of the participants enjoyed themselves as well. I much prefer presenting with someone else. Not because it makes me less nervous or anything but it comes back to the idea of synergy. I’m lucky to have the opportunity to collaborate with someone as bright, kind and creative as Zoe. How cool is it that I get to work with someone on really cool stuff and we don’t even live in the same country!
Another bonus was presenting an unconfernce with Jason Graham (@jasongraham99). We’ve been sharing ideas online for a while now and I was stoked to finally get to do something with him. Read more about our #kinderchat unconference in this post here.
That’s it for now. If you are reading this and you attended the conference please share your thoughts.