NECC 2007 – First Report – Edubloggercon and Advanced Blogging

Costa Rica!I was only very briefly able to get the edubloggercon yesterday at the Georgia International Convention Centre. However, from what I saw, it was like a distilled version of NECC itself with all kinds of people whose blogs and activities I have been following for the past year. It was especially exciting to meet so many of our WOW2 webcast guests face-to-face!

Last night a few of us had dinner on the revolving restaurant at the very top of the Westin. Terry Freedman, editor of Coming of Age, Cheryl Oakes, Julie Lindsay, Vicki Davis, Kathleen Malsbenden, Vince Jansen and Deb Barrows were those amongst our group and the conversation, as you can imagine, was rich and full of laughter. What a thrill and privilege to hang out with such an incredible group of educators.

Now I am at Dave Warlick‘s fantastic all-day workshop on Advanced Blogging (all right, true confession – he is making us do this blog entry as an assignment!). Already I am picking up some great ideas and resources! To benefit from the wealth of resources collaboratively made available to us, you can visit the workshop wiki.

NECC 2007 – With My Peeps and in My Zone!

As I did last year, I have posted my NECC planner calendar onto my server so that others can see my proposed schedule for NECC. You will notice that it is indeed an ambitious schedule with much overlap. My focus this year is on virtual schools and environments and sessions about IT integration for English Language Arts. These represent areas where my new job with LEARN will take me.

If you are at NECC and at are any of the same sessions, please do stop and say hello! I would love to connect with you!

Yesterday I said my final goodbyes to my many fabulous and exceptional colleagues at Lower Canada College where I have been teaching in the middle and senior school for three years. I want to again especially thank my IT Director, Gary Millward, and my headmaster, Chris Shannon, for their support and encouragement along the way. Chris and I chatted briefly and he was the one who said, “Sharon, you are in now in your zone. You and Vince are blazing trails while we administrators have the hard task of trying to move the QE2”. It was an interesting metaphor!

NECC 2007 will be awesome!! If you are at NECC, you are most welcome to join Women of Web 2.0 for the NECC webcast Supershow on the conference site – tentatively, the Blogger’s Café – at 9 PM on Tuesday night. Just show up to the centre with your NECC badge and mention that you are going to the show and you will be permitted into the building. We look forward to seeing you there!

If you can’t be there, please join us in the chatroom at EdTechTalk where you can catch the stream live from Atlanta and participate in the conversation!

I am hoping to do a LOT of podcast interviews and blogging – so keep your rss feeds rolling in!

Staying Grounded While Highly Wired

While that was also the title of my recent article for the latest WOW2 newsletter, it very much captured the essence of my life in the last few weeks. Aging parents with health concerns, choices about lifestyle and a new job, and managing teenagers at various stages and milestones have all kept me grounded in the day-to-day life of “offline” activities.

In the midst of that, I have tried to keep up with my blog and online reading, as well as participation in active discussions and communities. It was my great pleasure to act as a judge recently in the FlatPlanet wiki Project, another wonderful global exchange. I missed the Second Life Best Practices Conference entirely due to other commitments and just plain need for refreshment and time off. This week’s Future of Education Conference has also kept me on my toes and I have been able to catch a few of the presentations. Cheri Toledo did a great job today at her presentation quite wittily called The Future of Teacher Education: Herding Cats and Moving Targets.

It is difficult to be leaving one job situation (esp. high school teaching) while very much preoccupied with thoughts of a very different situation that awaits me at LEARN. My headspace is in two places at once and this can result in a certain amount of cognitive overstimulation!

Many times this past year, I have felt that I was just not making a difference with influencing other educators (especially my own colleagues) in spite of all the new approaches and paradigms I was experimenting with in my teaching practices. Yes, I knew for certain my students were benefiting – and that was very gratifying, but I felt so “out there” compared to my colleagues. It can be a very lonely feeling. Early adopters are especially prone to this – I have heard this again and again from my online buddies.

So, I was especially pleased that in these last few weeks I have witnessed two of my favourite mentors take up the practice of blogging. This, to me, is big, is HUGE. Reuven Werber has been my collaborating partner faithfully for four years now and he has SO much wisdom and perspective to share. I have often told him he should be blogging his ideas, but he claims no time. It is so wonderful to see him finally sharing his important thoughts with other educators in Classroom2.0.ning. Social networks like Ning offer this important sense of community of belongingness that is necessary for so many of us.

I am particularly charmed to see my friend and new colleague, Vince Jansen, take up blogging. Vince came to my attention a few years ago when he was providing professional development to other IT teachers in the Montréal area. For the past year, we have been communicating and even collaborating on several projects. Because he has always lived in a rural setting, he has chosen an … ahem… farm theme for his blog, Views from the Haystack. It kinda works…. except that part about me and pitchfork is just NOT TRUE! I am not sure how I feel about being associated with tools with prongs at the end! He will be a great addition to the edublogosphere and I have told him many times he should be blogging his great ideas and wisdom to a global audience!

WOW2 continues to canter along a good pace (this farm theme has provided a bit of fodder, hah hah) and we welcome Chris Craft tonight and Bernie Dodge (of WebQuest fame) next week. NECC 2007 will be upon us in no time at all – this week I confirmed my intention to blog the conference again this year. With three presentations at NECC, and other such engagements, I am beginning to wonder if sleep will be at all possible, but boy! am I looking forward to meeting so many of you!