Thursday, June 30, 2011

I hosted my own conference this week and approximately 18,000 people attended #edchat #iste11

Last summer I wrote a post about the emergence of new and emerging types of conferences for teacher professional development. In that post I mentioned the unconference, the online conference, and the edubloggercon but I also proposed the idea that with the plethora of great presentations and keynotes available online that people could curate their own conferences online by collecting links to and embeds of these resources on their own wiki or blog. In fact, many people have done this time and again but usually we don't think of these collections as conferences. Today I would like to propose another approach.

This week, at the ISTE Conference in Philadelphia, we had the formal conference, the ISTE Unplugged sessions, and Edubloggercon but there was also another conference going on there, one few people knew about, one I silently hosted. On yellow post-it notes I printed QR codes that linked to great talks, presentations, and keynotes addressing a wide range of education and technology issues that I would liked to have seen at the ISTE conference. Drawing inspiration from street artists like Banksy and Space Invader I posted these post-it notes all over the convention center on conference signage, pillars, walls, doors, tables, etc. One could get an entirely different conference by walking around the convention center and scanning these QR codes.

I have no way of knowing exactly how many people scanned these QR codes, the technology seemed to saturate the conference and I really didn't see many people scan any of these things. I also admit that I find the whole QR thing somewhat annoying but I couldn't think of a better way to subversively host my own conference at ISTE. So, in a way, I can now say that I hosted my own conference of which approximately 18,000 educators were in attendance.

So, here are a few examples of some of the presentations from my underground ISTE conference:

Bernie Dodge on the Purpose of School

I didn't have a whole lot of time today at the ISTE conference to continue with my Purpose of School project but I did manage to get this one last mini interview with Bernie Dodge.

Other posts in this series:
  • Purpose of School (with: Bud Hunt, Chris Lehmann, Christian Long, Luna Frank-Fischer, Sylvia Martinez, Steven W. Anderson, Tom Whitby, George Couros, Dean Shareski, Scott McLeod, David Jakes)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Purpose of School

Today at the ISTE Conference, aside from sleeping past my initial planned start time, I continued with my "Purpose of School" project. In a future post I promise I will let you know where I am going with this. For now, lets just say that the question is extremely important and one that many researchers and sociologists studying the culture of school, Seymour Sarason and John Goodlad to name a few, note the peculiarity of the lack of ongoing dialog on this question. It is my hopes in asking this somewhat annoying question that I might spark more dialog not only in the edublogosphere but also in our schools.

So far I have only interviewed people deeply involved in the world of education technology. It is my intention to continue with this inquiry with other groups of people. For one, I hope to attend a kindergarten roundup and ask the question to parents, I also hope to ask the question with politicians, high school seniors, and high school drop-outs. I don't know when this project will end or if it ever will really end. Perhaps it would be best if it never ends. Also, sometime in the next few weeks I will setup a YouTube channel where people can submit their own responses to the question, "What is the purpose of school?"

Here are today's collected interviews:

Monday, June 27, 2011

Purpose of School - David Warlick

I am planning on collecting a good share of video responses this week at ISTE11 to the question "What is the Purpose of School," reviving the ongoing project I started last fall. So far in this project I have answers to this question from the educators:

Wes Fryer
Sir Ken Robinson
Doug Johnson

Today I had just enough time to attend one session at ISTE since my plane didn't arrive until 2:30 pm this afternoon. I was able to add David Warlick's response to this question here:

I plan on spending a good portion of my morning tomorrow collecting video responses to this question. I will station myself, for the most part, in and near the Blogger's Cafe. If you are interested in contributing let me know.

Data Data datada Tada tada

Over dinner tonight with Scott Schwister we got to talking about infographics and how so far they seem to be the new "buzz" at ISTE11. Infographics and Posterous. Anyway, that conversation led to what might be a proposal for next year's conference on Infographics and rhetoric but more on that another time. Our talk reminded me of this artist whose work I found on YouTube earlier this year whose work is primarily about infographics and data visualization. In the pieces depicted here she totally shows us how we have made data into something of a fetish and shows how ridiculous the whole endeavor can be.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Come see me at #ISTE11

I am fortunate to have the opportunity for the second year in a row to be presenting two formal sessions at the ISTE Conference as well as be involved in one ISTE Unplugged session. Unfortunately, I have to miss Edubloggercon as well as the first day of the conference but I will be arriving Monday afternoon and will be able to take in at least two full days of the conference on Tuesday and Wednesday. If you are attending I hope to see you there. So, here is my speaking schedule:

Tuesday, June 28th, 5:00-5:30 (Eastern)
Title: Phantom Power: The Art of Education Reform
Description: For many educators, the fundamental notion of teaching as an art, and with it the sense of joyful creativity that first brought them into the profession, has been nearly extinguished. The relentless, linear logic of teaching as a science dominates, as evidenced by our current culture of high-stakes testing, data, standards, research. Thinking like an artist---as Emily Dickinson says, ‘telling it slant”---- is a possible pathway to reclaim teaching as a creative act. Social media afford new ways of telling it slant, of inviting new “slants” and diverse points of view, making possible networked collaborations within and beyond classrooms. In the session, experience examples of technology-mediated participatory art across a range of media and forms and explore their usefulness as engines of creativity in teaching and learning. Further, the session proposes an “arts ethos,” with teacher and students as artists and learning as artifact---part of a viable, balanced path to education reform.
Presenters: Scott Schwister & Carl Anderson
Email: ,
Links: Phantom Power
Watch and participate in this session live at:


The Fix Is In: Social Mobilization and School Reform Add to Planner Add to Planner
[Concurrent Session: Model Lesson]
Wednesday, 6/29/2011, 10:15am–11:15am , PACC 119B
Digital-Age Teaching & Learning : English Language Arts
Carl Anderson, East Metro Integration District 6067 with Scott Schwister and Gary Stager
Citizen journalism is a growing phenomena empowered by Web 2.0 technologies. Learn how to use it in your classroom to empower students.

Session Wiki:

If you can't make it to the session or would like to follow this session remotely, follow #thefixisin on Twitter. Someone will post a live stream of the session shortly after it gets started.


BW318 Formative Assessment: Technology-Enhanced Approaches to Increase Student Achievement Add to Planner Add to Planner
[Concurrent Session: BYOL] Sold Out!
Wednesday, 6/29/2011, 1:15pm–2:15pm , PACC 118A
School Improvement : Student Assessment & Data Analysis
Vivian Johnson, School of Education - Hamline University with Carl Anderson, Cara Hagen and Scott Schwister
Increase teacher and student use of formative assessment with digital tools such as quiz generators, polls, and surveys to support formative assessment in your classroom.

Session Wiki:

This session will be recorded and available later for video on demand from

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Twitter Book Club: Uncommon Learning: Henry David Thoreau on Education (1999)

Following Tyack & Cuban I felt I needed something a bit more grounded in learning and less on schooling so I picked up Henry David Thoreau on Education (1999). When I ordered this book I did not realize what it was. This is not a cohesive work by Thoreau but rather a collection of all the best education-related quotes and passages in his work. Anyway, this made for somewhat light reading. Since this book is not sorted into chapters I will post everything in one post.

"Not till we are lost, in other words, not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize ... than a minute ago via Twittelator Favorite Retweet Reply

"Methinks there is equal need of a society for the diffusion of useful Ignorance—for what is most of our boasted so... than a minute ago via Twittelator Favorite Retweet Reply

"There are nowadays professors of philosophy, but not philosophers." Thoreauless than a minute ago via Twittelator Favorite Retweet Reply

"For what are classics but the noblest recorded thoughts of man? They are the only oracles which are not decayed, a... than a minute ago via Twittelator Favorite Retweet Reply

"There is a chasm between knowledge and ignorance which the arches of science can never span." Thoreauless than a minute ago via Twittelator Favorite Retweet Reply

"It is not all books that are as dull as their readers." Thoreauless than a minute ago via Twittelator Favorite Retweet Reply

"It is time that we have uncommon schools, that we did not leave off our education when we begin to be men and wome... than a minute ago via Twittelator Favorite Retweet Reply

"We seem to have forgotten that the expression, a liberal education, originally meant among the Romans one worthy o... than a minute ago via Twittelator Favorite Retweet Reply

"We should seek to be fellow students with the pupil, and should learn of, as well as with him, if we would be most helpful to him." Thoreauless than a minute ago via Twittelator Favorite Retweet Reply

RT @anderscj We shld seek to be fellow students w/ the pupil, & shld learn of, as well as w/ him, if we wld be most helpful to him --Thoreauless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

"A man receives only what he is ready to receive, whether physically or intellectually or morally" Thoreauless than a minute ago via Twittelator Favorite Retweet Reply

"What does education often do!—It makes a straight-cut ditch of a free, meandering brook." Thoreauless than a minute ago via Twittelator Favorite Retweet Reply

"A man thinks as well through his legs and arms as his brain." Thoreauless than a minute ago via Twittelator Favorite Retweet Reply

"It is only a reflecting mind that sees reflections." Thoreauless than a minute ago via Twittelator Favorite Retweet Reply

"There is no such thing as purely objective observation. Your observation, to be interesting, i.e. to be significan... than a minute ago via Twittelator Favorite Retweet Reply

"if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, ... than a minute ago via Twittelator Favorite Retweet Reply