Take Five--NECC '06 conference in San Diego
Sitting in our hotel room Friday night after the closing ceremony, Anne (Happy Birthday), Brad, Barbara, Karl, and I debriefed on the conference. Anne started, "What was one main thing you would want each of us to remember after being here...and if money wasn't an issue, what would you purchase?" Great questions, already in a constructivist mode. We thought, we discussed and soon realized our to-do lists from now to school was growing what seemed, exponentially. But, we also realized our excitement and value this conference and collaboration brings. To answer, we all felt thankful for Karl in creating this vision; what we learned at the conference was what we believe: it's not technology, gadgets, or any other new tool that makes teaching wonderful, it's the teachers that challenge their students to think for themselves. How rewarding to know that what we have studied the last year, is what so many of the 12,000 attendees believe as well.
From 5am walks with Barbara, fruit and peanut lunches on carpeted floors bought from the local grocery Ralph's, fireworks on the Bay, walking and running in the Fun Run (Anne won for the females!), listening and meeting gurus like Will Richardson, David Warlick, and Kathy Schrock, to philosophical discussions of education between our 6-7 sessions a day, we came away not only better friends, but educators sparked. I know I can't wait to try out Moodle, Gabbly, TotalGlobal, Thinkport--if nothing else, they are just fun to say, right!? But more important than software, web sites, or hardware, I am excited at how these discussions and lectures recalibrate my paradigm of teaching.
I know I'm saving my pennies to try to get to NECC next year...in Atlanta!