I'm composing this post sitting on a Virgin Blue flight back to Adelaide at 7.52 pm. The bloke in front of me has just reclined his seat back into my face pushing the complimentary copy of Virgin Blue Voyeur magazine (you're got to wonder about Richard Branson sometimes) out of my hands. The little LCD screen on the back of his seat is at a absurd angle for viewing (not that there is anything worth viewing) and my assistant principal, Bec, has just bought me a Coke. I've barely used my Pocket PC on this trip to Melbourne and so with plenty of battery power in reserve, it's time to scribe a post.
The purpose of this trip was a conference called Teachers At Work thrown by the publishers at Hawker-Brownlow. Six of us went from my school with the sole purpose of doing the two day Understanding by Design workshop with US education consultant, Jay McTighe. Some edubloggers may be familiar with his work and I know Kim Cofino is one educator using his ideas as part of her work.
Surprisingly, I had never been to Melbourne before. But I have led a fairly sheltered existence and was looking forward to the experience. Over the two days I've experienced the sunny weather, rode in a Silver Top taxi and rode in a train past the MCG. As well as the serious business of the conference, I had hoped to catch up and meet a couple of fellow edubloggers with whom I've been interacting with over a period of time - Jo McLeay and Warrick Wynne. Unfortunately, Warrick had other commitments but after leaving voicemail at Jo's school, she rang me back on my mobile at a break time, keen to travel for more than an hour into the city centre to catch my colleagues and I for a meal and chat. That was absolutely fantastic of her to put herself out like that just to meet me and speaks volumes for the power of online connections and communication. It was also great for my teaching colleagues to see a real blogger who is a real teacher and that this power for mutual sharing and learning is real (and very easy). We chatted and although I will probably never meet the vast majority of my online teachers face to face, taking the opportunity to do so is a really cool thing to do. And just like Alex and Leigh, the Jo McLeay I got to know via The Open Classroom is the exact same person who shared a meal with us down on the Yarra.