Should every conference have a ‘disrupt strand’ #learning2

Just back from a wonderful learning2 experience. Rather than go the usual route of attending workshops, I took the road less travelled and spent my time attending the disrupt strand. 

Going into the conference, I had no idea how this experience would pan out. There were some awesome educators who I like to interact with online (and away from the keyboard too) in attendance. Secretly, I was concerned that putting a room full of like-minded teachers together in a room would serve as nothing more than an educational echo chamber.

Instead there was

  • Robust discussion about the future of learning with plenty of push and pull between participants
  • Collaboration on task
  • Researching ideas with other teachers and students
  • Presenting to peers both in the workshop and having them judge the worthiness of my idea
  • Getting way out of my comfort zone by putting those ideas up on the big stage

It turned the conference experience for me from a talkfest to dofest – after attending way too many educational conferences and unconferences I’ve realised how conferences have become in Sam Sherratt’s words an educational mould.

Select workshops based on who is presenting or what is on offer – learn a tool, or think about an idea and then go back to school with a vague notion of implementing something and then maybe sharing the results a few months down the track.

Conferences still have their use – I’ve come away with ideas to use, but never gone through the process of carefully thinking about which ideas are worthy of implementation and how I could implement them.

Which is why I wonder shouldn’t every conference have a ‘disrupt’ strand?

Why do organisers leave the process of implementing ideas learned at conference to chance rather than giving time and space for participants to:

  • share ideas from conference they are thinking of implementing
  • develop a plan of what they want to achieve and how they plan to achieve the plans
  • get feedback on their ideas from peers and students
  • share their actions with others

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