Educational Technology and the Law: Stump the Lawyers!

Presenter: Jonathan D. Becker
Presenter Affiliation: Virginia Commonwealth University

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: More and more educators are finding creative ways to integrate technology into the teaching and learning process. Sometimes, though, those teachers are stymied by legal or regulatory roadblocks. In some cases, the laws and regulations are applied properly. However, in many instances, laws and regulations are misinterpreted and/or misapplied. Stifling progressive teaching with technology based on the misinterpretation and/or misapplication of laws, regulations or policies is frustrating at best and educational malpractice at worst. In this “stump the lawyers” session, attendees will have an opportunity to discuss issues at the intersection of educational technology and the law with four uniquely qualified “expert” panelists. All four panelists are formally trained as lawyers, but all work in the field of educational leadership; three as professors and one as a superintendent. They are: *Jonathan Becker, J.D., Ph.D. – Assistant Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University *Scott McLeod- J.D., Ph.D. - Associate Professor, Iowa State University *Justin Bathon – J.D., Ph.D.- Assistant Professor, University of Kentucky *David Doty – J.D, Ph.D. – Superintendent, Canyons (UT) School District The topics of discussion will be generated by questions from the audience. The only limitations will be that the topics will be limited to educational technology-related issues including, but not limited to: privacy (FERPA, FOIA, etc.), internet safety (CIPA), expression (1st amendment), search/seizure (4th amendment), etc. By the end of this session, participants should have a better understanding of the legal and regulatory standards that are relevant to the field of educational technology.

Conversational Practice: This will be a hybrid panel discussion. The lead presenter (Becker) will be at Educon and the other panelists will be "there" via videoconferencing technology such as Tokbox or Tinychat. Additionally, the topics for discussion among the panel members will be generated by questions from those attending the session (face-to-face or even virtually).


High Noon - A Model for Online Participatory Learning

Presenter: Dave Bill and Basil Kolani
Affiliation: The Dwight School

Conversational Focus/Audience: High School

Conversation Description: This session will examine how High Noon, an online course currently taught at The Dwight School in New York City and based upon J.F Rischard's book, High Noon: twenty global problems, twenty years to solve them, is creating an online participatory learning environment in a high school. High Noon seeks to bring students together from a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, and locations to collaborate on solutions to some of our greatest challenges. Using a number of strategies and new media technologies, students seek out information in attempts to understand the these global problems. In addition, students develop and implement projects focused on one of the stated global problems. Using these technologies, each student will reach out to experts from around the globe and work with an organization in order to help combat their chosen problem. Using webinars, Skype, in addition to a number of social media tools, students have the opportunity to enrich their understanding of the content through a number of diverse perspectives while putting their understanding into action.

Conversational Practice:
The workshop will highlight how we went into the course with an idea of how online leaning could work and came out with a different perception. The workshop will finish with a discussion on the requirements for a successful implementation of a true online learning environment.


Beyond Standards; The Road Ahead

Presenter: Joseph J. Bires
Presenter Affiliation: Haddonfield School District

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: The current focus on standards is misguided and will result in students prepared for yesterday’s world, rather than ready to create tomorrow. In this presentation, we will explore alternative concepts from other fields for organizing teaching and learning that will allow students to solve problems which they will face now and in the future. The participants will also reconsider literacy as a singular, rather than a plural concept (ie media literacy, print literacy, etc.) in support of this problem solving. The participants will also discuss how to practically overcome the ‘C and I fallacy’ which contributes to the narrowing of the vision of education and is the source of the divide between ‘edtech’ and “C and I” leaders. The concept of assessment will be revisited with a focus on measuring learning and application rather than knowledge acquisition. The concept of openness as demonstrated by Obama’s efforts at open government will be transposed with the concept of the teachers as professionals and notion of the development of the student voice in curriculum to frame the definition of learning as a community rather than a societal issue. All participants will leave with practical ideas for moving their classroom or school beyond standards.

Conversational Practice: A small short selection of readings will be posted on my blog which participants can read and discuss prior to my session to give all the participants a common frame of reference. The actual conversation will follow the What? So What? Now What? Framework. What is the movement toward universal standards doing to teaching and learning in your situation? - Small Group Discussion So What does that mean for preparing students to solve problems now and in the future (what best practices exist outside of education that we can apply to this problem)? – Large Group Conversation Now What can you do to refocus your classroom or school around having students be able to solve problems now and in the future vs. simply acquiring knowledge? – Small and large group discussion


What Free Improvisational Music and Networked Learning Have in Common

Presenter: Shelly Blake-Plock
Presenter Affiliation: and the High Zero Foundation

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: Networked learning is, in effect, a manner of tapping into a broader, dynamic, and ongoing creation, assessment, and reassessment of content and critical thinking. In music, the analogy would be to free improvisation -- where musicians collaboratively set sail for uncharted waters relying on the strategies that develop out of various strata of network-mind experience.

Conversational Practice: Participants and audience will collaborate on the creation of spontaneous music and sound performance to be mixed, remixed, mashed, and archived online. An accompanying backchannel/chat will serve as meta-discussion (and may at times lead the improvisations into totally new directions).



Presenter: Paul Bogush
Presenter Affiliation: Moran Middle School Wallingford, CT

Conversational Focus/Audience: Attendees who are just starting to dip their toes into integrating technology into the curriculum, and attendees who are a bit nervous, a bit anxious, about attending their first Educon and would like to start off in a session that will guide them through some of the jargon, tools, and people they will meet. This session is only for folks new to the 2.0 world of education.

Conversation Description: From Delicious to RSS, from google docs to PBL, from wikis to podcasts, I would like to lead a conversation that allows all the teachers who are coming to Educon to better participate in the sessions they attend, and not feel uncomfortable that they are not familiar with the tools, jargon, and philosophies being brought up during the course of the conference. 2.Go would also “introduce” them to many of the attendees and their specialties so that they feel better prepared to network during meals, hallway time, and after hour activities. 2.Go should be in the first time slot on the first day.

Conversational Practice: unsession, demonstrating 2.0 tools as needed

Website: Inspiration for the session: Never Question Your Power

Best Practices for Teaching and Learning at a Distance

Presenter: Ted Bongiovanni
Presenter Affiliation: New York University

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: The key notion is that online instruction can bring out the best in teachers and students--or the worst. Online education has to be more than just information and the presentation of materials. Teachers have to reconsider their roles and move away from traditional lecture based methods and engage in a variety of strategies, from creating simulations, to participating in forums and moderating blogs. The student role also changes to one where practice, and the creation of authentic learning artifacts can and should take center stage. A recent US DOE study showed that online learning--and especially blended learning can be even more effective than classroom instruction. In this session, we will share examples of activities that involve the use of digital tools at a distance that worked well, or ideas that we have tried that didn't work out quite as planned so that the group can troubleshoot them.

Conversational Practice: The presenter will share 1 example of something that worked well, and another that needs the group to think on it, and then invite other participants to do the same. We will use a wikispace to document the talk and continue the conversation after the session.

Website: TBD, but will be a wikispace

Teaching Big Ideas to 21st Century Learners through collaboration, innovation, and differentiation

Presenters: Zoe Branigan-Pipe and Ben Hazzard
Presenter Affiliation: Hamilton Wentworth District School Board and Lambton Kent District School Board

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: This conversation will engage participants to discuss how we can provide our students with deeper learning connections and how we as educators can develop new thinking to deal with the challenges of a changing society so that our teaching methods are aligned with the needs of 21st Century Learners. Participants will create a resource page of Big Idea Concepts that can be used in a classroom/teaching focus.

Conversational Practice: Participants will walk through, discuss, and create a Teaching and Learning Critical Pathway (Inspired by the book entitled Breakthrough by Michael Fullen and through The Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat, Ministry of Education, Ontario) based on a current Grade Six (Canadian) curriculum (participants will chose the curriculum relevant to them). Example of the learning pathway includes the use of several methods of teaching/learning in a Universally Designed Classroom that aligns teaching practice with the needs of 21st Century Learners and uses a variety of learning tools and open source programs that facilitate community and collaboration between students, teachers, and a global educational community.

Conversation Wikispace:
Website: Zoe's Classroom Website: -
Ben's Website:

What If...In the Digital Age

Presenters: Jessica Brown, Principal, Jeff Evans, graphic arts, Louis Mazza, media arts, and Paul Wagenhoffer, chemistry
Affiliation: The Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush, School District of Philadelphia

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: This presentation explores cross disciplinary units of study in school; particularly emphasizing visual studies. We will explore the way in which faculty try to make connections on a daily basis throughout all subject areas. Professional development, unit planning, identifying resources, and community involvement all help play a key role in this endeavor. The vision of The Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush is that the arts provide an unequaled opportunity to foster intellectual growth. The Arts are not merely an add-on, they play an essential role in developing a student's growth and preparing them to be critical, creative thinkers for their future. By schools embracing these right-brain capabilities; design, empathy, and creativity, we will equip students with the necessary skills to succeed in the 21st century. What are the challenges that surround this work? What structures need to be put in place in order to support this vision?

Conversational Practice: Interactive presentation involving group discussions and gallery walk.


Invitation to Inquiry

Presenter: Eric Brunsell, Elizabeth Alderton, Loretta Mason
Presenter Affiliation: University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: 100 years ago, Dewey wrote that the amount of subject matter is so vast that educators must focus on the methods and techniques of inquiry. An individual’s ability to question through experiences was of paramount importance for society. Today, educational leaders, including Linda Darling-Hammond continue to promote inquiry as a powerful teaching approach. Furthermore, a growing research base shows that inquiry-based teaching leads to student learning that is deeper and more flexible than traditional methods. Participants will explore inquiry-based teaching during this session. Example “mini-inquiries” in history, science, mathematics and language arts will be used to begin a discussion of the commonalities between inquiry in different disciplines, challenges to starting an inquiry project, and how to strategically choose the level of teacher involvement during an inquiry project. Participants will deepen their understanding of inquiry as they share their ideas and expertise related to three essential questions: (1) What are the obstacles to inquiry and how can I overcome them, (2) How can I support the success of all students during inquiry projects, and (3) How can I use Web 2.0 tools to enhance inquiry?

Conversational Practice: Participants will participate in brief "model" inquiries as a way to begin discussions about the nature of inquiry and the place of inquiry in education. We will use a knowledge cafe protocol focused on the following questions: 1. How can I use Web 2.0 tools to enhance inquiry? 2. What are obstacles & how can I overcome them? 3. How can I support all students for success in inquiry? The session will close by providing time for individual reflection.


(Re)Imagining Social Media & Technology in Teacher Education

Presenter: Dr. Alec Couros, Dean Shareski
Presenters Affiliation: Faculty of Education, University of Regina

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: Dean Shareski and Alec Couros have been teaching technology and social media related courses in a teacher education program at the Faculty of Education, University of Regina. Over the last couple of years, we have focused on social and participatory learning strategies as we have "opened" our courses with the assistance of the individuals in our respective personal learning networks. This has meant connecting our students to passionate and knowledgeable educators from around the world, and also, allowing our students to become mentors in distant classrooms. The courses, based on student feedback, have been very successful. We hope to focus this conversation on both the specific and general. First, in what ways can we improve our course experiences to ensure success for our students (and hopefully for the schools in which they are hired)? Second, we would like your input in (re)imagining the role of teacher education programs in the development of students who are technologically savvy and media literate. What should our programs aim to accomplish? What strategies should we adopt? And, perhaps most importantly, how can we work better with K12 schools districts to help foster innovation and ensure success for young learners.

Conversational Practice: There will be a very short, 5-10 minute, overview of the topic that will be followed by a large group discussion (possibly small groups as well). We will use a wiki to track important points, and invite others to collaborate before/beyond the date of the session. We may work to develop a teacher education type manifesto, or something similar, depending on input from the group.

Website: TBA

Taking the load off a learner's mind: Cognitive Load Theory in Education

Presenter: Christopher Craft
Presenter Affiliation: University of South Carolina

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: The goal of this session will be to teach participants about Cognitive Load Theory, a learning theory that takes into account learner cognition. When utilizing technology, learners can easily reach high levels of cognitive load, resulting in cognitive overload, which is damaging to learning. Participants will learn how to help control learners' levels of cognitive load, as well as how to leverage modern research on memory and perception and how that relates to technology in the classroom. This learning will be measured through interaction with the audience to determine current misconceptions about learning and cognition, as well as to see if learning has occurred.

Conversational Practice: This one is about conversation more than anything. I will utilize moderators to monitor backchannel conversations and bring up good points or poignant questions.


Elementary School In The 21st Century - How Does The Pedagogy Change? How Does That School Look?

Presenter: Brian Crosby
Presenter Affiliation: Agnes Risley School, Washoe County Schools, Nevada

Conversational Focus/Audience: Elementary School

Conversation Description: School/pedagogy needs to change, adapt, modernize is the siren call. We will briefly look at and/or discuss examples of lessons, technology use, and projects in elementary school today. Then use the bulk of our time attempting to outline what a "changed" vision for elementary school could and should be. Is there anything that stays the same? Should we approach this from no cost matters, or try to do it for the same or lower cost? PEDAGOGY: Reading instruction ... what changes? What doesn't? Math? Other subjects? What about the building? Probably can't raze them all and build new ... so? What equipment/tools? We could dream big, but I'm thinking we might want to look at a model that is doable? What else? We can build a wiki so the thinking/planning can be archived and continued after the time runs out as well as accessed and added to by those attending off site.

Conversational Practice: We will build a wiki that will be available to continue after the session.

Website: To be set up. Will be a wiki.

Three-Part Harmony: A Conversation About Critical Literacy in the 21st Century

Presenter: Lisa Durff
Presenter Affiliation: Broadfording Christian Academy

Conversational Focus/Audience: High School Middle School

Conversation Description: Critical literacy is a way of thinking, not only about text (the traditional view), but a way of thinking about any message conveyed via any medium. Literacy is a "21st Century Skill" that is comprehending meaning and creating meaning using a medium. In this participatory culture of the web, it could be photographs, drawings, animations, podcasts, vidcasts, or live presentations using audio and/or video. This conversation will address three areas (the harmony, if you will): 1. A working definition of critical literacy / critical analysis 2. Moving from Theory to Practice: Concrete ways to encourage students to analyze, evaluate, & constantly question mediums they encounter in and out of the classroom. 3. The Future: An Action Plan for moving from here to there. Conversants will be asked to collaborate in groups, spending no more than 15 minutes on each area above. The group will create a wikipage listing their findings. Additional links/images/information may be included on their pages as they desire.

Conversational Practice: This is not a lecture type presentation. I do not intend to stand up front and "present" for 45minutes. This will be groups engaged in conversations about critical literacy. Groups are asked to record their thought on the wiki. Reflection often is best after the fact and providing a central place for the conversations to be recorded provides for that reflection. Many of us will return in the months that follow to revisit conversations and mull over the ideas of others. The conversants are largely advanced learners and not newbies. The group format allows for both types of learners to shine.


Rethinking Portfolios

Presenter: Bill Fitzgerald
Presenter Affiliation: FunnyMonkey

Conversational Focus/Audience: High School Middle School

Conversation Description: In this conversation, participants will be able to share best practices in creating portfolios that represent the process of learning, and empower learners to display the work they feel represents them as a student. In looking at the use of portfolios as both a discussion and a presentation tool, we will examine how the inquiry required to build and maintain a solid portfolio can be harnessed in support of instilling the habit of learning. In short, teachers can model this for students, and administrators can use this for school assessment and teacher professional developent. And for extra fun, we can look at how the same structure can be used to create and distribute curriculum under an open license.

Conversational Practice: The resources for this discussion will be collected in a portfolio site, and this site will be brought live before the session, and will remain up after the session. Additionally, the code that runs the site, and the content of the site, will be available as a downloadable package, so anyone can import the resources and the portfolio tool for use in their own organization. Additionally, the presentation will be videotaped and stored (ideally on This video will in turn be incorporated as a portfolio artifact, and accessible in the site.

Website: TBD

User-Generated Education: An Authentic Student-Centric Model of Education

Presenter: Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.
Presenter Affiliation: Kaplan and Boise State Universities, Bluefield State College

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: Should a student-centric, user-generated education be the predominant learning model for this era of the 21st Century? This presentation will begin with a brief overview about how such a model was implemented with upper elementary students. Then, participation in a Socratic Seminar will be used to create a deeper understanding of the philosophical underpinnings, implementation and implications of a user-generated education. Participants will interact with the pre-selected text (e.g., Disrupting Education, The Word is Open) through (1) Wiki and Diigo commentary and highlighting, (2) Socratic dialogue, and (3) backchanneling with Etherpad.

Conversational Practice: The protocols used will those as specified for a Socratic Seminar/Text-Based Seminar. Segments of text (e.g, Disrupting Education, The Word is Open) will provided within a wikipage and through Diigo prior to EduCon. Participants will be invited to interact with the text through electronic sticky notes, comments, and highlighting. A Socratic dialogue will then be used to discuss commentary with an invitation to backchannel through an Etherpad.


Using Technology to Foster Exploration and Reflection in Science

Presenter: Lucy Gray, Debbie Leslie, and Jeanne Century
Presenter Affiliation: University of Chicago Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education

Conversational Focus/Audience: Elementary School

Conversation Description: During the summer of 2009, the University of Chicago Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science collaborated with Arlington Heights School District 25 (Illinois) teachers to model best practices in curriculum and instruction. Members of this team will share their experiences and will help educators discover ways of leveraging technology in classrooms to support hands-on, inquiry-based science learning. Come learn and discuss ways to promote observation, exploration, and reflection using engaging curriculum materials and a variety of technology tools. CEMSE is also interested in developing materials to reflect best practices in 21st Century teaching and learning. Help us by sharing your ideas on improving elementary science instruction through the use of wireless, mobile devices and Web 2.0 technologies.

Conversational Practice: CEMSE is also interested in developing materials to reflect best practices in 21st Century teaching and learning. We would like to engage participants in the sharing of ideas related to improving elementary science instruction through the use of wireless, mobile devices and Web 2.0 technologies. During the course of this session, we hope to engage others in discussions regarding learning environments and science education. Ideas and suggestions will be documented in a public wiki.


The Art of the Remix: Collaborative Writing in the Social Media Classroom

Presenter: Dr. Leif Gustavson | Vanessa Scanfeld
Presenter Affiliation: Arcadia University | MixedInk

Conversational Focus/Audience: High School, Middle School

Conversation Description: MIT's New Media Literacies Project calls "appropriation," or the ability to sample and remix content, a "new literacy." Unsurprisingly, the NML Project does not condone plagiarism or illegal appropriation; pretending someone else's work is your own is clearly wrong. It argues, however, that "students learn by taking culture apart and putting it back together." [1] Writers are inspired by the world around them; from Homer to Shakespeare to Nabokov to Bob Dylan, some of the world's greatest works have resulted from the transformation of previous creations. Our tendency to teach in absolutes: "Plagiarism is bad;" "Wikipedia is not an acceptable source" deprives students of more nuanced realities that help them become fluent writers. In emphasizing the ideal of the autonomous artist, schools "sacrifice the opportunity to help [students] think more deeply about the ethical and legal implications of repurposing media content, and they often fail to provide the conceptual tools students need to analyze and interpret works produced in this appropriative process." [1] The educational benefits of "the remix" are clear: remixing encourages analysis and evaluation as students review and choose material worthy of reuse; it pushes students to conduct high-level synthesis to create standalone products from disparate sources; and it challenges students to evaluate a range of work implicitly, rather than formally. With nearly one-fifth of teens already remixing online content [2], we believe educators should design writing opportunities that enable and encourage collaboration, while helping students to navigate the complexities of building upon and others’ ideas.

Conversational Practice: Conversational practice: If a critical mass of attendees have laptops, we will create a "mini remix" using MixedInk's collaborative writing platform to form the basis for conversation. In addition, students from Arcadia University, who have been using MixedInk this year, can join the conversation about their experiences remixing.

Website: (depending on whether there is wifi & a critical mass of laptops)

Many to Many-- How Entire School Communities Can Collaborate

Presenter: Jim Heynderickx
Presenter Affiliation: Director of Technology, American School in London

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: Clay Shirky has published and presented on several interesting concepts about how the Internet can enable "many to many" communications and support. He has also noted that technology tools become socially interesting when they become technologically boring. The main idea of this conversation is to discover if his ideas are becoming apparent in our schools, and specific ways that we could foster their growth. In this context, we will also review the problems with type of change, and how some long-term beliefs and structures may need to be reviewed.

Conversational Practice: I'd like this section to have an opening 20-30 minute presentation of the core "many to many" concepts that apply to schools and learning. This presentation should identify two to four core types of change, and offer some examples of tools or processes that facilitate their evolution. The second half of the session should be a conversation, in that all members of the group should share their own examples, concerns and experiences in these areas. The presentation and a summary of the discussion can be published online afterwards.

Website: I would hold the conversation materials at

Zapping the Buzzwords: "Disruptive innovation," "the widget effect," and more.

Presenter: Tom Hoffman
Presenter Affiliation: SchoolTool

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: We've got a new generation of educational bureaucrats speaking to each other in management and economics informed language that they understand, but outsiders, particularly teachers, may not. We'll start with a prepared look at a few key terms, and then open up the floor for discussion of suggested buzzwords from a list provided or from the imagination of the audience.

Conversational Practice: Start with a short presentation, then move to more audience-initiated whole group conversation.


The Cost of Copyright Confusion: The Future of intellectual property in a Remix Generation

Presenter: Kristin Hokanson
Presenter Affiliat
Type in the content of your page here.ion: Temple Media Education Lab

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: Who do copyright laws protect, and why are they important? What is the purpose of fair use and how can I be sure my students understand this concept? As a result of Internet access and other information technologies, it is time to start talking about the role of copyright and fair use in contemporary society. Using materials from the Center for Social Media and Temple Media education lab, this session will examine different perspectives regarding the future of intellectual property in a society where creative work -- with video, software, images, language and multimedia -- is now being developed by people who are making and sharing materials on the Internet for free. What are the implications for the future of copyright? The purpose of this session is to foster an understanding of both the purpose and means of respecting the intellectual property rights of others as well as student rights as a content creator.

Conversational Practice: We will be reading & discussing articles sharing...
Lesson plans~
and using samples to spark discussion~


On the Development of Learning Spaces

Presenter: David Jakes
Presenter Affiliation: Glenbrook South High School, Glenview, IL

Conversational Focus/Audience: All members of the Educon family are welcome.

Conversation Description: There are five axioms that form the foundation of the Educon experience. The axioms focus on the characteristics of school, of the role of technology and what learning can become. They provide a framework for informing what we can and should do as educators.

When we discuss pedagogy, when we discuss the skills that we wish to see develop in students, when we discuss the role of technology, and when we discuss learning in general, it is of critical importance that we also discuss the role that learning space has in supporting what we do. Excellent practice, high-quality learning, and successful institutions all require a place for the interactions of teaching and learning . Yet, the concept learning space is rarely discussed among educators as a "one-size- fits- all" classroom is the accepted expectation and reality in today's schools. As we critically examine
educational practice this weekend, it is imperative that we also carefully reconsider the importance of where learning occurs.

This conversation seeks to do just that.

Conversational Practice: In this session, our conversation will be based on developing the perspectives that move participants from a classroom-based model of teaching and learning to one that is rooted in the concept of a learning space. Our conversations will help participants clarify their expectations for a learning space, and how such a space can support an expanded and relevant educational experience for students.


Eight and a Half by Eleven: Sameness, disruption, and design in the classroom

Presenter: Christina Jenkins
Presenter Affiliation: Parsons The New School for Design / NYCDOE

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: How can technology be used disruptively (in an uncommon, or creative way), to create new experiences in the classroom rather than replicating analogue teaching? If PowerPoint is uniquely good at manipulating images, how can it be used in the classroom as design software? How might emoticons be used to teach symbolism and vocabulary, or social networking be used to explore the relationships between atomic elements? Eight and a Half by Eleven is a project that aims to introduce “design thinking” into teaching practice by asking educators to think critically about when, and how, instructional technology supports their work. It argues that instructional technology should be used disruptively, in a way that breaks routines and takes advantage of its affordances. This presentation will involve a brief introduction of the “design thinking” concept through a PowerPoint that takes the form of a physical book, and will invite participants to brainstorm ideas for “disruptive” uses of technology in their own practice.

Conversational Practice: Participants will each make a simple, physical book during the course of the conversation. The book will be used to collect and share ideas (like a slam book) for how “design thinking” can be introduced to the classroom.

Christina Jenkins works to design meaningful strategies for technology integration into K-12 classrooms. She currently works as a technology coach and a teacher, of adults and children, in three New York City public schools. She is pursuing an MFA in Design and Technology, with an emphasis on educational media, at Parsons.

Website: The video ( and the website ( jenkc865/thesis/).

ICT Rich Interdisciplinary Education in an ESL Classroom

Presenter: Dr. Ann Kennedy, Isaac Zawolo, Jeffrey Elkner
Presenter Affiliation: Governor's Career and Technical Academy in Arlington

Conversational Focus/Audience: High School

Conversation Description: Three teachers at the Governor's Career and Technical Academy in Arlington, VA are working with a cohort of English as a Second Language (ESL) students in an interdisciplinary, ICT rich learning environment. Two of the three teachers are team teaching this year, and they are working closely with the third to integrate mathematics into their projects. They are using Scratch, Google Apps, Wiktionary, Audacity, and SchoolTool to provide project based learning activities aimed at developing student mastery in English, Mathematics, Science, and ICT.

Conversational Practice: We have started a discussion on the Scratch-Ed website, which we will continue to feed.


The Academy and the You-niverse: college search & fit in the internet age

Lead Learner: Shelley Krause
Lead Learner Affiliation: Rutgers Preparatory School, Somerset, NJ

Conversational Focus/Audience: High School (and anyone else who's interested!)

Conversation Description: Personal computing and the internet have increasingly enabled end users to personalize and customize their experience. If you have an iPod, you effectively have your own radio station with listener base of one, perfectly tailored to your tastes. Your RSS feeds may have replaced the nightly news. Until recently, college represented the greatest degree of educational agency most US students had ever had. Now? Some of them are free-range learners before they even set foot on campus. Broader shifts towards a culture of participation are reflected in students' shifting expectations and mindsets. To what extent are we prepared to appreciate, assess, and support individual young learners as individuals? I'd love to have a broad and specific conversation about what happens as students imagine themselves into their unknown futures as learners. What are students' hopes and expectations with regards to teaching style, academic content, campus culture? How do characteristics they want to consider map onto what's currently "searchable," and how might that change, going forward? Similarly, let's spend some time thinking about whether the increasing transparency of learning will enable students to assess their future learning opportunities in new ways.

Conversational Practice: Kick off w/ realms of expertise and interest (my own take-off on realms of concern and influence)... on the theory that "the genius is the room" Will likely also include some affinity mapping to help shape discussion


Leadership 2.0: Who Do We Need Our Leaders to Be?

Presenter: Chris Lehmann (@chrislehmann)
Presenter Affiliation: Science Leadership Academy

Conversational Focus: All School Levels

Conversation Description: The idea of leadership is changing, and much of the current writing about school leadership apes the language of business practice. Can we, as educators, create a deeper, richer idea of leadership that speaks to the unique goals of education?

Can we define a vision of leadership that doesn't assume that principals are CEOs, but instead build off of the old idea that "Principal" is short for "Principal teacher." Can we rediscover old ideas about how principals needed to serve their community and marry those ideas to the powerful, wireless world in which we live today?

Join a conversation that starts with the shared believes of the conference about what school should be and asks the questions -- "Then what do the leaders of these schools value and how do we find, develop, mature into the leaders we need?"

Conversational Practice: Conversation based session -- some front-loading of ideas followed by small and large group discussion of key questions with the idea of creating a shared statement of purpose and values for new (and ever-evolving) school leaders.

Falling Down the "Alice Project" Rabbit Hole: Inverting Traditional HS English Research & Writing

Presenter: Christian Long (@christianlong) and Jason Kern (@jasonmkern)

Presenters' Affiliation: The Oakridge School, Arlington, TX

Conversational Focus/Audience: Classroom Reform and High School

Conversation Description: For 6+ weeks this academic year, 3 sections of 10th grade English students (at a college prep, independent school in Texas) publicly analyzed Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (via The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition). Instead of the traditional approach to analyzing a text (with a teacher-lead conversations around pre-determined themes), students were challenged to "fall down the rabbit hole" (like Alice) throughout the duration of the project, therefore trusting their own instincts as they made their way through Wonderland's themes. The teacher shifted from running the class (and a single class blog) to being an as-needed literary resource and blog entry editor before posts/comments went public. Teams of 4-5 students maintained & developed 13 project blogs of on-going (and carefully edited / maintained) digital portfolio of discoveries and analysis. Over time, individual students were responsible for a minimum of 12+ carefully developed entries and 15+ comments (published on the other 12 team blogs) to guarantee a "gentleman's C", as well as to spend a single week as the team's "editor" with additional responsibility for maintaining the team's blog and reviewing posts/comments before publishing. In addition, teams were asked to demonstrate a successful use of various web 2.0 collaborative tools as story-telling / presentation catalysts (beyond the blog itself and Google Docs). Each student received 3 grades: 1) individual submissions/participation, 2) team development and collective submissions, and 3) assessment of each team's final 'product'/blog in terms of Google/public 'search' credibility. Finally, educators around the US/world were invited to comment throughout the project, as well as to participate as jury members evaluating the 13 team blogs and individual contributions at the project's completion.

Conversational Practice:
  • Phase 1: As has been the case since the project started on day one, the 13 blogs (plus "highlights" blog; see below) will remain public up until/throughout/after Educon 2.2, therefore allowing any interested individuals a chance to review the students' work, submit comments, and engage Christian/Jason in conversation at any point. These links will be made available to anyone who contacts Christian/Jason directly, via the "highlights" blog", via Twitter updates, and via the Educon web site.
  • Phase 2: We are intending on having a handful of students who were part of the project participate by Skype video at some point during the Educon session. We also hope to have some/all of the 25+ educator jury members who formally evaluated the project participate in explaining what they valued or critiqued along the way.
  • Phase 3: We will be opening up a session wiki and creating multiple Survey Monkey questionnaire's (for each of the 13 student blogs and 1 for the project as a whole) to allow visitors to offer suggestions/evaluate what they discovered. We plan on additionally using CoverItLive and/or Elluminate to provide a 'live-blogging' (and possible additional video stream) experience during the Educon session.
  • Phase 4: We will use share the goals/lessons-learned of the project during the 1st half of the session and then ask audience members to share project ideas (past, present, future) of their own that speak to the same ideals/protocols. The 2nd half conversation will be the key to the live session.
  • Phase 5: Christian intends to publish an e-book version at the end of the spring to showcase the entire project (of all 13 blogs and all submitted entries). This will include all visitor comments during the 6-week project calendar and those submitted after the project's completion as new visitors review it in hindsight. Students will continue to monitor all incoming comments throughout the school year.


Teaching the At-Risk Brain

Presenter: Rodd Lucier (@thecleversheep)
Trauma experts: Barb Dorrington and Michelle Cooper will provide context via video link.
Presenter Affiliation: London District Catholic School Board (London, Ontario, Canada)

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: This session will focus on the needs at risk students, and will challenge participants to design learning environments that consider the realities of the 'at risk' brain. Questions for Consideration: What types of students are most at risk in our schools? What are the common characteristics among at-risk learners? What types of learning activities and classroom environments are most adept at addressing the needs of these students?

Topics to include:
  • The Emotional Brain;
  • A Shattered Sense of Safety;
  • Emergency Response Systems;
  • Self-Regulation
  • Sensory Perception of Trauma;
  • Where Trauma Resides

Conversational Practice: Following a brief 'remote' presentation by trauma specialists from London, Ontario, participants will work collaboratively to consider the roles played by teachers, students, and emerging technologies in meeting the needs of the at-risk learner. Small and large group discussion and sharing will be central to this session. Questions, points of information, presentation slide-deck, and supplemental resources will be shared on a wiki page that will be available to both present and distant session participants.
Website: Conversational content to be cross-posted to

Field Guide for Change Agents

Presenter: Rodd Lucier (@thecleversheep) and Ben Hazzard (@benhazzard)
Presenter Affiliation: Rodd is currently a Student Success teacher at Regina Mundi College in London, Ontario, Canada and Ben is a Program Consultant with the Lambton Kent District School Board in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: In support of progressive educators, participants in this session will engage in a focused discussion that will be archived to co-create the content for a new "Field Guide for Change Agents" to be shared online. Some of the topics that will discussed and archived into the Field Guide include:
  • What are characteristics of change agents and how these characteristics interact with teachers, parents, and students.
  • How to build trusting relationships with colleagues in order to effectively promote sustainable change in our schools.
  • What resources support the work of change.
  • How to promote your vision.
  • Why mentoring and professional support networks are important for change agents.
Participants will be encouraged to test the resulting manual, by acting as a mentor to a fellow change agent.

Chapters to be considered/developed:
1] Admit It: You are a Change Agent
Fullan (1993): Teacher educators like other would-be change agents must take some initiative themselves.
Gardner (2006): A person who knows her own mind - how it learns best - is most likely to be able to change her mind effectively.

  • Which characteristics are exhibited by change agents?
  • Which characteristics of change agents are most appealing to teachers; to parents; to students?
  • Which characteristics are most frightening to teachers; to parents; to students?

2] Challenges of Being a Change Agent
Fullan (1993): Moral purpose without change agentry is martyrdom; change agentry without moral purpose is change for the sake of change.
Hargreaves (2005): Whatever changes are being considered, sustainable leadership should look to the past for precedents that can be reinvented and refined, and for evidence of what has succeeded or failed before.
  • What is at stake if change agents fail to engage others in discussions about effective change?
  • How can change agents build relationships with leaders within schools, school boards, and beyon

3] The Change Agent Toolkit
  • What resources can you draw upon for support/sustinence?
  • How will you share and promote your vision/ideas/passion for change?

4] Mentoring by Change Agents for Change Agents.
Fullan (1993): Especially in moral occupations like teaching, the more one takes the risk to express personal purpose, the more kindred spirits one will find.
  • How might relationships with like-minded colleagues enhance your work in classrooms/schools?
  • What are the most effective strategies to develop lasting relationships with professional colleagues?
  • How can we ensure professional discourse effectively considers the diverse needs of students, parents, and teachers?

Conversational Practice: Following a brief overview, this session will engage participants in actively developing chapter outlines. A list of resulting strategies will be developed and shared by way of a session wiki that will be edited by the facilitators for sharing as an electronic handbook. Online participants will also be invited to contribute their ideas to chapter wiki pages.

Website: The final version of the Field Guide for Change Agents; related posts from Educon 2.2 will be distributed from and

Managing Life and Personal Learning Environments in the 21st Century

Presenter: Brandon Lutz; Tracey McGrath; Lori Sheldon; Scott Snyder
Presenter Affiliation: 1&2) School District of Philadelphia; 3) Wayne Highlands SD; 4) West Shore SD; all) PAECT

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: As educators have encountered an ever increasing amount of technology and have begun building personal learning networks that connect them to a wider base of people outside of their face to face lives through blogs, Nings, wikis and twitter, many have experienced difficulties in managing the new sources of learning with their day to day life. From information overload to pressure from spouses or partners at home, how can one learn to navigate life in these networks and maintain their personal relationships so that the technology and connections don't take over. This session will be led by a diverse group of presenters who have all experienced these challenges. Directed questions will guide a discussion designed to pull strategies from real life situations into the open for those struggling to balance their digital life with their face to face life. Given the power of the network in dealing with pedagogical issues, what can the network do to help its members deal with this management problem?

Conversational Practice: The facilitators will lead a discussion using a series of directed questions in order to draw on the experiences of session participants for managing life in the new era of technology integration. Virtual attendees will be invited to share their thoughts via a backchannel discussion group. All ideas will be recorded and posted on a wiki as a reference for those interested and for future conversations.


Subversive PD: Creating a culture of collaboration to bring educators into the 21st Century

Presenter: Danja Mahoney, Michael Springer, Beth Knittle
Presenter Affiliation: Reading Public Schools, Barnstable Public Schools

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: Why are there still so many educators sitting in the back of the faculty meeting rolling their eyes whenever 21st Century Skills are on the agenda? How can Professional Development be meaningful, effective and important for the uninterested. This will be a conversation about getting ALL educators to learn the necessary skills and to integrate technology into their classrooms and teaching. How can we help our colleagues see 21st century skills as valuable for themselves, and ultimately vital for their students' learning? What strategies work to bring the most resistant teachers on board? Let's talk about the subtle and not so subtle strategies educators can use to bring teachers out of their (isolated) comfort zones and into collaborative learning/teaching environments of the present and future. We will facilitate a conversation using the success analysis protocol to develop a list of best practices for Professional Development that are meaningful, effective, and will bring on board even the most reluctant educators.

Conversational Practice: Success analysis protocol. We will use EtherPad to start the process. As the small groups meet they can take notes on the same document. Full group discussion will lead to the development of a mind map (such as MindMeister). Once done we will share notes and links on a wiki for continued access after the session.

Website: A wiki to be linked to the EduCon 22 wiki

Tinkering Towards Technology Fluency

Presenter: Sylvia Martinez
Presenter Affiliation: Generation YES

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: Tinkering is a time-honored educational practice, focusing on a learner exploring a subject or problem without clear goals or time constraints, using objects or tools at hand, driven by passion and curiosity. Seymour Papert used the word, "bricolage" to describe a way to solve problems by trying things out, testing, playing, and trying again. This stands in direct contract to the way we teach students to use analytical methods (such as the scientific method) to solve problems.

Current digital tools would seem to support learning by tinkering, with the rapid ability to build first drafts and easy to use editing tools. When mistakes and prototypes were expensive and time consuming, it certainly made sense to carefully plan your attack on a problem. However, this is no longer the case. In industry, the methodology of production planning has been revolutionized by rapid design tools. Accepted practices of design and planning have completely changed over the past 25 years, with linear "waterfall" planning completely replaced by new "spiral" design methodologies, especially in the design of digital products.

Beginning questions for the conversation are:
  • How can tinkering influence our understanding of technology literacy as a set of skills to be mastered?
  • How might this influence classroom practice when teaching analytical problem solving in any subject?
  • Should we still be teaching the "scientific method"?
  • How can tinkering fit in today's structured classroom environment?
  • How does a teacher maintain a schedule and series of learning objectives that result in learning, not just fooling around?
  • Is anything a student does tinkering?
  • What role does content knowledge play in tinkering?

Conversational Practice: We'll take a look at some of these questions and decide where to go.

Some collected resources:
My thoughts at the Generation YES blog
Bricolage (Wikipedia)
Situating Constructionism. Seymour Papert, Idit Harel. A seminal work that deeply explores the important educational theory of constructionism and explains how it is more than "learning by doing." A must read for anyone thinking about technology literacy.
TED Talk - Tinkering School

Bridging the Gap Between General and Special Education

Presenter: Kathleen McClaskey, Christine Southard
Presenter Affiliation: Kathleen McClaskey, Edtech Associates and Christine Southard, Herricks UFSD

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: We want to explore the gap that exists between general and special education teachers and students in the 21st century classroom. Why does this gap continue to surface in education and what can we do as educators to fix it? Should the responsibility to fix this educational gap fall on teachers and or should the push come from the administrators that oversee them, or do we need to start with teacher training at the college level. The goal of teaching is to reach all learners everyday so that all students make progress in relation to their individual education goals as well as the state education goals. All kids are unique, yet students are often taught in a fashion that does not differentiate and/or meet a child's specific learning style. Has the time come for an inclusion revolution?

Conversational Practice: We're going to use Survey Monkey to gather perceptions on the participants and the twitterverse before we initiate conversation about this school culture gap between general and special education teachers and the learners that they share. The conversational protocol will be twenty minutes of presentation and forty minutes of conversation. We have a wiki created that we will use as our home base to share our presentation, articles and a CoveritLive discussion space. We want to discuss what systematic changes need to occur to reform this section of the educational system.


Wikis for a Dynamic Curriculum

Presenter: Deon Metelski
Presenter Affiliation: Kent Place School

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: Wikis have traditionally been large amounts of text, sometimes with imagery to accompany the information. The most well known example being Wikipedia. MediaWiki powers Wikipedia and many other sites. It's basis is open source and web programming. It can also be themed to make it visually appealing for the learning community. As a classroom teacher, I have taken my curriculum and materials and created a wiki for students to access anytime, anywhere as well as for feedback and collaboration among our learning community. The Tuning Protocol will be used to view, discuss and post feedback on the format of the wiki as well as how this approach is better or worse then the other technologies available.

Conversational Practice: The session will use the Tuning Protocol to view and assess a part of the wiki curriculum. Attendees will be able to add to the discussion page of the wiki their "warm" and "cool" feedback.


A Student’s Vision of Personalized Learning & Real-time Collaboration

Presenter: Evan Morikawa, Andrew Pethan
Presenter Affiliation: Alight Learning Inc / Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

Conversational Focus/Audience: High School Middle School

Conversation Description: This conversation is ultimately about how to easily cater to the individual learning styles of students through technology; and facilitate collaborative, project-based work. Unlike all of the other conversations; however, this one is hosted by a group of students, who took a year-long entrepreneurial sabbatical from the project-based Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, to come up with solutions to these great challenges. We call our free in-progress solution Alight Learning. The goals of the conversation are to discuss how personalization best happens in the classroom, how collaborative projects best engage students, and the best ways online technology can facilitate these objectives. We are in the midst of developing a free online software package, Alight Learning, which tries to best encompass solutions to these issues. We want to share the strategies we’ve developed from months of discussions with many teachers and our own original thought. We most of all want to engage everyone in their thoughts and opinions of the subject. Since we are actively developing this product, any thoughts you bring to the conversation will most likely be implemented for you and thousands of other teachers to use soon.

Conversational Practice: The software we’re developing has a real-time collaborative space to record the ongoing discussion online and store and share any web-linked resources that come up. We will be actively using this within our conversation as a means to record thoughts on this topic. Should this turn out not to work properly, we will have an accessible wiki setup and will be streaming important points via @alightlearning. Our goal is primarily to hear the thoughts and opinions and proposed solutions of our topics from the participants. We will be giving a little bit of background on our story, and the perspective that we’re coming from, but beyond that we want to shut up and facilitate a conversation along our primary topic in the context of what we’re working on.


Students (and Teachers) as Creators of Content - Digital Storytelling and Beyond

Presenter: Samantha Morra
Presenter Affiliation: Montclair Public Schools, Montclair NJ.

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: Students as creators of content, not just consumers. That was the description of our digital authoring initiative from 2005 . The goal was to take students beyond traditional assignments and learn 21st century skills including: research, collaboration, problem solving and presentation skills. Digital storytelling, podcasting, Flash animation, Scratch, etc are just a few powerful tools to create content or the web. The list is tremendous! We will discuss what students are capable of creating, what tools are out there for them and the empowerment that goes along with creating. We will discuss creativity, active learning and how the role of the teacher changes. Let's not forget the teachers. They can and are using these tools to create dynamic materials to improve instruction, and communicate with students, parents, and the community. This conversation will discuss current thoughts on creating and creativity, focus on best practices and explore some of these amazing tools.

Conversational Practice: I plan on using a variety of online tools including an online whiteboard, wallwisher, and google apllications.

Website: To Be Created

Metacognition: The Real 21st Century Skill.

Presenter: Mary Moss
Presenter Affiliation: Co-Principal, NYC iSchool

Conversational Focus/Audience: High School Middle School

Conversation Description: Over the past two years as we designed and opened NYC iSchool, a school charged with rethinking high school for the 21st century, we have become more and more convinced that metacognitive skills are the most important skills we can provide our students. While we have always believed in the importance of adolescents taking ownership and responsibility for their learning, and an instructional approach that provides students with meaningful experiences, we didn’t quite realize the importance of metacognition as a critical 21st century skill. We know that in today’s world (and likely that of tomorrow’s too), being able to assess what you know, identify what you need to know, figure out where to find the answers, understand what strategies work best for you to make sense of those answers, evaluate the information you find, and know how best to use it, are the skills that will enable our students to be successful in school and beyond. But in a system in which students have been taught to consume information and regurgitate multiple choice responses, how do we begin to develop these skills? What learning experiences can we design to develop these skills? How do we integrate these skills into developmentally appropriate and constructivist practices? How will we assess students’ development of these skills and communicate them in a way that validates their importance? We have just begun to think very specifically about how to integrate metcognition much more explicitly into our school programs and practice. We would like to present some of our own practices, but to also share these ideas and questions, with the hope of getting feedback and opening a dialog about how schools can do this challenging, but worthwhile work.

Conversational Practice: We believe that the practices we will present are very much a "work in progress," so we will design our session based on the Charrette Protocol. We will provide the context for our school, present our practices and discuss our challenges, then ask participants, "How can we do this better?" "What opportunities are we missing to really infuse metacognitive skills?" Participants will then discuss our practices, share their own, and offer ideas and suggestions for the learning of the entire group.


Thinking Creatively: Inventing the Possible

Presenter: Linda Nitsche
Presenter Affiliation: Owen J. Roberts School District

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: Ken Robinson’s TED talk, “Do Schools Kill Creativity?”, challenges us to rethink schools to value creativity. As we stand at a crossroads where the strict content standards of No Child Left Behind may ease, allowing for a broader view of students' strengths and capacities, creativity is again gaining momentum as a key skill and capacity for the 21st century. The Framework for 21st Century Skills identifies Learning and Innovation Skills as a 21st century outcome for students in order to be prepared for increasingly complex life and work environments. But, with little focus and attention on creative thinking, our teachers and schools are not well prepared with a wide range of

Conversational Practice: Using a modified What, So What, Now What Protocol, we will investigate the idea of creativity in schools to address 21st century learning and innovation skills. Introduction: Overall introduction of the protocol, agenda, the context of the problem using highlights from Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk, “Do Schools Kill Creativity?”, and the guiding question for the session. Guiding Question: How can we make creativity as important in education as literacy and treated with the same status? PART I: What… Using the Barriers or Bridges Protocol, participants will be given two lunch size paper bags. On the outside of one bag, they will write down a word or phrase related to a barrier to creative thinking in education. On the other side of the bag, they will write down a word or phrase related to bridges for creative thinking in education. The second bag is opened and placed inside the bag with the responses to create a brick. Participants will build a “wall” out of the bricks with barriers all on one side of the wall and bridges on the other side, briefly sharing the identified barriers and bridges. Framing of the topic with a guiding presentation on frameworks for creative thinking interspersed with brief activities engaging participants in creative thinking using the elements of the different frameworks. Time for participant Clarifying Questions about the different frameworks will be provided following each of the brief activities. • Torrance’s Framework for Creative Thinking • Eberle's SCAMPER framework • deBono’s Lateral Thinking, PART II: So What… Divide participants into groups of 2 or 3, each with a designated participant/facilitator, who also participates. Each group will select and view a video related to creativity, innovation, or imagination in action from a set of choices. The participant/facilitator will guide the small group in a discussion of the videos focusing on the following questions: What did we see? In what ways does this seem important to you? What do we wonder about is… The questions this raises for us are… The participant/facilitator adds the small groups’ ideas to the session wikispace. Referring to the small group’s notes on the wikispace, the full group participates in a discussion of the guiding question. PART III: Now What… Return to the wall of bricks created at the beginning of the session. Engage participants in a discussion of new ideas and techniques that will create windows, open doors, or knock down the barriers to creative thinking in education, recording ideas on the session wiki. As participants share ideas, they should physically change the wall, creating windows, doors, or knocking it down.


Leveraging the Wisdom of the Crowd: Collaborative Action Plans

Presenter: Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach
Presenter Affiliation: Powerful Learning Practice & 21st Century Collaborative

Conversational Focus/Audience: All

Conversation Description: If using Web 2.0 tools is so easy, why is implementation so difficult? Preparing students for the 21st Century calls for collective action of all stakeholders and this session looks at the steps needed to build momentum and garner buy-in from the entire school community. Participants will discuss ways to plan collectively and strategically for the future, develop a collective professional development plan for 21st Century skill building, and make sure all students have equitable access to a 21st century education.

Conversational Practice: This will be a fast paced, facilitated session that will result in a collaborative action plan that truly leverages the wisdom of those in attendance. The goal of the session is two-fold: 1) to develop and capture a synthesis of thinking around- barriers to the shift, proactive solutions for overcoming the barriers, and development of specific, measurable action statements that can be implemented in your local context. 2) to model a protocol that can be used to garner buy-in at your school or district for managing change.

Website: http://21stcenturylearning.

UDL and the 21st Century Classroom

Presenter: Lisa Parisi, Karen Janowki, Paul Bogush, and Christine Southard
Presenter Affiliation: Herricks UFSD

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: Universal Design for Learning (UDL) advocates a one size fits all approach does not really fit all. UDL principles support offering multiple methods of engagement, presentation and expression. By using technology, by enabling students to be responsible for their own learning, by giving students the freedom to move about and use tools needed for their own success, we can help all children learn in school. Come join us for a great discussion about UDL and its uses in a classroom. Learn how teachers are using this approach to level the playing field, helping all students be successful. Find out how technology makes this much easier and removes the obstacles to success for learners. We will also explore the challenges when implementing this approach and collectively identify solutions.

Conversational Practice: Using the Sharing Best Practices protocol, we will begin with a brief definition of UDL and its basic approach in a classroom, by Karen Janowski. We will then move into a sharing by Lisa Parisi, Christine Southard, and Paul Bogush. These teachers will share a few samples from their own classroom. The participants will then be asked to work in small groups of three or four to discuss ways to incorporate UDL in their own classrooms. The small groups will collaboratively create a Google Doc, Etherpad or other synchronous online document. After the small group discussion, we will connect together as a whole group to share our ideas and hash out any difficulties that may arise from these ideas.


Now what?

Presenter: Jeremiah Patterson
Presenter Affiliation:

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: The first year, leaving Philadelphia, I found that I was stuck -- unsure how to put my new learning to use, excited to put my new network into action. Last year, unwilling to repeat that part of the experience, I resolved to create an action plan for how I would leverage my conversations into real reform in my "home" context. This session is designed to lead EduCon participants through a series of conversations designed to spark the seeds of actionable reform once the plane lands back home.

Conversational Practice: We will be revisiting sessions from the last two years that seeded inspiration with an eye to capturing real possibilities that apply across a wide spectrum.


"The "Decoupling" of Education and School: Where do We Begin?"

Presenter: Will Richardson
Presenter Affiliation: Powerful Learning Practice

Conversational Focus/Audience: All

Conversation Description: The next ten years promise to be hugely disruptive for the traditional idea of school as more and more alternative learning platforms are created and expanded. This conversation will focus not on technology but on the larger shifts that will have to occur for schools to evolve into a different role in our society. Driving the discussion will be these quotes from Allan Collins and Richard Halverson's recent book Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology :

"If educators cannot successfully integrate new technologies into what it means to be a school, then the long identification of schooling with education, developed over the past 150 years, will dissolve into a world where the students with the means and the ability will pursue their learning outside of public school."

"Schools were prevalent in the era of apprenticeship, and they will be prevalent in whatever new system of education comes into being. But the seeds of a new system are beginning to emerge, and they are already beginning to erode the identification of learning and schooling. As these new technologically driven seeds germinate, education will occur in many different, more adaptive venues, and schools will have a narrower role in learning."

"Our generation faces a...radically new, design challenge. We are dealing with a mature, stable system of education designed to adapt to gradual change, but ill-suited to embrace radical change. The pace of technological change has outstripped the ability or school systems to adapt essential practices. Schools have fiddled with learning technologies on the margins of the system, in boutique innovations that leave core practices untouched. The emergence of new forms of teaching and learning outside of school threaten the identification of learning with formal schooling forged in the 19th Century."

Conversational Practice: We'll identify the major questions these quotes raise and work toward a developing a concrete list of starting points for these conversations to begin and continue in schools.

Chat: (For both onsite and offsite participants)

Taking Play Seriously

Presenter: Brian C. Smith
Presenter Affiliation: Monroe #1 BOCES

Conversational Focus/Audience: Elementary School

Conversation Description: Diane Ackerman's quote, "play is the brain's favorite way of learning" is oft used to describe the learning that takes place in elementary schools. Despite that belief, a simple visit to any school in the country will reveal a picture that flies in the face of Ackerman's statement. We know why play is being squeezed out of schools, but bringing it back will take creative thinking, ideas and sharing. Together we will discuss and construct ideas for bringing the aspects of play into more learning experiences.

Conversational Practice: An experience of playful learning (PicoCrickets) will be described leading to small group sharing of similar learning experiences as well as collaborative construction of an online resource.


Educational Commissioning

Presenter: John Sole
Presenter Affiliation: President/CEO Guerilla Educators

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: The main idea is that, in a perfect pedagogical world there is an essential non-difference between the physical facility (the school) and the teaching and learning that takes place inside the walls (the School). Our conversation will focus on how the structure of the school, the very walls, should be a 3 dimensional teaching and learning tool. We will also take a look at how students should be involved from the very beginning of the school design process both to authentically inform educational facilities design and to use the design process as a powerful "real time" method to achieve rigorous grade appropriate curricular and civic proficiencies.

Conversational Practice: Authentic Youtube style video examples of students conducting architecture projects across the grades and participating in school design charrettes will frame and contextualize the conversations. We will also use the physical facility of the SLA with the participants as a vehicle to demonstrate the permeable nature between teaching and learning and the structure where that takes place.


Stager Certified Educators Executive Program

Presenter: Gary S. Stager, Ph.D.
Presenter Affiliation: Pepperdine University & The Constructivist Consortium

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: Play your cards right and you can leave this intensive, immersive, engaging and transformative session a Stager Certified Educator, complete with I.D. card, certificate of awesomeness (suitable for framing) and web badge for use on your blog or web site. Some educators don’t achieve this much over a lifetime, but you may in less than 90 minutes! You will also gain a greater sense of the issues, ideas and expertise a 21st Century educator needs in order to create more productive contexts for learning. Resources for post-certification learning will be shared.

Conversational Practice: Conversation with the folks in the room and remotely during and after the session will be part of the session. Resources will be shared for further reading.


Papert Matters: Thinking about Children, Computers & Powerful Ideas

Presenter: Gary S. Stager, Ph.D.
Presenter Affiliation: The Constructivist Consortium & Pepperdine University

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: Seymour Papert, often referred to as the "father of educational technology," is arguably one of the most important thinkers of the past half-century. However, too few educators are aware of his ideas and contributions to the field. Papert’s work is too often dismissed for having the audacity to ask educators to do better. Papert’s creation, Logo, was the catalyst for a vibrant community of educators committed to giving voice to powerful ideas in their classrooms. Yet his influence has been much greater. Through an exposition of Papert’s lesser-known writing and speeches, this session demonstrates Papert’s tangible impact on the creation of classroom robotics, laptops, HyperCard, Squeak, Scratch, 1:1 computing and creation of the MIT Media Lab. I will also discuss Papert’s enormous influence on the fields of artificial intelligence, computer science, mathematics, educational computing, epistemology, learning and the politics of school reform. His prescience regarding the dominance of the information metaphor predicted the fallacies promoted by today’s Web 2.0 community. This session explores just a few of Papert's most powerful ideas about children, computers and learning through his own words and rarely seen video. The presenter worked closely with Dr. Papert for years. Educators new to Papert's theories will be challenged to think deeper about learning. Others may be inspired to reinvigorate their practice and challenge the status quo.

Conversational Practice: Conversation with the folks in the room and remotely during and after the session will be part of the session.


Why Has Technology Failed to Bring Substantial Change to American Schools (and what can we do about it)?

Presenter: Tim Stahmer
Presenter Affiliation:

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: In the book Disrupting Class, the authors make the observation "While people have spent billions of dollars putting computers into schools, it has resulted in little change in how students learn." They also ask "Why haven't computers brought about a transformation in schools the way they have in other areas of life?" Excellent question. Certainly there are plenty of answers, including this one also from Disrupting Class "...the way schools have employed computers has been perfectly predictable, perfectly logical - and perfectly wrong." But the focus of this session will not be about placing blame. Instead let's discuss what we can do and what is being done to change things. Come join us for a discussion centered on these ideas and bring any and all ideas, whether from your personal experience or elsewhere. Invite your friends and colleagues who aren’t attending EduCon to be part of the conversation from wherever they are.

Conversational Practice: I'm considering setting up an Elluminate room so that people outside of the conference can contribute and participant.

Website: TBD

Changing Practice: Seeing progress in reluctant classrooms

Presenter: Sarah Sutter and Alice Barr
Presenter Affiliation: Wiscasset High School and Yarmouth High School, Maine; both Google certified teachers

Conversational Focus/Audience: High School

Conversation Description: Our two schools have been 1:1 for several years, but as is the case anywhere, there has been recurring reluctance by some teachers to employ the practices that are central to students collaborating or publishing their work to a global audience. Although there are always a few early adopters, one of the repeated complaints is the difficulty with multiple accounts and the classtime it takes for students to get up and running on any given tool. Where are we seeing progress? What is working to change practice in the classroom on a school-wide basis? One of the recent additions to our schools' toolbox for students and teachers is Google Apps for Ed. The inclusion of this set of tools addresses many administration concerns, makes it seamless for all teachers and students to use from day 1, and has helped change the culture across our schools when it comes to sharing and publishing student work. We'll share our experiences in implementing Google Apps for Ed, with a focus on the changes in formerly reluctant teachers and administrators who have rapidly seen the potential and climbed aboard. We'll share administrative uses that set the stage, emerging teacher practices, resulting student work, and speak to the bigger picture of changing pedagogy. The conversation will continue as participants share what's working in their schools, and how we are collectively moving forward toward more constructivist, collaborative, and open educational practices.

Conversational Practice: 1. open session with a form to see makeup of the group and model some data collection tools 2. twitter as backchannel and chat for those present and/or participating remotely (up on second screen) 3. Google site open for collaboration; rotating scribe, open to post additional ideas as they arise, remaining open after the session to perpetuate conversation 4. Presentation 20 min, 10 min Q&A, 10 min small group sharing (4-5 people per group), 15 min share out, 5 min Q&A

Changing practice

Managing Filter Failure - Getting to the Good Stuff

Presenter: Lisa Thumann and Liz Davis
Presenter Affiliation: Lisa is the Sr. Specialist in Technology Education At the CMSCE, Rutgers University in NJ and Liz is the Director of Academic Technology at Belmont Hill School in Belmont, MA

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: Clay Shirky says, "it's not information overload - it's filter failure". Do you often feel like we are drowning in a sea of information? Do you have more networks than you know what to do with? Have you figured out a way to filter in the relevant information and filter out the noise? Let's use our collective intelligence to make the most of our information management strategies. Join this conversation and share the places and spaces that you use to harness the power of your network's intelligence and expertise. We'll use a wiki to list the best methods determined by our group and publish them online for all those interested.

Conversational Practice: Ping Pong Protocol A Consultancy for Groups:


Better than Passing Notes: Backchanneling Promising Practices

Presenters: Dr. Cheri Toledo and Sharon Peters
Presenter Affiliation: Associate Professor of Educational Technology, Illinois State University - Women of Web 3 co-host

Conversational Focus/Audience: High School Middle School

Conversation Description:We will be discussing the findings of our interviews of seventeen educators regarding their perceptions of the uses, constraints, and successful practices of backchanneling. Six major themes emerged: 1) Backchanneling for professional development and networking; 2) Backchanneling for engagement; 3) Constraints of backchanneling; 4) Changes in teacher and/or learner perspectives; 5) Examples of backchanneling in educational settings; and 6) Suggestions for successful backchanneling. We will be talking about these results while f2f and remote participants are involved in a backchannel. The voices of the study participants’ will serve as a catalyst for a robust session that will give f2f and remote participants opportunities to employ the lessons learned from the backchanneling study.

Conversational Practice: We will be setting up a backchannel in Chatzy. Before the presentation we will contact conference participants with experience as moderators, anchors, and jockeys and ask them to participate. We will also bring in the remote participants through the backchannel. In addition, during the primary discussion we will provide instruction and opportunities for participants to act as moderator, anchor, and jockey.

Website: Backchanneling_Study

Improving Professional Development with Online PD

Presenter: Barbara Treacy / Chris Champion
Presenter Affiliation: Education Development Center's EdTech Leaders Online / PA e-Learning for Educators

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: Professional development for educators usually takes place near or around the educator's school district, rarely exposing them to perspectives outside the area. In many cases, this means that a teacher isn't given a broader view of education and best practice. EDC's EdTech Leaders Online helps educational organizations build capacity to incorporate online learning and prepare teachers not just learn new subjects, but gain new perspectives about education. The courses available to teachers are written by practitioners with classroom experience and incorporate a facilitated online learning community model. As projects like (Pennsylvania's implementation) move forward, educators are learning to pair 21st Century skills with traditional curriculum. This session will address the following questions through group participation and discussion: What can and can't be taught in an online setting? Are there topics that are under-represented in professional development that can be better addressed online? What are qualities of effective online instruction? How can online instruction be structured so that it is accepted (and paid for?) by administrators that are more familiar with face-to-face PD? How do you choose facilitators to teach these courses? How does online PD increase access to learning for busy teachers and help them build effective professional learning communities? This project is based on research conducted by the Education Development Center but this CONVERSATION is intended to capture a broader perspective from participants, structured as a guided inquiry of the problems facing professional development. Facilitators hope to learn along with participants how online learning can address those problems.

Conversational Practice: Using a mind map, we will start with a framework based on the questions stated in our focus (#4, above) and attempt to answer them as a group. We'll use a jigsaw method to break participants into small groups to facilitate the most participation, then ask groups to check back with the entire room as we address each question, building the map as we go. An attempt to use (or another online mind mapping solution) will be made (network resources providing) in order to share the mind map live with participants. Alternatively, Inspiration will be used and shared as an image. Either way, the mind map will be embedded in the EduCon conference wiki as part of this session.


Ditch the classroom, embrace the world, and integrate Adventure Learning

Presenter: Dr. George Veletsianos
Presenter Affiliation: University of Texas at Austin

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: Adventure Learning (AL) is an approach for designing environments to engage learners in opportunities to explore real-world issues through collaborative, experiential, and participatory experiences (Doering & Veletsianos, 2008, Veletsianos & Kleanthous, 2009). For the last 5 years the author has been part of a team that launched a K-12 AL program entitled GoNorth! ( followed by millions of children worldwide. These projects follow the same narrative: a team of explorers and educators traverse an Arctic region of the world on a dog sledding expedition to engage learners with a freely-available inquiry-based curriculum exploring socio-scientific issues of concern (e.g., global warming). Students follow the expedition and participate in the learning experience via an online environment enhanced with media send from the trail (e.g. audio, video). In addition, students engage in conversations with explorers, experts, and co-learners via real-time chats, postings on shared maps, etc. The appeal and transformative nature of the AL approach is not only demonstrated by five years of research, but also by worldwide attempts to actively involve classrooms in expeditions. Examples include a record-breaking foot trek to the South Pole ( and an initiative to study Polar bears in their natural habitat ( While these projects provide great promise, widespread change can only come when teachers design their own Adventure Learning projects. To spearhead this change, the author has decomposed the AL framework into five areas (narrative, pedagogy, social media, creative curricula, and the world outside the classroom) and will engage teachers in designing their own adventure-based projects.

Conversational Practice: Prior to the conference, participants will be asked to (a) read a short paper on the topic, and (b) explore examples of Adventure Learning websites provided. At the conference, the author of this proposal will (a) discuss the topic, and, to demonstrate the ideas presented (b) design a small adventure learning project with participants as co-creators. Next, participants will be divided in groups to design their own adventure learning projects. During this time the author will act as a consultant to the teams. The projects developed will be posted on a wiki for future access, and at the end of the session each team will discuss their project and receive feedback from the rest of the group.

Website: (to be created)

Direct and Explicit Instruction Virtually? Yes! Of course, why not?

Presenter: Michael Wacker
Presenter Affiliation: Online Educational Specialist Jefferson County Public Schools

Conversational Focus/Audience: All school levels

Conversation Description: Direct Instruction often refers to a rigorous scripted method of teaching, systematic and boring. For the purposes of virtual ed, where the art of teaching is alive and well, direct instruction can be used as a way of modeling and explicitly showing what the students are expected to demonstrate and show, while allowing opportunities to create, question, and make sense of the material. The conversation will focus around virtual environments and meeting the needs of a classroom of learners that not only expect engagement, but personalized instruction that is relevant and useful. When leading course design workshop,we should expect rigor with purpose and explicit outcomes aligned with standards; an engaging teacher using simple web based tools of today can do that via vodcast, screencasts, webinars, conferencing, online surveys, and more.

Conversational Practice: Discuss perceptions and opinions around the term Direct Instruction//. How can we meet the needs of learners, offer direct instruction around a concept or benchmark, yet maintain the flexibility and benefit of online learning for today's students. We will look at good and bad examples from hybrid and online courses. What has worked for others? Brainstorm around best practice of online instruction and why relaying exactly what the students will be expected to know isn't a bad thing. How can we outsource our direct instruction? How can we use video/vodcasts, screencasts, webinars, web conferencing, and online surveys to accomplish mini lessons and micro-lectures. What can be gleaned when we enable students as teachers?

Extensions: How can Online Ed Courses be used as an intervention strategy (RTI)? What can today's students bring to the table and contribute besides "post and respond to 3 others?"

Website: Direct Instruction Virtually

Learning 2.0 -- Overhauling Classroom Best Practices

Presenter: David Warlick
Presenter Affiliation: The Landmark Project

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: Participants in this conversation will discuss specific learning activities that are assigned by members, suggesting enhancements and new elements that bring the assignments into the light of learning 2.0. As a guide, participants will be able to collaboratively evaluate the evolving activities based on a number of criteria -- mapping the activities visually. The purpose is to provide educators the practice of questioning the appropriateness and relevance of current best practices in light of hierarchies of thinking, our students native information experiences, and the changing character of our times. Professional collaboration will be another element of this conversation, suggesting that best practices can be enhanced through the enlightenment of conversation.

Conversational Practice: My plan is to provide and ask for suggested classroom activities that may or may not already engage students effectively and at a high level. Participants with networked laptops and browser-equiped cell phone will then evaluate the lessons utilizing a graphical tool that I have developed for measuring instructional practices along two or more criteria spectrums. They may include Blooms Taxonomy, a metric for engagement, and one for relevance. I may also call up elements of our students "native" information experiences, asking participants to identify and suggest enhancements to the activities that leverage our students perspectives on content. The tool will provide a 2D map, which participants will use to touch spots of intersection indicating their beliefs about a specific activities placement on Blooms Taxonomy and some other spectrum of depth. A group projecting computer will display each participants vote and a mean position with ranges of standard deviation. It is my intent that this sort of open conversation, coupled with graphical voting will provoke questions like: * How do we move this activity along this line? * Who placed the activity here? Why? * What do you think he meant by engagement? * Why would that promote more collaboration? * Why is this learning better than that?


21st Century Classrooms or 21st Century Learning?

Presenter: TracyWeber
Presenter Affiliation: Education Consultant with AVerMedia Technologies

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: Purpose: To encourage educators to plan their classrooms from a learning perspective rather than from a tools perspective. Don’t buy the tool and then figure out how to use it. Instead, figure out what learning should look like, and then focus on obtaining the tools to create that vision. Process: We’ll begin by examining 21st century classrooms from a tools focused perspective and comparing that to industrial age classrooms. “Has anything really changed?” Participants will share in small groups the challenges and successes they’ve had as they attempted to morph their schools into modern age learning environments. Then we’ll work in small groups to respond to the key question: “What should teaching and learning look like in the twenty-first century?” After groups have formulated a response, we’ll share these as a whole group and formulate a single response. Finally, groups will be asked to consider the tools that are really needed to obtain that vision. Each component of our final response will be given to a different discussion group and they’ll be asked to plan the technology that would fulfill a specific teaching and learning need. Those responses will be shared in a whole group setting.

Conversational Practice: We’ll use a modified format of the Gallery Walk and jigsaw groups for this discussion. With each focus question, small groups will discuss and formulate responses and then share with the whole group for the purposes of synthesizing a conclusion. We will potentially use a wiki or other collaborative Web-based tool to collect our ideas and responses.


SpeedGeek Learning: What is your Innovation and why does it matter?

Presenter: Ben Wilkoff
Presenter Affiliation: Douglas County School District

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: Learning is the process of continual and disruptive innovation. We first teach students the disruptive innovation of reading, the process of asking great questions and making meaning. We teach the innovation of perspective as the lens through which we must ask questions of our history. And, we teach them context so that they will express, question and innovate for themselves. Somehow, though, we lose this innovative aspect of learning when students need it most. We get caught up in what cool tool will let us create a podcast from beginning to ending by pushing a few buttons to grab attention for a fleeting moment. Or, we strive for the mundane element of rote learning to satisfy the needs of a system that perpetuates itself. Enter SpeedGeek Learning, an idea that has challenged me to ask questions and seek answers that speak to the innovations of meaning, context and perspective.

Essentially, SpeedGeek Learning is about posing a single question that we all want the answer to. It is about challenging each individual to frame their answers within an ongoing conversation, to try and reach for a truth that eludes us in any other framework. The single question that I want to ask within this session is "What is your innovation in education, and why does it matter?" From this, I would like to define the most effective and groundbreaking innovations are coming from the circle of voices coming together for Educon.

The platform and protocol will take answers from anyone and spin them together with video, Etherpad, twitter backchannel, and chat. It is my sincerest hope that by the end of the session we will be able to find a language and community willing that challenges us to carry out the best of our innovations, especially extending our innovations into the lives of students.

Conversational Practice: The conversation is the platform. I would like to use a SpeedGeek Learning session as the backchannel for the conversation around the discussion on the single question of "What is your innovation in education, and why does it matter?" I will seed the discussion with innovations from anyone who cares to contribute one. Here is the blog post that explains how you can contribute.


Moving Beyond the Scientific Method

Presenter: Darryl N. Williams, Ph.D.
Presenter Affiliation: National Science Foundation

Conversational Focus/Audience: All School Levels

Conversation Description: Progressing from a very basic, siloed approach to teaching science, technology, and math to a more integrated process where students learn to conceptualize how subjects are interconnected is a much needed transformation of K-12 formal education. In order to build scholarship in STEM, students need to be taught in environments that foster the development of a systems thinking approach to learning using engineering design as the platform. In this situation, students are trained to think more complexly about cause and effect and engage in design that is challenged by constraints and guided by the notion of compromise and tradeoffs. This inevitably cultivates problem solving and critical decision making, desirable skills needed to meet the demands of the 21st century economy. According to the recent report “Engineering in K-12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects” by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), the current education structure and education policies do not reflect the natural, real world interconnectedness of STEM. Evidence shows that there is potential value in increasing the presence of engineering in STEM education to address this current lack of integration.

Conversational Practice: The conversational protocol will be a modification of the Focus/Framing Question Exercise. Facilitator will pose a set of opened ended questions related to the topic for the participants to reflect on in small groups, followed by a discussion of key points.