A mashup of all things educational! From technology and social media to leadership and international education, this is where I will be reflecting and applying everything thing I learn from the web and my PLN. Join me on the adventure and add your opinion to the mix!

02 August 2011

23 #RSCON3... Above and Beyond!

I'm still buzzing from all of the amazing information and discussions that I had over the weekend at the #RSCON3 conference this past weekend!  While there were many, many sessions that I wanted to attend, I was only able to get to about 5 or 6 but they were really valuable learning moments for me as an educator.  While I did gather a ton of links and new tools (see my ongoing google doc), the conference was about more than just sharing resources; for me it was about INSPIRATION.

Three important messages came out of the this conference for me and I feel compelled to share them here:

Click below to read more!

  1. That there are some AMAZING educators out there that are making a different everyday in the lives of students and teachers around the world.  From the amazing new school that Kelly Tenkely is creating and the inspirational leadership that Principal El is providing for his staff and students to the vision that Steve Wheeler is sharing about the future of education, there is no end to depth of professionalism and passion that is out there on the net and through Twitter for everyone to access.  While I am humbled (and a little overwhelmed!) by the models they provide, they have also inspired me to find my "voice" and share my passions as well.
  2. That online events like RSCON3 provide a much needed closure to the gap that happens with large, face to face conferences.  I recently attended the ISTE conference in Philadelphia and was able to attend many sessions there as well.  While I was able to meet and take advantage of the "informal meeting spaces" provided, it was still difficult to reach out and connect with some of the big name presenters that were there.  With RSCON3, however, the power of technology enabled me (and other participants mentioned this as well) to communicate directly with the speakers via the chat box and the microphone.  I left each session feeling like I had been heard and seen and respected by the group and the presenter in that session.  I listened to an NPR "This American Life" recording recently where Starlee Kine was so affected by a breakup that she emailed Phil Collins (the king of break-up songs in her opinion) to discuss how she could write her own break-up song.  (and believe it or not, he actually answered her!) Just like she leveraged technology to reach out and connect to someone who was a role model to her, I feel that online conferences like RSCON3 help provide that much needed access to thought leaders around the world in education.
  3. That I am proud to be part of a profession that is working together to create "something new, something inspired, something spectacular" in the world.  While there are many professions who get together and hold conferences, I am not sure that there are many out there that would organised THEMSELVES without the backing of a huge company to organise all of the details and bog down the conference with marketing.  This conference simply awed me by the sheer passion that each presenter and participant had in participating and sharing knowledge and practices to improve our profession.  In each presentation the message was so clear: share your thinking, your work, your ideas, your passions, your joy with other teachers and students and through that sharing we can all achieve something great for the students around the world.  A colleague (thanks @taniagrosz!) recently showed me this video from Peter H. Reynolds and Fable Vision that was created with the Partnership for 21st Century Skills and I think it sums up everything that I felt during the conference this weekend.

While that was my experience in the conference, I look forward to hearing what others experienced during the  RSCON3 sessions.  Were you as inspired by the speakers as I was?  What were the messages that you received while participating in the conference?  Do you think more conferences like this one are needed in education today?

I'll end by saying, "flaps down, throttle up" and I look forward to continue to work with those amazing educators out there in my PLN to make a difference in education one day at a time!

Video Source: Peter H. Renyolds and 21st Century Skills 


Stephanie said...

Excellent post. Love the video. I agree. The passion of each presenter, organizer, and participants was evident in every session I attended. I look forward to learning with you. I think we have some good ideas on making our classrooms more student-centric, user gnerated learning environments.

Maureen Devlin said...

Thanks for posting. I was unable to partake in RSCON3, but I'm catching up by reading blogs like yours.

Mrs Coffa said...

Great reflection and important point about the willingness of people to share their skills, knowledge and passions.

Love the video too !



Cri said...

Personally, I was not that fascinated about #RSCON3. The talk about tech prevailed and I was looking for other education-related issues, critical thinking being one.

I applaud the initiative and the effort but it did not really strike me as inspiring. That might be due to two reasons. Being a regular Twitter user, I can access all the tech resources in a flow, in real time (besides, I knew many of them already). Secondly, I was already familiar with the blog posts of most RSCON3 presenters - so their presentations wouldn't have been something new.
I would have loved to see more focus on critical thinking strategies and resources, as well as ways of connecting students not only on a global but also on a local level. Maybe next year...:)

jessievaz12 said...

@surreallyno... Thanks for the great critical eye on the RSCON3 experience. Since it was my first one, I can see how the inspiration may have been stronger for me than for someone more experienced in the work of those who were sharing. I've also only been on twitter since March of this year so that could be another point to add to why I felt more inspired than you.

What you did acknowledge and what I tried to pointn out is that it was an amazing amount of work as a grassroots attempt to provide accessible and affordable professional development for our profession. I hope that your comments are seen by those who organised the event so that they can grow it into something that provides something for everyone- technology and non-technology lover, experienced and non-experienced educators.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you've got something out of RSCON3, just like the majority of us. But, I'd like to address my comment to Cri.
I've been reading hundreds of comments about RSCON3, and I must say yours is the first negative one I've come across.
1. Not all sessions were tech-orientated. To name a few examples, mine wasn't; it wasn't even material-orientated. The opening keynote was about the Finnish system of education. Chuck Sandy talked about critical thinking, though I couldn't attend due to the time. Principal_El wasn't about tech either. And there are quite a few more...Perhaps you just went to the wrong ones?
Tell me, have you been to a 'live' conference that you've found inspiring? Perhaps you don't attach any importance to being able to speak to the presenters; perhaps you don't find their passion inspiring. You've got the right, of course.
None of the presenters nor the organisers were paid a single cent.
We did it out of passion, nothing more.
Incidentally, I'm hoping to mount a video montage, so if anyone wants to record themselves answering this question: What have you learned from RSCON3? and emailed it to me, I'd be grateful.

Cri said...

I already stated that I (quote) "applaud the effort" - I meant not to diminish this aspect in any way (which makes me wonder why this is questioned).
And yes, there was one that inspired me - @willycard 's (on the self-organizing networks within a classroom and school). I also wanted to attend two more - @davidwarr's (on language garden) and @monk51295 's.
As for the Finnish education - no offense, but there were many tweets about it in the past months.
I wonder why this lash out...I did not imply RSCON3 was not relevant - I said it was not that relevant to ME. I find it quite disturbing that a different opinion is faced with so negative a commentary. Don't you?

Cri said...

It might be that I participated in the last one as well and indeed, experience might delete a bit of this enthusiasm. But from this to be mounted as an overly "negative" comment is a big distance.
Apparently, or at least now, unless we all sing in the same tune we are left out...
Which is ironic..as I tweet daily, share many resources and try to contribute to collective knowledge. Disheartening. Really.

Anonymous said...

Was my comment a lash out? Was it so negative? I just remarked that yours was the 1st negative comment I've read. And I asked if you've been to any inspiring conferences lately...

Anonymous said...

Great post Jessica and I enjoyed the opportunity of connecting further with you through #RSCON.
Cristina, it's true there were many tech sessions, but personally I didn't choose to attend those. I found enough other presentations of interest to participate in. I agree it would be great to aim for a broader range of subjects next time. That's one reason that I chose to change the topic of my presentation at the last minute.
But the very reason this global community of educators exists is technology (social media) and teachers have learned so much from their peers in this way, I do understand the excitement at trying to implement similar possibilities for our students which were the subject of many presentations.
For me, one of the most important outcomes (despite being active in social media already) was the connections. Participating in RSCON has connected me with new people and strengthened some of my previous connections.
I'd like to look for ways to involve more people in the next conference and extend the community further. Despite emailing staff at my school, I was the only person who participated and it seems the same was true for many others. And more importantly than that... how do we extend such opportunities to teachers in developing countries who might not have the access or language to be involved.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jessie,

Thanks for your wonderful post about RSCON3.

I will share my enthusiasm with you and add that it was my first proper one (meaning that, the two previous ones I did not have enough time, so I watched only 2-3 sessions in each one), but this one was the one I watched session after session (and I did miss some I wanted to see). What I truly admire is the willingness of all the organisers to help us (no matter what the time of day was, they were always there for us at a single DM or Skype call) - they were always so pleasant and helpful, without even being paid for it and with minimal sleep and family time. They are my heroes, as I tweeted.

About the speakers: the range was absolutely amazing and I love how the organisers included people from all continents. The topics were from every field of education and I managed to learn so much and boost my motivation!

You said it and I second it: I am proud to be working with such an inspiring community of teachers, who are in love with their work, who are sleepless, go to school tired or even sick so that their kids don't miss any lessons, stay up late nights planning and correcting, or organising conferences which almost 10,000 educators worldwide can attend, without paying a single cent.

Congratulations to all at RSCON3, organisers, presenters and participants and thanks for a great post, Jessie!

Best wishes,

Anna Pires said...

I really enjoyed the conference. A big thank you to everyone who put in so much work, effort and time. I work as a volunteer and really value people who are willing to give up their free time to help others. I've been teaching for over 20 years, on twitter for over 2 and incorporate a lot of tech into my teaching, yet I was still able to get a lot out of this conference...some things revisited and others new. I've actually just finished typing up the notes I took during the conference to share with our teachers after the summer break.

Once again, thank you for the amazing job!


philhart said...

My thanks to Cri, Jessie and Chiew for prodding my grey cell. It has made me ponder my responsibilities in the three different roles that I played in #rscon3.

As a participant, my responsibility is to listen with an open mind to the presenter(s). My expectation is that I may learn (and so far always have learned) something. I found Steve Wheeler's closing keynote particularly enlightening in this context.

As a presenter, it is my hope that what I have to offer may be useful to some of the participants, whether it be technical details of a particular application, or a vision of a historical and future trend in education, or sharing my thoughts about assessment.

As a trainer of some of the presenters, I hope I empowered them.

Standing back from these three roles, there is my awareness that being given an undiluted diet of exciting facts for hours on end results in information overload for learners, and I structure my delivery schedule accordingly.

Cri said...

As I told Clive, I DO find it saddening that the reactions to my reply came out the way they did.
I tweet daily, share resources, I take time to fill in surveys posted on Twitter to help fellow educators, I comment on kids' blogs, I blog for the sole reason of sharing my experience. I tweeted and retweeted about RSCON3 many a times precisely as a way to show my valuing of it as a PD tool and engage my followers in attending it.

In the final keynote I even "applauded" (using the emoticon) ALL RSCON presenters and said "hats off to your effort and passion", and asked in rhetorical manner "When do Shelly and Clive sleep?"
Nobody noticed then. But when I dare to have a slightly different opinion, the edu community feels outraged.
As if I diminished RSCON's power to influence and inspire people ...when the only suggestion I had was to broaden the range of topics.
I think I need better social skills. Because integrity of opinion I know I have.
Thank you for the reflection.

Anonymous said...

I didn't see the outrage at all, Cristina. I saw reflective responses.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you didn't see my outrage, Edna. There wasn't, but now there is. Four days & night I was locked indoors. I didn't complain. But when I returned a comment with another, I'm accused of being outraged! And my Twitter a/c is in danger of being suspended! Not sure why...
And my question still remains unanswered, re inspiring conferences...

Clive said...

Firstly, yes, great post Jessica - thank you for it.
I tried to reply a few minutes ago but the damned thing swallowed it whole!
Try again...

Cristina, your opinion is refreshing and I welcome it. We can always do better and listening to everyone is important in giving us direction. There is a tech bias, that is true, and perhaps we do have the balance wrong. It is something we will think about.

You may like to know that, of the few presentations I was able get to, I did manage to attend @DavidWarr's and his demonstration of Language Garden, and the tool itself, was excellent. It IS a lot about the software though - you do need technology to use it - but I thought it was very attractive and effective visually, and an innovative use of technology for teaching language.

I am only a small part of the RSCON organising team but I can tell you that we do all strive for excellence; your comment is noted and will be discussed, just as others' will be. I see it as a positive contribution to RSCON's development. Thank you for all the support you have given RSCON with mentions and RTs, attending and more, I really appreciate it.

For everyone listening, if you blog, make a cartoon, a FB comment or whatever, about your reflections on RSCON3 then please tell us using this form: http://is.gd/AV2Mas . We will also be asking what you did/did not like about RSCON3's format, content, organisation etc on another online form in the near future - please give us as much input as you can. I know that I, for one, could have done the schedule better and I already have some ideas on how that might be achieved.

Clive (@CliveSir)

Anonymous said...

This is an example of what makes you a great man, Clive. Unlike me.

jessievaz12 said...

Wow. I go to sleep and wake up with a billion new comments on the post! Thanks everyone for your contributions and thoughts regarding the post, the comments, and RSCON3.

@Cri... believe me, the only thing I felt was happiness upon reading your thoughtful comment. It made me happy to know that something I wrote sparked a comment in another person. Doubly happy that it was a reflective comment mean to help move the conference and our profession forward. Thank you for helping everyone think deeper. Constructive thoughts are always welcome here.

@Chiew, @Clive, @Edna, @PhilHart... your comments support my belief, constructive thinking is valued and appreciated.... all sides, and I felt nothing negative. So, continue to add to the discussion as we go on "flaps down, throttle up" in our own learning contexts...

Marijana said...

Hi Jessie, I love your reflections about #RSCON3 and that so many people commented on it. This means that #RSCON3 was a success.
I am also still a newbie here and found #RSCON3 very helpful, it made me tweet more. I met so many great people and bookmarked so many great webpages. Now, I just need to read all of them again, and again to improve myself.

You can read my reflection's on http://englishlearning-marijanasblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/funny-side-of-world-of-rscon3.html


Michael Graffin said...

Oh well, time to throw my hat into the ring.

I presented at #rscon3 on my experiences with Personal Learning Networks, sharing my story about my PLN has helped me learn and grow as a new teacher.

Yes, it did reference the technology, but the technology wasn't the point - it was the story, the reflections, and the global connections which have come through my PLN.

I'm proud to have @surreallyno as an integral, and reflective member of my Twitter PLN, and I've had the privilege of working with her in the #globalclassroom project.

So, I suppose my point is that #rscon3 isn't all about the tech, it's about the stories, and the experiences we share.

Hats off to everyone involved in organising, presenting, and participating in #rscon3. And hats off to a wonderful, reflective member of my PLN.


Cri said...


Thank you for your and Deb's (@frazierde) enormous amount of work in organizing the #globalclasroom wiki. I intend to make it an all-year round experience for my students as you succeeded to connect over 30 educators and classes from all over the world.
I knew your PLN story - and have been among the first ones to contribute to the VoiceThhread that accompanied it. I valued your initiative in spreading the word about the importance of having a PLN - I , too, have the first page of my wiki filled with quotes from the members of my PLN (which, in itself, is a way to convey the respect I have for them)- from Edna Sackson and Joe Bower to Justin Storz and John Hagel. http://elemtechideas.wikispaces.com/
As far as RSCON 3 is concerned I already expressed my take on it: we need to have other issues discussed, too. Critical thinking, assessment, student action within the community, emotional development and stress in our students - these are,too, issues we deal with when teaching.
Perhaps, indeed, technology was not the point and the stories were the focus. Thank you for the reflection - it added a nuance to my thinking and viewing of the event.

Michael Graffin said...

Amen to that. You'd make a great #rscon presenter yourself :-)

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