#RSCON3 provides a pretty amazing space for people to come together and be present across time zones and continents. The breadth and depth of what can be experienced in this learning space exceeds in one weekend what a typical district’s explicit workshop development might look like over several years. I have come to appreciate the couch as professional development opportunity as well as the capability to participate from any place and at any time as long as I have the technology in hand and connectivity available.
I found myself needing to be on a plane very soon after the leadership panel in which I was a panel member was scheduled to end. Luckily, a school in my district is located near the airport so I could leave on the “fly” to catch a plane and have a quiet space with good connectivity. Being there also gave me an opportunity to have two principals who I regard sit in and listen so they could share feedback and thoughts at the end of the session. They both said it was just remarkable to be in the room with a panelist who was co-presenting with panelists from all over the United States, and none of us in the room together. I learned from our post panel conversation that I take for granted other leaders with whom I work are knowledgeable about the full range of professional learning opportunities available. Neither of these principals would have been connected with RSCon3 if I’d not asked them to be there.
It strikes me that despite the large numbers of participants in RSCON3, we still have a huge swath of educators, many of whom who are ready and willing, who don’t know about possibilities to engage online in interesting dialogue and up close and personal connections with colleagues. I think we have to really focus on how we encourage and promote accessibility as well as make it an alternative that counts as professional development. I heard a teacher say recently that she had learned of all kinds of resources on twitter – links and people- that she’d never have found otherwise by interacting inside the system. She wondered why her peers aren’t interested. While there are many reasons for that, I also think that many teachers are unaware of how to receive professional development credit for participation or what those options even are. They aren’t knowledgeable they can still go back to RSCON3 and participate in session after session via Elluminate. They aren’t in the loop on what is available.
#RSCON3 provided boundary spanning learning opportunities. From the keynoters that included some of the most innovating educators in our business to workshop presenters who provided the “why, what, and how”, we couldn’t have asked for a more differentiated and accessible set of conference opportunities for educators.
Now, we just have to figure out how to engage more educators in becoming a part of the learning network.
And, thank you, Shelly for dreaming RSCON into reality!