A week ago I visited London to give a talk at the researchED national conference. As I have a tendency to go overboard about researchED’s learning opportunities, mission, methods, and general approach, I’ll pull back on all the gushing I could do about the time I had. (And be glad: I’m not sure I could stop if I started.)
If I could, though, I’d like to do a quick bit of scrapbooking: some quick stashing of memories and photos so I can have them in one place forever. If you have questions or comments about any of these memories, please be in touch. I’d love to tell you more about researchED.
- Heathrow Express to Paddington Station after a night through the air. Overwhelmed (met David Byrne — yes, that David Byrne — coming off an elevator), but I get my bearings.
- Meet Sweden’s Eva Hartell (who I’d learned a lot from via Twitter, and who was also a speaker at the conference) and tour the Library. See some of literature’s, science’s, music’s, and history’s most important original manuscripts: Beowulf, Handel, Beatles, da Vinci, Gutenberg Bible, etc., etc. The King’s Library, indeed.
- Check in at hotel in King’s Cross, meet Eva’s mates who’ve come over from Sweden (including Twitter-quaintance Sara Hjelm!).
- Pub fish, chips, Landlord, and laughs with David Didau (whose book I’d finished — and adored — only a week ago), Nick Rose, David Weston, Jon Brunskill, Andrew Sabisky, Ezzy Moon, and others. Seriously can’t believe this is happening. My Twitter scroll has come to life, and it’s more entertaining and educational than it’s ever been.
- Back to hotel for pre-talk fretting and tweaking. Text Susie goodnight. SLEEP.
- Train to researchED conference with my new friends from Sweden. Day’s grey & slightly rainy, jitters are bad. Proto coffee (never called it that before) and quick chat with Lucy Crehan in the green room both help. (If someone of her stature is nervous, I figure, at least I’m in good company.)
- Impossible choices in conference’s first session, I see at least four choices I want to attend. Christodoulou! Crehan! Halliwell! Aiighhh! Attend Lucy Crehan, as wrinkles she discussed with me in the presenters’ room (I’d seen her talk a the NY conference last May) sound fascinating. She kills it, of course.
- Pedro De Bruyckere (co-author of Urban Myths about Learning & Education) packs his room past the point of fire safety and gives a great talk. Goodreads, search, add to ‘to-read’ shelf. Done.
- I speak. Mainly a blur. Gracious audience lets me photograph them and run over time.
- Finally meet Stuart Lock (another regular Twitter contact), and — bonus! — he’s got his darling kids with him, painted faces and all. Also, re-connect with Daisy Christodoulou (one of my edu-faves — thrilled she’s attended my session!) afterward.
- Late to lunch. Lasagne hits the spot. Talk with two delightful special ed teachers in from out of town. (Names, please, if you’re reading!)
- The Learning Spy himself, David Didau, hangs back to chat with me after lunch winds down; signs my copy of his book, which I carried halfway around the world for him to do.
- Because of my late lunch, I miss Jon Brunskill talk. Really wanted to get there ever since he’d told me about his talk at the pub the previous night. Kick myself for the rest of the day, hear from everyone that he was smashing.
- Three consecutive sessions — plus plenary — on sports-hall benches, all fabulous: David Weston, David Didau, Professor Robert Coe.
- Tom Bennett closes the conference with a typically great speech, asks people to help with putting away chairs. This is ‘for us, by us’ to its very foundation, and I love it. Great conversations with several people as we make our ways out. Selfie with Daisy, and I don’t selfie.
- Pub afterward: great chats with even more of my Twitter scroll. Talk with folks I’ve admired a long time: Jack Marwood, Christian Bokhove, et al. Meet Amanda Spielman, Heather Bella F (!), and Professor Robert Coe. Lots of great US-UK ed and politics talk with Nick Rose and Jon Brunskill, selfie with Jon Brunskill as the sun’s going down. Guess I do selfie after all.
- Five minutes with Tom Bennett outside the gentlemen’s, catching him just before he leaves for the evening. Express appreciation, beg he consider coming back to the US. (I’m serious, Tom. Call me.)
- Back to hotel via tube without the navigational aid of my generous friends from Sweden, Eva Hartell and Sara Hjelm, who had a dinner date to make. Get there without a hitch, and even manage to find a decent pizza along the way. Check in by phone with Susie and the girls.
- Solo nightcap and some novel reading at the Queen’s Head Pub, just around the corner. Perfect.
- Costa for coffee with Swedish friends, then sightseeing with Eva and Sara (Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Thames, etc.) before tubing back to Paddington and the Express.
- Heathrow Express back out to the airport, scrawling this into notebook and feeling incredibly lucky. Thanks, researchED. See you again soon (in November, that is).
P.S. – If interested in learning more about the talk itself and not so much about my sightseeing and scrapbooking, you might want to check these out:
- This Storify post with play-by-play and reactions, both from those in attendance and those participating from the tweet-nut gallery.
- My presentation deck (relatedly, researchED is apparently planning to post video sometime soon — stay tuned).
- These generous blog-available recaps/interpretations by Daisy Christodoulou and Phil Stock.