Random Thoughts

EARCOS Admin – All over but the flight

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I fly out tomorrow back to Shanghai and join the rest of the ‘real world’ back in the daily grind. It was a great experience presenting at my first administrators conference. I have to say how impressed I have been with the turn out at all of my sessions. I was hoping praying that I would have at least one person show up to my sessions. I mean here I am at an administrators conference competing against sessions like:

The Tao of Educational Leadership
Becoming Empowered by Doing
Just Listen
High Trust Leadership Skills that Put Vision into Action

I am at a conference geared towards administrators talking about how online Professional Development has changed? It should have been a tough draw…but it wasn’t.

What really surprised me…and I mean really blew my socks off was that this morning I was presenting at the same time as former Gov. of Maine Angus King. To make matters worse he was presenting right next door and he had just given a 15 minute into during the keynote. Part of me was wishing I had at least one person show up, another part of me hoping that nobody would show up so I could go to Angus King’s session (My one regret from the conference is not meeting him). I was blown away by the fact that on the last day of the conference for my last of six sessions I still had over 20 people join me to learn about RSS feeds and how administrators and teachers could use them in their own professional development.

I was complete blown away by the level of engagement by the administrators. Today’s session was by far the worse with my computer crashing (sorry for those watching on ustream.tv). But they were OK with that, in fact one principal who had come to two of my other sessions spoke up and said “Thank god it happens to you too!” We had a good laugh and later on the same principal came up to me and said “You handled that so well.” I just looked at her and said “Yeah, we all have our days…today was mine to fail…and that’s OK!” Technology is not perfect, I never pretend it is and there are days when it gets the better of us…today was my day. I did recover the best I could and we ended on a positive note with principals, heads of schools, and board members making a list of sites that they could start with that they already visit that they could add to their new RSS reader.

Ustream.tv: I am totally sold on this technology. It completely transformed the conference for my participants. The ability for 40 people to watch me live on the web is one thing. The ability to archive that presentation for others to view later is something that is very cool and that the administrators that came to my sessions were blown away by. On the first day I told my participants “If you wanted to, you could lay in bed upstairs and watch the presentation online with a cup of coffee.” The next day as I was wrapping up my second session a principal walked into the room and said, “I took your advice and just watched both your sessions from my room while I was getting ready…good stuff!” How crazy is that!

Today I had a board member come in before I was starting my presentation and asked, “I went to the Apple store last night to pick up that Belkin Tune Talk you talked about it’s $75 here and I know I can get it cheaper in Taiwan. I have to go to this other session today but I was wondering if you could record the session for me on my iPod so I could listen to it on the plane on the way home?”

Is that cool or what!

We talk about extending the circle, about getting caught in the echo chamber. That is exactly way I did six presentation in eight time slots at this administrative conference. It’s a new audience, an audience that we all know needs to hear this, needs to have the message and needs to understand how these tools change our schools, our classrooms, and student learning. Yes, I worked hard, yes I am tired. But even tonight at the final dinner for the conference I had 3 administrators come and find me just to say “Thank You!” for a job well done. We need to get outside our tech bubble. We need to be presenting at Language Arts conferences, at admin conference, any place that teachers go to learn, we need to be spreading this message! I hope I did a little of that this week.

My network was amazing. Those of you in my twitter network, I thank you! I left Snitter running all the time, even when I wasn’t talking about it. Those that joined in on Ustream.TV I hope it was worth your time and I thank you for joining me. And lastly to all you new administrators who might be reading this for the first time, maybe even your first blog….welcome to the blogosphere! Hang on tight and get ready for an amazing professional development ride like none you have never had before.

You can listen to the podcast on using podcasts as administrators here.

Thank you all for the conversation!


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I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


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  2. Jeff:

    It was a great experience to watch you teach the session and model what a good professional development session should be, all while being able to talk it over with the folks in the chat room. I suspect we all learned just as much as the administrators! Thanks for sharing!

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  6. Jeff,
    It is amazing what these tools can do for professional development – they are making a huge impact on my learning. Thank you for taking it to the administrators and presenting it in such an accessible and engaging manner. You’re a great resource for those of us looking for information and insight.

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