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 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)
CORE education have announced the deadline for their 2012 eFellowship awards. As a 2011 eFellow I’d like to encourage innovative educators to think about apply for this award.
The CORE Education eFellowship Awards recognise innovative e-learning practice by New Zealand teachers. The Fellowship celebrates teaching excellence in an eLearning context and aims to raise public and educational community awareness of the benefits of eLearning. Once inducted into the fellowship, fellows will provide ongoing, community-focused leadership in the field. In any one year up to 6 new fellows may be selected for the CORE Education eFellowship Induction Programme.
I’ve really enjoyed my time this year – getting to meet others, from different sectors of education, who are doing different things to what I’m doing – we’ve all learned a lot from each other.
As 2011 draws to an end, I’m aware that I’m going to miss our masterclass times together, but I’m excited at my growth this year and for my continuing e-Learning journey. I’ve been working on my poster for showing at the CORE stand at Ulearn2011 and my research wiki. This journey doesn’t really have a destination – it’s ever-changing and evolving – which makes the journey even more exciting.
This is my current draft of my poster – for a non-arty person I was feeling somewhat overwhelmed and have had to learn a whole new set of skills using GIMP to produce this poster. My initial idea was quickly thrown away and I’ve toyed with a few ideas before settling down to produce this.
You’ll notice the QR code – we’re all going to have QR codes on our posters – I think I’ll put this poster up at school and see if anyone there asks me what it is.
I am home again after a fantastic 4 days in Christchurch participating in the 10th ULearn conference hosted by Core Ed. Over the next few weeks I’ll be processing the input from the keynotes and sessions I attended. Here’s my summary:
Unofficial Geocaching workshop – great to introduce newbies to the addiction
Pecha Kucha session in the Limes Room – I think this was filmed so will find the link for it
I won a couple of fantastic prizes and must thank the sponsors for those:
HP: My DP has already responded about the 42″ digital sign I won – we’ve just completed a new admin area and I know it will look fantastic there
Learning Media: I spent my 2 hours at the airport waiting for my flight reading the teachers manual for the Write Tools – can’t wait to get stuck in – and when Murray Gadd next visits I’ll do a show and tell with him
And as for the other freebies:
Xirrus – while I know the t-shirts I got weren’t so much a prize as a giveaway I want to say thanks for them – they’ll fit right into my wardrobe!
DLink – best gadget ever – the screwdrivers – a must for all us geeks
Apple sMACdown – my new earbuds are very welcome – they’ll be residing at school – and will be very handy for my kids recording using the iTouch/iPhone
As always one of the huge bonuses is meeting up with my Twitter PLN – it’s great to see the international tweeps here with us kiwis. Thanks to all my PLN the personal input was amazing!