Ulearn – A Tale of Two Halves (aka TCE-1 vs TCE5)

Over the next while I’ll be blogging about my thoughts and reflections from Ulearn11 but I thought I’d start with a good old ‘compare and contrast’ post.

Way back in 2006 I attended my first Ulearn. I was the only teacher there from my school and didn’t really know a lot of other people who were there – there were some from our cluster but that’s all. My boss had thought it would be a great idea for me to attend and get a hold of some new/innovative ideas to bring back to school. Now that wasn’t a bad idea – but it also wasn’t so great. While I loved the challenges of the various breakouts that I attended, I didn’t enjoy anything else. I was extremely isolated and because I didn’t really know other people, I had no one to talk with about the new things I was learning. I didn’t even go to the dinner because I couldn’t bear being alone in the crowd.

Teleport to the present and it’s a whole different story!

Twitter went public in 2006, I first heard about at Learning@Schools in 2007, and finally joined up March 13, 2008. L@S07 was different because I went with 7 others from school – we had lots to talk about and it was refreshing experience. L@S09 was a smaller group of people from school – but I also had my twitter PLN. Ulearn09 saw 2 of us attending from school; Ulearn10 I attended ‘alone’ and now I have Β just finished attending Ulearn11 (‘alone’).

The contrast between Ulearn06 and Ulearn11 couldn’t be greater. I am a naturally gregarious person (all my friends will LOL at that comment) but the feeling of isolation was terrible at 06. There are an increasing number of us who attend Ulearn/L@TS on our own – and often self-funded. We go because it’s the best PD out there (thanks CORE). We go because we get to spend several days socializing in RL with our Twitter friends – Twitter has become our lifeline – especially for those of us who are isolated in our schools – or even in small/rural/one teacher schools.

For many of us that first face-to-face connection seals the bond of friendship – we move from virtual colleagues to RL colleagues. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

(I’ve taken the liberty of coining a new acronym – TCE = Twitter Common Era!)

(Acronym definitions: PLN=Personal/Professional Learning Network or community (PLC); RL=Real Life; PD=Professional Development; L@S=Learning At School)

10 thoughts on “Ulearn – A Tale of Two Halves (aka TCE-1 vs TCE5)

  • October 22, 2011 at 1:40 pm
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    Couldn’t agree more! It was great to catch up with my PLN in RL at this PD extravaganza! You are an inspiration with much to share. I’m looking forward to some more virtual and RL collaborative experiences with you.

  • October 22, 2011 at 1:53 pm
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    Agreed Jo, it was amazing to meet so many Twitter and PLC friends.

  • October 22, 2011 at 2:59 pm
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    Hi Joe I have been enjoying your reflections. I wanted to say thanks for your friendship at uLearn10. I was on my own there and you made it more enjoyable with great conversations and good laughs. I missed it this year but I desparately needed a break. I am one of those isolated teachers you mention in your post and I find the conferences that Core offer a fantastic way to interact with like minds and discover exciting happenings but they also hurt my bank account.
    I wander when the next Educamp is?
    Is there anyone near Taupo who wants to organize one with me?
    Worth a try!
    Thanks again Joe
    @melaniem8

  • October 22, 2011 at 3:53 pm
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    I am loving the f2f connections that are slowly happening thanks to Twitter. I missed so many meetings because I don’t know people and have since found I was at 2 breakouts with PLC people…. funny really! Loved U-Learn 11 – going home inspired.

  • October 23, 2011 at 5:04 am
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    So truewhat has happened in a short time. Twitter has seen the connection level jump up and touch the sky.

  • October 23, 2011 at 7:48 am
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    hi jo,
    i just rediscovered twitter at ulearn11 – and have subsequently followed about a hundred peeps – really looking forward to some conversation and inspiration – such an incredible feeling to have an online stream to rinse off my own brain-meltage x x
    i would link to my blog but it’s a bit quiet at the mo πŸ˜›
    http://twitter.com/#!/katekiwi

  • October 29, 2011 at 10:51 pm
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    I remember my first ULearn experience. I wanted to go to the same workshops as others from my cluster cos I didn’t know where to go and who I could sit next to. I sat there in awe of the geeky ones- too shy to introduce myself to those whose blogs I followed- now I call these people my friends- and realise that even the ICT rock stars are just people. NOt nearly so tongue tied now.

  • November 1, 2011 at 12:08 pm
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    Great to read your journey and how Twitter has played it’s part in connecting with real people – got to love the Twitterati / back channel πŸ™‚

  • November 2, 2011 at 4:24 pm
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    I am only sorry that it didn’t last for a few more days so that I could sit down and have a chat with you and others that I wanted to catch up with…Oh well there is always L@S2012 πŸ™‚

  • November 14, 2011 at 12:48 pm
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    “Naturally gregarious”? Really?! LOL:-)
    Lovely post, Jo. Appreciate the honesty and reflection.

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