Saturday, April 12, 2014

The end of the education conference.

I'm calling it. Education conferences that we all attend and love are on the way out. I just attended at the Iowa 1:1 Institute this past week. It was a great conference. The sessions they offered were varied and relevant. The vendors had fun stuff to show and tell. ITEC was there in full force with giveaways and LMGTFY stickers (currently on the lid of my Chromebook). It was great to see everyone and reconnect with friends I "see" all the time on Twitter.

However, as I was looking around and walking and listening and sitting... I realized this is not the future.

Here were the tale-tell signs:

  • There were several sessions that described themselves as "open discussion" or "EdCamp style." Presenters, including myself, wanted people to know their session was going to be a facilitated conversation rather than a sit and get style of presentation.
  • The people who planned the 1:1 Institute had the foresight to plan a room that was titled "unconference." The plan was that if people wanted to get together and talk about things that were important other than what was offered they had a space.
  • Lots of people in the hallway during sessions. I walked into a room that didn't fit me. I thought it was something it wasn't and so I voted with my feet and walked back into the hallway to find another session. There were quite a few people in the hallway. This said to me that I was not the only one with this problem.
Educational or technology conferences are great, but they are not personal. I believe there is a growing need for personal professional development. What I saw started to confirm my thinking. Now, I have, probably most of you have, written and stated this need of this type of development. My question is how do we move it from a shared idea to a reality?

Your comments are encouraged and welcome,

Dane Barner

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