A conference with a difference

Okay, now I get it.

I signed up to attend Learning 2.013 in Singapore early in the year. Two colleagues had attended the conference last year in Beijing and spoke well of it. The line-up of speakers and topics was definitely appealing and the chance to enjoy Singapore (seafood!!) was a plus.

So the conference started and everything went well. The format was a little different – no keynotes, longer workshop sessions, etc. I met former colleagues and made new connections. I collaborated (Ethiopia – Vietnam) with Urko Masse and we presented a highly enjoyable & successful workshop. The learning sessions were engaging and stimulation – I learned a lot. It was definitely a valuable experience for me.

Still, I was a little bemused by the hype. All the hyperbole about how radical the conference is and why it’s so different and blah blah blah. (Sorry, guys. Any hype immediately gets me going. Nothing personal!) I thought: it’s a great conference & worthwhile, but still.

And then the conference ended. I talked with Andre about what we’d do afterwards. We started making big plans. We got back to school. We started doing things. I had a great first class back and put into practice some of what I’d experienced. We both got busy immediately after arriving back. I’ve started putting into action some plans which should mean a lot of work for me but a lot of fun and valuable learning for our students.

And this:

  • I got an email encouraging me in a project I mentioned to Jeff in Singapore.
  • I got a comment on my blog from Ben in India which sparked a collaborative tweetalog
  • I got ideas and encouragement from Brian in Hong Kong
  • I got encouragement and support from Kirsten in Japan
  • and many more

I’ve been to a lot of teacher conferences in my many years in education. I’ve sat through dozens of keynotes, participated in hundreds of workshops (gave quite a few myself), traded business cards with scores of people.

But I’ve never been so energized after a conference. I’ve never felt so connected and in sync with other participants. This is the first time I can recall when I came back from a conference and immediately dove in and started big, exciting, new projects. For sure, I’ve never come back and got advice & encouragement and sharing from others in other schools.

I get it. It’s fantastic. Looking forward to Learning 2.014!


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