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: