I went to EdCampBoston this last weekend, and I thought I should share some thoughts here (and take the chance to digest and capture what I learned while I was at it).
It was a nice big (though not overwhelming) crowd in a lovely space (thanks, Microsoft!), and the organizers did (as always) a great job… organizing. Big thanks to them!
If you’ve never been to an EdCamp (or to an UNconference), they’re pretty neat- there are no pre-set sessions: just bunch of rooms and time slots and a stack of post-its for people to use to propose their own sessions. If you’re not in love with what you’re seeing, you can start your own session. In practice, I’ve found it works really well- many of the sessions aren’t about people standing up at the front and presenting, but more about conversations that people want to have.
I went to four sessions before I had to leave. First, a conversation about using VR in classrooms (in which I was able to relate some of the experimenting I’ve done on the subject…). I was happy to hear about how much of this was going on in K-12, and it reaffirmed my belief that there are applications aplenty for it in High Education. As the methods for consumption (and creation) become more mainstream, it’s really only going to get easier to integrate.
Next up was Dan Callahan’s session about The Chaortic Path, a lens that I’d not spent too much time thinking about (though I will now). Somebody much more talented than I made a lovely graphic for it. I got to contribute this comment:
The universe tends towards chaos, and our job is to teach students how to do the human thing and push back towards order. #edcampBOS
— Tim Calvin (@nothingfuture) March 11, 2017
Which now, a day later, reminds me of this recent Kevin Kelly tweet:
Humans are experts at inefficiency. All art, discovery, innovation, creation, are inherently inefficient. Efficiency is for robots, not us. — Kevin Kelly (@kevin2kelly) March 10, 2017
Then, I went to a nice quiet and thoughtful session led by Ben Schersten about teaching introverts, and as a result I’ve added Susan Caine’s Quiet to my reading list. I also got to trot out my perpetual recommendation for Make Space, an outstanding guide to helping design spaces that foster creativity. I’m still amazed by how many folks equate introversion with either anxiety or shyness. Totally not the same thing, folks.
After lunch it was back to Dan’s session about designing PD that people will LOVE– not something I do a ton of these days, but a subject that’s always worth talking about. Great graphics coming out of that, and some really impressive work. Groups left with full-blown plans for PD that (with a teeny bit of polishing) would be ready to roll out in any district.
— Dan Callahan (@dancallahan) March 11, 2017
So: a wonderful use of my Saturday. I got to see a bunch of friends I’d not seen in far too long, got to talk with some talented and driven folks, and got to learn a few things as well. Maybe I’ll see you all there next year.