Reflecting on the ASCD Conference in LA

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ASCD authors from left: Mike Fisher, Bill Sterrett, Mark Barnes

The ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show in Los Angeles attracted over 9,000 educators from around the world. The conference featured amazing keynote speakers, like Daniel Pink and Sir Ken Robinson, and many remarkable sessions and roundtable discussions by authors and K-20 education experts.

Hundreds of vendors shared astonishing products, books and services that help educators improve teaching and learning in their schools. Conference host, ASCD, provided author talks, book signings and engaging receptions for attendees and presenters.

Professional and personal engagement

For me, the best part of the ASCD Conference was the professional and personal interaction. The conference gave me four days to see people in my Personal Learning Network — many of whom I’d never met face to face — and to reunite with colleagues and friends I don’t see very often.

I have been social network friends with Bill Sterrett and Mike Fisher (pictured above), for years. At the ASCD Conference, not only did I meet them in person for the first time, we presented in a roundtable discussion about ASCD Arias, broke bread together and brainstormed ideas for future education projects.

At the conference, I also presented with longtime Twitter friends, Kristen Swanson, Steven Anderson, Tom Whitby, Nick Provenzano and Kim Sivick. Because we live in different states, I rarely see these people outside of cyberspace (we do hang out on Google+ occasionally), so the ASCD Conference gave us a chance to spend valuable time together in person.

There is nothing quite like a major education conference to refuel your engines and provide powerful information and tools to take back to the classroom.

For me, though, the ASCD Conference was about fellowship. Our PLNs provide an amazing group of people, with whom we have a unique kinship. Meeting them in person adds to that relationship, making it even better than it already was.

Thanks ASCD for an amazing weekend. Of course, the LA sunshine didn’t hurt.

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Mark Barnes is the author of many education books, including Bestseller Hacking Education, part of his Hack Learning Series, books that solve big problems with simple ideas. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and student-centered learning. Join more than 100,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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