After waiting over 2 years to go to Ulearn I am pleased to say that it was worth the wait. What an amazing opportunity to connect and collaborate with other teachers. I am going to have to unpack my learning and aspirations over several blog posts as the amount of learning I am processing right now is actually quite phenomenal. I thought I might start with a list for new players:
1. Start connecting now. You don’t have to wait until you get to go to ULearn to connect and engage with leading educators. Twitter is full of them. You can create your PLN (personal learning network) so easily from your living room.
2. Core Education made a wonderful effort to provide live streaming of the ULearn conference and you can watch those breakout sessions now on their YouTube channel. There is even one about twitter for beginners (see point 1).
3.This month (October) is Connected Educators Month. But even if you are reading this and it’s past October you can still make use of this google doc “Starter Kete” to help you engage with the digital world.
4.There are several other amazing groups and events including TeachMeetNZ, Google Educators group, Educamp, and Eduignite.
Oh, so you realise that my list hasn’t actually “arrived” at ULearn yet… that’s because this groundwork helps make the ULearn experience much more enjoyable and rewarding. You’ll see why in the second part of the list:
5. So before you go to ULearn you have to pre-book your breakout sessions. My bit of advice on this part is to do your research. Who are the presenters? Are they connected educators themselves? I trawled through Twitter researching mine and I am pleased to say that I made excellent choices.
6. Sign up for the Twitter dinner. I have heard a rumour that the lovely Danielle Myburgh
is organising next years one.
7. When you get there, make yourself known. Add your twitter handle to your name badge. Tweet where you are. Introduce yourself to people that you have only interacted with online. Be brave – your Twitter PLN family will soon be your new real life friends.
8. Go to the Twitter dinner/Google Educators drinks or any other additional social functions. It is a great way to meet people with similar interests or to find out that one of your twitter friends also happens to live 100m from your house.
9. Tweet your thoughts. This is a great form of note-taking as you can retweet and add to others thoughts too. Then when you get back home you can relive the experience by using Storify
to collate your own tweets and that of others. Make sure you hashtag everything.
10. And last but not least remember when you get back to your school and things get hard and your suddenly not around those people that “just get it” that you still have your twitter PLN. Be connected and keep being inspired.