I'm keeping tabs on the excitement around the Edubloggercon meetup that preceded the start of the big NECC event in the States overnight. It seems the best way to access what some of my contacts / colleagues in this part of the world is via twitter. As news, links and tidbits come to light, they are posted to twitter and I've been checking out the flickr feed and reading the scattered posts. I made the comment to Jeff Utecht via Skype chat that the pics reminded me of "a TALO Swapmeet on steroids". That might be the best way to describe what I sense about this interesting event so that it makes sense to my VTE blogging colleagues down under and across the ditch in the Shaky Isles. And Ewan makes an interesting observation about the way the Edubloggercon organised itself that is worth a read. But the fun part is trying to identify as much of these edubloggers that I read as I can via these photos. Would be great to be there - looks like they needs a few more Aussies.
Image: DSC02214 by BCrosby
I've been thinking a bit about why blogging works for me, particularly as I have a few presentations in the near future that will focus on the benefits of embracing an online presence and the building of a professional learning network. Despite the fact I use a PageFlakes startpage, have multiple wikis, enjoy a twitter or two and eagerly check my Skype contacts to see who is online, it's this blog that I see as the centre of my online universe. It's the platform that's made it all possible.
It's the blog that has enabled me to make connections to online communities like TALO and the K12 Online Conference. Without it, I wouldn't be crossing sector boundaries and hooking up at Swapmeets and I definitely wouldn't be submitting proposals at the encouragement of edubloggers on the other side of the world. (Thanks, Sheryl!)
This is no false modesty. I am a very ordinary person. I don't have any more educational qualifications beyond a basic teaching degree, I've never even travelled outside of Australia, I've only ever worked in primary schools and until two years ago I had never shared educational ideas with anyone apart from a few close colleagues and definitely never presented to a group larger than a staffroom. So, how does this ordinary bloke go from that background to having over 170 subscribers in Bloglines, being invited to participate in online and f2f conferences, projects and professional development, highlighted in OLDaily, to being quoted in other more eminent educators' digital work and listed by some folks as a "leading edublogger." Maybe I have a little bit of writing talent but it speaks volumes to me that read/write technology is such a big communication amplifier and that a lot of the other edubloggers I connect to and relate well to are also ordinary educators in a sense, being given a grass roots opportunity to reflect and connect. I still maintain that if I can reap so many disproportionate benefits, then ANYONE can do this.
And if you're reading this post, YOU are a big part of the reason I have such a dynamic, informative, diverse learning network that seems to answer my questions intuitively. It's probably why I can't bear to cut anyone from my feedreader (unless they actually stop blogging - I still have Jeff Giddens in there in the hope he'll return to his blog one day), why when I find someone who actually becomes an online (and real life) friend I'll chase their online meanderings across the web, because when I started out, others stopped by this blog to give me their insights. It's really important to give back and it's why I try and comment widely as well - although I profess to be non-religious, there is a karma like vibe that happens when I make an effort to be diplomatic, insightful and encouraging towards others.
Ah, the humble blog - still the best reason to get online.
Image: DSCN3418 by mikecogh