Back in April, I had the honor of speaking at Shadow Con, a teacher-led mini conference held after hours at NCTM in Boston. The three organizers, Zak Champagne, Dan Meyer, and Mike Flynn, spent quite a bit of time re-imagining conferences, thinking about how they could have bigger, more lasting impact on our teaching. They also thought about how we could use technology to open conversations between and among speakers and session attendees. Speakers need feedback to make their ideas better. Attendees would benefit by having a specific charge–something to go home and do that would “extend our learning” beyond the conference, as Kristin Gray put it in her Teaching Channel blog about Shadow Con.
Dan, Mike, and Zak chose six speakers and asked each of us to give a short, provocative talk about a topic of our own choosing. The only requirement was that we each end with a Call to Action–a specific assignment for people to try. They gave each of us a webpage that would serve as a forum for discussion, feedback, sharing of ideas, criticism, and collaboration. They assigned a live-tweeter to each of us. Lucky me, I was tweeted by my hero, Fawn Nguyen. And then they cut us loose.
— Fawn Nguyen (@fawnpnguyen) April 16, 2015
Beyond that night and our presentations, though, I hope Shadow Con was a provocative call to action for conference organizers, presenters, and attendees. We need to talk, and think, and learn, and grow more than once a year. That’s the big idea.
So, here’s my talk:
If you choose to take up my Call to Action, please join in the conversation about it at my Shadow Con page. And while you’re there, check out the other great talks from Elham Kazemi, Laila Nur, Kristin Gray, Christopher Danielson, and Michael Pershan.
I was in truly great company.