Alan November’s BLC 11 : A Conference? … More Than A Conference… It’s A Society Of Learners!


In this post I want to share with you one of the most amazing conferences I have ever attended, or have had the opportunity to present. 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’ thoughts about what’s possible in the world of teaching and learning  Take a moment to read this post and I am sure you will want to make  the trip to Boston, an awesome city, this summer! Have a great week! – Mike

Note – Join me for another ISTE Webinar entitled  “No Future Left Behind: 21st Century Classrooms Where Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants Converge, Learn, Transform, And Create”. This is a webinar you will want to keep for Professional Development at your school. Note that there is a cost for this webinar. Wednesday, May 18, 2011 1:00 Pacific/2:00 Mountain/3:00 Central/4:00 Eastern.  Learn More.

The website  for  BLC11 states  “Get ready to have your brain tickled with ideas from around the world.” I guarantee that not only will your brain be tickled, but your enthusiasm will be ignited, your knowledge will be compounded, and your journey towards effective learning will be empowered.  At  BLC11 you will learn from and network with representatives from around the world including some of the most prestigious leaders in the field of education. The 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 among friends and education colleagues and now, in year twelve, it has grown into something truly special. My first venture to Boston for this conference was the summer of 2009. After completing studies towards administration, supervision, and technology at Johns Hopkins University, I had the opportunity to attend and even present at BLC09. Little did I realize what an eye opening experience this would be. It was after this conference that I first started this Blog. While still small in scale, reaching an estimated audience of about 1000 people a day, I still remember the day I decided to start this blog. It was a wonderful presentation at BLC09 that gave me the inspiration. I was also engaged by Benjamin Zander’s startling new perspective on leadership. His  stories, music and concepts allowed me to explore opportunities I had never considered .  Returning to BLC10 last summer was equally rewarding !  The keynotes, presenters, and attendees I met  inspired me to promote with others the idea of becoming a member of a society of learners. When you have  time, take a look at these two  keynotes from last year:  Dr. Mitch Resnick  talking about Scratch in this video, and  Dr. Michael Wesch in this video  providing an interesting insight into youth culture. I especially enjoyed this must see short video promoting The Learning Society.  It is definitely worth your time to give this a view!

This year’s BLC11 world class event, which will take place at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel from July 24-29, 2011, has another great line up in store. An amazing group of  Keynotes include Dr. Eric  Mazur, who  is author or co-author of 229 scientific publications and 12 patents. He has also written on education and is the author of Peer Instruction: A User’s Manual (Prentice Hall, 1997), a book that explains how to teach large lecture classes interactively. In 2006, he helped produce the award-winning DVD Interactive Teaching. Another keynote, Geetha Narayanan, is Founder-Director of Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology as well as Mallya Aditi International School in Bangalore, India. As a visiting faculty member at Westminster Institute of Education, UK, Geetha has taught in both the master’s and undergraduate teacher education programmes. She has also been a visiting faculty member and researcher with the Lifelong Kindergarten Research Project at the MIT Media Lab in Boston, MA. She has spent much time developing and implementing programs that blend design thinking, problem, project or place-based learning with new digital technologies as well as business models that sustain a creative community of students and faculty through the conceptualization, development and implementation of various forms of educational entrepreneurship. Also included, Rob Evans,  a clinical and organizational psychologist and the Executive Director of The Human Relations Service in Wellesley, Massachusetts. A former high school and pre-school teacher, and a former child and family therapist, Rob has worked with schools and families for thirty years. He has consulted for more than 1,400 schools across the country, working with teachers, administrators, boards and parents.  He is the author of many articles and three books, The Human Side of School ChangeFamily Matters: How Schools Can Cope with the Crisis in Childrearing, and Seven Secrets of The Savvy School Leader: A Guide to Surviving and Thriving.  Not to be misssed is Stephen Wolfram a distinguished scientist, inventor, author and business leader. He is the creator of Mathematica, the author of A New Kind of Science, the creator of Wolfram|Alpha, and the founder and CEO of Wolfram Research. Building on Mathematica, A New Kind of Science and the success of Wolfram Research, Wolfram in May 2009 launched Wolfram|Alpha—an ambitious, long-term project to make as much of the world’s knowledge as possible computable, and accessible to everyone. Take a look at his amazing TED Video and be prepared for even more at  BLC11. You will also enjoy listening to Ewan McIntosh,  a teacher, speaker and investor, regarded as one of Europe’s foremost experts in digital media for public services. Having founded NoTosh Limited in 2009, he now invests in tech startups and film on behalf of public and private investors, works with those companies to build their creative businesses and takes the lessons learned from the way these people work back into schools and universities across the world.

Make sure you check out the list of great pre-conference workshops from some of the best people in their fields. You may find yourself spending the day in the MIT labs, working with digital photography in Boston, working with Web 2.0 technologies, creating a digital story, discovering more about STEM, investigating PBL, or spending the day with Alan November exploring the idea of leadership and managing transitions. It is an awesome line up of workshops, so be sure to check out this link of outstanding opportunities. These workshops are all followed in the next three days by general sessions presented by some of the very finest. In fact, I hope to see you at one of my presentations involving PBL, STEM, and 21st Century Skills. Take a look at a list of all the presenters you will have the opportunity to network with.  Best of all, there are opportunities that allow you to be part of the conversation, as you build your own learning community.

Take a moment to view the conference information provided. Here, you will find a wealth of information about  BLC11 along with the registration form. If you do decide to register, and I hope you do, make sure you go to the discount code on the registration form and enter MGBLC11. It is my way of thanking you, my Blog readers,  with a $25.00 discount.  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 you will be surrounded by an amazing group of educators  assisting and networking with you as you grow to become a true 21st Century Educator.

I have learned that even after  over 30 years of teaching, I am looking forward to having still another opportunity to professionally grow this summer at BLC11.  Take a moment to look over the conference information and perhaps I will have the opportunity to network and learn from you this summer in Boston. 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 consider expanding your learning community in Boston this summer at  BLC11. Have a wonderful week! – Mike

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