Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Sugata Mitra & Deborah Meier at the AERO Conference in May + Audrey Watters at "ISTE Unplugged" in June

There are two events coming up this year that I would categorize as "must-attend:" the AERO Conference, May 20 - 25 at LIU/Post University (near New York City) and the event series before and during the ISTE conference, June 26 - July 1, in Philadelphia.

  • The AERO conference, in its 12th year, is a unique event--there is no other one like it in the US. It is a gathering of people who are involved with revolutionizing education, and who already have some of the answers. The focus of the conference (and of the organization behind it) is on learner-centered approaches that empowers students, teachers and parents.

    One of this year’s keynote speakers is Sugata Mitra, winner of the TED Award and famous for the “Hole in the Wall Experiment” in which he put a computer in a wall in a slum area of India. Over the next few months the children not only taught themselves to use the computer, but also taught themselves English! There will be five documentaries featured, some premiering, some with the filmmakers presenting. For example, Amy Valens, who made “GoodMorning Mission Hill,” about the extraordinary public school Debbie Meier started, will present her film, and Debbie Meier will join her. Jeremy Stuart, who made the critically acclaimed “Class Dismissed,” which followed an unschooling family for two years, will come from California to present his documentary.

    The North American Democratic Education Conference will also be part of AERO, bringing students and staff members from many democratic schools and presenting their own workshops for all. There will also be a Minecraft server for the conference.

    Because AERO is a partner with we are offering the readers of this message the the ability to register for the AERO conference at the earlybird rate, which actually lapsed at the end of January. To register just go to the AERO conference site,  To get the 10% discount to the earlybird rate, put in the coupon code "lrev" (all lower case, short for learning revolution).  For more information or special arrangements write to or call 800 769 4171.

  • ISTE Unplugged is June 26 - July 1 in Philadelphia, PA. Each year hundreds of educators interested in social media, technology, teaching, and learning gather to build and participate in "unplugged"-style activities as a part of the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference. Each activity is detailed on the website and has a Facebook event you can join.

    All events are free, thanks to the support (and latitude!) given us by the conference organizers and by our sponsors. Maker Day, the Hack Education unconference, and the Hack Education after-party (see below for all) are open to anyone as they take place before the formal ISTE conference; the events during ISTE require that attendees be registered for ISTE. A HUGE thanks to ISTE for making this all possible, and to StudyBlue and Shutterfly for sponsoring the unconference and the Saturday evening event!

    Friday, June 26th - MAKER DAY: Still being planned, but we will be holding an all-day, hands-on, student and teacher maker day. We could still use some help building a fun day, so if you or someone you know has interest in helping, send them my way!  ( It would be fun to find a sponsoring organization or two as well.

    Saturday, June 27th - HACK EDUCATION: Audrey Watters of Hack Education co-chairs our all-day flagship event this year, our "unconference" on teaching and learning (originally EduBloggerCon). In our ninth year, this event typically draws 200 - 300 participants from around the world. We start by building a session schedule together and then spend the rest of the day in engaged conversations around amazing topics. It's all about connecting and sharing, and maybe could be referred to as a "collaborative conference." There are no formal presentations, just "conversations" that you or others facilitate.

    Saturday, June 27th Evening - the Hack Education AFTER PARTY!: Our now-annual unconference "After Party" from 7 - 9pm.

    Sunday, June 28th Afternoon - GLOBAL EDUCATION DAY: Our fourth-annual Global Ed Summit is a 3-hour mini-conference organized by Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon for those interested in globally-connecting students and teachers, and a physical followup to the hugely popular online Global Education Conference.

    Monday, June 29 - Wednesday, July 1st - THE BLOGGERS' CAFE: Also in its ninth year now, the Bloggers' Cafe is an informal, couch-chairs-floor gathering area in the conference center for bloggers, social media mavens, and anyone else who wants to find and connect with others. A beehive of constant activity and conversation, the Bloggers' Cafe makes it hard to go do anything else once you discover it.

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