Pretty much all of the rooms were full.
Wait, I have pictures. The first room had 150 seats. All of which were filled 30 minutes before we were scheduled to start.
This was a new presentation for all three of us - I've only properly been a 1:1 teacher for the past year, so I shared a few things that I do in my classroom, and so did Andrew and Sam. I think it was helpful. I hope it was.
This was the only presentation we had any technical difficulties with, and was the one we struggled with the most. Creativity is something that we all depend on, especially in teaching, and more especially when you're pushing students to be creators rather than consumers.
But it's really hard to dissect creativity into bullet points that can be added to slides.
Then we had to rush to the tiny room they gave us for the third session.
On puppets. Yes, they gave us the small room for the puppet session.
Instead, we had another packed room of probably over 100 teachers who wanted to hear about puppetting. They were BY FAR the best audience, and this was BY FAR the presentation we were most comfortable with, because we've done tons of versions of it.
It ended with some name-tags getting puppetted. And lots of people promising to make puppets in their classes and send us the results.
So here's the thing. Two sessions were very focused on delivering content, and the last was about showing people how they could implement one small change to make their practice better. And when I think about which was most successful, it was the last one, without a doubt.
We did leave room for questions and asked for audience feedback in a modified Twitter chat (something we do a lot) but the first two didn't feel like we really connected with the people in the audience.
I'm not sure people walked away with what they came to get. And that bothers me.
But part of the problem is the oppressive nature of the conference - you're put in a room with the "teacher" at the front, the students in rows, and the content written on a giant screen.
And here we are, talking about innovation and creativity and curiosity, in a room that creates none of those, and a format (one hour! packed between other hours! of sessions) that actively makes it difficult to take away anything of value.
So I'm left wondering what the next generation conference will look like. I love the CUE Rock Star model - three hour hands on workshops offered before and after lunch, with participants choosing where they go. I also respect the fact that FlipCon has tried to ask participants to do pre-session work to get rid of some of the information delivery.
But neither is going to replace a giant conference like CUE, where 5,500 educators come to learn and share. I don't know how to make that different, but I do know that I'm left as a presenter feeling like I failed my audience somehow.
I attended enough other sessions to know that the fact that our rooms got full and stayed full, meant that we did something right. We went into rooms that had a dozen people, all playing games on their iPhones instead of listening.
But I want to change the way teachers think and teach, so I can change the way students get to learn.
How do we do that in the conference setting? I honestly don't know.