Sunday, November 1, 2015

5 Reasons Why: You Need to Attend a CoffeeEDU

Welcome to the beginning of the '5 Reasons Why...' series in which I will share experiences, tools, or strategies that I've enjoyed lately. The very first part of this series is about CoffeeEDU, a movement started by Alice Keeler. CoffeeEDU is an opportunity for educators to create and expand their PLN face to face over a delicious coffee beverage. It’s about conversation, connecting, and bonding over common interests. This is in contrast to the formal setting of education conferences in which the focus is often on promotion and formal conversations or presentations. CoffeeEDUs are often partly funded by the fabulous crew at Remind and they occur on a regular basis worldwide. Today’s CoffeeEDU in North Jersey was the second one I have ever attended and it was truly a fabulous experience! Here are 5 reasons why you need to give a CoffeeEDU a try:

  1. Casual setting. The cozy and laid back atmosphere of a coffee house is the perfect intimate forum for informal conversation. It lends itself to connecting with new and old friends, especially on Sundays as we relax and recharge before another week of work.
  2. Informal, unplanned conversation. I love the idea of going into a CoffeeEDU and not knowing where the conversation will end up. In my experience conversation has shifted from our major edu-wins in our classes or jobs, to job opportunities, to struggles in which participants saught out advice, to the latest EdTech trends. Today, we started with introductions and then our crowd of 15 broke off into various smaller side conversations that everyone jumped in and out of with ease.
  1. Connect with local educators face to face. Teaching can be an isolating profession. We spend the day in our classrooms but often don’t have the opportunity to connect, reflect, or exchange ideas with one another beyond faculty meetings or our lunch period. Moreover, as a passionate EdTech integrator in a school/district that is fearful of change, it is liberating and validating to be surrounded by fellow forward thinking individuals that share my vision and passion.
  2. Learn about something new. At today’s CoffeeEDU the fabulous Maker Space Queen, Meredith Martin, showed off the 3D CreoPop pen which uses a heatless UV light to create 3D objects. Check out her awesome demo on Periscope!
  3. Tribe of weirdos. There is no better feeling than connecting with a diverse group of people that share the same talents and interests as you. Attendees of CoffeeEDU are passionate about education and creating proactive positive change in the education world. I left today feeling energized and excited to share my experience with my broader PLN and I can't wait to connect again with many of today's CoffeeEDU attendees at EdCampNJ!

I want you to have the same amazing experience that I did! Looking for a CoffeeEDU near you? Jump on Twitter and use the #CoffeeEDU hashtag to connect with like-minded educators that also want to connect!  I'd love to hear your CoffeeEDU stories and experiences - Share with me on Twitter or in the comments below.

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