Saturday, April 9, 2011


Recently I was fortunate enough to attend the annual EARCOS Teacher's Conference in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. Not only was it a 3-day event full of amazing presentations, workshops and networking, in a beautiful setting, it was also a time for me to practice giving my own presentation, honing a skill set that I hope to develop over time. I've acknowledged lately that while I love giving presentations and often feel like I have so much to share with others, the bottom line right now is that I am just not very good at it. Yet. But I one day I will be.

My presentation was about promoting global citizenship and school-wide community through school blogging programs. You can see the Prezi or check out my Bitly Bundle, which all participants had access to during the workshop. Luckily, I had a few stellar participants who chose to spend their time in my session. These stars, including Kim Cofino, whose work I admire and owe so much of my own inspiration to, flattered me with their presence. I was beyond excited as I began the presentation to a room of about 25 keen attendees. After the session, I was happy to see a few tweets - 'shout outs' about the presentation - tid bits of positive feedback and sharing of my presented resources and examples. I was pretty happy. A few days later, Grant Franke, who I had the pleasure of connecting with with during the conference, posted a review blog post about my session as well. Even though the first line bites a little bit, it only stings because he's right :) and I appreciate that he wrote it. It's definitely the clearest and most useful feedback that I received. Thank you.

Highlights of the conference included seeing Geoff Green, environmental Arctic explorer and educator, talk about everything G related. This set me off on an energetic tangent, aside from my regular line-up of teaching with technology talks, into my other (mostly untapped) passion of outdoor and experiential education. I went to a number of workshops lead by educators who are leading inquiry-based learning in the science and outdoor education field. Notably, I enjoyed a morning session with Nick DePreter, from Portland Oregon, where we played games and learned about cool things he does to get his kids outside the confines of the school buildings.

The EARCOS Teacher's Conference is such a special place for meeting people. I loved the back channel chats and the tweets shared amongst workshop sessions - I met people first online and then found them through making plans to attend workshops together later in the day. I loved the freedom to multi-task, tweet, chat and interact online while I was attending sessions. There was no pressure or expectation regarding how delegates should attend or contribute to what was happening. It is also so wonderfully motivating and fun to be around 1,000+ people who were ALL excited and interested in authentic professional development and growth. We were all happy to be there and know that it's a good place to be.

I've been to ETC 2 years in a row and want to offer up my place to someone who's never been next year. It is such a great privilege to have the support of my administration and the opportunity to attend such a fantastic conference.

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