Sunday, May 8, 2011

Transparency, Teachers, Learning Environments and Other Edcamp Boston Thoughts

I had the privilege of attending the  Edcamp Boston unconference on Saturday at the Microsoft New England Research and Development Center (AKA The NERD Center).  I am always thankful for the opportunity to spend the day talking about education with other passionate educators!

Transparency and Teachers

In an age where it seems like we hear more negative things than positive things about educators in the news, we have the ability to change this with social media tools.  We touched upon this in Richard Byrne's session on blogging when the conversation turned to selling teachers on blogging.   By creating a classroom blog, teachers would create a valuable communication tool for both parents and students.  However, an additional outcome would be it would give added insight into the daily efforts that educators make on behalf of their students.  

Having grown up with a mom who was a teacher and working in education for over 15 years, I know the daily efforts that teachers expend.  In my opinion, classrooms blogs for all teachers would help provide a clearer picture of the tireless work done by teachers.  

Personally, I don't know too many professions where 200 members of the field would give up their Saturday, for no monetary reward, just to share best practice.  

The final session at Edcamp Boston on Saturday.

Learning Environments

The physical setup of the workspace at the Microsoft NERD was another highlight of Edcamp Boston.  While the natural light within the workspace was phenomenal, I loved the small groups of comfortable chairs set up throughout the facility outside the larger rooms. These provided great spaces for smaller groups of people to settle in and continue sharing.  I know that we spend a great deal of time talking about changing the way we do school, but we need to remember that not only do we have to change the structure of the way we run classrooms, we also need to spend a great deal of time rethinking the way use the physical space.

One of the spots outside the larger rooms where learning continued.

Building PLN's 

Finally, I cannot state enough how important building a Personal Learning Network (PLN) has been for me in my role as an educator.  Events like Edcamp Boston would not even be on my radar screen without my phenomenal PLN.  While I hate the term "game-changer" when it comes to education, I think the establishment of a PLN is a game-changer. We need to draw more of our colleagues in so that they can show their students how establish PLN's based on their passions.  The power of a PLN cannnot be underestimated!

Thanks to the following members of my PLN for making my great experience at Edcamp Boston possible:

Dan CallahanGreg KulowiecKaren JanowskiLarry FliegelmanLaura D'EliaLiz DavisSteve Guditus.

1 comment:

  1. The physical space at BHS seems to have a long way to go...given that a new high school might be a long way off. Would it be a possibility to ask for a consultant to come in and "revive" the space. Sometimes, lighting, installation of glass walls, accenting wood panels make a huge difference. creating enclaves for student collaboration in nooks and crannies of the hallways would be a great way for teachers to foster team work among students.