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Alan November’s BLC 10 : A Conference? … More Than A Conference!

In this post I want to share with you one of the most amazing conferences I have ever attended, or presented at. 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 and as you read this post, I am sure you will want to make  the trip to Boston, an awesome city, this summer! 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 guarantee that not only will your brain be tickled, but your enthusiasm will be ignited, your knowledge will be compounded, and your journey toward effective learning will be empowered.  At BLC10 you will learn and network from 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. My first venture to Boston for this conference was the summer of 2009. After completing studies involving administration, supervision, and technology at Johns Hopkins University I had the opportunity to attend and even present at BLC10. Little did I realize what an eye opening experience this would be. It was after this conference that I first started this Blog. While it is still small in scale, reaching about 300 people a day, I still remember the day I decided to start this blog. It was a wonderful presentation at BLC by by Liz Davis and Lisa Thumann 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 .  As stated in BLC09’s write up , his presentation was not a speech, it was an experience!  Take a look at this list of outstanding speakers and educators that were a part of last year’s conference. It is these people, and others I met, that facilitated my new ventures this year such as  producing an ISTE  Webinar this May 12, participating in enjoyable podcast (mar 4) with Bob Sprankle,  Cheryl Oakes, and Alice Barr at their Seedling’s website, presenting at numerous conferences through out the country.

This year’s world class event which will take place at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel from July 11-16, 2010, has another great line up in store. 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 groundswell 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.

Make sure you check out this 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, 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 the next three days by general sessions presented by some of the very finest. 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 the BLC10 along with the registration form. 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 BLC10.  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 BLC10. Have a wonderful week! – Mike

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