Friday, February 15, 2013

eTech: Collaboration #oetc13

I'm much more extroverted online than I am in real person, as I hinted in my digital footprint post.  I found that one of the best aspects of being at a conference is being involved in Twitter during the conference.  I used the hashtag #oetc13 and tried to use the unconference hashtag #oetcx once or twice (but realized I spelled it wrong).  I'm still trying to get a grasp on what an unconference is, but that's a different thought for another time.

This was beneficial to me for a few reasons.

  1. It gave me a whole new group of people to follow.  If I liked what you said, I clicked the FOLLOW button.  That way I can keep track of your thoughts, ideas, and lessons in the future.
  2. Multitasking is not necessarily efficient, but helpful.  While I was sitting in a session and tweeting about it, I was reading other people's thoughts.  It was as if I was sitting in two or three rooms at once.  In fact, here is a whole list of things I picked up on from other people
  3. It made those boring and useless sessions less of a waste of time. When I felt that I wasn't learning anything in a session, I could tune out the speaker and pay attention to Twitter.
  4. I could ask a question and get an answer from someone who was in a session about that.  I was able to get answers about Minecraft in schools and math apps for high school this way. 
These connections took me further than the people at the conference.  I am now connected with the teachers from the real classroom session through Twitter, and sharing ideas through blogs.  I also blew off one session (I was super late due to slow breakfast service) because I got an email from a Kindergarten teacher who is helping me forge my way through the primary classes. I read her email on the escalator and knew that the ideas she just fed me would help me succeed as a Kindergarten teacher and I needed to work on that idea.

What I'm driving at is this.  Teachers can become better by expanding their network. We no longer have to resort to reading a text book to get great ideas.  They are all around us.  By joining in the Twitter and blog conversation, I have more access to information, support, and encouragement than ever before.  

So, the next time you go to a conference, join in the conversation on Twitter and see how much more you can learn!

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