New Forms of Learning: How to Participate in a Conference 2.0 Style?

I have narrowed down my leitmotif of learning in the 21st century (the time we happen to live in!)  …to being self-directed and self-motivated learning.

There is an opportunity, as a professional, to put exactly these two skills into action.

Take a look at INNOVATE13.  A physical conference to be held in Sao Paulo, Brazil next month (January 19-21, 2013).

While there will be educators physically traveling to Sao Paulo, there will be the ones who will attend virtually THROUGH those attending face to face (f2f).

It is a tremendous opportunity to gain perspective, network and possibly kick start further global networking and collaboration as a professional, but also for the students in your charge. It does not matter if you live in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Iowa, USA or in the Australian Outback,  YOU can be part of a global network of educators and participate in the conversation to re-imagine schools.

Keep reading…

Innovate 2013

Innovate 2013 marks Graded School’s commitment to re-imagine the school that best serves and inspires students for tomorrow. Please join us and innovators from across the globe to engage in a dialogue designed to ignite new ideas resulting in building a foundation for the change our students deserve.

In partnership with Un-Plugged at the American School of Bombay, the Lausanne Laptop Institute at Lausanne Collegiate, the European 1-1 Learning Institute hosted by the Frankfurt International School, and the Association of American Schools in South America (AASSA), Graded School is honored to launch the conversation in South America.

In order for learning across distances to be  possible, a symbiotic relationship between the physical and virtual attendees has to be in place.

If  in-person attendees are not opening their conference walls and sharing with the outside, the online participants will not be able to connect, add, reflect, ask questions, contribute perspective or curate resources generated by the community physically present.

If the online participants are not visually participating in the conference platform (NING), using backchannel venues, blogs, twitter hashtags or other collaborative tools and social media platforms to connect their experience, the in-person attendees cannot actively amplify and connect their learning, their connections & perspectives to theirs.

Both kinds of attendees (physical & virtual) of the conference have to posses the following requirements:

  • a desire to connect with other educators from around the world and grow their professional learning network
  • an ability to use technology tools that allow for synchronous and asynchronous communication and collaboration
  • a wish to be part of a group of “pioneers” who are exploring new forms of learning
  • a disposition of being a reflective practitioner, not afraid of being transparent
  • an ambition of overcoming obstacles and “making it work for YOU”
  • a resourcefulness to overcoming obstacles, such as time zones and geographic boundaries
  • an understanding of having to experience and experiment with global connectedness, collaboration and learning before you can bring that experience to your students
  • a love of sharing
  • the power of ACTING on this call to participate 🙂

It is up to you (physical & virtual attendees) to make it happen. Self directed and self-motivated learning is what sets 21st century educators apart from others.

Physical Attendees:

This is a call to in-person participants to make a commitment to:

  • share openly and connect your learning experience at the conference to a larger global audience BEYOND the other f2f attendees
  • be transparent and reflective in your own learning.
  • find ways to summarize, synthesize, curate and document ideas, learning, projects, concepts, etc.
  • choose one or more platforms to share
  • make a concerted effort to include and make the virtual attendees feel PART OF a learning community
  • become a buddy/mentor to someone who is not physically attending.
  • volunteer to a be the “online moderator” of a backchannel during a live presentation/workshop/keynote
  • approach someone at your school or maybe someone in your network and ask them to experience a conference together IN NEW FORMS.

Virtual Participants:

No travel costs are involved, NO registration fees are required. Make a commitment to:

  • mark your calendar to be able to participate. January 19-21, 2013
  • find a dedicated “conference attendance” time. Use that time to read through the Twitter stream/hashtag, Ning activities generated through the conference, resources being shared.
  • ACTIVELY participate versus PASSIVELY consuming information. Contribute resources, your own perspective, thoughts and experience.
  • make strategic connections with physical attendees. Connect with them even beforehand via the Ning, on Twitter or via a blog. Leave a comment, @mention someone in a Tweet, use the conference hashtag to connect your voice to the conversation.

Take it from… I always wanted to… and…What an incredible opportunity… to…I can make this happen!… I can experiment with learning in new ways…

Here are some tips/steps to take for the active collaborative connected conference attendee:

  1. Make a commitment to attend virtually (add it to your calendar/block a time off)
  2. Participate in the conference Backchannel
    Follow the conference Twitter hashtag (#innovate13)
  3. Become a member of the conference Ning
    Fill out your profile, say hello and introduce yourself, join groups, post valuable resources
  4. Join the Twitter List Innovate2013 with Tweeps participating (virtually & physically)
    Being part of the list will give everyone an idea who will be joining f2f and from afar.
  5. Find a Buddy, someone who will be physically at the conference
    Discuss before hand how your can help each other

Learning in the 21st century has taken on new shapes and forms. Professional Development can happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from all corners of the globe. It is critical for educators to develop the skills and capacities to be able to ACTIVELY participate by connecting, communicating and collaborating virtually .

Just do it!

Step forward, out of the shadows of being a “lurker” in order to take your learning in your own hands. Let  SELF-MOTIVATED and SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING become your mantra as an educator.

Looking for a buddy at the conference? First Steps? Leave a comment here on Langwitches or become a member on the conference Ning in order to connect.

Looking forward to learning with you at INNOVATE 2013!

Download the “Attend a Conference in Person or Virtually” Guide as a pdf file.