Sunday, January 20, 2013

#MIflip Thoughts

So several months ago - I’m not sure when, really - a Twitter conversation started about a flipped learning conference in Michigan. Free. Hands on. With some relatively serious folks (David Prindle, Dan Spencer, David Fouch, Delia Bush, Doug Ragan, and Brian Bennett) organizing it. Since I was lucky enough to meet David Prindle at MERIT two summers ago, and since I knew David Fouch from G+ conversations about flipping history classes, I threw my hat into the ‘let’s make this conference happen’ ring.

It was certainly a unique experience to plan an entire conference via Google+ hangouts. I don’t think there was one in person meeting in the lead-up to this conference. That’s just a neat fact - we’ve reached that point where entire learning experiences can be planned online!

So why was MIflip a great experience? Several reasons:

  • I love meeting my PLN in person. It is really neat to get to move someone from ‘internet friends’ to friends. I got to do that with some folks I have learned a LOT from.
  • It was free. ‘Nuff said.
  • It was on a Saturday. Only people who wanted to be there were there - slackers and people who aren’t interested in improving their craft don’t go to optional conferences on Saturdays.
  • Brian Bennett’s keynote. Brian focused on making one little change, focused conference attendees on thinking about one thing that they could focus on and take away from the conference that day and use in their classroom on Monday. At a conference with such a wide experience range, it makes sense for teachers to focus on one little thing. Also, given the climate of education and the myriad of issues facing it, the idea of focusing on changing just one thing is appealing - it gives a both a sense of purpose and immediacy to the conference.
  • Getting to facilitate sessions with Dan Spencer, David Fouch, and Delia Bush. Yes, That was bragging. But to get to share ideas with a group of people who are so talented and dedicated, well, that’s pretty cool.

Finally, huge props to Dan Spencer and David Prindle for doing so much work to make this conference happen. And also to David Fouch, who went above and beyond and opened his house up to me for the weekend.

I'll leave you with this: MIfllip cleanup courtesy of Brian and David F. Shaky camera work by yours truly...