My, how things have changed. I attended my first education conference in 2004 as a sales representative with a big publishing company. It was my job to cajole teachers to stop at our booth (or lure them in with a big bowl of chocolate bars), and give them a 5 minute elevator pitch on some groundbreaking yadayadayada, then invite them to enter a draw for which they’d only be selected winner if deemed influential enough.
These, my friends, were the days before random winner generators, online entries, and the power of quiet influencers with more followers than the Pied Piper using social tools to share their expertise. Biggest school in Ontario? Pssssssshhhhh. How about the elementary teacher from Armpit, SK, who has built a digital program for her students that gives them reach for their ideas that they’ll benefit from for years to come, and tweets her experience to 5000 like-minded followers? I’d rather learn about the platform that makes that notion of global collaboration possible for kids, as opposed to who’s bought (and wasted the most money on) the biggest gargantua of a conference booth (check out the eco footprint too, yo).
But at SXSWedu, there was no vendor showcase. Companies had to be sneaky and infuse their sessions with clever product pitches, sessionbomb by planting product-focused operatives during question time, or be not so sneaky and incur the deserved wrath (Hi, I’m a #conferencehashtag. People use me.) Teachers are getting much better about standing up to the disruption of their learning. They pay out of pocket to come to these things. It’s not cheap. Don’t invite them to a session about innovations in critical thinking applications and pitch your app.
Amway called. They want their strategy back. Ugh. (more…)
Usually I like October. I enjoy cramming my ham hocks back into jeans. I enjoy the plethora of boot styles to gawk at behind storefronts. And I love Hallowe’en and great costumes and candy and Dachshunds dressed up like hot dogs.
This year, I’m in a bit of a funk. Not a funky, James Brown funk, but a negative headspace that seems to be fuelling itself through social media and the internet. Now, when I say “fuelling itself”, I of course mean that I am fuelling it by allowing myself to dwell on the nasty behaviour, lying, and misrepresentation I see, from Twitter bullyin……(see, I almost allowed myself to dwell on something there, but pulled the nose of the plane up just in time).
Over the last few days, I’ve actively sought out some strategies to help quell those negative voices. Meditation helps (and it’s damn good for your brain). Exercise, too (and it’s damn good for your ham hocks). And surrounding yourself with trusted family and friends also does wonders.
From a professional standpoint, it’s very important to prevent the murk from entering the workflow. I could build another analogy here, but won’t because not everyone loves toilet humour as much as I do. (more…)