While spinning through a list of ideas for including student voices, I forgot one of the most compelling: bringing students into the "blogger cafe" circle.
In a recent post, Chris Lehmann attempts to distill the best of NECC this year—unconference elements like EduBloggerCon, spontaneous group notetaking/blogging, and the Bloggers’ Cafe with still-valuable traditional elements—into a recipe for Conference 2.0. And he’s planning to put his money where his mouse is by hosting a conference in January 2008 at Science Leadership Academy.
Chris is on to something. Judging from the conversation generated by his post and recent action on the edubloggercon wiki, there’s a continuing hunger for the sort of unconference experience that energized folks at NECC. Karl Fisch is following the same thread:
So I thought about the idea of some kind of “un-conference,” that takes the best of the Bloggers’ Café and edubloggercon, throws in a little bit of the formal session nature of NECC, and happens throughout the year in locations around the world.
And before you know it, plans are underway for a Mountain West EduCon at Arapahoe High School (assuming your principal’s answer is yes, Karl). And others are in the works as well in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and California. I’m continually amazed at how quickly ideas that germinate as blog posts grow into something bigger.
To Chris and Karl’s excellent list of ideas, I’d just add this: Invite and include students. Foster their participation as much as possible—in the face-to-face components, and in the unconference as well. Throw open the blogger cafe doors! Of course, Chris is already on top of this; to a comment suggesting that his SLA students be included in the January event, he replies, "
And trust me, we don’t do anything at SLA without the kids around. They’ll be there."