This week, I had the great opportunity to participate in the #EDU140 conference at the 92nd Street Y. I think that Jeff Pulver who conceived the whole #140 idea is an absolute genius. Here are three lessons I learned.
1. Twitter is a great in-person connector. I’ve experienced this before, but I love using Twitter at a conference to meet like-minded people. Not only did I make some good new friends and connections, but I hung out with two people I’d met in the first half of the year at other conferences and strengthened those relationships. Take that if you’e one of those people who complain that social media takes away from in-person connections.
2. There REALLY is an education movement that could give a sh*t about unions, politics, and governance. If you just read the big education blogs, you would think that the only people who matter are Joel Klein (the reformers), Diane Ravitch (the progressives) and Matt Damon (at least last week). None of these people nor the ideologies they fight about were part of the dialogue at all at #140EDU and it was refreshing. This was just about people who want to change perspectives and outcomes for kids whether they are teachers, principals, or consultants. Sam Chaltain has called it the “third tribe” in education. It’s one thing to read about it and a different to see it in action. I love being part of this tribe more and more.
3. A great conference bridges ideas and solutions. I loved how the presentations went between big ideas (what the hell are we teaching our kids?) and pragmatic solutions (what are 3 ways we can use Twitter to improve student safety?). It keeps the brain flowing and thinking long after the conference ends.
I do have some suggestions for next year… all around presentation selection and not because I submitted a request and was not selected (full disclosure).
- One, I think we need a diverse set of school examples. There were multiple presentations that featured staff, students and parents from one of the co-founder’s schools. We have 1600 schools in NYC alone that could be tapped into for next year. Let’s get lots of perspectives now that this is an established event.
-Second, flashy presentations without substance should be avoided. The UnCollege presentation at the end of Tuesday was a hot mess. All it did is convince me that the guy who was telling people not to go to college actually NEEDED to go to college to learn how to understand, organize and communicate data cohesively. The higher ed bubble is a serious issue and to not treat it so is a disservice to the movement to change it.
But really… bravo, #140EDU. Hope I get to participate next year!