Category Archives: NECC09

F2F Connections

Wow! The difference in one comment and blog post. Since last night, many educators have contacted me through comments and Twitter. Thank you to each of you for your encouragement. I do believe that edubloggers are willing to reach out to anybody and join them in the conversation. I think that the most important word in my feelings yesterday was my PERCEPTION. I have learned that many of the people that I follow are themselves relatively new to the conversations but have just engaged others more than I have.

I specifically want to point out a post by Scott Meech in which he encourages his friends who are “experts” to get out of their comfort zones and join “newbies” in conversations at NECC. This is exactly what I am talking about happening, and I find this encouraging. I would add that I hope that they would reach out all of the time and not just at NECC. I also agree with twitter comments about setting up a more regional meeting so people can meet with their PLN f2f (face-to-face).

In re-analyzing my feelings yesterday, I think the real thing I am missing is the personal connection beyond twitter. That is what Ben Grey’s post said to me. I can “feel” the friendships that he has with his PLN by reading his tweets. The real thing that is missing for me is that I have never met anyone in my PLN f2f except for two people in my school that I helped sign up for Twitter. Basically I feel jealous of everyone at NECC because of the strengthening of their PLNs through f2f contacts.

So I am very interested in regional meeting idea because I can not afford the time or money to go to DC and I am sure that there are many more like me. I do feel that there is something very powerful in the real world conversations of a PLN beyond blogs and Twitter.

NECC, mentors, and the Matrix

I am watching the first Matrix movie and reading my Tweetdeck. I was reading Ben Grey’s wrap-up post on NECC and left a comment there. I found others discussing something that has been bothering me for a little while. It starts with a tweet from Steve Dembo (who talked me into starting twitter at MACUL 2009 by the way)

“If I took nothing else away from NECC, it’s that we need to spend more time bringing in new choir members, & less surfing the bleeding edge.”

I could not agree more. I am a “newbie.” I have been a middle school technology teacher for five years, but before December, 2008 I had never heard RSS, Readers, Flickr, Twitter, Digital Storytelling, or anything Web 2.0 or 21st Century. I took a “23 Things” class through my local ISD and have immersed myself ever since. I started as a lurker reading around a hundred blogs. I have recently started blogging more myself, got active on Twitter, and commenting on others’ blogs. I have started to get into conversations with some great educators.

Although I am so new to all of this I have already presented a Professional Development session on Google Reader and Delicious for middle school teachers in my district. Compared to almost every teacher in my district I am an expert! They would be lost in even the most basic sessions at NECC.

But as I commented on Ben’s blog I feel like the top edubloggers have an “exclusive group” that is easier to “follow” than join into the discussion for the average classroom teacher. While I have written this Morpheus has spent the whole time explaining the “new technology”of the Matrix to Neo. He could never become “the One” without Morpheus as his mentor.

I suggest that each of the edublogger leaders take 10-15 newbies under his/her wing and actively engage with them and guide them in their struggles implementing new teaching strategies and tools. When I tweet a question usually no one answers me. I understand it takes time to build my PLN, but an expert to guide me would be very valuable.

So in answer to Sheryl NussbaumBeach who tweeted

“pondering “agents of change” who are unknown — can one be an agent of change if those who need changing do not know about them?”

I say yes! Start with those of us who do know about you and we will share with other teachers.

I have the opportunity to be a technology consultant for one hour a day for the second semester of this next year. I hope to engage as many teachers as possible in my building with student-centered teaching using technology. So who wants to help 🙂