Building Learning Communities In Boston With Alan November


It is July in Boston and there is not a better city to be in for those who love culture, travel, harbors, site seeing, history, baseball and educational transformation! The educational transformation may have caught you by suprise, but the Boston  metropolitan area is home to Harvard, MIT, Boston College, Cambridge, and November Learning.  I am sure you are aware of Alan November, an outstanding student centered education leader who advocates for effective educational transformation. Alan is probably best known for challenging educators’ with thoughts about of what’s possible in the world of teaching and learning  Take a moment and as you read this post, I am sure you will want to someday make  the trip to Boston, an awesome city, and become a part of Building Learning Communities. If you are at the conference stop by my session that will introduce you to rich resources that are free and inexpensive. I will be in the St. James Room at 7:30 AM on Thursday!  Have a great week! – Mike

The website  for the BLC10 states  ”Get ready to have your brain tickled with ideas from around the world.” I know that not only my brain will  be tickled, but my enthusiasm will be ignited, my knowledge will be compounded, and my journey toward effective learning will be empowered.  At BLC10 educators will  learn and network with representatives all around the world, including some of the most prestigious leaders in the field of education. This conference program features hands-on pre-conference workshops, keynotes, and over 90 main session workshops, all in an intimate setting allowing for real discussion that will build your learning community . BLC  first started as a ‘jam session’ of ideas between friends and education colleagues and now in its eleventh year, it has grown into something truly special.  This year’s world class event is taking  place as I write at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel.  An exciting line up  awaits over 1000 excited educators!  One of this year’ s Keynotes includes Rahaf Harfous , a New Media Expert and Member of President Barack Obama’s Social Media Team. Harfoush is the author of Yes We Did (2009), a book about the grassroots ground swell inspired by the Obama campaign. She is the Research Coordinator to the critically acclaimed Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything and a contributor on both Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing your World and Everything I Needed to Know About Business I Learned from a Canadian. Another keynote will include  Michael Wesch, an  Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Digital Ethnography, at Kansas State University in  Manhattan, KS. He has been dubbed “the explainer” by Wired magazine.  Michael Wesch is a cultural anthropologist exploring the effects of new media on society and culture. Wesch has won several major awards for his work, including a Wired Magazine Rave Award, the John Culkin Award for Outstanding Praxis in Media Ecology, and he was recently named an Emerging Explorer by National Geographic. He has also won several teaching awards, including the 2008 CASE/Carnegie U.S. Professor of the Year for Doctoral and Research Universities. Mitchel Resnick, LEGO Professor of Learning Research and head of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Laborator will be a real treat for educators. Mitchel will explore how new technologies can engage people in creative learning experiences. Resnick’s research group developed the “programmable brick” technology that inspired the LEGO MindStorms robotics kit and the PicoCricket artistic-invention kit. Perhaps my favorite of Resnick’s efforts is the awesome MIT computer program,  Scratch, a big hit with educators and students across the world.  A very special presentation will be made by Adora Svtak. Called a “tiny literary giant” by Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America, Svtak is the world’s youngest teacher and the published author of three books. She explores new technologies and their possibilities in education through her teaching and speaking. Adora’s daily video conferences with students from around the world have earned her Berrien RESA’s “Best Author and Expert” award for distance learning two years in a row.

In fact the the themes of child centered instruction, collaboration, creativity,and educational transformation are already in full swing with in the rooms and halls of the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. Edublogger East held on Monday has already connected educators both in Boston  and across the world with great disussions, interaction, and ideas. Engaging workshops have  energized participants with resources, information, and reflection. As the conference name implies, Building Learning Communities is essential for students to succeed in the 21st century. The technology available to schools today, along with great teacher facilitation of learners allows  a culture to be built  that promotes real learning!  This will be a central focus for all attendees connecting at BLC10 this week.  It is a focus that is neccessary as educators extend their learning communities and serve students with the real learning they deserve!    

 Boston is an awesome city to explore, the Boston Park Plaza is a majestic and inviting hotel, the Boston Common is right outside the door, and educators aresurrounded by an amazing group of educators  assisting and networking, becoming a true 21st Century Educational community. Hope to see you at the conference and please stop by my sesssion on Thursday at 7:30 AM in St. James. You guessed, I will be supplying  even more free and inexpensive learning materials to promote 21st Century education!

Even afterr  30 years of teaching, I still look forward to having the opportunity to professionally grow  at BLC10 this week.   Please feel free to follow on twitter (@mjgormans), I will return the favor and we can learn from each other. You are also invited to subscribe by email or RSS to this Blog, and  also feel free to visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki. In the meantime, take a moment and if donot make to BLC this  year,  consider expanding your learning community in Boston next summer at BLC11. Have a wonderful week! – Mike

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