Friday, July 4, 2008

My Final NECC Thoughts

I've been home for a day and still thinking and dreaming about everything that happened at NECC08. So here are my final thoughts...maybe then I will be able to move on. After all, the K-12 Online Conference is coming up soon.

1. The Network
Of course I have to talk about the networking. I knew going to NECC that I was most excited about meeting face to face people in my network. What I didn't realize was just how important that face to face contact is. Jo McLeay is someone I follow in twitter and communicate with at times. But meeting at NECC got us talking about a collaboration. Now we have a plan for a really cool project that will fit in nicely with our geography unit in the fall. I doubt this would have happened without meeting f2f. Cheri Toledo is another person who I follow in twitter. She came through for me once when I needed a sounding board for a class I was preparing. I meet her face to face and find out she is the nicest, most supportive person. Plus, she's really funny. I enjoyed talking to her and seeing her in Blogger's Cafe. Julie Lindsay is someone I follow who, I'm sure, never had any idea who I was before NECC. But I went up and introduced myself to her anyway. Yes, I was one of those annoying people who said hello to everyone. Go ahead and hate me for that. Anyway, Julie actually spent time talking to me. We talked about projects I wanted to do but had hurdles. She knew exactly how to help me jump those hurdles. Now I am ready to move forward with some great projects, thanks to her.

Of course, I loved actually meeting the people I communicate with the most. Brian Crosby, Alice Mercer, Ginger Lewman, Kevin Honeycutt, Cheryl Lykowski, and Maria Knee - I loved tightening up our network. We might not have had the long, deep conversations there that we have online but we did have fun.

And I made some connections e
ven tighter. Derrall Garrison, Adina Sullivan, Scott Meech, Vinny Vrotny, Linda Nitsche, Stephanie Sandifer, Sue Tapp, Chris Champion, and Kristin Hokanson - I loved connecting with all of you face to face. And now I have some more blogs to add to my blogroll. I really want to keep hearing your voices. I'm sorry if I forgot anyone but the week is such a blur. And I love you all. Really.

2. The Conversations

I loved the conversations that went on during lunch, at dinner, during a river walk, on a bus ride. These were the conversations where we discussed how to bring in more of our colleagues, how to use PBL more in class, what we were doing that demonstrated best practices. We talked about upcoming conferences and on what our districts focus. We had discussions about our administration, our colleagues, our students. We talked about our families and homes. We really connected and I found myself learning more during these conversations than I did at the sessions I attended.

3. NECC Unplugged
I spent most of my time at Blogger's Cafe and NECC Unplugged. I truly didn't mean to. I spent all this money on the conference and wanted to attend all the sessions but somehow, the timing was always off or the session was closed out or the people in Blogger's Cafe were a bigger draw. So I stayed and learned. Kristin Hokanson talked about Fair Use. Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay talked about the Flat Classroom Project. Brian Crosby talked about skyping in the classroom. And those were just a few of the presentations I attended. I liked the closeness of the learning. I hated the background noise. And, sometimes, I was a contributer to the background noise. I apologize to all who were presenting when I started having a conversation with someone during your presentation.

4. What I Wish I Had Done

I wish I had gone into some of the BYOL sessions. I wanted to learn more about how to use tools. But I never made it. Something always got in the way. Next year, I will not spend so much time in Blogger's Cafe. I will not spend so much time networking and saying hello to people. I will learn how to use Scratch (unless I actually teach myself before then) and Moodle (unless Bethany, who I met at NECC, decides to help me learn). I am going to spend lots of time this summer going through all the ustream archives from the conference.

I wish I had spent more time talking to Steve Dembo about how much I love the DEN and how I want it to change. Talking to him about it as we were saying goodbye was not a good plan. And it is an organization I love and would love to help improve, even through conversation.

I wish I had told Steve Hargadon how important Classroom 2.0 actually is
. I send all new teachers there. It started me on this journey and I wanted him to know this.

I wish I had toured the Alamo. I never seemed to have the time during the day. It was right there, I teach a whole unit on the acquisition of Texas and the relevance of the Alamo and never made it inside. I did get pictures of the outside, though.

5. How I Feel Now That I'm Home
I loved talking to people about what I do and having them know what I was talking about. I loved finding people who want to join in collaborations. I loved (okay I know this is a bit childish) the recognition I received for what I do in the classroom. And, I am a bit resentful that the people I work with year after year have no idea that what I do is important and successful. I know I should just be happy with what I do and be grateful that I am able to knock down the walls of the classroom. But I really want others in the district to join in and take their students into the 21st century. And I really want to teach them how to get there. But first my district has to see me the way my network does. It's difficult coming home from NECC to be "just a teacher" again. I can't wait until the next conference.


Anonymous said...

So glad to have met you - even though it was the last day!

I know you know there is no such thing as "just a teacher" ;-)

Anonymous said...

Lisa - Don't let the fact that NECC08 has ended leave you with that "just a teacher" feeling. Stick with the high you have from meeting your network face-to-face and cultivate those experiences into projects that your colleagues will learn from. Your enthusiasm is contagious - they'll catch it eventually.

Mrs.A said...

I was happy to get a chance to spend a little time with you and so proud to say I know you, and so hope I can plant some seeds with teachers in my school to grow half as much as you have this past year. I'll keep following your projects and keep hoping one of the teachers might want to participate.

Julie Lindsay said...

Lisa, you are an amazing educator! Yes, I did know who you were before NECC and I was delighted to meet you and get to know you a little. Thanks also for being a positive and active member of our BOF session at NECC!
I look forward to interacting and keeping in touch over the next academic year.

Unknown said...

Your enthusiasm and energy are palpable. As a former teacher, I read your blog with some envy. During my days in the classroom, there was no internet to connect us before we met face to face with colleagues who were strangers.

As author of the forthcoming, Face to Face: How To Reclaim the Personal Touch in a Digital World, you validated the premise of my book. With all our online, digitals options, connecting in- person is in-credible.

Kudos to you.

Susan RoAne, author/professional speaker

Mrs. Robin Martin said...

Lisa, I was just catching up on some of the sessions I missed. Congratulations on your award! I had no idea you were such a star! We met briefly at BlueStar and again at DEN Sunday, but there was a lot of meeting going on there too! I see your comments on Twitter as I follow the DEN Tweets, but I am commenting due to Durffs challenge to go read a blog you never have.
I think many of us were the chatters who told other's we follow their blogs. I think it is important for people to know that there are listeners/readers.
Keep up your award winning work.

Anonymous said...

Lisa, there is only thing that I am uncomfortable with re: the comments made about the value of f2f. I would hate it to become that meeting others is the greatest purpose of being in an online network - why bother reading some bloke from Adelaide, Australia, who will never make it to NECC then? We can build so much, share so much, without the need to actually meet - that is the amazing thing about the web. The opportunity to occasionally meet someone in my PLN is a bonus but never the focus or purpose. I hope that you see that my post that links from here is not criticising your point of view as much as it presenting an alternative perspective that you may not have considered from those not in your part of the world.

Lisa Parisi said...

Graham, please see the comment I left on your blog. And let me know if you ever want to work on a project together. :)