It’s Just The Beginning…

As I sit here at 30,000 feet I begin the process of reflecting on the amazing experience that was ISTE 2010 in Denver. I’ll be honest that my initial emotion is a feeling of sadness that I am leaving so much excellent learning amongst so many brilliant people.  These are the members of my PLN. My personal learning network. People that I have have had the privilege of speaking with, presenting with, moderating alongside, collaborating with, chit-chatting with, and generally getting to know for quite some time. Through the power of the PLN we have what began as professional relationships, but now have evolved into meaningful, long-lasting, friendships.

There is no question about the amount of learning. Happened in the formal sessions, poster sessions, unplugged sessions, bloggers’ cafe, etc. Just look at the tweets under the #ISTE10 hashtag. I learned of new tools and resources with rock-solid examples of their application in K-12 classrooms. For example, in the #SIGMS10 (special interest group media specialists) Smackdown I learned of some great new tools for teaching digital citizenship, mobile researching apps, and digital storytelling. It was relevant and applicable to teachers and students; while delivered in a fun, interactive format that kept us engaged, laughing, and collaborating.

Despite my feelings of being bummed about the end of ISTE 2010 and leaving my new friends, I think of this as just the beginning. Why? This tweet by Bud Hunt caught my attention:

I believe that’s a great way to sum it up. How can we be bummed about that?!? I’m excited for what this coming school year has in store for me in working with teachers and students. I hope you are too. Remember, there’s lots of fellow teachers that need YOU! There are students that need YOU!

It’ll soon be the beginning of a new school year. “Do important things. Be brave. Share lots.”

Thanks for reading.

The People Of A PLN

Cross posted at the ISTE Connects blog.

A PLN, or Personal Learning Network, is a great way to get globally connected to thousands and thousands of educators all over the world. The medium used is Twitter and it never ceases to amaze me the learning and collaboration that is happening 24/7/365. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, “You cannot buy this kind of professional development.” What’s even better is that there’s something for everyone. Teachers, counselors, administrators, instructional technology specialists, special education teachers, ESL/ELL teachers; you name it and you can find like minded educators to connect with. However, this made me think of all the people I have come to know as professionals, as well as friends. It’s the people that make this great. Plain and simple.

It is less than one week way from ISTE 2010. Thousands of educators will board “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” bound for Denver. Without a doubt, I am going to be surrounded by many amazing educators. Some of whom I have met in person before, and many I will be meeting in person for the first time. It’s exciting to think about, yet a bit overwhelming to think about isn’t it? In a good way of course!

I have talked with many of you so many times via Twitter, Google Docs, Google Wave, Skype, and email. We have collaborated, created, and learned from each other. It’s so cool that I have been able to connect with so many people over the last 2 1/2 years. There’s been much sharing, much humor, and much camaraderie. I am thankful for every bit of it.

As so many begin to converge on Denver this week, I have anxious anticipation for this conference unlike I have had for any other educational technology conference in the past. This will be my 3rd time in attendance. I attended in San Antonio and in Atlanta (when the conference was known at NECC), however, this one I know is going to be incredibly different. I will be traveling there alone this time, yet I know I will be far from it. I travel there as 1, but I know I am united with so many. I am united with the people of my PLN. Fellow educators, lifelong learners, and friends.

You see, it’s important not to forget the people side of having a PLN. Whether we’re using Twitter, The Educator’s PLN, or connecting via one of the countless other mediums, it’s the people that make this work, not the technology. Does the technology make it easier? Absolutely! This is the real-time web! It’s living, breathing, thriving force! Don’t underestimate its potential to bring change and be a true catalyst for a revolution in education! However, it’s the people who will initiate it.

I can’t wait to meet so many of you; the likes of Beth Still, John Carver, Naomi Harm, Nick Provenzano, and so many others I could keep going and going. The sessions, panel discussions, Social Butterfly Lounge, and the tweetups are going to make this an unforgettable experience.

I can’t wait for all the learning, laughing, and leading. Those are some important Ls! The people make them all possible.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post and I hope you will find the tools and resources I tweet out beneficial as well. You can follow me on Twitter @kylepace.

Thank you for reading.