ISTE just wrapped. NCTM wrapped several months ago. What was accomplished? What can you remember of the sessions you attended? Will those sessions change your practice and in what ways?
Zak Champagne, Mike Flynn, and I are all NCTM conference presenters and we were all concerned about the possibility that a) none of our participants did much with our sessions once they ended, b) lots of people who might benefit from our sessions (and whose questions and ideas might benefit us) weren’t in the room.
The solution to (b) is easy. Put video of the sessions on the Internet. Our solution to (a) was complicated and only partial:
Build a conference session so that it prefaces and provokes work that will be ongoing and online.
To test out these solutions, we set up Shadow Con after hours at NCTM. We invited six presenters each to give a ten-minute talk. Their talk had to include a “call to action,” some kind of closing homework assignment that participants could accomplish when they went home. The speakers each committed to help participants with that homework on the session website we set up for that purpose.
Then we watched and collected data. There were two major surprises, which we shared along with other findings with the NCTM president, president-elect, and executive director.
Here is the five-page brief we shared with them. We’d all benefit from your feedback, I’m sure.
Marilyn Burns on her reasons for attending conferences like NCTM:
I don’t expect an NCTM conference to provide in-depth professional development, but act more like a booster shot for my own learning.
Elham Kazemi, one of our Shadow Con speakers, tempers expectations for online professional development:
I have a different set of expectations about conferences and whether going to them with a team allows you to go back to your own contexts and continue to build connections there. Can we expect conferences and the internet to do that — to feed our local collaborations? I get a lot of ideas from #mtbos and from my various conversations and conferences. But really making sense of those ideas takes another level of experience.