Week 2 of @ONE's Reflective Writing Club #CCCWrite. The prompt: Conferencing
When I first started teaching, I attended a lot of conferences (any I could find). I wanted to learn everything! One of the best conferences I attended was for High School teachers. I wasn't a HS teacher, so I have no idea how I found the conference. But, it was amazing. As a newly graduated researcher in plant genomics, I was not terribly well trained in teaching strategies. This was eye opening and informed my teaching for many years.
About 7 years ago, life got too busy for me to attend any conferences. So, for many years I only attended web based conferences. I have to admit I was quite content with that. I'm a strong introvert so being around people is tiring. I'm also a slow processor; so I prefer to learn information in a quite place where I can think without distraction. Webinars are perfect for that and I LOVE them. In fact, I attend about a webinar a week (sometimes more) from a variety of different places. They are a great way to spend my lunch break!
As my job has shifted, I've begun going to more conferences. The pendulum has swung fully the other direction and I'm attending about a conference a month right now. The one that was my favorite recently was Open Ed last summer. I got to meet some really great, amazing people. I am still inspired by many of those that I met there. It was also a great place to hang around "my people". There are many of us working on Open Educational Resources (OER) but very few in my area. So, it was great to meet others with similar interests and was an amazing experience.
What I take back with me from these conferences is some inspiration and a feeling of connection to a global community. But, I also take that away from web-based conferences. One of my very favorite experiences was at a webinar put on by Cable Green from Creative Commons. There were people on this conference call from all 6 continents! We were all brainstorming ideas on how to develop events promoting Openess. It was productive, energizing and just plain magical. I have never felt more connected to the global community than during that one hour webinar.
Below is a summary of my feelings on conferences using the animation tool: Animatron.