Learning and Connecting, and I’m #NotatISTE14

Connect

This weekend, I’ve been part of one of those experiences that just cements my idea of how crucial my PLN and online learning in general are. As usual, I didn’t scrape up the funds to make it to ISTE in Atlanta, but knew that there would be some sort of online opportunity for learning.

This is where I was #NotatISTE14 most of this weekend!

This is where I was #NotatISTE14 most of this weekend!

Gone are the days of yesteryear though, when ISTE webcast their keynotes and shared out sessions for those educators not able to be there in person. THOSE days are over! I even considered paying for the virtual pass so that I could participate a little bit–but that seemed fairly expensive, and I wasn’t convinced that it would yield that much learning.

Then came Jen Wagner’s tweet, the hashtag and a G+ community! Now, I’ve not yet made complete friends with G+, but I figured as long as Jen was there, she would help me if I needed it! From that community has come a wonderful weekend experience of learning and connecting with a completely different set of folks than I usually run into online!

We all joined a Voxer community, which is a tool that I’ve used just a little bit personally, but haven’t ever used in a group. I was ready to see it in action with a large group, and it has been an interesting experience! I’m wondering if I could talk some of my colleagues into participating with me in one next year. Sometimes I feel like these tools are a hard sell for busy teachers, even if they might make their lives easier and richer! Anyway, now I have an example of how it worked. So that is a big win! After the nitty-gritty of setting up the community, Jen (being Jen) got down to the fun stuff and we all created #NotatISTE14 name badges, complete with ribbons. She set a list of challenges to all who wanted to participate. The weekend was off to a great start!  Vicky Sedgwick posted a  (much better) overview of our #NotatISTE14 experience, and did Ann Oro’s reflections from today are insightful too.

Learn

The real learning piece came in with Jeff Bradbury’s TeacherCast Live webcast. For three hours each morning, he’s interviewed amazing and inspiring leaders in education and tech, like Angela Maiers, Todd Nesloney, Steve Hargadon, Adam Bellow, Steve Dembo, the EduVue ladies and Paula Naugle. And there’s more tomorrow! As always, his interviews were easy going and fun, but filled with great information for all of us watching. He even surprised everyone’s favorite mentor, Peggy George with a tribute honoring her for her uncanny ability to make all of the Internet (educators, at least) feel welcome and empowered and ready to learn! Glad I was “there” to take part in that!

Reflect

I know that, among the people that I’ve spent my weekend with, I am far from the most adventurous online learner or leader out there! I’m a real outlier! However, this type of learning is so valuable to me, and it recharges me in a way that I wonder how I did things before online communities! Among the  teachers that I know in real life, so many of them have no inkling that this kind of community learning even exists! I’ve had little success in spreading my enthusiasm to my own local colleagues, and it is such a frustration to me! This situation is, of course, complicated by the roadblocks….oops….I meant safeguards…that our district employs on our network. It is very difficult to encourage professionals to even begin seeking a rich online PLN when the very tools that are required to do that can’t be used at school. The audience is lost before we begin! But that’s another rant, I guess.

Today, I’m just thankful that I’ve been at home #NotatISTE14 , and that I’ve had the opportunity to learn and play online with such amazing and dedicated educators! It’s been an experience that I know I will draw on in the months to come. Thanks friends!

 

 

 

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13 Comments

  1. Marie Coleman

     /  June 30, 2014

    I love that you added the impact of TeacherCast – I also enjoyed time with them this morning! 🙂 And, I feel your ‘pain’ regarding the challenges in getting others involved in the energy and excitement of PLNs and communities like this one. Even though I was ‘in and out’ of the twitter feed, NotAtISTE14 group, hashtag, twitter account provided me with a solid foundation – so thankful to be a part of this global group!

    Reply
    • Thanks Marie! Just a little groaning moment there! We are beginning to see a little movement in the….ahem….safeguards department! Seems the district has discovered Twitter. I just passed 7 years on Twitter, but I guess I need to be glad it’s….safe! 🙂

      Reply
  2. Hi Jamie

    It has been great connecting with everyone in the #notatiste14 community. I agree with Marie — great that you highlighted Jeff’s live broadcasting from Teachercast. It has been great to listen and watch the live TV sessions.

    It can be frustrating encouraging educators within your own organization to become involved; especially if there are technical challenges making it harder. I faced similar challenges within the educational institution I used to work for. So I took an alternative approach. I decided to share what I was doing and learning with the global community. This meant even if what I was doing didn’t feel like I was making a difference within my own organization; I knew it was making a difference for others globally. And sadly sometimes the reality is that they aren’t ready to hear the message from us but will listen to others outside their organization. I’ve used this approach since 2006 and it ended up being a life changing amazing adventure.

    Sue (@suewaters)

    Reply
  3. I haven’t gotten in on the TeacherCasts yet, but have really enjoyed the #notatiste14 twitter feed and the Google+ community. It seems like we have a great group!

    Reply
  4. I’m with you with regard to the frustration with colleagues. Sometimes I think they view my PLN as a group of imaginary friends! I just keep sharing and hope that someday somebody else will join in the enthusiasm!

    Reply
    • Imaginary friends! That cracks me up! That is EXACTLY what people seem to think about my PLN! heehee

      Reply
      • Too funny – imaginary friends – but also true.

        My colleagues are often bombarded by links from me after I participate in a Twitter chat. I have gotten creative and send them only with a direct curriculum idea now. Even though I attribute ideas to “teacher-friend-in-another-state,” my friends and colleagues are getting wise that it’s code for a Twitter friend…

        Thanks for sharing your wisdom w/ your imaginary friends, both of you! (-;

      • Yes, I can’t get that descriptor out of my head, because it so perfectly describes the reaction I’ve come to know so well when I mention a Twitter friend! I get it less now from my family, but the look is still in their eyes….
        heehee

  5. Nice write-up! My big challenge for today is spending time with TeacherCast. Jeff is such a great guy and it is amazing what he is able to share.

    As far as getting local teachers to participate the way you have I have noticed that a whole school can benefit from the knowledge of one connected educator. Just like our students, teachers have different ways to learn. They may not come to benefit from on online PLN in the same way you do. Whatever you share out will start rippling through the organization.

    I, too, am getting to meet a new group of educators who are online via #notatiste14. It has been fun learning with you!

    Reply
  6. njtechteacher

     /  June 30, 2014

    Nice write-up! My big challenge for today is spending time with TeacherCast. Jeff is such a great guy and it is amazing what he is able to share.

    As far as getting local teachers to participate the way you have I have noticed that a whole school can benefit from the knowledge of one connected educator. Just like our students, teachers have different ways to learn. They may not come to benefit from on online PLN in the same way you do. Whatever you share out will start rippling through the organization.

    I, too, am getting to meet a new group of educators who are online via #notatiste14. It has been fun learning with you!

    Reply
    • Good point Ann! I try to remember that, but need to be reminded periodically! 🙂 It has been a great weekend of learning with our #NotatISTE group, hasn’t it?

      Reply
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