I received an email from Peter McAsh over the weekend that got me thinking.
Peter was at the CEMC Summer Institute and had passed on information about the Bring IT, Together conference in November to a fellow participant. Good job, Peter, that’s part of your job as social connector. He shared with me part of a message that he had received…
How do teachers find out about these initiatives? I spent hours finding conferences on my own and thus went to MIT, Waterloo CS Educators and Western 21st Century Curriculum Symposium. From meeting Peter McAsh this week, I just found out about Bring IT, Together. I have felt very alone teaching HTML, Scratch and Coding Apps for the last 3 years in my class/computer club. Now, I have a Twitter PLN and some great mentors. I wonder if other TVDSB teachers know about all these resources.
I thought that everyone knew about the conference. <grin>
It is an interesting point to ponder. After all, there are lots of spectacular conferences that happen all the time in Ontario. It’s almost malpractice that all educators don’t know about all of them. They’re there to promote professional activities and shouldn’t that be available to everyone?
Shouldn’t there be a place where you’d go to find them all listed?
I know that, when I was the web master at OSAPAC, I had a section of the web site devoted to upcoming professional learning opportunities. Those were the days when OSAPAC was licensing software for all subject areas and it was one way that the committee helped promote its adoption.
Bring IT, Together is an ECOO annual event and so a visit to their website should reveal information to anyone looking for it. But, if you visit the site using mobile, reference to the conference is actually hidden in a hamburger menu that you need to open. So, if it’s tough for me to find (and I’m on the conference committee), how would a first timer find it? Hint – Bring IT, Together has its own website.
I took a look through the Ministry of Education’s website and couldn’t find a collection either.
All that made Peter’s request even more important.
Then I thought of my friend Cyndie Jacobs and the fights that we had over the references to Subject Councils versus Subject Associations in her work with the Ontario Teachers’ Federation. Off I went to the OTFFEO website and there is, indeed, a calendar outlining the professional learning events that they know about it. So, I guess my work is done. I took at quick flip to November but the Bring IT, Together conference wasn’t listed. I would have thought that ECOO, being a member of OTF’s Curriculum Forum would have been there. It is the best place that I could find to start searching.
Where else could you look?
It’s probably too “pie in the sky” to think that there’s absolutely one place for everything and it’s 100% accurate and up to date. But, certainly the Subject Associations would be promoting their own conferences. I decided to make my move. With laptop on lap and Summer Olympics on television, I created to the best of my abilities a Twitter list of all the associations that I could find in the province.
You can find it here.
I was able to locate 38 organizations.
It was actually quite fun and brought back great memories of speaking, conducting, or taking professional learning activities from them. In addition to upcoming conferences and workshops, there are also opportunities for curriculum writing and just a sharing of resources via the discipline. It’s also apparent that there’s huge cross over connections to be had. So, this solution actually solves a number of questions.
The list is public; just subscribe to it – add a column to your Hootsuite or Tweetdeck configuration and you’ll be on top of everything happening in education in the province. I can tell you just from my little curating exercise that there’s so much going on. I also learned that the “O” doesn’t always mean Ontario – there are states that use the same acronyms – Ohio, Oregon, …
Now, I’m nowhere near confident that this list has them all. I’d encourage you to browse the list and make sure that any professional organization that you’re a part of is included. If not, add it via comment below or to @dougpete on Twitter and I’ll get it added as quickly as I can.
Let’s make sure that everyone has the possibility of knowing what great opportunities are available for them.
You can thank @pmcash for the idea.