Tom Whitby is one of the most well-known and most highly respected educators in the USA. Having said that, I am aware that you may not even know who Tom Whitby is, what he has accomplished, or why he’s so well-known, especially if you are not a connected educator.
Before I participated in a MOOC, a Massive Open Online Course, called, “Connectivism and Connected Knowledge 2011, or as I’ve come to remember it, #CCK11, I had no idea who Tom Whitby was.
I wasn’t connected to cutting edge conversations about education, the role of technology in the 21st century classroom, the pedagogical implications of teaching students in a world in which they, the students, already had access to the collected wisdom of mankind, in their pockets, where they had their web devices, iPhones and Blackberries, mobile magic – conveniently turned off so they could better receive their 20th century-style education from me!
Anyway, through the MOOC #CCK11 I became a connected educator. I became more reflective, as I exposed my thinking to an incredibly wide diversity of brilliant educators. One of those brilliant educators who I’m connected with, is Tom Whitby.
Today, I’d like to share an excerpt of Tom’s latest thoughts about conferences.
I’ve focused on the part that is significant for me, as I’m in the process of Co-Organizing a nontraditional conference with a team of twenty-two ( 22!!! ) enthusiastic and dedicated, highly talented educators, an “unconference”, called “Edcamp Chile”, which will actually be three (3) Edcamps conducted simultaneously in three (3) cities, in a part of the world (Latin America) which has only seen one previous Edcamp, Edcamp Santiago 2012, which I also helped Co-Organize (with a much smaller team).
Enough preamble, because it is possible you are saying to yourself that I’m exaggerating about Tom Whitby, and the edcamps, and…
Source: Tom Whitby’s blog, “My Island View“
FETC 2013 et al
“Relevance is a topic I often write about. I have also stated that to be really relevant, educators need to be connected. I think I can now say that about Education Conferences.
To be relevant, conferences need to be connected.
The folks at FETC were thrilled to be trending on Twitter. I was of the opinion that was something that needed to be explained to too many in attendance, including the planners.
It seemed that the Twitter trending was based on the retweeting of a few heavily connected tweeters in the conference.
Original tweets generated from the conference were few.
It is that very connectedness of educators, which makes them relevant, that causes that grating sound in my head with every presentation that is a year behind the conversations of connected educators.
If Education conferences are going to be relevant, planners need to plan for it.
They need to be in on connected conversations if they want to direct relevant conversations at their conferences.
They need to revamp, or abandon methods of assessing RFP’s, in order to get better, educator-directed, relevant presentations and workshops.
They need to incorporate more conversations as in the Edcamp model of professional development.
They need to focus the conversations on the big ideas of education with less focus on the tools and toys, as much fun as they can be.”
Read the full article here: FETC 2013 et al
Reflection: At Edcamp Chile, which consists of Edcamp Santiago, Edcamp Calbuco and Edcamp Coyhaique, we are planning for relevance, to be relevant. As Tom points out, being connected is a key aspect in attaining relevance. As Tom suggests, relevance comes from a focus on the big ideas of education, and not so much on the tools and the technology.
At Edcamp Chile, we’ve identified a starting point, a point of departure, a place to begin a journey. The use of technology in education is one conversation we want to have. Innovation and creativity, from a pedagogical perspective, is another conversation that goes well with technology. We embed those two conversations in a larger conversation of interdisciplinary collaboration – giving all three conversations a sense of connectedness, of belonging to the other.
We have the conviction that Edcamp Chile will be one of the most memorable educational events of 2013 in Chile. If this is true, it will be because of the connectedness of the educators who take part.
Teachers in Chile are excited by Edcamp Chile, three edcamps connected on an international level, connected on a national level, and yet retaining the unmistakeable local flavor of the island of Calbuco, the majestic natural flavor of Coyhaique, a remote region in Chile, and the metropolitan taste of a capital city in South America, Santiago.
Edcamp Santiago is already a “sellout”, more than 240 tickets have been taken in less than 4 weeks. There are no more tickets available for Edcamp Santiago.
Both Edcamp Coyhaique and Edcamp Calbuco still have tickets available. That’s understandable because it’s the summer vacation – and when teachers come back from the relaxing moments spent on the beautiful beaches and majestic mountains, the country retreats where they have renewed friendships and family relationships, then that’s the time when tickets will go fast.
So, here’s a tip: If you are reading this, I highly recommend you get your ticket to Edcamp Calbuco or Edcamp Coyhaique now, before the rush begins. Space is limited, and this is one conference that you simply can’t miss. Oh, by the way, Edcamp Chile is absolutely FREE. Your ticket is $0.00, nothing, no cost, totally FREE.
Sayville, New York
Tom is a former Adjunct Professor of Education at St Joseph’s College in New York. He came to that position after 34 years as a secondary English teacher in the Public School system. He was also a leader in the New York State United Teacher Locals for 30 years.
Tom is the Social Media Consultant and Contributing Editor for SmartBlog on Education by SmartBrief. He is also the Founder of #EDCHAT and the host of The Edchat Radio Show on the BAM Radio Network.
He founded and owns a Ning Community, The Educator’s PLN.
Tom has been recognized with an Edublog Award for the most Influential Educational Twitter Series, Edchat. He’s also been a guest Blogger with contributions to The Royal Treatment and Teacher’s Reboot Camp, ASCDEdge. T.H.E. Journal, Tech & Learning Leadership.