Twitter and Collaboration – a great combination that crosses age barriers, experiences and countries.
This past week has been spent in Hamilton, New Zealand at Core Education’s uLearn Conference 2013. I have previously attended this conference in Christchurch back in 2010 and was keen to attend this year’s event.
It is becoming more common for conferences to set up a conference hashtag before a conference so attendees can connect, start conversations and share knowledge. #ulearn13 was the hashtag for this year’s conference and often starts several months before the conference even begins. This year, they also had a ‘twitter list’ for #ulearn13, which made it easier to follow people who were following this hashtag.
I personally often connect with others before conference as it makes for a richer experience and often start sharing material and ideas based on the conference’s theme. David Kinane (@dakinane) was one of these people who I met prior to the 2010 conference. David and I have stayed in touch since that conference and co-presented at this year’s conference with David, skyping in from Auckland. Our shared knowledge, passion and resources made for a fantastic session even though it was the first time we had co-presented together.
This year, was no different and as soon as I went to the conference I got to finally meet my ‘twitterati’ friends. Often, this is where collaboration occurs as well as a support network to encourage, develop and motivate you even once a conference finishes. We celebrated with a dinner sharing our passions, frustrations and hopes for our classrooms and the schools that we work with.
It also helps connect with ‘Keynote’ speakers such as Ken Shelton (USA) and Mark Pesce (Australia) with both of them as Twitter connections for quite some time. Meeting face to face after connecting on Twitter reinforces those ‘online’ relationships and often leads to amazing opportunities and partnerships for the future.
Twitter, helps with connections and often the most powerful referrals happen from existing twitter connections. This year, I really have made an effort to connect with those whose ideas I value, who share fantastic material and who are pushing the boundaries within Education, Business and Technology.
Being involved with the ‘Tasmanian BushFires” and using the twitter hashtag ‘#tasfires’ was a powerful realization that Twitter could be used for good and making that link between the community and individuals.
I shared this story at the #ulearn13 Showcase on the Tuesday evening (now on Slideshare). The support that I received from my fellow twitter friends on the #ulearn13 backchannel (see below) was a testament to the power of ‘community’ even when far from home (thanks to Mary-Anne Murphy @mamurphy2 who supported me in more ways than I can ever say thankyou). Many thanks to those who tweeted during the presentation, a validation that social media can make a difference.
I mentioned a close friend’s name during the presentation and a teacher came forward to mention that she had been with this friend during the 2nd earthquake in Christchurch. A powerful story that had similar connections with fellow Kiwi’s and resonated with all those in the audience. For me, this was validation that my #PLN (or professional learning network) is never far away.
Until next time and we meet again, Kia Ora.