Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Edcamp Excitement

Just a quick post about my experience today at my first unconference, ConnectED Leaders sponsored by ConnectED Learning. It was a short, half-day conference, which was actually the perfect length for me today (middle of the summer). Three sessions at 45 minutes each were enough to get into some interesting conversations, share some of my own insights and projects, pick up some ideas, and leave energized for my summer projects and next school year.

The unconference layout had me a little nervous. I felt like I should put something up on the board, but two things held me back. One, my brain just wasn't working - I couldn't come up with anything to discuss. Sad, I know. Two, there were already great session topics up and I didn't want to miss any of them, especially when I saw the names of some of the facilitators, who I had seen present at METC and/or followed on Twitter.

One of the few rules of an unconference is the rule of two feet - if you don't like a session you are in, get up and leave. Well, I followed that rule today. Twice. It wasn't that I didn't like the sessions; they just weren't as relevant to me as I had hoped... and having my TweetDeck open showed me that a more beneficial conversation for me might be going on down the hall. It felt awkward, getting up and walking out of a discussion that only had a dozen or so people in it, but in both instances, I'm glad I did. Grateful that they put that rule out there from the get-go. I knew the facilitators wouldn't be offended.

And the networking! I left there with a bunch of new Twitter followers (@mfankopedia), even more names to look up and follow, and an anticipation of the next time I get to interact with these people in person again. I joined an entire new professional learning network that can last long past 11:30 this morning. One of my new Twitter friends got me excited for EdCampSEMO this fall - it's only an hour away, so I might actually swing it. Missouri Summit on Google Education is also on my calendar for the fall, and EdCampSTL and METC are definite for me next February. Until then, there's Twitter and #moedchat, #connectedleader, and various other hashtags to follow, along with the new Twitter handles I'm following.

Speaking of people I follow, remember Richard Byrne (@rmbyrne), my technology blogging guru at Free Tech for Teachers? Tonight he started following me on Twitter. The tech-nerd in me feels like I just made friends with a big celebrity. That notification in my inbox (and seeing "follows you" on his profile) was kind of like an "I made it" moment for me in ed tech.

And that's it, maybe. Today helped me dive into my new professional learning network/community. Much needed, since I'm the only person in my position at CJ. Thrilled to have this community and ready to get more active in it.

1 comment:

  1. Michelle, so glad you found the ConnectED Leader event inspiring! Reading your post, I can feel the energy and excitement you experienced. Congratulations and welcome to the world of edcamps and Twitter chats! Your professional life will NEVER be the same! Looking forward to learning with and from you online and in person at EdcampSTL and MET