Washington DC: American Association of Community Colleges – AACC

AACC is the American Association of Community Colleges, and this was among the largest gatherings of educational leaders, attracting over 2,000 community college presidents and senior administrators, as well as international educators, representatives of business and industry, and federal agencies.  Billed as the premier event for community college leaders, AACC’s Annual Convention offered professional development as well as the opportunity to network, share, and learn from professionals in the fields of education, business and industry and the government sector. Convention attendees included community college administrators (chancellors, presidents, vice presidents, deans, and department chairs), trustees, faculty, and business/industry representatives who work with community colleges, federal or state government representatives, and graduate students.  All in all, quite a… well… Community….

Washington DC: American Society for Training & Development – ASTD

ASTD is the American Society for Training & Development, and the conference aimed to “bring the training and development industry to life”. Various aspects of the training biz were covered for different levels of practitioner, from CEO to specialist, from dean to student. At ASTD 2014, delegates could join more than 9,000 of their learning colleagues from around the globe, to share best practices and insights. Discussion homed in on current and future trends, and how to interpret and apply them on the job to get results.  Keynote speakers included the Huffington Post Media Group’s Arianna Huffington and retired general Stan McChrystal, now heading the McChrystal Group, whose mission is to deliver “innovative leadership solutions to organizations, which help them transform and succeed in challenging and dynamic environments”.  So who gets the last word on training and instruction “challenges”, the General or the Media Lady…?  #leadership

New Orleans: National School Boards Association – Annual – NSBA

NSBA is the National School Boards Association, a not-for-profit organization representing state associations of school boards across the United States. NSBA achieves its mission by representing the school board perspective in working with federal government agencies and national organizations that impact education.  It also provides vital information and services to state associations of school boards nationwide.  Over 5,000 board members, superintendents and education leaders from across the country and beyond were there to gain valuable knowledge and information in five key areas — leadership, advocacy, technology & learning, urban school issues, and school law.  This, we heard, was a national event that brought together education leaders at a time when domestic policies and global trends are combining to shape the future of students.  Guru journalist and writer Thomas L. Friedman was there to kick off proceedings, and remind delegates that, as his book title has it, “The World Is Flat”.  Wait:  educators have been trying to shake off Flat-Earthism for 500 years…  #education

Boston: National Science Teachers Association – Annual – NSTA

Boston: National Science Teachers Association – Annual – NSTA

NSTA is the National Science Teachers Association, and what they seem to believe in is “STEM”, or Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics.  NSTA conferences offer the latest in science content, teaching strategy, and research to enhance and expand professional growth among science education leaders. New standards recently adopted define important scientific ideas and practices that all students need to learn by the time they leave the 12th grade. The standards integrate three key dimensions—science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts—effectively build science concepts from kindergarten through 12th grade, and integrate important concepts of engineering.  NSTA supports the Next Generation Science Standards as an effective and research-based way to transform science education, to prepare all students for college and career readiness, and to foster a new generation of evidence-based consumers of science.  So… ready, kids?  #NSTA

Atlanta: American Meteorological Society – AMS Annual Meeting

AMS is the American Meteorological Society, and this was their Annual Meeting. So what were they talking about?  Well, stuff like Chemistry and Earth Science, with subdisciplines including Analytical Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry, Atmospheric Science, Climatology, Meteorology….  The international debate on climate change made this a particularly topical;  and, sure enough, the theme for the 2014 AMS Annual Meeting was “Extreme Weather—Climate and the Built Environment: New perspectives, opportunities, and tools”.  Taking NYC as an example, Mother Nature has been forced over four centuries to give up more and more reclamation land to property-hungry Manhattanites.  Now, it seems, she wants it back.  The New York districts damaged by Hurricane Sandy’s storm-surge were almost identical to the land drained and reclaimed since 1600.  It included a broad ribbon of commercial and residential property ringing the southern tip of Manhattan Island. 400,000 people live in what a century ago was still a flood plain, and before that was under water.  Makes you think… or is that sink…?

Austin: Texas Computer Education Association – TCEA

TCEA is the Texas Computer Education Association.  we heard that passionate teachers, campus and district leaders all unite at this annual event, to gather and share the latest trends and best practices for creating “engaging classrooms that excite today’s active and inspired learners”. Who was there exactly?  Well, Teachers, Campus Leaders, Curriculum and Instruction Leaders, Technology Directors and Coordinators, Superintendents, Librarians and Library Media Specialists, Educational Technology Enthusiasts…  Apparently you’re never too young to start learning stuff from computers.  More than 400 companies were on hand to showcase their products and services ,in over 90,000 square feet of exhibition space. This marketplace was the destination of choice for learning about the products and services that support innovative teaching and learning environments.  Wait: how do you teach a 4-year-old with little tiny hands to Ctrl+Alt+Delete…?