My mind is racing after #edACCESS11

June 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

After several years of yearning, I finally made time this year to attend the annual edACCESS conference, hosted this year by the Peddie School in Hightstown, NJ. edACCESS is a national association of information technology staff at small schools and colleges, and the annual conference uses the peer conference model, developed and facilitated by edACCESS co-founder Adrian Segar and described in his book Conferences That Work: Creating Events That People Love, for the majority of its conference sessions.

Tom Daccord presents for edACCESS11

My colleagues and peers have been reporting back to me for years on how beneficial edACCESS is. With a style very similar to an “unconference,” the attendees are the presenters, planners, and participants. The collaborative environment speaks volumes to the personalities of the attendees: It is as important to us that we share our own ideas and experiences as it is that we learn from others.

This year, discussion sessions included many (participant-chosen) topics that spanned the educational and technological sides of EdTech. Some years a keynote speaker is invited. This year Tom Daccord of the blog EdTech Teacher spoke about a topic near and dear to my heart: steering a school’s technology decisions based on its mission and pedagogical goals.

Upon splitting up into peer sessions, we discussed topics including:
-Disaster recovery setups and power requirements
-PC and Apple coexisting
-Teacher Accountability For Use Of Technology
-Favorite iPad apps & how to find more
-Reporting structure: Do you report to the Head Master? CFO? Pros & Cons?
…and many more topics.

The audio from all of these topics is recorded, notes are scribed, and at the discretion of the members of each session, both formats are usually posted to the edACCESS wiki.

I can’t put too fine a point on how valuable it is to get peers and colleagues together, supporting each other, and collaboratively learning and working out our problems. It’s incredibly active learning, and even after the conference my mind continues to race with new strategies I can’t wait to test out, and new ideas that rush through my mind, unable (and unwilling!) to turn down the spigot.

It was a pleasure to participate: learning from my peers, and facilitating when appropriate. For me, edACCESS11 has not truly ended. I have extended my Personal Learning Network, I have made new friends, and I plan to continue these rich conversation year-long. Plus, I have edACCESS 2012 to look forward to!

Thank you to everyone involved at edACCESS – it was a pleasure and a valuable experience!

Jeremy

p.s. Thank you, Steve, for encouraging me to go this year!

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