Saturday, January 30, 2016

Never stop learning

One of the highlights of the last 12 to 18 months for me has been the growth and development of my PLN. You may have seen my post on Twitter use and how Tweet it is in November. It has been a large part of my PLN growth. But wait, there's more...

Much of the core of my PLN exists because of some incredible real-life, face-to-face conferences. These are people I met first and connected with on Twitter later.

Have you been to an EdCamp?
EdCamp. That was a foreign word to me until about this time last year. Have you heard of it? If not, Google it. If so, I imagine you are already familiar with the amazing things that can happen at an EdCamp. Regardless of what group you fall into, please continue reading.

The neat thing about EdCamp is that everyone there gets to participate in deciding what the day will include. Sticky Notes rule the beginning the day and collaboration remains the theme of the day. EdCamp is an "unconference" and it can be fun trying to explain that to people.

I attended my first EdCamp last spring I connected with handful of wonderful people who encouraged me, inspired me, and led me to seek even great greatness. A couple of months later, I met with one of the people I met at my first EdCamp to discuss my transition into teaching technology and to continue navigating through some ideas I had. Additionally, I had a chance to continue to share some of what I was already doing. But, my best EdCamp experience was yet to come.

I attended another in the fall. Also, in the fall of 2015, I had the opportunity to present at CapCUE's TechFest. There, I again reconnected with one of my favorite CUE Rockstar teachers, Ryan O'Donnell. in fact, he and Brian Briggs (who I only really know from Twitter), gave me the opportunity to speak on camera as part of their regular Podcast, Check This Out. I saw Ryan again last my best EdCamp so far.

CapCUE hosted an EdCamp in Rocklin. Rocklin Unified provided lunch. (Score!) Amazing people came from all over for this EdCamp. The smartest person in the room was indeed THE ROOM. People shared ideas, experiences, awesomeness. And my day ended learning a little more about Podcasting in a special session with Ryan and a small group of wonderful people. Our familiarity varied. Our experiences difered. And, learning happened. I immediately took it back to my students and they were further inspired. Wonderful things will continue to happen with my students because of these experiences.

Later in the week, I revisited my favorite Twitter chat, with the DitchBook crew. We discussed science lessons specifically. Knowing that there are like-minded educators willing to share ideas who I can connect with on a weekly basis makes my heart sing.

I am now rejuvenated in my enthusiasm for my role as a facilitator of learning and my students are better for it. As I look forward to traveling to a different state to collaborate, learn, and share experience, as I look forward to CUE 16, as I prepare to present at an upcoming conference, I can say I am better for the the face-to-face experiences nurtured by online correspondence and interaction.

So, now, I leave you with some recommendations.

Five Suggestions
One. Attend an EdCamp.
Two. Find your tribe, your people, the collective with which you can share ideas virtually and in person.
Three. Participate in a Twitter chat. If you haven't seen #DitchBook, check it out. I love it. But maybe a different one fits you better. It's about what works for you and what nurtures your teacher soul.
Four. Take the time to listen (view) a podcast. I strongly recommend Check This Out with Ryan O'Donnell and Brian Briggs.
Five. Stand firm and be flexible. That's right. When you know something works, stand firm in knowing what is right, but be flexible and willing to try new things.
Be you. Be real. Be awesome. But never stop learning.

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