Sunday, February 24, 2013

Why I Attend NAIS

I first started attending NAIS several years ago to help Dr. Chris Bigenho with his Classrooms of the Future Initiative.  In those days, Chris enlisted the help of several progressive technology educators to lead conversations with NAIS attendees about things they were doing to enhance learning in their classrooms by leveraging new technologies.

When the grant for that program ran its course, I continued attending.  Why?

Pat Bassett's Visionary Leadership

It has consistently been a pleasure to see who Pat Bassett tapped to speak to us at NAIS over the years. Standouts have included John Hunter, Guy Kawasaki, Carol Dweck, Sugata Mitra, Sal Khan, Mizuko Ito... the list goes on.  However, Pat Bassett's own words, both in writing and in person, have inspired my thinking as well.  His student-centric, global, and project-based vision of 21st-century learning has inspired my own work. His series on the 5 Cs  (later the 6 Cs) is a terrific example of his thinking.

In my role as Chief Technology Officer (or as I like to say, 21st-Century Learning Evangelist) at The Kinkaid School, it has meant a great deal to me to know that the leadership of NAIS has embraced the notion of shifting our school cultures to both enhance the environment for learning and to prepare young people for their futures.


Over the past few years, by leveraging several social media tools, I have cultivated a Personal Learning Network (PLN) with many NAIS colleagues who have become my teachers. While I greatly value my online relationships with these people, it's always a pleasure to have the opportunity to meet with them, even if it's only once a year, in person at the NAIS annual conference.  NAIS is also a terrific space in which to meet new visionary thinkers to add to my PLN.

This Year's Conference

I'm excited about this year's conference for several reasons:

danah boyd:  Having been a devoted fan of danah boyd's research and blogging since she was a graduate student, I'm particularly looking forward to having the opportunity to see her in person.

Cathy's Davidson:  Her important book Now You See It was one of my favorite reads of 2012.

John Chubb:  This will be the new NAIS president's first opportunity to speak to us. I look forward to hearing what he has to say.

Wireless at NAIS! We have been excitedly awaiting this for years. The backchannel should be rocking!

Collaborations:  Next week I have the honor of collaborating with many terrific educators at NAIS.

Wednesday afternoon:  The Connected Educator, learning and leading in a digital age (W16), with one of my heros, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, 1:00 to 4:00 pm, room 122A

Thursday afternoon: Vinnie Vrotny, Marti Weston, and Renee Hawkins and I will share ideas on how to educate parents about the shifts in learning at the Parents Are Learners Too session, 1:30-2:30 pm, Room 115C.

Thursday evening: Join many independent school technology leaders at the ISTE SIGIS meet up/dinner being held at The Farmer's Cabinet. Tweet @drjillbrown to register!

Friday morning: The NAIS 21st Century Curriculum/Technology Task Force is leading the first un-conference session in NAIS history.  Come learn with us from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm, or 1:30 to 2:30 pm, Hall G.

Friday afternoon: FinalSite CEO Jon Moser and I will talk about ways to leverage social media and mobile learning to enhance learning from 1:30 until 2:30 pm, room 119A.

A terrific week of learning lies ahead.  I can't wait!

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