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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Learning at NECC And Beyond



"Enjoy it, drink it in, it's not going to last
enjoy it,drink it in, it's not going to last!"

My neice repeated over and over as Sue Waters, Julie Lindsay, I, and my 3 kids, 4 nieces and nephews and extended family were watching the grand Camilla fireworks on July 4th.  We'd laugh - just when we thought it was the finale - another finale would start -- we had at least 3 and laughed and laughed.

Well, now I'm in Las Vegas, just having spent time with some amazing IT Directors from Edison Learning and I haven't had time to blog and tell you about all the things I learned at NECC from so many of you as well as the experiences.

Really, it was sort of this drink it in phenomenon that caused me to not have time to blog.  For me, NECC is about getting to see so many of you face to face that I respect and admire - I wanted to drink in your knowledge and learning - knowing that soon I'll be an island again.  Additionally, there was business to do - meaning, that we had to work on Flat Classroom projects for the next year to bring together so many of you who are doing things and want to help with these projects. 

Some say NECC is about the conversations -- and surely that is part of it. But to me conversations implies just talk and I was raised to ACT (as the daughter of a farmer.)

So, my challenge is to all of you who went to NECC or attended from afar -- what are you doing to DO about it?

I always like to keep my big 3 - or the next 3 things I want to learn about and learn how to do!  For me, I wanted to play with Microsoft Surface as a big item - and have a great video I'm going to share with you when I get back.  I think that Microsoft is sitting on an incredible gold mine of learning potential in this device and hope and wish they will harness the networking ability of someone like Alfred Thompson, my favorite Microsoft Blogger, to understand and implement such an amazing technology with schools that need it so badly.

I wanted to talk to Bernajean Porter to work on the upcoming Eracism project (a middle school debate project that was invented by our students at the Flat Classroom conference this past year.)  Julie and I had to work on the conference, and unfortunately also ended up having to work with my lawyer on a horrible case of plaigarism that came up at NECC where a significant portion of our work was copied without permission into a book coming out in August!

Then, Sue Waters and Julie Lindsay came over and I wanted to drink in the learning (and the work in the case of Julie and I) and spend time really getting to know and understand them.  If I had it to do now, actually, I'd likely use Edublogs - mostly because Sue Waters is the support but also because of the amazing hacks they've put on the wordpress platform that let you embed all sorts of things into your edublog.  You know you can't duplicate face to face.

Was listening to a football player who is trying to make a comeback (someone jog my memory on the name) and wanted permission to tweet from the locker room at halftime.  My thought was -- "Get your head in the game and focus on what is in front of you."

And that, to me, is a message I have for myself.

You see, at the last session, when I was completely worn out, we had a backchannel and put it up on the screen for others to see.  While I'm not really a fan of doing it that way, I was asked to do it as part of my role on the panel and was so happy to oblige.  Well, there were a couple in the audience who just weren't having it - when the floor was opened for questions, I was accused of paying attention to the backchannel and not the other panelists!  And this was a good point.

Really, I think the backchannel moderator doesn't belong on the panel and in retrospect, we'll do it differently next time.  But I did have a job to do and did moderate as best as I could to help the conversation go.

So, now I've got to board and go to Atlanta -- and if I keep blogging right now when I should be boarding - I'll miss my flight.

And that, my friends, is my point.  Do what is appropriate for your current context.  If you have someone amazing face to face -- look them in the eye and spend time with them.  If you have a flight to board, board it.

And if you have fireworks in front of you, drink it in, they're not going to last.

So, right now, I'm jumping on a plane to head home to my family and GO OFF THE GRID.  I love you, my dear readers and haven't spent enough time talking to you lately -- but it was about context.  With Sue Waters and Julie Lindsay around the corner - I needed to pay attention to them.

So, my question to you is just one of focus.  Focusing on the right thing at the right time.  OK, time to shut down this computer and catch that flight.  I may be offline for the next 2 weeks, but know I'll come back better and stronger --

Gotta drink this life in... it is not going to last.  Remember it and use the appropriate technology for the moment you find yourself in right now.  Technology used well should bring us together, not drive us apart.

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