Saturday, July 18, 2009

Edubloggercon at NECC

It's been weeks now and I'm finally beginning to write my reflections from NECC. I greatly enjoyed the conference and had the chance to meet, chat with, and learn from some truly fabulous people.

Edubloggercon, the unconference type of day that happened before NECC officially began was a true highlight for me. It was a reasonably small number of people who took the opportunity to discuss the things that mattered to them. I had to leave early due to another commitment and I was very sad. As a result, I was only able to attend two of the sessions.

The first was Liz Davis's discussion of professional development. Alice Mercer liveblogged this one and has already written a great reflection. I don't have anything of significance to add to those two posts.

The second session I attended was Steve Haragadon's on social networking in education. This one I liveblogged. (Edubloggercon was my first real experience with liveblogging and it was wonderful. I think it helped me focus better and keep my mouth shut a bit more.) The first issue to discuss what how we wanted to define social networks for this session. After agreeing to include pretty much everything we moved on to whether or not they should be used in schools and what that means. Steve made the argument that we need to bring these tools into schools, not only because they are being used in the world but also because they are pedagogically sound. The discussion made its way through a whole host of interesting questions. One that really struck me was what are the implications of not using these tools in school. We also talked about closed social networks, limited just to a school or district. It was a fascinating conversation that gave me a lot to think about for a while.

Edubloggercon allowed us the freedom to focus on topics important to us. Even within the sessions we could be flexible and go where we wanted to go. In Steve's session we could take a moment to determine how we wanted to define social networks. In a more traditionally structured session we would have talked about social networking based on the presenters' definition. That made for sessions that had true meaning to us.

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