I have spent the last few days reading through several ISTE 11 reflection posts.
Lee Kolbert: http://www.leekolbert.com/2011/07/edublogger-snobs-stop-whining-already.html
Dean Shareski: http://ideasandthoughts.org/2011/07/04/the-sessions-i-attended/
Angela Watson: http://thecornerstoneforteachers.com/2011/07/the-haute-couture-of-education.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+TheCornerstone+%28The+Cornerstone+Blog%29
Tony Baldsaro: http://plpnetwork.com/2011/07/01/my-iste11-experience-confessions-of-an-introvert/#comment-5900
Jessica V Allen: http://edu-mashup.blogspot.com/2011/07/reflection-on-iste11.html
Tracy Watanabe: http://wwwatanabe.blogspot.com/2011/07/reflection-of-iste-from-newbie.html?spref=tw
Plus many many more —
and I wandered through the FLICKR ISTE11 feed: http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=iste11 and http://www.flickr.com/photos/kjarrett/sets/72157626996437230/
And two commonalities came clearly into view:
1. Everyone learned a great deal in MANY different ways. Attending sessions was not the only place of learning at this conference. Conversations were happening all over the place — some planned, some spontaneous, some in small groups, some in large, some structured, and some chaotic…..but learning was going on. A LOT of learning!
But the second commonality is what this blog post is mostly about —
There have been several blog posts written about the “CLIQUES” of our community. Snobbery has been mentioned, rudeness, shyness, closed, invitation only, etc.
I have to admit that I do enjoy seeing my “friends” at conferences. Catching the eye of someone I respect and appreciate and giving a special “hey, we are friends” grin. Eating a meal with someone I know both online and off and not only discussing education but also families and more. Sitting in the front row, hearing the same session for the 5th time (or more) but being the “rah rah” and later the “reviewer” is important as well.
Clique is a harsh word — because it symbolizes an acceptance and also a “you do not belong”…and I do not believe that is the case in the Personal Learning Network I see.
I see us as clustering.
We travel in swarms or clusters from session to session. Hearing people we have heard before, chatting with people we have chatted with before, dining with those we have dined before….and not dismissing anyone from joining in…..but not venturing out to invite others in either.
Look at the pictures and look at the reflections……and you will see we cluster.
If we honestly look at
the (the group I consider) my EdTech PLN — at this past conference — even if 1,800 people congregated at the Blogger’s Cafe or Newbie’s Lounge — and gave it the stamp of “this is my watering hole — my safe place – where I am comfy — where I fit, etc” — that is only 10% of the entire conference.
Because we cluster — I believe we limit not only our influence but also the opportunity to be influenced by others.
There is 90% we are unaware of — who also might be unaware of us — that probably have ideas we should listen to, stories we can learn from, and situations we need to see.
As we continue to cluster……we start believing ourselves in what we believe to be true and sound and “The Only Way” – the RIGHT WAY perhaps. Yet, when we venture out — hear other opinions — we are able to test our own ideas, share our own ideas, and learn from each others viewpoints.
I honestly don’t believe we are a clique……but I do believe we find comfort in the cluster.
Addendum: Jon B has reminded me, via twitter, that my EdTechPLN might be different than yours. This post is a reflection of what I saw displayed by those who I consider part of my PLN…an ever growing list of educators who I follow on blogs, twitter, in email, and meet at conferences.