I Went to the Conference and…

Next week I am in Anaheim at the Educause Conference. I get to see Sir Ken Robinson and Jane Mcgonigal as keynotes! Sir Ken’s TED talk on creativity still ranks as one of my favorite. I am excited!

Educause is a pretty big event in the educational landscape. I have attended and presented at some great conferences by the League for Innovation and CIT, Sloan-C, and USDLA, but this is kinda, “the big one.”

So I will go to the sessions and I will take notes like any good conference goer. No doubt I will reflect on the meaning and implications of the topics covered and the thoughts expressed. I will ponder them in the sessions, chat about them with other conference goers, and even wonder about them on the plane flight back home. I will go to work and I will write up my “conference report” that is not exactly required, but sort of expected. I think it is only expected because we used to have to submit them to the Yavapai College Staff Association when we received funding from them. Now that they no longer pass out conference monies, I am not sure why I will write the “approximately one page” report. Habit, I guess?

For faculty is seems that they are to give a “write up” to the Professional Growth committee and perhaps share their findings in a division meeting. I asked a teacher a moment ago about the expectations and the reply was the description of requirements above followed by, “I don’t know of anyone who has done it.”

On the Verde Campus, back when we had campus meetings, we were given five minutes to present what we learned to our colleagues. I know that because I was terrified to find that Utpal Goswami was going to be that the meeting I was going to deliver my report to about the League for Innovation conference I had attended. It was the first conference I had attended as a Yavapai College employee and of course he was sitting in the front row. I spoke over these slides.

I just looked at the slides. Damn, I was smart back then.

What if the “conference reports” in whatever form they are in, are shared by faculty much as the writing in the 9x9x25 is being shared? Ok, I dare you. Next time you attend a conference send me, todd.conaway@yc.edu the report and I will happily add it to the webletter. More importantly, what if you add it to your home on the internet? Where is your home on the internet? Facebook? A website? Blackboard? Do you have one? Should you?

When I look around at our teachers that do have places on the internet that they operate from in various ways I think that in 2013 we all have digital presences whether we want to or not. Do you control it or does someone else? We have teachers who are exploring owning the space they work from.

So what I have done is add my “conference reports” and what I will do with my “report” from Educause? Well, I am adding them to my “home” on the internet. You can see one here and another here.

I am excited to see how our experiences here in the 9x9x25 Challenge inform how we see our responsibility to each other in sharing what we learn when we attend conferences. What we learn each year or month as we grow as educators. How we share reflections on classroom teaching and how we share ideas we find valuable in books we read.
It took a long time for the college to recognize and accept “probationary faculty portfolios” done in a digital space. How long will it take us to tell the stories when we go to conferences and I…

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