Well, I did take three consecutive days off around Christmas. That's more than I did last summer! I don't really have an off-switch...more like a dimmer button. I wind down a few notches this time of year, and I even finished reading a book that has nothing to do with history, government, or education! When I am 'working' it's not full blast, and it has rarely been about actual school stuff (even though I don't have a firm unit plan for most of January's classes!).
Most of my efforts this week have been devoted to the flipped-learning conference that I am organizing for late-June. I've never done anything like this before, so it really helps that to have FTEC18 as a model and several supportive helpers like Dave, Matt, and Kelly. However it still feels like a game of Whack-A-Mole: as soon as I finish one task on my list, two new items usually pop up! There are many more little details than I expected, like the myriad of options in Eventbrite to set-up the online registration. Some decisions feel much more important than others, and many factors are out of my control -- like how many people will actually sign up! What if I'm planning a very expensive party for just a half-dozen people?!
It feels like the most important decision I made (after lots of in-the-car thinking and several conversations with my wife & others) is this change from FlipTech East Coast: instead of one-person keynote speakers, we will have a Keynote Panel of several educators. I have a short list of names in mind, but of course I shouldn't publish that yet. A panel discussion just seems like a much better use of group-space time than the classic lecture/presentation ... and that's the whole point of flipping, right? I don't mean to disparage the individual keynote addresses from FTEC, but just to take a different approach to the concept of the keynote.
I had a weirder idea last month: 'flipping the keynote' where the addresses would be delivered via video to attendees, then we gather in the auditorium or breakout rooms to discuss the keynote message. But there would be no accountability ("What if they don't watch the video?!") and the reliance on technology could also be problematic ("What if Comcast crashes again?!") Eventually I decided the gamble was too big so I backed off the idea.
I will use this space to write more updates about the conference planning process, for my own future reference if nothing else.