A conference based on failures…

One of the things that has always bugged me about much of the stuff that teachers share online is that it is awesome.  It is pretty intimidating to try and re-produce a lot of what I see.  Where are the burps and flops?  Where are the just average presentations?

Another thing that has always bugged me is the lack of student work shared online.  I would love to see more of what students do in the classroom.  I always search and search for student work to share when we do something new….and it’s not easy to find stuff.

I sat down tonight to prepare for my session at Edscape.

Going Live
Presented by Paul Bogush, Moran Middle School

How do you get your classroom to “go live” for audiences across the world?  Join me for a conversession that will cover how to livestream your classroom and have your students interact with the audience.  From webcams, live streaming sites, live blogs, microphones, mixers, wire and gizmos, to prepping your kids beforehand.

I was collecting student work from past years and tried to not just select the best.  At conferences I like to show “what is possible” with your ordinary class the first time you try something.  Sure I throw in some favorites, but most of the time my favorite isn’t the kid who blew me away, but the kid who spoke out loud for the very first time.  Do you think that by sharing the “best” work from projects that teachers have done multiple times they create a secondborn syndrome in their readers?  I suppose there are also the people who when they see the “best” take it as a personal challenge to do something with their kids that will be even more impressive.   Crazy teachers with deep competitive streaks (umm…I plead guilty to that).

I am attending a Podcamp conference next week and I am really looking forward to one particular session:

If you let the internet name your product, you might have a bad time.
Branden Young

Mt. Dew had recently partnered with a nationwide restaurant chain to ask Internet users for assistance in giving its new green-apple-infused beverage a name by launching a viral contest called “Dub the Dew.”  Internet pranksters had hijacked the soda naming contest by submitting a handful of tasteless  suggestions, such as “diabeetus,” “gushing granny,” and “fapple.”  Our client is the restaurant chain that partnered with Mt. Dew and we were tasked with creating and facilitating the contest.   My presentation will talk about creating the crowdsourced contest and the subsequent disaster that followed from the media.  I hope that people will learn from this talk about how to monitor their web presences and what to do when things go beyond their control.

It’s awesome, isn’t it?  A session centered around a failure.  Many folks on twitter talk about how we have to let our kids fail, learn from our mistakes, model taking risks and making mistakes, etc…  But when you go to ed-conferences the sessions usually revolve around successes with no talk about the failures or the bumps in the road to success.

I was imagining a conference based on failures…sessions would include:

My common craft videos sucked
Kids always argue during discussions
It takes 15 minutes for my kids to log onto the computers
Is it possible that I am completely unaware that I am reading directions in a foreign language?
Why can’t my kids write a thesis sentence?

I know a lot of edcamps have problem solving sessions, but many of those are big issues like creating AUPs and not nitty gritty class problems.

So at Edscape I will make a point to have my examples average out to be “normal,” along with a few that made me cry.  And while I am guilty of often not posting my warts, the fact is that most presentations all start off the way this one does:

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