It’s that time of year when we read a lot of reflections on conferences we have attended this summer. I’ve posted my own, and I’ve read several others as well–notably Heather Loy’s, Fran Bullington’s, Diane Cordell’s, Buffy Hamilton’s, Joyce Valenza’s, and Will Richardson’s. Since this year I opted for ALA instead of ISTE, I was vicariously attending other conferences through the breadcrumbs that came from them, like twitterfeeds, Ustreams, and now even the reflective posts. So reading Will Richardson this morning after engaging in a sort of Twitter refecltion of how ALA and ISTE are different, I had to respond to Will. Go read his post “ISTE 2010: Easy…Not Free” now if you haven’t already read it. I responded with a blog post in the comments area, so decided it merited being here as well:
Will, I do believe you are suffering from “ADDOSS” (attention deficit due to overly shiny stuff). Cause? Too much time in conference exhibit halls. Prescription? Extended amounts of time interacting with educators in bloggers’ cafes and Educon-like conferences. Prevention? Avoid exhibit halls and echo chambers, and when these cannot be avoided, wear blinders.
LOL, I have a tendency to avoid exhibit halls too, and sorry to admit, but this year when I attended ALA, I found most of the exhibit hall revolting (yeah, egads, I opted for ALA instead of ISTE this year, but that’s another story!) I went looking to compare the networking experience and to interact with another part of my PLN, and sorry to admit I could not replicate the euphoria I have felt each year from networking with my PLN at ISTE, and far from what I felt at Educon that first year.
I’ve only been to one Educon (the very first one) and now I find that all other professional development type conferences are held to that standard, which is not a bad thing. For the organizations where I have input, I strive to move them towards more of a conversational approach to PD with authentic discussions and mind blowing stretching of the thinking. Blast you Educon, you warped me.
But my attendance (money right out of my own pocket) continues to feed the belief/mindset that the current status quo is what we all want. I go though for the invaluable networking more so than any exhibit hall, swag, or sessions that Ive signed up to attend.