For me, the mark of a good conference is in the takeaways, the little pieces of insight that stick with me as I transition back into my daily routine. During the endless hours of conference panel sessions, presentations, networking meals, and reconnecting, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. The anthropologist in me comes out. My smart phone transforms into my journal as I negotiate the knowledge, insight, and expertise coming at me from all directions.
After things wrap up, I always go back to my trusty phone and review my takeaways, the more nonsensical the better. My trusty device becomes my field guide and documents the photos, quotes, and questions that inspire me the most. These takeaways don’t have to be beautiful they have to be meaningful. Here are a few of my reflections from the 2014 WAEA Conference in Milwaukee:
· As teachers, we are trained observers. How can we channel those observations?
· What defines collaboration?
· What if we all started with what our value is?
· Why does the word artist (the A word) make some people in our society uncomfortable?
· How can we integrate big ideas, broad, important human issues, into our classrooms?
· Are partnerships and collaborations the same thing? When do they work? When are they ineffective?
What questions did the conference bring up for you? Share them on Twitter using the hashtag #waea14 and continue the conversation!
PHOTO CAPTION: A photo takeaway from the John Michael Kohler Arts Center. Why paint alone when you can paint together? Photo credit: Preschool Students, Untitled Collaborative Easel Painting.