#FindAmanda and Win Big at BlogHer!

We’re taking a break from Tyler’s NECC coverage to bring you news of another conference that’s steadily approaching …. BlogHer ’09! I’ll be attending on behalf of Scholastic and my fellow OOM-ers, and we’re giving BlogHer attendees a chance to win tons of really cool swag … just for saying hello!

Here’s how it works: I’ll be sitting in on panels/networking/eating at BlogHer from July 23-July 25. If you or someone you love is going to BlogHer this year, be sure to follow Scholastic on twitter (@scholastic) because in addition to live-tweeting from the conference, we’ll periodically be announcing awesome giveaways with the hashtag #findamanda. To win, all you have to do is find me, and the first person who does will win that prize. I’ll be tweeting clues to my whereabouts to help you out, and I’ll be carrying a red Scholastic tote to distinguish me from the sea of BlogHers.

So, to recap – if you want to win awesome prizes from Scholastic at BlogHer this year, you need to:

2. find Amanda

Easy peasy.

See you there!

Rallying the troops

I know I’m just a NECC newbie, but I feel pretty confident in saying this: One of the most important outcomes of a conference like NECC is that it renews enthusiasm and resharpens focus on high level goals. For many of us here at NECC, that means talking about how we can transform all schools into relevant and powerful learning environments for students in this plugged-in world.

This was evident right from the start of the week for me at EduBloggerCon — where dozens of edublogger-types gathered to reconnect and chat informally on topics ranging from social media and social change to social media policy in districts.

One of the best discussions I was a part of was on large-scale school reform, and whether it is possible for school systems to “reinvent” themselves from within. It was led by Jon Becker, a blogger and associate professor at VCU.

I wouldn’t say we came to any real conclusions, but that wasn’t really the point. We left motivated, and with some big ideas about how to start discussions on the community level, and with school leaders and legislators.

At the end of the day, I grabbed my Flip, and I asked Jon, and also Scott McLeod, to tell me what stuck out in their minds from EduBloggerCon. They said similar things. They talked about the need for “community organizing” (Jon) and creating a “groundswell” of support with leaders to affect change (Scott). They really helped me sort out some of the ideas that came from the discussion.

Take it away Jon and Scott… And thanks!!!

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/AYGNunePoFQ%5D

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/AYGNuwePoFQ%5D

I survived my first EduBloggerCon!

I have about 10 minutes right now to put a post up about EduBloggerCon, which just wrapped up about an hour ago.

What a great day of chatting, listening and meeting people who, in my opinion, are some of the leading thinkers out there on technology and education. I’ll be back to the blog to sort through some of the ideas floating through my mind later, but for now I thought I’d put up a couple photos I took with my iPhone.

My pins:
Two pics of a GREAT discussion on the possibilities for large-scale school reform:
Off to a post-EduBloggerCon party! Cheers!

NECC Newbie heads to D.C.

I’m train-ing it down to NECC09 tomorrow afternoon and I couldn’t be more excited.

I’ll be a true “NECC Newbie,” so I’m going to try to soak up as much of the action as I can. I’ll be the one acting all star-struck wandering around EduBloggerCon looking for all my Twitter friends — Flip in one hand, iPhone in the other.

Seriously though, I think it’s going to be an amazing experience. I kept close tabs on NECC08 last year via Twitter, blogs and Ustream, but I know the real thing is unrivaled. I’m planning to take Jeff Utecht’s advice and jump right into as many conversations as possible, and blog as much as I can. And like Wes Fryer, I’ve got all my gadgets and Twitter apps and video cameras all packed up and ready to go.

One thing I’m hoping to do at EduBloggerCon on Saturday is get a bunch of video of people telling me what’s “on their minds” at NECC this year — what they’re excited about, what they’re thinking about, what their goals are for the next year, etc. So I hope some of the people I meet can spare a few minutes of their time. Please! 🙂

It’ll be a busy few days: WikiSpaces party on Saturday night, Malcom Gladwell on Sunday night, meetings with some editors on Monday and Tuesday to talk about Expert Space and System 44, the Scholastic Administrator Magazine “Best in Tech” breakfast on Tuesday, a burger (yum) with Tech Savvy Mama, and hopefully some dinners/drinks/meetups with current and future friends.
Follow this blog and my Twitter feed for constant updates!

This will be fun. See you in D.C.!

Secretary Arne Duncan Beats the Summer Slide!

As the Scholastic Summer Challenge keeps going like gangbusters (40+ million minutes read!), the Department of Education started their own summer reading campaign yesterday called Read to the Top!

What better way to kick things off than with everyone’s favorite big, red dog? That’s Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and his son Ryan reading Clifford to a group of D.C. kids. (Scholastic is donating books to the effort so the kids can add to– or start– their own libraries at home.) Throughout the summer, different folks from the Cabinet and Administration will read children’s books at lunchtime on the D.O.E. plaza. Can’t wait to see who will read next!

We’re giving away a Catching Fire ARC!

Want to win an advanced copy of Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins?

Watch this video:

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/AYGL4zuPoFQ%5D
Now, make one of yourself reciting “the Catching Fire no-spoilers pledge.” Put it up on the Web. Then drop the link into the comments below!

We’ll randomly choose our winner after July 4th. Good luck!

How to enter: Create a video no longer than one minute in length, of yourself, and only yourself, reciting the following pledge: “I hearby swear, if I am lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, I, [your name], promise not to spoil the story for those not as fortunate as I am.” Post that video to your favorite video hosting site (such as YouTube), and post a link to it in the comments of this blog post.
Deadline: 11:59 PM EST on 7/5/09
Prizes: Advance Reader Copy of Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Void where prohibited
For complete rules click here.

Brand New Dad

This is our final Fathers’ Day post, I promise, but it’s one we couldn’t forgo.

Say hello to the newest Dad in the (extended) Scholastic family. Brad is the proud pop of Olivia Maya, born this past Tuesday. He’s also the proud husband of Sara Sinek, our PR Director extraordinaire. We wish them all the best!

(Hey Sara, send us a link to your new mommy blog when it’s up. 😉