Reflecting on the State of NOW – 140 Conference NYC

My “NEW” (old) Friends

On Wednesday April 21, I had the privilege of sharing the stage with Eric Sheninger, Tom Whitby, and Steve Anderson at the 140 Characters Conference in New York City. We were invited by Jeff Pulver to share ways Twitter and the real-time web is positively affecting the world of education. If you haven’t had a chance to watch our panel, be sure to check it out here.

Me, Steve Anderson, Tom Whitby, and Eric Sheninger

I call the above mentioned, as well as the other educators from the day 1 education panel, my “new” (old) friends. Why? I have been connected with these amazing people via Twitter for the last year and a half. I have collaborated, communicated, and created with all of these people many times. The only new part about this experience was meeting them all face to face for the first time. We have learned from each other and about each other for such a long time. There was laughing, joking, hugging, and instant camaraderie when we all met up this week in New York City. I can’t talk enough about how much I learned from the guys mentioned above as well as from Mary Beth, Lisa, and Kevin who spoke on the 1st education panel on day 1 of the conference. If you haven’t watched their panel be sure to do so here.

The State of NOW

Twitter and the real-time web is having an enormous impact on multiple industries and so many are given the stage at this conference. I learned about branding yourself for a global audience and reaching people with authentic passion for what you do. That’s what I want to express through my tweets and through this blog. I want people to know I’m passionate about the impact that technology can have on student creativity and learning in the classroom. I want teachers, students, and parents to know that technology is not going away. We need to be learning how to use it effectively and responsibly and students should be at the forefront of that learning! Need an example of effective student use? George Haines brought an entire class of 8th graders to the 140 Conference to share a project they had created using Twitter and the book Animal Farm. Go watch it right now here and then come back and finish reading my post.

If you didn’t pick up from our panel that we’re passionate about what we do, go watch it again. I’m also very passionate about my PLN, which I learn from every day. As I said at the 140 Conference, “You can’t buy this kind of PD!” The support we received in the backchannel during our panel was amazing. Thanks to all of you that tweeted so many kind words before, during, and after our session.

We are definitely in the state of now. The real-time web has the potential to connect us to thousands of educators and classrooms all around the world. It IS connecting us on a global scale right NOW! Imagine if you could have had that experience when you were in elementary, middle, and/or high school.  Would your thirst for learning have been different? I know mine would have. If you know a teacher and they don’t have a PLN, please encourage them to do so. They should be bringing the world to their classroom, and taking their classroom to the rest of the world via the real-time web.

I am very thankful I was able to experience the 140 Conference. I met so many great individuals and learned tons. I hope to experience it again in the future.

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4 Comments on “Reflecting on the State of NOW – 140 Conference NYC”

  1. Kyra Gaunt, Ph.D. says:

    @kyraocity: Thanks for this blog post and for your panel. I was there at 92 Y tweeting away. I just finished watching the final episode of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution online. Went to a fabulous performance in the East Village last night and its fabulous that I can watch the Food Revolution online.

    At the same time the power of the real-time web is transforming education, we are getting shows like the Food Revolution that is altering mindsets about education and food. I want to find my tribe of people doing the same in higher ed and have been kind of suffering along with just my classroom. Most of my colleagues are not into PLNs or digital ethnography, media or networking.

    I was at a faculty meeting last fall and someone mentioned facebook and you woulda thought Nightmare on Elm Street was playing. Can you introduce me to some networks where I can meet and play with other college/univ faculty who are committed to systemic change in higher ed.

    Baruch College students in my Anthro course are collaborating on an ebook titled SPEAK: ON THE MISEDUCATION OF COLLEGE STUDENTS (Breaking the Silence) where each of the 28 of them is writing an essay about what matters to them, what inspires them from being inspired by their dad to learning from working at the family biz for no pay and what they ultimately are learning. We are also conducting a survey of at least 200 Baruch College students about engagement and empowerment at a college that brags about being the most diverse institution in the nation and is a commuter school.

    We ask how many hours roundtrip to school each day, have you dated outside your ethnic group and did you peers or family approve, have you failed a class and where you treated in an empowering way in the process, and the usual stuff how many credits taking this term, etc.

    More on all this on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=111125428925915

  2. Diane Lauer says:

    Thanks so much for your post Kyle, I’ve been successful lurker for a while and now I am stepping in to action. I think about the state of now and the need for PLN’s for every educator. I appreciate the comment above from Kyra who discusses Facebook. Facebook for me seems to be the gateway tech app that is helping people traverse into this new frontier. You – you are a trailblazer. And, some of us are settlers. As an admin person I work with the trailblazers and the pioneers and the settlers. I keep thinking about what is the tic that is going to bring the pioneers on. And what will be the tic that uproots the settlers and encourages them to resettle in new ground. Email was transformational for many people. I think the PLN’s will be the same way – and learning in real time – accessing info instantaneously will look different when people comprehend the power of it. it’s a different kind of access than, googling now or wikipediaing now. We are used to instant info – we just haven’t thought about harnessing the power of social networks to make that next leap. But it is coming – and it is because of you and people like you who are pushing the edges of what is commonplace.

    Our district is working to build PLN’s – as part of our explicit PD functions, and to engage those who are already engaging below our radar. We can revamp our policies so that PLN’s can earn recertification credit and advancement. I realize that the joy of learning is the real motivator – but there are parameters and boundaries we need to mash in our bureaucracies so that we can get folks to access these kinds of PD and not need to do additional work to be approved.

    Thanks again – keep the faith 🙂

  3. Alicia Lopez says:

    Being in the “state of now” can be a lonely place. We are trying very hard to move our district from the 17th century to 21st century so teachers, administrators,students
    understand and demonstrate 21st century learning outside the traditional classrooms. We have talented integration technology staff who get it and work closely with our teachers and administrators.
    We’re at the awareness phase in our district – PLN. At our last district PD Day, we offered sessions that helped answer the question “Why PLN?”

    As curriculum director, I’m responsible for bringing teachers together to examine standards based curriculum, share and research best practice pedagogy, understand the difference between assessment for learning and assessment of learning, etc. Although I am at the beginning stages of my PLN development, I feel it is important for our curriculum teams to engage in meaningful discussions surrounding PLN. During these discussions, I share personal examples as well as our technology integration teachers. I don’t want to be one of the “administrators” who hides behind the phrase 21st century learning skills or includes the concept in a 5 year strategic plan that merely collects dust.
    Several weeks ago I observed a kindergarten teacher. Her students were engaged in a literacy lesson and interacted with the smart board. At the conclusion of the lesson, one of the kindergarten students asked if I could follow him to his locker, because he wanted to share something with me. The student reached for his I-Touch tool in his book bag. I will never forget the enthusiasm on his face. He quickly worked through the I-touch to show me his favorite animal photo — photos that helped explain his classroom story. This student had to step out of the classroom to reach for a tool that should be part of the classroom lesson.
    Administrators and teachers can’t keep these tools outside of the classroom. I thought it’s best we take small steps to make this transition, but I now know we need to take bold steps in our district so we bridge the gaps that currently exist. We’re making progress but have so much work ahead of us. I’m learning so much from all of you! There are so many wonderful ideas and resources I have shared with teachers and principals because of the dynamic connections I am making through my PLN.
    I really believe PLN can impact educational reform.

  4. ktenkely says:

    It has been fun to follow you four virtually as you Tweeted, blogged, shared video, and experiences from the 140 conference. I have become passionate about what social networking tools have done for the learning process. Learning is now exponential because we aren’t just relying on one teacher, we have thousands of teachers from around the world with unique perspectives and passions. You just couldn’t ask for more from a PLN!


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