Learning 2.011 recap: Shaking the Tree

On September 15, 2011, in educational technology, by Leigh Graves Wolf

Ok, I have a few minutes to recap my #learning2 experience! This was my second year at the conference and I was excited that I had the opportunity to return! By far, the best part of the conference for me was attending Darren Kuropatwa‘s session on presentation on 21st Century Bricoleurs.  Going into the session, I didn’t know who Darren was – I wasn’t even following him on twitter (gasp!) I was excited when he started to mention that his background/area of teaching expertise is in mathematics.  This is certainly one area in my “jack of all trades” career that I have very little experience.  When I mentor a math teacher, I usually am the relationship builder, rather than being able to connect my students directly to resources.  Now, I’m going to point them to Darren as the first place to start.  I was blown away by his use of wikis in calculus (see the “wiki solution manual” assignment.) I wish I could have had Darren for my math teacher – his care and concern for his students and their understanding of concepts radiated through his being.  Thank you Darren for sharing your expertise, so excited to add you to my PLN!

The best part of the overall experience was being able to connect F2F with my PLN and our MAET students and alumni. I’m truly inspired and energized by our interactions, both virtual and in-person.   To have the luxury of face to face time with people who inspire me so much was incredible.  Kat did a great job recapping the conference here:

We also had a super fun MAET/MSU reunion dinner in downtown Shanghai!

#msu and #maet meet-up in Shanghai

 

While the overall experience was positive, I do have to air out a large area of dismay/concern.  On the first evening, I walked by the library which housed the Technology Leaders cohort.  There were probably about 40 or so people in the room.  At first glance, I didn’t see a single woman.  Dismayed, I searched a little further and saw about 2 or 3 women.  How could a group of 40+ technology leaders not reflect a more balanced population?

While I was in another session, I tweeted my concern to the twitterverse

This then prompted a quick flurry of tweets (all between women) around community building and connecting tech women.  I started a google doc and we started listing women to follow on twitter. Immediately  Keri-Lee graciously started curating a twitter list of these women. We went back and forth (also pulling in @amichetti and @pammoran who were not physically at the conference, love twitter!) for a bit longer and then the conversation fizzled.  Mainly because it was the end of the day, though I was slightly disappointed more on the #learning2 hashtag did not chime in – either telling me I was crazy, or agreeing with the

On the plane ride home I finally finished reading Blood Bones and Butter.  In short, it’s a memoir about a fantastic female chef (Gabrielle Hamilton) in New York City.  The chapter “Female Chefs” really spoke to me and the conflicts I was feeling.  Take a moment to listen to Gabrielle read an excerpt here: female chefs – http://bloodbonesandbutter.net/excerpt/

I too feel as Gabrielle did – it shouldn’t, it doesn’t matter what gender you are – just do a good job, work hard.  Then, a few days after I returned, I was forwarded this article (which infuriated me) Six Rules Women Must Break in Order to Succeed.  Where are the six rules men must break? Do the men not have to break rules? I want to help everyone else, it’s what I do best.  You’re implying that I am meek and need to seek approval? I don’t seek approval, I do my job. However, all too often in many of my interactions at technical or leadership levels (for work and beyond) the playing field is not balanced (including all aspects, race, age and gender.)

SO – what can I do?  What do I do? I’m proud to be working with Betsy and Carla on the Michigan Girl Geek dinners. I am the #1 advocate for all of my students, pushing them, encouraging them to lead.  I hope I’m a technical role model for my nieces and nephew and for my extended family of kids and friends.

I am not “anti-man” – I’m pro equality and balance.  Without a diverse set of voices we tend to begin thinking one way, we don’t challenge ourselves or each other.

 

6 Responses to Learning 2.011 recap: Shaking the Tree

  1. Hi Leigh,

    It was a pleasure running into you at Learning 2.011. Thanks for all the kind words in this post. ;-)

    Cheers!
    Darren

  2. Hi Leigh,

    It was great to meet you at #Learning2!

    I too was amazed at the small number of women in Technology Leaders cohort, however it was great to get started on that list of women in tech! Thanks for the inspiration :-)

    I attended a meeting last night, of Tech Leaders in International Schools in Singapore, and once again, the number of men far outnumbered the women.

    I am grateful for the support my (mostly male!) Edtech Twitter friends provide, and know that things are bound to change. They have to!

    Keri-Lee :-)

  3. I was watching the conversation about women in tech leader roles while at Learning2.0. I don’t think I realized until that conference that women in the role of tech leader was an issue. Every school I have taught in has had women in tech integrator roles and these women sit in the meetings with the Heads of School and other admin. I’m absurdly lucky to work with Kim Cofino now and I see women speaking on these issues in many, many venues. That said, I’m not seeing women in the role of the IT Director. The nitty-gritty/budget building/which-server-to-buy role. And the antidotal evidence of Learning2.0 is probably not isolated to just that place and space. So I wonder what I can do. I’m a classroom teacher and plan on staying that for a while. I guess one thing I can do it to continue to engage in this conversation, with other women and my students. Because as Keri-Lee says above, things have to change.

  4. Helen says:

    I am glad to have attended the Learning 2.0. I understand your concern. I can say I am happy that the case is not as worst compared on earlier times. Women are becoming very competitive. And we are showing a lot of potential that is equal and even exceeding a man.

  5. Andy says:

    Thanks for posting about your experience and for the links to Darren’s work — really excellent stuff!

    -Andy

  6. […] the majority of my mentors were male.  Now that I am in the educational technology realm, I still experience a lack of diversity (in gender, race and age) and do my best to support other women in […]

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