I spent the first two days at the VSTE conference so I’ll throw a few of those in here as well. My summary of the conference ranges from a conversation with Andrew Carle about all sorts of things from Markov and Beautiful Soup to the other end where I watched 50 or so people sit in a room to watch a woman Google Hang Out in (this needs a better verb) to show them how to click around a website. People came. Lots of people. No one walked out. I really don’t understand. VSTE conference attendance is about $350.

I also did a few presentations at VSTE. One on OER stuff where I continue to try to convince people that content is the lowest bar and that the open tools, people, and communities are the things that make that content valuable. I’ve talked about that enough here before not to launch into it again.

I did another presentation called something odd like “Rethinking Professional Development.”1 In this case I attempted to really provoke some conversation from the crowd by putting up some hyperbolic slides and then provoking additional chaos. My initial plan was just to sit in the audience until people got anxious and began to leave. My goal was to then say we were all there for the same reason. We didn’t need a presenter. I sat there an extra 4 minutes or so which was amazingly difficult. It made wait time for questioning seem like cake. Anyway I caved and told them that I caved as part of my introduction.


cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Tom Woodward
I did warn them that I wasn’t the man behind the curtain, the best I could do was tell them good places to hide a shiv and even then I might turn them in for extra canteen rations.


cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Tom Woodward
I’m not sure this is hyperbole given the time/energy/effort poured into PD measured against the change that comes out. I also indicated I’d be playing the actual Devil in this session rather than merely the Devil’s advocate.

I also put up this slide, which was meant to be hyperbole but led (understandably) to the tweet below. It’s not that I don’t find value in Twitter but to say it “replaces” PD indicates how little worth PD has in most people’s eyes. Anyway, it’s one of those reminders that 95% of what I say may very well be unclear.


cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Tom Woodward

My constant refrain through the session was that teaching people how to do X was a waste of time. The whole focus needs to be on kindling passion and reflection. The rest is basically details.


cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Tom Woodward


cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Tom Woodward


cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Tom Woodward
The Tim Stahmer caught on the other end of the camera. Tim does many good things for educators in Virginia and is patient enough to deal with me on a fairly regular basis.


cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Tom Woodward
I seem to be collecting “selfies” from slightly odd/warped/broken reflective surfaces.


cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Tom Woodward


cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Tom Woodward


cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Tom Woodward


1 Interestingly, I didn’t submit any sessions but someone must have put my name down. As they didn’t have any description, I did most odd things I felt like.

2 thoughts on “Walking at Work and VSTE – Week 5

  1. More evidence that it’s far better for the world in general if I stand behind a camera than in front.

    I’m working on my own, more conflicted and schizophrenic, reflection on VSTE and other conferences but I know I will be dropping the phrase “professional development” from my vocabulary in the future. The common interpretation of the concept has become far more structured and calcified than what most people need.

    1. I liked that picture of you. Besides, the leader of the photo walk has to be photographed.

      I’ll be looking for your post. I probably have some of the same thoughts. PD is, without a doubt, a poisoned term.

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