Educon is an amazing conference that brings together educators from around the world to discuss teaching and learning in the 21st century. Last year was my first year attending, and it was when I began to meet the people in my PLN face-to-face. It was a remarkable experience to be together with people that I had met on Twitter and shared so much with, but had never shaken their hand or heard their voices. I spent the whole weekend in awe, as I tried to match real people with Twitter photos.
This year will be different in so many ways. The relationships that I started last year have become full friendships. These are people that I know and have worked with all year. The friendships I have made are anchors in a world that is constantly changing. They encourage me to move beyond where I am comfortable and push myself to learn and connect more. They truly drive me out into the digital world. The beauty of it is that the people who I am connecting with are some of the most generous and thoughtful people that I have ever met. The educators who take the time to connect on Twitter have made a commitment to a level of excellence and of community that is inspiring. I am grateful for each and every one with whom I have shared there.
As someone tweeted out this morning, there weren’t even iPads at the last Educon, and how many will be there this weekend? This is the world that we live in now, and if we do not cement ourselves to each other, we will be lost in a tornado of Change. We will lose our way alone. It is only through these kinds of friendships that we can maintain ourselves and our energy. Together, we can master the new ideas and new tools, because when we work together, no one has to do it all. Collectively, we can master them, sharing what we learn with each other. As we answer questions and respond to tweets, we build a community that can weather all that swirls around us. Together, we learn and serve our students in the best ways possible. As we take the time to talk and challenge each other, as we spend time learning about the strengths and needs that we all bring to this, we can build a community that can weather the storm of Constant Change without being lost in them.
So I am off to Educon to talk and listen to the people who have shared and supported me throughout this year, in tweets and comments on my blog, at conferences and skype calls. What a wonderful time to be an educator!