It’s been a while since I attended a regional conference, and having recently returned from ETC 09 in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysian Borneo, I am unsure why. I was left with a very positive impression and enjoyed the whole experience. Here are a few of the things I learned, or relearned.
My fellow teachers are an amazing bunch of professionals, with great ideas and powers of motivation.
There are so many different presentation styles, just in the 3 keynotes, yet all are equally engaging.
There is hope for our planet – John Liu’s work on the Loess plateau in China shows what can be done if we set our minds to it.
There are ways to tackle academic honesty head on. I attended a workshop by Michael Sheehan that outlined the latest research and gave constructive ideas on how to tackle this issue in schools.
Assessment is different to grading. We need to assess so that our students can learn, but grading is not part of the learning process. Bill and Ochan Powell gave some great workshops on this issue. They also linked much of what they were saying to UbD and what can and cannot be differentiated.
The power of Twitter. It was actual real life face to face conversations with people who use Twitter that convinced me to give it a go, not the responses to my blog posts on this issue.
Good professional development all round!
So two weeks after signing up for Twitter, here are my thoughts.
- Fantastic for procrastination from marking.
- Superb for expanding my PLN.
- Amazing for links to interesting, relevant, current and thought-provoking blog posts and articles on education.
Communicate by kimberlyfaye on flickr
I read this post about the different types of Twitterer. I haven’t been using it long enough yet to decide which category I fall into, but I know that I am following mainly #1’s and #2’s. I have managed to resist facebook and myspace thus far, saying that I don’t want someone I vaguely remember from primary school, or summer camp, to come knocking on my door, and that I am still in touch with the people I still want to be in touch with. But Twitter is different. I have connected with other professionals in education, in international schools and in the US, Australia, NZ (mainly – it seems UK teachers have not caught on yet). I can see what they are reading, and ask them questions, and enter into dialogue, all with people I would never have discovered otherwise – at least not without a considerable amount of internet searching. So I have revised my opinion about this phenomenon (I am allowed. I am female.) and will continue to tap into it as a professional resource. I will, however, also resist the urge to become and/or follow any of the twitterers that tell me they are about to board a plane to Bali, have just ordered a tall latte in Starbucks, or are turning in for the night. Perhaps this youtube video says it best 🙂
OK – I succumbed to peer pressure. Enough people convinced me of the benefits of using Twitter that I decided to take the plunge and give it a go. 24 hrs later and I can already see the positives. My PLN is undergoing “exponential growth”. For those at ETC09, that will resonate after Alan AtKisson’s amazing keynote speech. Anyway, I am trying this out, and also trying not to let it take over my life. Follow me @nadinedickinson if you like.