This is the third year of the EduCon conference (http://www.educon22.org/), one of the more interesting phenomenons that I can think of in recent times. The genesis of this conference was built from an idea and brainstorm and has it has grown into a sold-out, 500 physical attendee conference. Once again, there is a buzz as members of the edublogger/twittersphere are descending on Philadelphia for three days of conversations and brainstorming.
This is the third year that I will not be able to physically attend. During the first year, I was unable to attend primarily due to my obligations to my family. We were just coming out of dealing with a major medical crisis that I did not anticipate. Last year and this year, I have become active in the leadership of our local chapter of the Illinois Computer Educators, the Northern Illinois chapter. For the past 20 years, NICE has put on a really great mini-conference which has conflicted with the dates of EduCon. This year’s mini-conference promises to be special, as 200+ educators will be attending our half day event with presentation by many great educators, including Steve Dembo, Scott Meech, and Nadine Norris.
While I would love to catch and ride the buzz being in Philadelphia, I am at peace with the fact I will be attending once again, virtually. Thanks previously to the efforts of Chris Lehmann who tried to uStream all of the events and this year to Chris and Steve Hargadon for helping to set up Elluminate rooms for all 76 of the conversions so that I can participate from my home on this cold and frigid weekend. I enjoy being able to capture a bit of the excitement while not getting consumed by the swirl of activity. Not perfect, but it allows me to maintain balance.
One outcome that I would love to see from the conversation at this years EduCon is how to spread the word so that more people are encouraged to participate. My fear with this conference and many others which occur within the twittersphere/edubloggersphere is that these ideas are shared within an echo chamber. We need to encourage new individuals to be comfortable enough to participate and we need to spread the ideas outside of this small cluster in order to begin to shift education in many of the ways which will be discussed this weekend. I am not sure how to do this, but I feel that it is important that we try, lest we burn out.
See you this weekend. I look forward to it.