I left the EduCon conference wrestling with the practical and the possible. My present job has both operational and strategic components. A challenge is not to get so overwhelmed by the present problems that too little thought goes into future possibilities. The EduCon conference forced me to focus on the possible.
The organizers introduced the conference as a conversation. Unlike many superintendent gatherings, the conference was held in a school. Most of the attendees were teachers or professors who taught teachers. I was surprised by how many of these folks expressed the obstacles inhibiting innovation created by the “adminstration” in their respective schools or districts. I kept thinking to myself whether I am creating these same obstacles here in Burlington.
A practical vehicle for breaking through these barriers that was used and discussed at EduCon was the PLN or Personal Learning Network. I have since joined several myself. The level of collaboration opportunities for any organization in a PLN is incredible. The image of drinking water from a fire hydrant comes to mind.
Of course my practical hat is never too far away. I could not help but think how to expand the use of PLN’s with our faculty in Burlington. Patrick Larkin (bhsprincipal on Twitter and a Rock Star at the conference) and a growing number of teachers already participate in a weekly edchat on Twitter (#edchat).
I plan to expand the use of PLN’s as a mechanism to enhance the professional dialog in Burlington. If the high levels of collaboration and ideas like those discussed at the EduCon Conference can take root…the possibilities are endless.