Today was a very special day for me.
I attended the Power Up Conference of Massachusetts Computer Using Educators held at Gillette Stadium. In addition to touching base with some colleagues I don’t get to see on a daily basis at school, I got a chance to meet some new people who share similar interests and forge new collegial friendships. There were over 1800 educators in attendance, of whom I met about three face-to-face. Even though it was an all day affair, there was only about 90 minutes of unstructured time during which I had a chance to chat with a few new friends.
I decided when I arrived that I was going to fully engage in posting comments on Twitter throughout the day, both as a way to take notes during presentations and to make new connections with other educators. We were all invited by the MassCUE President, Mr. Leo Brehm, who also works at Newton Public Schools, to use a common hashtag (#MassCUE2012) so that all the Tweets from the conference would be unified in a single stream.
Looking back at the conference, I realize that using Twitter throughout the day enhanced my engagement in the discussions I was physically a part of and it allowed me to keep up with the ones that were happening in other rooms. So by following the stream of tweets in real time during the conference, I was able to connect with 20 additional educators who share my interests. I went into the conference following about 110 people on Twitter and being followed by about 100. Coming out of the conference, I am now following 142 people and am followed by 125. These people are now part of Personal Learning Network (PLN). Every time I log onto Twitter, I will be able to see what’s new with my PLN, read articles that they post, and communicated directly with each of them when I tweet. As of today, I have 398 Tweets, all of which can be accessed from my page on Twitter.
I learned about Storify in one of the workshops today, so I used it to create a story of all my tweets from today. I’m going to try to embed the story into the blog, but if that doesn’t work, I’ll link to it here.
In the end, conferences are social gatherings. I attended and met with a handful of colleagues and found that experience to be worth the price of admission. I took away much more than that in terms of the network I built by attending, both by reading other educators’ tweets and by gaining followers by posting tweets of my own.
I’ll be back in the classroom tomorrow and at the end of the day, I’ll be able to open the Twitter app on my iPhone and check in with my growing PLN and see what’s new. Being a part of a PLN of connected educators on Twitter helps me renew and refresh my passion for teaching and learning.