Ok. I’m spending today at a social media conference in New York City, not just ANY conference, the 140 Conference NYC.
Wait, what? It’s a Tuesday. A work day. I should be getting ready to head to my desk at school.
Nope. I took a personal day to hobnob with the hoi polloi at this international media and culture event examining “The State of Now.”
What am I talking about? Here, watch this. It’s Jeff Pulver, the man behind this event. He’ll provide the context. Give a listen below and we’ll see you in 6 minutes, 45 seconds.
First, Jeff is not ranting (well, I guess he is a little) but his passion is as clear as his vision, one that unites us ALL in what he calls The State of Now.
Second, he doesn’t mention education per se, but HE is the reason there will be not one but THREE presentations featuring educators at the 140 Conference NYC today.
It’s about 6:40 am as I write this post. What’s happening NOW? (Excuse me but I just have to work this in…huge Mel Brooks fan here)
No seriously, what’s happening NOW?
- Schools are cutting staff and services in response to financial pressures never before seen (especially in my home state of New Jersey);
- People in my town are preparing to vote in school board elections (thank goodness for absentee ballots);
- Educators are preparing to spend their day with students and colleagues, desperately trying to impart the knowledge and skills our Departments of Education have said these youngsters need to have; while…
- World events are playing out, far away, that could easily have ramifications for us personally (please don’t say ‘what volcano‘)
The 140 Conference NYC is happening in the midst of all this. It’s not an education conference. People from all walks of life are here to talk about “The State of Now” and I was asked to be part of it, along with several other educators.
The State of Now means much more than Twitter. True, I used Twitter this weekend to plan a completely kick-a** lesson on Monarch butterflies & metamorphosis. Thanks to tweets from several people including David Jakes, Jen Wagner and others, I was able to create FOUR scaffolded PowerPoints and THREE scaffolded Photostory templates … all utilizing eight high-resolution, Creative Commons licensed images from Flickr, and a fantastic YouTube video.
This would not have been possible before Twitter. But there is so much more to the impact of social media on our society, and on education.
Think about it (oooh, sorry, couldn’t resist). We are more interconnected today than ever before. Why does this matter to your average educator?
It’s a question we will be exploring (not answering) today.
And how! Educators are going to REPRESENT! At 10:05 am, my friend and colleague, Chris Lehmann, principal of Philadelphia’s Science Leadership Academy, will speak. I’m betting (hoping) his talk will be similar to the one he just gave at TEDxNYED. (I was there. He ROCKED.)
Then at about 3:10 pm, the panel I’m on will start. Our moderator/guide, Aparna Vashisht [@parentella], CEO of Parentella, will lead the discussion. I’ll be joined by my friends and colleagues Lisa Nielsen [@InnovativeEdu], Technology Innovation Manager for the New York City Department of Education, and Mary Beth Hertz [@mbteach], a K-6 Computer Teacher from Philadelphia. We’ll have 20 minutes to rock everyone’s world.
But that’s not all…an unprecedented THIRD education panel is planned for Wednesday (so sorry I’ll miss it) – and it will feature more friends and colleagues:
- Eric Sheninger (@NMHS_Principal) – Principal of New Milford HS (NJ)
- Kyle B. Pace (@kylepace) – Teaching K-12 teachers about technology infusion
- Steven W. Anderson (@web20classroom) – Technology Educator, Blogger, Co-Creator of #edchat
- Tom Whitby (@tomwhitby) – Professor of English in Secondary Education
Still reading? Wow! I’m impressed. So let me wrap this up here…
Having K-12 education visible at this level at this caliber of an international event is a major coup d’etat. Being able to address these people, as advocates for social media in education, is an opportunity too valuable to miss.
Also, for those of you who know me personally, you know how much I absolutely HATE to be out of the classroom for any reason. I haven’t missed a day of work due to illness in seven years. I generally go to conferences on “my dime and my time” [read: weekends, breaks & summers.] I wish the 140 Conference NYC wasn’t making me miss school, but I couldn’t pass this up. (N.B.: my admission is free because I’m speaking, I’m paying for everything else. I’m even taking the day off without pay.)
Why would I take a day out of my class to do this (other than [yes I'll be honest] the massive ego stroke)?
I’m doing this because I truly believe NOW media can change education.
It has already changed my professional practice. I’ve just given ONE example here.
Thanks to Jeff Pulver, I and several other educators will be able to explain – to the world – exactly how!