On CEGSA2012 – Key Learning Number 1
So, #cegsa2012 is over for another year. I have attended many conferences but I have to say this year’s CEGSA conference was Awesome (yes… it deserves that capital A). Up until recently, I was on the CEGSA committee and it’s my fault that there’s a new website, and a twitter and facebook account. I know that at the last 2 conferences there were about 2 people tweeting. This year, my evernote notebook collected 1,318 tweets. As the days rolled on, Twitter became a real focus. The message of connection, sharing and personalisation spread like wild fire. Those of us who were already using twitter weren’t left feeling like we had nothing to learn either.
I ‘modded’ my badge before the second day so that it included my Twitter handle… Why? Because I usually hate the fact that I’m tweeting away and I have no idea who I’m talking too! I wanted people to know that I was @teachertechnol. At this conference, I didn’t need to worry about that. Cartoon characters, logos and all impersonal twitter profile pics slowly changed to real people, making it easier to work out who was who and make real-life connections with those around us. And do you know what? I was as guilty as the next person. I had never realised the barriers that I was creating by not being… well… me!
I cheated a little bit to start with. Opting for a picture with me… AND a rather large coffee cup…
I still hadn’t said an awful lot about myself in my blurb either…. BUT! Here’s what you’ll find right now if you search for me…
Who would you rather connect with?
I wasn’t the only one either…. By the end of the CEGSA conference we had shouted out to a large number of new tweeps, eggs, logos and cartoons became human and the vibe of the conference changed …
I’m not suggesting, even for one minute, that members of CEGSA are not sociable people, however… the fact that we knew who we were talking to during the presentations meant that we could then continue those conversations over a cup of tea – face to face. Those virtual twitter connections became real-life connections. Now, that’s got to have an impact on the development of your support network. Hasn’t it?
I know, that, personally, as a result of this conference and, maybe, because I made these changes… my followers went from 379 (on July10th) to 433 (as of 13/07). That’s 54 new colleagues, friends and people to share with in 3 days. That’ s good! It took me 5 months to connect with 100 new people before…. I’ll let you do the math 😉 I’m really excited to connect with all of these new educators and to keep in touch.
How did this happen? What changed?
The @Cegsaustralia Twitter Account has been around for 2 years… (2010-03-09 – I love the Twopcharts). Before I left the committee I had managed to grow it’s following to 283… now it has 349 (yay!) So, it’s never been a silent place to share and connect. However, I’ve never seen twitter being used like it was in the last two days… This massive impact on the networking capabilities of South Australian teachers came from one man, delivering one, hour long, Keynote speech “Learning and Leading in the Digital Age”.
and…. how did CEGSA find this Canadian national and convince him to pop over to Adelaide, Australia? @Tina_p (Tina Photakis) connected with him through his blog, became twitter friends with him and invited him… I am so glad he said “Yes” and that Tina is so well connected!
George spoke passionately, emphatically and emotionally about the children we teach today. He echoed some of the sentiments that Chris and I had nodded towards in our post for CEGSA – In fact, in one of his workshops, he asked us to Google ourselves. He reminded us that the kids we teach work in a different context, a different world. That the technology we see as new and innovative, in many cases, was invented before they were born and is therefore taken for granted. That even we, as the “OLD” teachers, do the same thing, if we think about it:
I mean, do you remember these hard times?
Have you considered how our students see our “old” world?
“education should be leading society not trying to catch up with it”
He told us about his young niece who is allowed a day of school for a sniffle because her dad feels that she’ll learn more at home with her ipad than she does at school. She was creating iMovies before she started going to school and now she has access to none of that rich learning. He shared this video from a uni student which powerfully speaks for itself:
He asked us to consider where our students (and a lot of their parents) operate…. Facebook, Twitter etc and challenged us to consider why it was that we weren’t connecting with their world or with them in that arena.
He reminded us that the internet is a place of learning. That, if you consider the internet as a place where you ‘look stuff up’, you’re missing the best part. He consistently encouraged us to connect, to learn from others and to share what we have learnt to help others. His way of connecting (all of the videos here were in George’s Keynote) with his audience, along with his true, clear message had the most immediate effect I’ve ever seen at a conference.
The demand from delegates who wanted to connect was so strong, he ended up coming back for a second day to run workshops specifically on setting up Twitter and WordPress (blogging) accounts. I am so happy to welcome so many new people onto this learning pathway we’re all strolling along – together. I’d really like to thank George for inspiring people (and me!) to connect more effectively. Now we really can “make learning visible”. What better model for our students is there?
If you were at #cegsa2012, or you’d like to connect with those who were, then George has invited us to add our Twitter handle to a list (the url for which is on the top of this document) and see who else was around 🙂 Keep connecting!