1. Remember, you don't need to be registered for ISTE to attend EduBloggerCon (hurray to ISTE for everything associated with our putting on EduBloggerCon--room, wireless access, promotion, and this liberal entrance policy!). So please spread the word to educators within striking distance of Philadelphia, as everyone is most welcome and, since we are in a huge ballroom (Ballroom A) at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, there's room for as many as want to come! You don't need to let anyone know you are coming, but it is definitely fun to see who's attending, so you can use the following pages to indicate your attendance: The Classroom 2.0 event page at http://www.classroom20.com/events/edubloggercon-2011 or the Facebook Event Page at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=166834533375953.
2. We've used a variety of methods over the years for brainstorming our "unconference" session topics. This year we're again going to try an electronic method for submitting ideas, commenting on them, and then "liking" them to gage popularity. The process starts now (I added four topics to "seed" things) at http://edubloggercon2011.democrasoft.com. Log into the site, then to post a topic suggestion use the "Ask a Question" button. To comment on a topic suggestion (show your support, give additional ideas, or ask clarifying questions), just click on the title to see more detail, then post your comment or use the "Like" link to indicate your support for that session idea. We'll tally the "like" votes at 9:30am on Saturday to determine which sessions to schedule and in which order (to avoid conflicts between the most popular). Big thanks to EduBloggerCon sponsor Collaborize Classroom for the use of their platform for this.
3. Vicki Davis will be in charge of what we have called, in previous years, the "Web 2.0 Smackdown"--but which she is calling "Web 2 Kung Fu" this year. The idea is basically the same, which is the demonstrating of great tools you will use, but Vicki will put her own special spin on this activity and give instructions at the time. The one rule we will have is that vendors or their (formal or informal) representatives are not allowed to show their own products--it just wrecks the mood! :)
(3a. For the record, since many of you will also be spending time at the Bloggers' Cafe during ISTE: while we have no actual rules for the Bloggers' Cafe area, please hold vendors to the same standard there. The Bloggers' Cafe should be somewhere comfortable to talk without getting a vendor solicitation--which they've started to do in the last couple of years. We're delighted to have vendor representatives be a part of the conversations, but not to shill their products.)
4. There is a totally new event at EduBloggerCon this year: the "Keynote Smackdown." In the ISTE affiliate event the same day as EduBloggerCon, they invited a small number of speakers to give a "preview" of their keynote addresses to the affiliate leaders who choose speakers for their annual conferences. We though this was a great idea, not because any of us are choosing speakers, necessarily, for events, but to hear brief versions of the thoughts and ideas that are being shared our colleagues at events. We're doing our Keynote Smackdown at 4pm because the ISTE affiliates will be done with their own activities and can come over and hear more people, so if you have great things you can share in 3 minutes, or you want to let the affiliate leaders know of your amazing speaking talent, sign up on the wiki at http://www.edubloggercon.com/EduBloggerCon+2011.
5. A really big shout-out to this year's sponsors of EduBloggerCon! Not only do they provide a little financial support for the event, but they do so knowing that we don't do any real showcasing of our sponsors so as not to detract from the "unconference" nature of EduBloggerCon, and that we ask their representatives to come and participate as individuals and not to promote their products (except by bringing material for a literature table). Which means that these sponsors are the real deal and any individual thanks you can give them is greatly appreciated. They are: ISTE, Blackboard Collaborate, Charlene Blohm and Associates (CBA), Collaborize Classroom, and Glogster.
If you're attending EduBloggerCon this year, can't wait to see you there! If you are not able to make it, we will try to stream out the Web 2 Kung Fu and the Keynote Smackdown events and will have the details on the EduBloggerCon wiki. We'll also be asking the sessions to pick hashtags so that some of their conversations can make it to you if you're inclined to watch the Twitter feed.