One notion that stuck with me this morning from Valerie Hannon, a keynote speaker at the BCSSA Fall Conference, was that education requires disruptive innovation in order to prevent an “institutional bypass.” In another post I will share some of the key points from Valerie and other speakers today, but I want to focus on the conference going on behind the conference and how many of us have bypassed the traditional structure, through disruptive innovation to make meaning at the event.
As I write this post at the end of the first day of the BCSSA Fall Conference, ninety-three different people have tagged posts on Twitter #bcssa10 and tagged close to 1,000 tweets. At different points today the conference has been a trending topic both in Vancouver and across Canada. There were more people using Twitter to talk about the future of teaching and learning than to discuss the Canucks or the weather.
I believe one year ago at this conference there were three people sharing information on Twitter. The ninety-three tweeters today included participants in the room, and those who engaged in the conference from many sites around the province and beyond.
In addition to the dialogue on Twitter, there was a second back-channel conversation happening on TodaysMeet (a great tool for in-class online conversations – no account required). Several dozen more people used this tool to extend the presentations.
While the conference has looked very similar to the conferences I have become accustomed to since I first attended this event about a decade ago, I think we have found a way, using Valerie Hannon’s notion, to bypass the traditional conference structure. The presentations were largely stand-and-deliver lectures, but those of us who learn by engaging with others had an amazingly rich un-conference experience.
Thinking about the change in just one year with how we engage in professional learning, I wonder what these type of events will look like over the next few years.
Some other wins with the un-conferencing:
- We have exposed dozens of educators in a variety of roles to the power of Twitter as a professional tool
- We have been able to share our learning with colleagues in our districts who were not able to join us
- We have collaboratively compiled notes to use after the conference
- We have modelled cross-role and cross-district learning
We often talk about the need to “go where the kids are”. Our efforts in engaging in social media to support our learning, is part of this journey.