I got home from OpenEd16 about 30 hours ago and I’m already behind the times. Why? Well, here’s a huge benefit of being involved in Open Educational Practices: people blog, in the open, about their insights, what they took away from a conference and what they are going to do with that knowledge. Now we can all learn from those thoughts, borrow and riff off of those ideas and plans or even just reassure ourselves that what we took from it rings true.
Adam Croom even had his thoughts up and out there from the plane on the way home. Adam Croom not only is someone I look way way up to even more now than I did before the conference, but also the people he works with are scary good. Keegan Long-Wheeler (@keeganSLW) and John Stewart (@jstew511) ran an amazing session showing how to use a game to build a faculty community of learners to learn gamification itself via fighting Goblins. My kids love the sweet 20 sided dice they got out of that session, bee-tee-dubs. It’s not just that the game is such an engaging way to learn, it’s that they hand everything they have to you openly to use for your own games in your own schools. Adam also brought along some student-colleagues of his (hint: do not compare your past, present or future self to them, it will hurt)
to chat about some of the mind blowing projects they are working on that came out of the Indie Ed-Tech summit held at Davidson College in the spring. Check out Andrew Rikard’s (@anrikard) work here.
I’d also like to award Andrew a badge for best delivery of an F-bomb at a conference that I’ve ever seen (“…and Minerva… whatever the f*#k that is”) Here is your badge, Andrew. Well deserved.
Now back to me. I got to meet some heroes and actually tell them that I am a big fan of their work including Alan Levine, Audrey Watters, & Gardner Campbell. It is VERY satisfying, when you get up the nerve to tell someone you admire their work, worried you might just be annoying them, to see them seem genuinely grateful for the praise and interested in who you are. Y’all are nice folks. There are others I wish I did the same for: Robin De Rosa, Martha Burtis, Martin Weller, David Kernohan, Kin Lane, Jesse Stommel, Sean Michael Morris, Amy Collier. The list goes on and on. Too many heroes. It was like a real life Open Ed Avengers or Justice League going on. Gardner Campbell laid down hot fire with his keynote. A seven layered spicy burrito on the power of insight and how some of our common practices (like rubrics) stifle the shit out of just the insights we’d all love to see. I would highly recommend going back in time, signing up for this conference and attending his keynote on November 2nd. It would be well worth it.
I want to keep this post short so that someone may read it to the end, so I’ll start my descent to the finish and get to the most important point of making post conference posts. What am I going to do with what I got at the conference? Well, my whole reason for going was to get some tools, juice and ammunition to help open up the practices at Fleming College. Here’s what I realize more now: Everybody is somewhat open. It’s not binary, open or closed. No one is completely secretive about what they do in the classroom. All faculty search at some point for learning activities and what not for their classes. What I want to do is open some eyes that sharing way more often and way more openly will inspire you, motivate you and give you some sweet, sweet free ideas. As a concrete example of that, Robin De Rosa (@actualham) showcased her work in which she had her students, together, create their own open textbook. That inspired me to want to meet one of our pressing goals in our department at Fleming in a similar way. We need to refresh and revitalize and expand our faculty development. I would love to follow her model to build out the ‘manual’ or whatever it is in the same way, with contributions from faculty and students from all walks of the college. Thanks, Robin!
I’ve now used up my extra daylight savings hour and small children are demanding yogurt so I have to wrap this up, but I want to say I met a lot of people there that I considered friends about 10 seconds after meeting and I appreciate your welcoming nature. I will follow up with proper shout outs and other great experiences like VCconnecting and approximately 148 other amazing takeaways I got from Opened16.