Connecting to Learn

I love learning.

Part of that learning takes place at conferences. For me they have real benefit; the conversations recharge my batteries and the networking pays huge dividends as I add to my Personal Learning Network (PLN) and provide connections for collaboration and student projects.  I am excited to be heading across the border again next month to present at ACTEM’s MAINEducation2010 conference – a wonderful mid-sized event that captures the essence of the conversation of a new story of school.

However, I also realize that having teachers attend conferences on a regular basis is neither practical (we do have jobs to attend to) nor feasible (resources are scarce everywhere).  For those teachers who are driven to learn and change their personal narrative of school, the solution is becoming more visible – virtual conferences.

There are a couple of exciting options taking place next month. First up is CRSTE’s 2010 Global Symposium. Held on-line in a virtual environment (Elluminate), the event will feature a variety of sessions held over nine days between October 16th and the 24th and will focus on the ideas surrounding worldwide collaborative network of educators. The sessions will take place on weekends and evenings (on the east coast of North America at least) and will feature educational technology leaders from around the world, including Alan November, Mark Weston, Karen Cator, Kathy Schrock, Jeff Utecht, Julene Reed, Julie Lindsay and Shabbi Luthra. I am absolutely humbled and honoured to be included in that company as I been invited to share some of my ideas about student global collaborative projects.

After that intense week, we will all need to turn quickly and immerse ourselves (or dip a toe in) in the annual K12 Online Conference, running pretty much the whole month of October (it actually starts before and runs concurrent and extends after CRSTE). The theme of this year’s conference is Cultivating the Future. Beginning with a keynote from Canada’s own Dean Shareski, educators will be able to choose from a wonderful selection of sessions delivered by educators from all over the world. These sessions offer practical advise on shifting classroom practice from your colleagues; classroom teachers and educational technology leaders from every continent.

From classroom teachers, learning specialists and superintendents to parents and students, the conversations about a new story of learning that will be offered at these events will be valuable to your personal journey as a learner. If you feel overwhelmed, you can join the room, sit in the corner and just listen. If you have something to offer, please share. But in whatever way you can, engage in the conversation.

Hope to see you on the other side.

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