National and regional conferences have been a major component of my scholarly life. For certain, the conferences are places where learning opportunities are ubiquitous. Early in my academic career, I attended the annual conferences of UCEA and AERA. I was compelled to attend for professional learning and professional networking. Additionally, I though of those conferences as opportunities to test out my knowledge claims. That is, I consider the conclusions I draw from empirical inquiry as conditional. Typically, then, the first space where I open those conclusions to “peer review” is at regional or national conferences. There, the reviews come from multiple sources. First, there is a review of whether or not the work is even worthy of being presented. Second, if presented at a paper session, there is the review that comes from the discussant. Finally, if the session is run well, there is review that comes from the attendees during the question and answer portion of the session. In nearly every instance where I have presented a paper at a conference, those reviews have greatly re-shaped my understanding and provided me with further confidence that my knowledge claims are warranted.
I remember one of my earliest conference presentations with particular fondness. In early 2004, an organization called ERASE Racism, based on Long Island (NY), held a conference on the 50th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. The aim of the conference was to consider any progress that had been made with respect to school desegregation and other race-based equity issues in education on Long Island. I was asked to present on the issue of the disproportionate overrepresentation of students of color in the special education system on Long Island and in the state of New York. The conference was attended by a staggering 600+ people; this was the largest audience to which I had ever presented my work. I presented some strikingly discomforting statistics about the extent of the disproportionality problem on Long Island and situated it in the greater picture of what I argued was the systematic problem of within-school segregation (as contrasted with between-school segregation; the focus of the Brown decision and its progeny). I received mild resistance to my ideas and considered that evidence of success. More importantly, though, I was part of a panel of presenters that included Theodore Shaw, the Director-Counsel and President of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), the nation’s premier civil rights law firm. Shaw was in the same position occupied by Thurgood Marshall when he argued the Brown case before the Supreme Court in 1954. I was absolutely humbled and honored to share the stage with such an influential advocate.
The list of professional presentations I have made is lengthy. Each year, I present at multiple conferences ranging from national research conferences to local professional development events. A complete list can be found in my CV. In the last couple of years, I have put less effort in to attending and presenting at academic conferences, and more emphasis on presenting and attending practitioner-oriented conferences such as Educon and the annual conference of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Part of being the modern, engaged scholar I wrote about above is breaking down silos between academics and practitioners. Those of us in the academy, especially in the field of education, need to step into spaces inhabited by professional educators and practitioners. Simply talking amongst ourselves is no longer acceptable.
Rather than write about all of the presentations, I point you again to my CV which lists all presentations and includes links to sites that include information about the presentation including, in some cases, archived recordings of the presentations.
Also, below, you will find a few of the presentations I have done that have been recorded and archived. I encourage you to watch those videos (click on the links in the titles to access the website for the presentation and/or to watch the recordings).
Scholarship 2.0: What the Modern, Open Web Affords the Modern Scholar
(VCU Center for Teaching Excellence – September 23, 2011)
Description: We spend lots of time and energy thinking about how technology can be integrated into our teaching. But, we are also scholars and ought to consider the affordances of the modern web for our lives as scholars. Join us for a discussion around questions such as: How might we think differently about publishing? How can we take advantage of modern technologies to look differently at the “impact” of our work? Are there implications of modern computer-mediated communications for how we do peer review?
Publishing 2.0: Open Access, Digital Scholarship and Other Modern Forms of Public Intellectualism
(VCU Center for Teaching Excellence – October 15, 2010)
Description: There was a time when professors needed a publisher to disseminate their knowledge. Now, publishing is as simple as sending an e-mail. Yet, for the most part, knowledge produced by scholars in institutions of higher education continues to be disseminated mostly in the form of written narrative published in private journals locked behind a proprietary database accessible to only a few. In this session, Dr. Jonathan Becker, assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership, will lead a conversation about new and old ways of conceptualizing scholarship and how we disseminate it.
Beyond Klout and PLNs: Towards an Understanding and Application of Network Theory to Education
(Educon 2.4 – Philadelphia, PA – January 27, 2012)
#chats and #camps: Examining the Impact of Social Media-Fueled PD on Classroom Practice and Student Learning
(Educon 2.4 – Philadelphia. PA – January 26, 2012)
Facilitating Technology Integration: A Synthesis of the Research
(K12onlineconference – October 21, 2008)