The other day I was having a post ISTE conversation with my mentor professor, an ISTE vet. We were having a bit of a disagreement because of my views on sessions, expo time and social gatherings at conferences. I consider myself highly connected through social media. Besides my own tweeting and sharing, I have access to information being shared by the people that I am connected to.
Her opinion is that we go to conferences to learn how to use tools in sessions. The expo floor is there to extend learning to playing as well as informing us about upcoming tools. I believe that if we wait until conferences like ISTE to learn, we are doing it wrong!
Connectedness has changed the way that we must think of learning. My K-12 circle gets this idea. Her assessment proves further that Higher Ed might be a little behind and that is problematic for many reasons. Pre-service teachers must be taught that information is there for their learning. Conferences can’t be our only place to learn technology. It must be the norm that we learn, share and discuss strategies consistently…daily.
She asked me if I did not attend sessions how could I expect anyone to attend mine. My response to her was that if my session is about something that you already know, don’t come. Come to my session if you need to learn it or if you want to discuss it further. She was not a fan of that response. For the record, I did go to sessions…ones where I needed to learn.
As for the expo floor, I saw what I needed to see. Everything else, I can learn about it via twitter. That’s what social learners do.
In case you are wondering, my real learning happened through conversations. I learned through sit down discussions, dinner talks and links shared via twitter. I’m STILL learning hourly…daily. If pre-service teachers walk away with anything at a conference, it should be the power of connectivity.