Getting Connected

Last week I was privileged enough to attend the CEGSA 2012 conference and Masterclass. This conference was significant to me for  a number of reasons, firstly I made a conscious decision before I arrived that I would make myself get out there and meet people and make connections.

…I need to give some background on myself here. I moved to South Australia in October 2010, from Victoria. Since moving over I have had aspirations to step into a role where I could implement my knowledge and skills in innovative education and technology. Unfortunately, due to some significant differences with procedures and protocols between states I felt my impact had been stifled.

Even with this perception I remained determined. Through my Education Technology network I received word about the CEGSA 2012 conference, here in Adelaide. When I read more about the conference I found out there was to be an additional exclusive Masterclass day as a prelude to the conference proper. The presenter was George Couros @gcouros of “Principal of Change” fame in the Education Technology world. I was approved by my school to attend – even though I’m not employed as a teacher this year.

When I arrived at The Networked Educator Masterclass I felt under-prepared as I still didn’t know who the keynote presenter really was. Upon introduction George gave out his twitter and email contact details and we began connecting. I have been on twitter intermittently for the past few years and I was comfortable there, making comment and asking questions. By the end of the first day I felt I needed to do more to connect.

Still determined to connect with people I walked into the conference on day two and continued the conversation with others in the sign-in queue, and introduce myself. I was making connections! As the days progressed I felt I was comfortable talking, sharing and approaching strangers to chat. This is a significant key to my experiences of the conference as I don’t talk to strangers naturally and comfortably. I can connect online but when I get face-to-face I seem to get tongue-tired and unable to talk naturally. The breakout courses were another significant feature where I could sit with new people and introduce myself and share experiences.

As the conference progressed I made more significant connections with colleagues. My professional network expanded rapidly. I discussed numerous opportunities including trips to both Sydney, to meet with Summer Howarth (EduSum) on Twitter, and ACEC 2012 in Perth to further expand my network, and applying for Google Teacher Certification,  with Steve Knipe (@nipper72) on Twitter These are all priorities of mine as I progress professionally. At this point I must thank Tina Photakis (@tina_p) on Twitter and Michelle Westphalen (@office_michelle) on Twitter for the great conference, drinks and dinner and the best experiences I have had professionally for many years.

All of this reaffirms my passion for Education Technology, Innovative Education. The connections and discussions throughout the conference has sparked my interest in supporting the wonderful organisation that is the CEGSA board, and supporting teachers across this state, country and the world.

The outcome of these most inspirational three days is that I am now back blogging, tweeting and social networking with colleagues and counterparts across the world. I have also managed to act upon several classroom journey’s with social networking which are exciting. I will write about these in future posts  as we are in initial planning stages.

What has been your affirmation? and How has this changed the direction of your career?