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Posts Tagged ‘educon’

This weekend, I had the exhausting pleasure of attending Educon 2.3 at the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia.  The first class that I was privileged to participate in was “Crafting Character” led by Karen Blumberg and Meredith Stewart.  Here, the conversation focused on educating students about acceptable behavior online and the implications that mistakes can have in the future.  As a librarian, this issue is certainly not a new one.  We have revised our Acceptable Use Policy with an awareness of the impact of a student’s behavior online, although postings take place after school hours.  We have dealt with the issue by including any derogatory postings about our students, faculty, or school online as falling under the “harassment” section of our disciplinary policy.  I think our AUP has become a fluid document, that is revised and revisted as situations occur.  With this document, and a library curriculum that taught students about protecting themselves online, acceptable behavior, and future consequences of improper behavior, I thought that I was preparing them for the future.

But, as the discussion progressed, it took a turn I had blindly not foreseen.  We discussed taking a more proactive stance by helping students craft a positive digital footprint.  Someone suggested flooding online sources with positive information about oneself in order to subordinate the inappropriate or unflattering information that may already exist in searches.   I had not considered attacking the issue from the other side, from a more upbeat action-oriented way, giving the students the power to take charge of their online persona.  While concentrating on “don’t do this,”  I missed “do that.”  Thanks to all the participants in the class who helped me open my eyes and see that thinking forward  is much better than looking backward.

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Attendance at Educon 2.2 this weekend has only reinforced the idea that conversation between educators is perhaps the most important professional development tool.  Of course, it was wonderful to listen to the great minds in education present, but the most invigorating and productive sessions seemed to be those in which the group took an issue and began to discuss it.  The conversations that evolved grew in an organic way, producing conclusions and aha! moments that would have been impossible to reach on an individual basis.   The sad fact is that once most of us return to our schools, that the discussion will no longer take place.  Educators are not given much time to collaborate or discuss the “big” education issues during the school day.  Some of us are lucky to have time to eat lunch, let alone meet with other teachers on our faculty. 

So what is the solution?  Well, Twitter has become an invaluable resource to listen to educators around the world.  Best resources, best practices, and best tools are all being posted and discussed.  We’ve built a community that cares about the education of children.  Until this weekend, I didn’t know most of the members of my PLN, although I respected and admired their knowledge and dedication.  Had I never met them, I still would have benefitted from our conversations.  But this conference was a gift that allowed me to meet them face to face.  And I think we’ve all learned from the conversation.

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