How to Attend a Conference Like a Dead Head

Attend Like a Dead Head

From Dead Head to Ed Head

Attend a Conference Like a Dead Head

I made a bold Tweet during #NCTIES14 about being inspired to blog about the faithful followers (Dead Heads) of the famed band, The Grateful Dead, and how educators that attend conferences should imitate their behavior. No, it’s not about how to party or anything like that. It’s about ramping up one’s participation to a level of fanaticism.

Recognize Your Tribe- Know you are part of a larger, connected community. A lot of folks call this a tribe. It’s about hanging out and listening to people that are passionately connected to one another by what they care about.

No Free Rides- Be willing to earn your keep before, during, and afterwards. What will you do in order to get yourself to the next event? Will you sell tie dyed t-shirts or burritos? Probably not, but you might share a room, ride, or other expenses in order to make it happen. You might also volunteer to man an information station or setup or cleanup for a chance to be closer to the action

Promote Open Source- It is an event where ideas are freely shared and can be modified to fit your particular context. Take something and make something out of it. Sharing is caring.

Control the Content – because of your participation and reflection, you control the content of future shows (conferences). Not only does your participation influence the content of next year’s event, it demands that the presenters keep pushing the envelope to catch lightning one more time.

Feel the X-Factor – it’s about something higher than you, It’s that vibe that happens when thousands of your closest friends are feeling it, too.  Perhaps this is best illustrated by a keynote that resonates with an audience. Have you ever heard an @adambellow keynote?

To be sure, more than the music consumed those known as Dead Heads. It was also about the journey and being an active participant in shaping the future. For those lucky enough to be part of the band, it was about giving it all away and then creating it all again. For everyone, it was about being lost in the moment, yet tethered to those around you by an intricate network of support. Will you be a Dead Head, or maybe an Ed Head at your next conference?

Keep on teachin’.


Ten Minute Tools

I often see a lot of web-based tools for use in the classroom- some brand new and some just new to me. As I wade through the different tools I find myself spending an inordinate amount of time that could be spent on any different number of things. Classroom teachers and librarians also have little time to spend with their daily demands. I’ve come up with a strategy borrowed from Richard Byrne’s Best of the Web presentation that he shared during a NCTIES presentation. He spends eight minutes; I’m not that good. 

Give yourself ten minutes (use a timer) to keep yourself honest) to look at a web site or app and see if you can figure out the basics of use within that period of time. My challenge is this: Can I figure out how to use it well enough in that period of time to implement with my classroom?  If I can make something happen, chances are that students can, too. This routine of technical triage can yield some great finds while maximizing and focusing our time as teachers and librarians. We need not be expert users of every application we encounter, but we do need to measure it against our pedagogical expertise and seek the situations where it will enhance student learning. Now, go fill your toolbox with some Ten Minute Tools!