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Reflections on EdCamp Boston 2013
Ericbraun_linkedin_head_thumb_mini Posted by Eric Braun on May 04, 2013 0 comments
EdCamp is an exploratory adventure. It behaves like a startup company and turns attendees into ad-hoc entrepreneurs. This is what I love about it, because I firmly believe that teachers should act like entrepreneurs in the classroom. If this is true, classroom innovation will occur with much greater frequency. But learning to be an entrepreneur is not easy, just like learning to be a teacher is not easy. Each learns a series of skills and competencies, and each finds the real world very different from what has been learning in preparation.

And what is this beast called EdCamp?
From an entrepreneurial perspective, it is an Unconference.
From a business perspective, it is Conference Gone Wrong.
From the uninitiated, it may look like Chaos and Confusion.
(Queue up the background flames and squeaky, mechanical music noise here).

It starts with a bunch of people (usually teachers) with similar interests (usually students and learning). They all get together in a space that seems pretty... [Read more...]
PlayDate13 in Boston Puts Educators in the Sandbox
Ericbraun_linkedin_head_thumb_mini Posted by Eric Braun on March 18, 2013 0 comments

Saturday was PlayDate13 in Boston, where over 100 educators got together to discuss and play with apps and other edtech toys. Microsoft hosted the event in Cambridge and 30hands Learning sponsored the coffee and food. Topic categories included:
  • Presentations and Screencasting
  • Learning Management Systems and Google
  • Web 2.0 Creative and Sound & Audio
  • iPad & Desktop Moviemaking
  • Reading and eBook Creation
  • E-Portfolios and Notetaking
  • Social Media and Internet Curation
Everyone was so enthusiastic about learning, sharing and playing. There were great conversations and a whole lot of thinking going on. But, it's hard to describe it, so you'll have to sign up next year. In the mean time, check out the 30hands Mobile video story to get a flavor for what it was all about.

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Stop Learning, Start Thinking
Ericbraun_linkedin_head_thumb_mini Posted by Eric Braun on January 21, 2013 0 comments
Yesterday, I watched a TEDxTEEN talk by child prodigy physicist Jacob Barnett (Don't mix him up with "Josh" or you're in for a surprise). He says, "Stop learning, and start thinking!" Yes, he says it with enthusiasm. He cannot contain himself! He attributes his knowledge and understanding with the fact that he takes time out to contemplate an idea in depth. 

Why does he say this? Why could it be true?
When the goal is to create something or solve a problem, we have to think about it. At some point, we will come to the conclusion that we need to do some research -- find books or websites or other people who will gives us some information to use as a tool to solve the problem. This is true learning. This is what we as employers want to see in our employees.
Another thing employers want in employees is people who can work well in teams. They don't always know they want this, but they do. Even the best lone programmer in a corner will not typically be as good as a circle...
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Tagged in: Learning Thinking  |  0 comments
Seth Godin, Jedi Master of the Connection Economy?
Ericbraun_linkedin_head_thumb_mini Posted by Eric Braun on November 15, 2012 1 comment
I just got back from a talk by Seth Godin at Tufts University. As expected, it was inspiring. His core message to students was to get out there and connect. It's a connection economy. Connect and you get noticed. Do something to help others connect, and we will notice you and care about you. This is essentially a new take on his "permission marketing" concept of past: turn strangers into friends and friends into customers.

Today, says Godin, success means being a connector. But the more he talked, the more I felt that he meant more than that. He seems to take Malcolm Gladwell's tipping point concepts of Connectors, Mavens and Sales People and make them all requirements of a successful entrepreneur. "You have to be all three of these things." He did not say this in so many words, but he did say, "Pick up the microphone while it's still available." This is essentially what a Maven does, right? Speaking out will help you build your network of connections and followers. The more you speak... [Read more...]
"Fail Fast" - Teaching the Success of Failure
Ericbraun_linkedin_head_thumb_mini Posted by Eric Braun on October 30, 2012 0 comments

In the past few weeks, I have run into "failure" several times. First, a colleague wanted to have a get together to talk about our collective failures in starting companies, which led to a roundtable discussion. Then, it seemed like I encountered more and more stories of failure at every turn -- from my students to my fellow entrepreneurs, from videos I use in my class to articles I came across on the Internet. From the ubiquity of failure, it occurred to me again (my brain has gone down this path many times before) that failure is a natural part of life.

I found myself telling my students not to be afraid of failure and, in fact, to embrace it. "Fail fast," I said, "so you can pick yourself up, redirect your efforts and try something at last slightly intelligently better. This approach often leads to ultimate success. Just because 9 out of 10 startups fail does not mean that they fail forever. It means you may have to fail 9 times before you succeed once.

But my students still... [Read more...]
30hands Learning Brings Social Media into the Classroom (Adam Vaccaro, Patriot Ledger)
Ericbraun_linkedin_head_thumb_mini Posted by Eric Braun on September 04, 2012 0 comments
Nice article from the Patriot Ledger.

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Tagged in: News Press eLearning  |  0 comments
Blended Learning Presentation
Carmen_sm_thumb_mini Posted by Carmen Ferrara on May 10, 2011 0 comments

Last week I had the opportunity to give a presentation at an event over at Bentley University. The event was sponsored by METAA (Massachusetts Educational Technology Administrators Association). METAA is the professional organization for K-12 leaders of educational technology in Massachusetts. The topic of the conference was "Cloud Computing in Education". It was a great event and I met some wonderful people. My session was titled - "Blended Learning - A New Online Environment". Here are the slides below:

[Read more...]