Hello #FlipCon15, Good-Bye Expenses (1st Blog Post)

Ahh, FlipCon. A worldwide gathering of energetic, eager to grow teachers that are on the spectrum of “interested in flipping their classroom,” to “all-out experts.” I find myself somewhere in the middle. This year was at Michigan State in East Lansing.IMAG1941_1

It was awesome meeting like-minded teachers from all over the country and the world: @Thevena, from Thailand; @CherylMhs, from Dubai; @FromRoger, from Sweden to name a few. I also was able to connect with some people I have come across on Twitter for the first time and yet, they felt like family. I felt like I belonged. In fact, it made me think of how crazy it is that we (teachers) travel to conferences all over the world and end up paying for a hotel rooms and taxi fares, etc. Why hasn’t someone begun a network that links traveling teachers with local ones to save those costs? If Uber can do it with strangers, our family of teachers certainly can, too. More on that later.

The whole conference experience was even better than anticipated, which I suppose isn’t saying much considering the high hopes I had for NSTA Chicago a few months ago. It was awful. I learned nothing, besides never to go again. It was more a private sector expose than support for teachers in the private one…I digress.

I attended awesome sessions that I needed or wanted more experience with and there were plenty. Luckily, most of them matched up with my other need…volunteering when I knew how valuble it would be. Even @BrdCmpbll would argue I deserved the MVV (most valuble volunteer) award. I can’t help myself when it comes to helping others. That’s what draws me to teaching every single day. Needless to say, not a session I attended left me with nothing to use or consider using for this school year and I can’t wait to devour the archives. I only wish I could do it Matrix-style with some flickering eyelids and, wah-lah, “I know Kung-Fu.”

Back to the “Conference-on-the-Cheap” routine. I stayed at a friend’s recently moved out apartment which meant I was basically camping indoors. Although, even a campsite would’ve been more expensive. I brought some basics to prepare some elogant and fitting college-type meals so I IMAG1940considered my food costs nothing. Room and board = $0. I drove 721 miles round trip, so gas ran me under $100, meaning the travel expenses were great too. Besides the parking ticket (that I appealed today, pleading “high school teacher” and “conference” hoping to get it reversed), I also could’ve gone expenseless in the parking category as I found some free parking near the residence hall (Brody) that some attendees stayed at. It’s safe to say my return on investment (ROI) for #FlipCon15 far surpassed the NSTA Conference in March which was an hour drive from my house (no hotel, just travel) that my district paid for. FlipCon is not free, but I presented, so once again, this was basically an “all expenses paid trip” like they give away on Wheel of Fortune. I did enjoy the evening at Cooley Stadium (not free) and good times with my new family in East Lansing (not free), but essentially, this trip could’ve easily been south of $150 if I needed it to be and I believe conferences for teachers trying to hone their craft ought to be just that.

Watch my “FlipCon15 Walking Dead Promo Video”

I suppose my next project-I-don’t-have-time-for will be to create a website (EDUCON NETWORK?) that allows teachers to connect with each other to plan out a similar “Conference-on-the-Cheap” routine, but also a place where they can easily collaborate before/during and debrief afterwards, which is proving to be a rather difficult task even after my 4 hour drive home and before my archive access.

Thank you, FlipCon, for exceeding my expectations.

Thank you, @paulandersen, for a fabulous keynote and an educational concurrent session.

Thank you, teacher family, for allowing me to feel more as if I road-tripped to Thanksgiving.

Thank you, @kadaniels, for a shoe-venture I will not soon forget.

Thank you, reader, for taking your valuble time to read my first blog post. If you enjoyed it, please let me know. If it sucked big parking tickets, please do the same.