100 Cups of Coffee: The Year-Long Conference

cupsofcoffeeI can’t remember where I was introduced to the concept of 100 Cups of Coffee, but it may have been The $100 Startup book.  All I know is that the concept of meeting with many people to discuss ideas and thinking around a particular field rocks. 100 cups of coffee is simply meeting one hundred people for coffee. It’s like an extended education conference that can last the whole year long for considerably less than a plane ticket, hotel, and conference fee. Not only that, but it can be personalized to your current learning needs. Tom Whitby recently posted about the relevancy of education conferences, and there has been amazing discussion on Twitter about the topic. It reminded me that the individuals I met and the discussions we had are what made EduCon 2.4 an amazing conference experience.

I know some are tired of the conference bandwagon…. maybe it’s time to make your own conversations? To buy 100 cups of coffee? To find the interesting people and learn from them like Chris Fancher mentioned this morning:

Conferences are a great starting point for conversations. Twitter can also be a starting point… the whole reason I met Chris at #educon was from his tweets inviting people to join him for dinner prior to the conference. Pick your starting point… then start.

As I learn about academic advising in order to better meet the needs of my personalized learning students at E3, I find the need to start those conversations. I am beginning locally through some traditional networking, but plan to meet over coffee with others via Skype or FaceTime. I can even email a Starbucks card to pay for the coffee. Voila!

You can too.

(And if you are an #acadv professional bridging the high school to college gap, please contact me or comment below. I’d love to talk with you.)


First Day Insanity… Me.

[I rescued this post from my drafts folder…. obviously, it’s not the first day! We just finished first semester. Still applicable, however.]

Today was our first day back at school. My first day with this new personal learning school.

Insanity sums it up in a word.

The insanity wasn’t the students, the content, or the environment (although it was a wee bit boisterous and hectic). The insanity was me.  My knee-jerk response to being in a smaller, mentoring focused environment  was a desire to recreate the traditional classroom. Amid the noise and chatter, I wanted to sit everyone down, talk about the tools we will be using, and then to model for them on a stinking projector how to do the digital assignments.


Where did that come from? Is the pull of my measly two years in the traditional classroom so great? Why do we immediately turn to these traditional modes of relating to children? Why didn’t I see different ways to easily share with a small group of students? How can I possibly be falling back on that when I’m trying to move forward in learning about inquiry and student-centered learning?

Stop the insanity. I need to open my eyes, to trust in the process, and to help my students gain trust in the process of mentoring and personalized learning.

How’s your insanity level? Are you doing the same things in a different environment? Are you doing different things in the same environment? Or are you changing both?

Help Me Spend $1,000… or more!

Summer is just around the corner, and with it many fabulous conferences and professional development opportunities. I’m weighing the value of difference conferences and trainings in light of my interview experiences, and I’m not sure where to go from here. Will you help me spend $1,000…. or more?

photo credit: Tracy O

Summer is just around the corner, and with it many fabulous conferences and professional development opportunities. I’m weighing the value of difference conferences and trainings in light of my interview experiences, and I’m not sure where to go from here.  Will you help me spend $1,000…. or more? ((Remember, my goal is to be an intermediate classroom teacher in the next 1-3 years, preferably in a 1-to-1 environment. I have my BA in History, should have my Statement of Eligibility from CDE in the next couple months for Alternative Licensure, and have applied to a number of Alternative Teacher programs for next year.))

Here are some things I am considering, and a brief snippet of my rationale:

  • IB PYP: An Introduction to the Curriculum Model Training
    • $775 for conference, plus food/lodging- travel costs minimal given proximity.
    • June 29-July 7
    • Rocky Mountain Association of IB World Schools
    • Learn more about this inquiry driven model- which I already like, and increase my marketability for a position in a PYP school as an alternative teacher.
  • Technology in Education (TIE) Colorado Conference
    • $325-430, plus food/lodging- travel costs minimal given proximity.
    • June 21-24
    • TIE Colorado
    • Opportunity to network with other educators in my region. Not sure that it helps me be a better classroom teacher candidate, but the tech part is my area of expertise.
  • ISTE 2011 Conference
    • $235, plus plane ticket, food, lodging….easily $1,000
    • June 26-29
    • International Society for Technology in Education
    • Went to the 2010 conference- lots of people & info. Felt pretty overwhelming, but I learned some amazing things. Again, not sure this is helpful at this point in my career. Fun, though.
  • Upper Elementary Montessori Diploma Program
    • $2,999
    • Flexible, online
    • North American Montessori Program
    • Would have a good understanding of Montessori curriculum, philosophy and teaching methods. Might be that I stopped looking at public ed positions, and focused on private.
  • Test Evaluator Part-time Job
    • Hey- I’d actually MAKE money on this one…. $10.75/hr. (More than I make now!)
    • Evenings- family impact is huge until summer, then not a biggee.
    • Measured Progress
    • Learn lots about student writing ability/expectations, rubrics, grading, inter-rater reliability. Feels a bit hypocritical since I think standardized tests stink, but would probably be a positive experience on my resume.

What do you think would be most valuable? Any cost/benefit analysis ideas for me? Other options? If you’re an administrator, is there additional training that would help you be comfortable hiring an alternative candidate?