I’ve been interested to read the  range of blogged responses to Educon 2.3, the education conference held at the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, from January 28-30. There was excitement, giddiness, a sense of pleasure and relief over returning to the fold or finding oneself among kindred spirits. There were critical posts, and some expressions of hurt and anger. A number of folks, from Liz Davis to Troy Hicks, have written about challenges they experienced and questions that emerged. Chad Sansing made a list of his hopes for next year’s Educon. And Ira Socol and Chris Lehman have had a rich conversation about…well, what hasn’t that conversation been about? There are dozens more I could mention, I just read these first.

The mix of responses suggests to me that the sense of “us-ness” that has made Educon a haven for so many like-minded educators has begun to shift toward the kind of restlessness that signals impending growth.

I know I was surprised at how few Philadelphia public school teachers I met, and how few urban teachers. Someone said they always had a hard time attracting Philly teachers, maybe due to the lack school financial support?

So I got to thinking. What if there could be a hands-on design experience, similar to the Design Thinking conversation/simulation Christian Long, Dave Bill, and Ethan Bodnar led, but involving a real school or schools or even a department or grade level with a real need and desire to see things new. Maybe a Philly school. Maybe it could take place during the afternoon sessions. And maybe in lieu of facilitating a workshop conversation, some of the incredibly talented folks could volunteer to facilitate sessions to address needs or questions the visiting educators would bring to the table. Curriculum resources. Hands on tech integration demos and sharing.

Call me a cockeyed optimist, call me crazy. But these are tough times for a lot of educators, kids, and families, and there’s such a wealth of talent and knowledge that’s drawn to Educon & SLA. What would happen if there could be a way to share the wealth– make it go a long, long way?


Kudos to Shelley Krause, @butwait, for archiving Educon reflections.

Image: “Reach,” © 2008  James Jordan, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivatives license

3 responses to “Educon-omizing”

  1. I’m seeing a lot of buzz today showing interest in professional development opportunities that are not rooted to a particular time or place.

    We no longer need to be in the same room at the same time in order to have meaningful professional growth experiences.

    Thanks for a thoughtful post, Karen. You always seem to see the future first.

    • Karen says:


      I’m not so sure about the seeing the future first part, but that you for thinking of me in that way. Maybe we need to start using different terms– if we’re breaking free of constraints of time, place, pre-determined ideas of what constitutes ‘professional growth,’ then surely we can break out some new language. I just don’t know what that would be. ‘Life-long learner’ is cliche. ‘PD’ makes people’s skin crawl. I like the emphasis you put on professional growth *experiences*.


  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Karen LaBonte and MAD Collaborative, Ryan R. Goble. Ryan R. Goble said: RT @klbz: A new blog post: Educon-omizing #educon […]

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