Spending the last few days at #ISTE11 in Philadelphia, I have had some of the best professional development in my life. Although I have attended some sessions and keynotes, the places that I have learned the most is through the one-on-one conversations that I have had with people that I first met virtually through social networks, especially Twitter.
Often back at home, when I say that I use Twitter, I get funny looks and jokes made about not being able to connect face-to-face with people, but what people do not get is that the people I have connected with are very real and VERY passionate about what they do.
I talked this morning with Tom Fullerton about the benefits of electronic portfolios.
I spent part of the day with Patrick Larkin talking about how schools are moving forward as a whole.
Stefanie Oneal and I talked about how to move forward with a 1-1 initiative in schools.
Josh Allen and I talked about social bookmarking at night and how teachers in his school are using it to improve learning in their classroom.
I met Brian Nichols for the first time and was not only impressed with the way he dressed, but about some of the things that he is doing in his school district to work and improve leadership to better serve kids.
What I have enjoyed more than anything, is watching two of my staff leaders, Norm and Shawn, be immersed in the same thing I have experienced in the last year, and watch them share their knowledge and learn from others.
I have continuously reiterated that the foundation of schools is based upon relationships. With social media, we have a fantastic opportunity to connect with many of those that share our passions, and continue conversations long prior and following our sessions. Lifelong learning doesn’t happen during a one hour session; this is just one of the elements. The more we can connect with other educators and learn in meaningful ways, the more we can impact our students.
Building upon the thoughts of Dean Shareski, the more I see this social media thing, the more potential I think it has to really move all of education forward. It is not technology powered; it is people powered. That is what is going to make all of the difference.