This post is part of the Share #YourEdustory movement for week 14. The topic is: Describe your ideal conference: What is covered? Who is present?
Image Cred: Pixabay
The ideal conference is grassroots. It is organized by the people for the people. Meaning, there isn’t a big company or organization that runs it. There are not huge sponsors. You are not handed a giant bag at check-in that is stuffed full of pamphlets and advertisements.
Rather a grassroots conference is brought about by a group of teachers. These teachers find a way to secure a location, gather some money to offer water to the attendees, and help to make the day run smoothly. A grassroots conference does not have a huge vendor hall or sessions led by companies hoping to sell you more edtech software. A grassroots conference does not have to have “speakers” or “presenters.” A grassroots conference honors all attendees and strives to build conversations and time to get hands on. A grassroots conference invites administrators to collaborate alongside. Grassroots conferences are free!
Some of the best learning I have experienced have been at Edcamps, which I believe is a strong grassroots movement. Also, my district has allowed teachers to run their own conference called Edtech2U where the goal is to inspire more teachers to integrate technology into their teaching. And don’t forget a small #CoffeeEDU is like a mini grassroots conference where teachers pick a time and place and meetup (usually at a coffee shop) to discuss educational issues for one hour.
While I still attend and even present at big conferences, I value the time spent at smaller grassroots conferences where I don’t feel overwhelmed by the amount of session choices, the large vendor hall, and the thousands of attendees. I value my time at Edcamps where I have time to have deep conversations about education and make connections with teachers from all over.
What teachers need more than anything is not the newest and flashiest app or tech tool demonstrated for them, but rather time to talk about the “big education picture” and pedagogy. It is through those conversations where I have learned the most and been challenged to think even bigger. Grassroots learning builds connections, honors teacher voice, and establishes a community of collaborators.
If you want to learn more about the Share #YourEdustory movement, follow this link and start sharing your story!