NECC 2009

connected

Yes, this is my gratuitous NECC 2009 reflection post.  There were too many experiences and too many conversations that took place for me not to stop and reflect on the week as I experienced it.

The most noticeable observation I can make is the comparison of experiences from last year’s NECC to this year’s.  Last year was my first, and it was quite honestly an incredibly overwhelming experience.  I felt rather detached and fatigued as I flew out of San Antonio, and I can directly attribute that to how disconnected I was to this community.  I hadn’t yet started my blog, I was only faintly invested in Twitter, and I knew a total of about five people at the conference.  How a year can change everything.

I began my blog in August and have been learning by exponents ever since.  Not long after, I sought to engage in conversation on Twitter.  Again, the learning experiences quickly heaped one atop the other.  And as my learning opportunities increased, so too did my level of connectedness.  I came to NECC this year part of a very strong network- an engaged network who readily struck up conversations that will fill my foreseeable future with countless moments of pondering.

This experience has left me with no doubt that a learning network can be one of the best things any professional can develop.  Engaging the community and building relationships leave one in a place to break the bubble of solitude and grow in entirely unexpected ways.

I also learned what an outstanding experience it is to meet people face to face who you’ve been connecting with exclusively online.

I learned that

-Judi, Anne, Beth, Brady, and Scott M. are tremendous classmates
-Angela is every bit as dynamic in person as she is online
-Jon B. continues to be on my list of people I call friends (I swear the bracelet must have gotten lost in the mail).
-Dean is a crazy good golfer, and I could probably talk to him all day about all things education.
-Karl is in the same category of gentle, entirely wonderful human beings as Paul.
-Paul is an incredible social organizer
-Mike has now seen a baseball game and was the first person I’ve ever known to have a caricature drawn of his dinner rather than himself
-Scott F. is a great guy to hang out with
-Ketchup chips are as good as Dave says they are, and Dave is as good at riding in coach as I am at not making a mess in sessions
-Ken has the voice for radio
-Paula is a person you should know
-I have so, so much to learn
-Kelly is taller than her avatar and has a charming personality to match her charming southern drawl
-Jeff is the man to talk to if you ever get the itch to teach oversees.
-Vinny has an astounding memory
-Andy was missed
-Pat was very busy and had to watch someone eat rabbit
-Jen should have been there
-Jon O. is a master at the art of digital storytelling (something I’ve known for a very long time)
-Hank is a great guy to walk the monuments with
-Tim shares my excitement for digital photography
-Chris is the kind of principal I would work for in a second
-Chad is a great guy despite his love for the Brewers
-Mark is as nice as I thought he was
-Melanie is an outstanding student and a true humanitarian (see sandal fund)
-Cathy, Joe, and Lucy are great company at the airport
-Second Life still creeps me out
-Katie takes advantage of good photo opportunities
-Teryl knows how to have fun on a panel
-I wish I could grow a beard like Steve
-Christine is as nice as any Texan
-John does not cross streets properly
-Steve learned how to properly use the SMART pointer
-Nadine has great style
-Darren thinks I work for Sony
-Sylvia is a great person to converse with
-Scott M. is a person I am proud to call my friend
-I missed my family so much it hurt
-There was no way I could make this list without unintentionally leaving people out; I’m incredibly sorry if I missed you.

All this to say, it’s the people and the connections with each that made this conference one I’m truly glad I attended.

One other observation.  I’m not sure that the future format of a conference should stay as it is.  With our increased level of communication and sense of connectedness, it may well be that the session format needs to be rethought.  Much of what was presented in sessions has been discussed and broadcast at length online.  When such content is so readily available, what is it that gives a conference unique value?  I talked with several people about this, and it’s a topic that absolutely lands on the list of things to keep thinking about, but I wonder if we shouldn’t start looking to incorporate more of an edubloggercon or bar camp construct in the future.  I think this idea requires some vetting, so I’ll leave it open for your consideration as well.

That’s it.  My week in brief.  It was truly an outstanding experience, and I’m better because of the conversations, challenges, and pushes to grow.  Thank you all for that.

Thanks to Erica Marshall for the use of the Flickr image.

34 Responses to NECC 2009
  1. Chad Lehman Reply

    Ben, this was my second NECC as well and I hope to put something together soon about my thoughts on the conference, which are endless. You are absolutely correct that it’s the people and the conversations that make the conference a blast. I’m glad Smeech introduced me to you, I see myself learning from you quite a bit down the road.

    I do think the sessions need to stay because there are still a lot of people who are at the very beginning of their EdTech journey. However, perhaps sessions need to have some type of level attached to them – perhaps Beginning User, Advanced User, etc. That way, sessions could be tailored to the level of expertise (or lack of) of the attendees.

    As far as the Bar Session idea, I love it. Perhaps we should organize something like this in northern Chicago. People could be pulled from the Chicago area, the Milwaukee area, etc. Maybe it’ll be the start of a Midwest EduCon, on a much, much smaller scale than the one at SLA.

  2. Melanie Holtsman Reply

    Ben,
    It was great to meet you for the first time. What a boon for me to be able to get tips from a pro like yourself. I am a little bummed now that I don’t have the cool flip out viewing panel that you do, but I’ll remember that for the next new camera in the future. Thanks for making the camera vocab a little clearer to me. I’ve been trying out your suggestions and love capturing cool shots a little less by accident each time. I’m sure I’ll be bugging you more about that in the future!

    :) Melanie

  3. Ken Reply

    Ben thanks for this posting. It was my pleasure to meet you in person and I look forward to not only continued learning from you, but reconnecting again in Denver next year. I hope to have more panel discussions accepted and would be thrilled if you are available to be on one of them

  4. Barb in Nebraska Reply

    Thank you for your reflections. Although I didn’t go, I was grateful for my Twitter friends who added the hashtag to their tweets so I could follow along. I think that the community aspect of NECC sounds wonderful and worth it to meet your online Twitter friends in real life. Thanks also for listing your Twitter friends that you met. I have some new friends to make!

  5. Chris Stengel Reply

    Hi Ben, thank you for the post! I’d like to do something similar. I was a first time attendee, though I’d been following most of you guys for a few months. Your post did help me find a few more, though :)

    My f2f interactions at NECC really shored up the learning experiences that I was afforded in DC. Backchannelling with twitter allowed me to stay in touch with everyone attending so many things simulataneously it was like I was in 5 places at once.

    Looking forward to my sophomore NECC (or is it freshman ISTE) next year where I hope to meet more of yins guys (Pittsburghese) in person…I suggest nightly tweet-ups! :)

    @CRStengel

  6. Judith Epcke Reply

    So hard to believe your blog is less than a year old. You always push my thinking both for education and humor.

    Your voice in the blogosphere is unique and important. I consider myself lucky to know you and to be your fellow JHedi (or whatever we are).

  7. concretekax Reply

    Thanks for sharing your NECC experiences. I was not able to attend, but followed as much as I could virtually.

    I personally am a middle school tech teacher of 5 years who did not know anything about Web 2.0 until December, 2008. I had an RSS feed on a personal website and did not even know what it was. I took a “23 things” class that exposed me to what is going on and I have jumped in.

    I have a comment regarding PLN’s. It is my perception that many of the “top” edu-bloggers are all in each others PLN and follow each other on twitter. Some follow back most educator followers, but others follow only a small percentage. I get that they often speak together at conferences and get to know each other, but for a classroom teacher it appears like an “exclusive club” where the rest of us can watch more than participate.

    I am working on meeting people in Twitter and making connections. I am such a newbie, but compared to everyone in my school and almost everyone in my district I am an expert. If the other teachers in my building were to attend NECC they would be lost in anything but the most basic session and probably confused even there. One of my colleagues was sharing that he discovered that he could put documents in files and was so excited.

    My suggestion about PLN’s is that I think that it would be very beneficial to those of us trying to build ours if the top “edu-bloggers” would each choose to adopt 10-15 newbies in their PLN and actively engage with them. I personally have no one in my district to share with. My PLN is all I got. I also like the idea of having a regional tweet-up for those of us who can not afford to travel to the big conference.

  8. John Pederson Reply

    I think we should hold EduCon Midwest in Southern Milwaukee vs. Northern Chicago. Just for fun. :-)

    Please yell if folks need resources to make this happen. :o)

  9. Kelly Hines Reply

    It was such a joy to meet and talk with you this week. I most loved how seamless the transition from online to face-to-face was with the people in my PLN. Those who doubt the authenticity of virtual networking and learning should have been there this week. I am looking forward to continuing to learn, share and laugh with you!

  10. Jeremy Brueck Reply

    Ben,

    Thanks for your comments on NECC 2009 and a big thanks for all the tweets and pics you shared during the course of the conference. That nearly now connection made this non-attendee feel like I was a part of the action. I think that NECC is slowly evolving into what you are suggesting. I know that through NECC Unplugged, I was able to meet, connect and share with other knowledgeable people who were in D.C. For more insight into what the NECC experience was like this year for non-attendees, I’d encourage you to read my NECC summary post ‘Being a part of #NECC09 without being there’ – http://bit.ly/tYJnC.

    @concretekax, it is encouraging that you are actively trying to make connections and expand your PLN. That is really what it is all about. Your suggestion that all the “top edu-bloggers” personally nurture 10-15 newbies seems like a good idea, but I would actually argue that they are already doing that – and then some.

    Being new to the edubloggersphere myself, just over a year now, I felt like I was on the outside looking in at the very beginning. Big names like Will Richardson, David Warlick and Scott McLeod kind of intimidated me at first. Last year at NECC, I walked around in awe as I recognized those guys and never took the opportunity to say hello and strike up a conversation. Since then, what I have found is that all those people blogging and tweeting are very willing to engage in conversation with you. The thing is you have to contribute knowledge, resources and pertinent information to them too. It’s a two way street to get the type of interaction your talking about. Until you engage, debate and/or add value to the online discussions these innovative educators are involved in, you’re always going to be looking in from the outside, IMHO.

    As long as we’re voting, I think we should hold EduCon Midwest in Akron, Ohio vs. Southern Milwaukee vs. Northern Chicago. I’m offering up the plush amenities of the University of Akron’s Quaker Square Inn & Conference Center and the vibrant cultural experiences a true rust belt city has to offer.

  11. Ann Leaness Reply

    I am so glad I read your post. I was new to NECC this year. I had stumbled into the edubloggers group on twitter and found myself fascinated with everything I was learning. I was on my own at the conference so I felt somewhat isolated from the crowd as you said, “I can directly attribute that to how disconnected I was to this community. I hadn’t yet started my blog, I was only faintly invested in Twitter” I left NECC overwhelmed with everything I had learned in the sessions (great stuff), and a little disappointed that I was not able to connect with those people I have been following on twitter. So, my question is, how do you make that connection? What is the protocol for connecting with people? Are there rules of engagement?

  12. Andrew Forgrave Reply

    CONCRETEKAX raises some interesting questions regarding the potential for a “gap” or “divide” between those having greater experience in leading the charge, and those newer to (or yet to join) the PLN party.

    I, for one, found twitter friends at NECC09 to be approachable and ready to chat; this was one of the greatest “take-aways” for me from this conference — meeting up with folks in person and connecting. Of course, initially establishing a dialogue with folks can take some time, and for some of the “top” edu-bloggers, following back and engaging with all of their followees could present a true challenge. At the same time, I do believe that many of these folks must spend considerable chunks of their day already giving back to their followers. I have seen “experts” in other fields of IT doing this too. While there can be some who may tend towards the exclusive, many others give willingly of their experience.

    Regarding CONCRETEKAX’s notion of regional tweet-ups, no doubt other regional get-togethers will start to include back-channel, bar camp, mini-edubloggercons and the like. Participation online sessions like the Classroom 2.0 series, together with discussions like the periodic #educhat (see http://twitterforteachers.wetpaint.com/page/Educhat ) are other ways of connecting with educators active in the PLN/Twitter education community.

    Regarding the “lone expert” and the “other teachers in CONCRETEKAX’s building,” I think we DO need to realize that, at this point in time, this is a considerable likelihood for many folks in this point in time. While there may be pockets of larger PLNs in place in some jurisdictions, my sense is that the PLN penetration into many organizations is in its infancy. And so this extension into the mainstream will no doubt take some time, and require the involvement of folks who are currently leading and as well as those who will subsequently lead. Welcoming the majority of our colleagues into this space will take time and care. For those who were present at the Wednesday NECC edublogger discussion panel (Classroom 2.0: What is Web 2.0′s Role in Schools) there was a significant moment which clearly demonstrated the existing gap between those who are doing/teaching with 2.0 PLN, and those who have yet to understand what it’s all about. We who are experiencing the value of 2.0 PLN need to tread carefully, and recognize that, as with any new model/method, our colleagues may require a period of acclimatization as they come to see the benefits.

    But benefits there are.

  13. Michelle Baldwin Reply

    DC was my 4th NECC. I am finding that I benefit quite a bit more from Edubloggercon and NECC Unplugged at this stage, but I do agree with Chad Lehman about those who are at the beginning of their journey. I heard from a lot of new(er) attendees that they really appreciated what they were hearing in their sessions. As long as there are both options, I feel like we all have room to grow.

    My requests for improvements to NECC would be – more opportunities for “Unplugged” to grow, strategies for revising K-12 public school policies re: internet filtering and AUPs, and filling the gap between teaching and policies. I know a lot of teachers, myself included, who want to do so much, but whose hands are tied when they return to their districts.

    Wish I had met you… seems like I scheduled myself into too many things this conference than I ever have before (but I did get my ketchup chips from @shareski!!)

  14. concretekax Reply

    I want to clarify that I am not criticizing any of the edu-bloggers, just giving my personal perspective.

    I attempt to engage with them but sometimes feel intimated by their knowledge and experience. I feel like it can be a conversation between myself and my 1st grade son (where I am my son).

    I, of course, was not physically at NECC which is a whole other issue of the difficulties of making f2f connections with your PLN.

    I posted the rest of my comments on my blog http://concretekax.blogspot.com/

    I feel I am the link between all of these great things and people and the rest of the teachers in my district.

  15. Hadass Reply

    @Concretekax, as someone who has been honoured to engage with the “top” edubloggers such as @courosa, @shareski and @bengrey (to name just a few), I can honestly say that if you talk to them, they will talk to you ;-). They won’t follow you *just* because you followed them, but if they see you in the conversation (and many people use a dot or other symbol in front of their responses to make that possible), they will.

    So jump right in, the water’s fine ;-). Is this your Twitter name? I haven’t seen you in the conversation yet, but I’ll look for you ;-).

    Hadass, hopes to make it to NECC some day when I have a job …

  16. concretekax Reply

    I want to clarify that I am not criticizing any edu-bloggers, just sharing my personal perception. I have “met” some great educators on Twitter.

    But I sometimes feel intimidated when joining a discussion by the experts. It is difficult to contribute to them when you are a newb :)

    It feels like a discussion between myself and my 1st grade son (where I am my son).

    I was not at NECC so I was not able to make any f2f connections of my PLN which is a huge disadvantage to growing relationships, IMHO.

    I further explain my thoughts at my blog http://concretekax.blogspot.com/ if anyone is interested.

    I feel that I am the link between all of the great new ideas and people and the teachers in my building.

  17. concretekax Reply

    sorry for the double post. I thought that it did not go through the first time :)

  18. Chad Lehman Reply

    I can certainly say from experience that I was a little intimidated by the “experts.” There was a lot of discussion following NECC last year about this very topic. What I’ve learned, though, is that many of them are great people. They are willing to have a conversation with you. In fact, when I went this year, it was great to have some of that say hi to me, before I had a chance to say hi to them.

  19. Mark Carls Reply

    Ben, thanks for the mention. You are much more creative than I thought. I can’t believe how much effort you must’ve put into this blog post! It was great to meet you, and I know to be aware of the @bengrey camera at all times! By the way, what a cute little kid, tons of personality, you could tell by the pics you showed. Thanks for everything.

  20. Joe Brennan Reply

    Great ideas and, yes, no matter what your level of expertise, it’s a bit like trying to drink from a fire hose. A northern Illinois get-together sounds interesting. What’s the difference between northern Chicago and southern Milwaukee? Fewer Cubs fans?

  21. Kristin Hokanson Reply

    Ben.
    You are right… a learning network can be one of the best things any professional can develop I think what your post goes to show is that as transparent as these folks are online with their ideas, posts, tweets & thoughts, they are all still people and there is something to be said for making that real f2f connection with them
    Great reflection!

  22. Paula Naugle Reply

    Hi Ben,
    NECC09 was my third one. I attended NECC04 in my home town of New Orleans with my principal and media specialist, Ellen. Thank goodness I had Ellen to show me the ropes so that I could navigate my way to the sessions that would be most meaningful to the “newbie” I was back then. I came away from that conference with a whole new vocabulary and knowing that I had a lot to learn.

    When I attended NECC08 in San Antonio I was totally on my own. I could speak the Web 2.0 language and navigate my way to the sessions I needed to extend my learning. But I was lonely. I left San Antonio more knowledgable, but certainly not more connected.

    This past school year (08-09) was my breakout year. I finally had a class blog and a website. I embedded many Web 2.0 tools into my lessons. I presented technology workshops in my building both formally and informally So now I had a local PLN but I wanted to grow my group to beyond my district. I joined many online communities through various Nings and then started a Ning for teachers in my district. That’s when I decided to check out Twitter. I joined in February but just “listened in” for the first two months. In April I took the plunge and became an active participant. I was truly amazed with the connections I was able to build on Twitter and extend into the backchannel of the many online sessions I attended in May and June.

    What a difference a PLN can make. I arrived late to EduBloggerCon on Saturday because of attending a DEN gathering in Silver Springs on the same day. Since I’m not the shy type I walked right up to several people I follow on Twitter and introduced myself. We had a conversation. They talked to me. I couldn’t quite believe I was connected to these people. And that was just the beginning of what was to be an incredible week in Washington, D.C. Yes, I attended sessions, but I spent more time each day at the Bloggers’ Cafe and NECC Unplugged areas. Why? Because this is where the people from my PLN were. The exchange of ideas in the face to face environment was powerful. I came away from NECC09 having had conversations with so many of the ” “top’ edu-bloggers” as @concretekax calls them. They were so willing to talk to me (a fourth grade classroom teacher) and listen to what I had to offer to the conversation. I haven’t yet stopped telling everyone back home what it was like to meet my PLN.

    I think ISTE10 will need a different look to it. I know there is a great conversation going on among many of this year’s attendees as to what next year’s conference should look like. All I know for sure at this point is that I will be attending.

    Thanks for your post Ben. It was great meeting and talking to you at NECC09 and thanks for the follow on Twitter. I look forward to extending our connection.

  23. Lee Kolbert Reply

    Ben,
    Great post and it was so nice to meet you and put your face to your name/posts and tweets. This was my 2nd NECC and I was also terribly overwhelmed last year. I knew nobody and was very intimidated. Over the year I made an effort to engage those I felt I wanted to learn from. There came a few opportunities since then, that some in my PLN sought me out to assist with an online project or to discuss things beyond 140 characters and from there my PLN grew. One of the best things I did was volunteer to help out with the K12OnlineConference. It was a great experience and a chance to work with some of the most brilliant educators. I would recommend that newbies jump in and volunteer there, join Classroom 2.0 Ning, and attend an EduBloggerCon if at all possible. There were many people who I did not get to meet this year at NECC, or met but didn’t really get to sit and chat with. I think I’ll have a better plan next year. I was awesome though and I very much look forward to this next year and nurturing my PLN even further. Everyone is welcome to jump in BTW. The key is joining the conversation. Just clicking to follow someone is not joining a conversation. :)

  24. sylvia martinez Reply

    Ben,
    Thanks for the nice words and taking the time to write such a personal reflection. This NECC was my 15th, so I have a pretty strong connection with a lot of people who are long time NECC attendees. But still, the past two years have been a revelation to me. It’s not like PLNs only help people who are new to a community. I’ve developed so many new relationships recently that I feel my head spinning all the time. It reminds me of being in grad school where there were smart people talking about interesting things ALL THE TIME.

    It’s exciting to meet people and have an instant connection with them! Like you say, the opportunities to grow are endless, and the serendipity of it all is part of the fun.

  25. [...] my video carefully. Rather than go through an extensive list of the people who made NECC memorable (Ben ... imcguy.wordpress.com/2009/07/05/my-necc-reflection
  26. mrsdurff Reply

    Yup, he forgot Durff. What else is new?

  27. Scott McLeod Reply

    Ben, I enjoy your blog immensely and also have heard so many good thing about you from others. How did I not see you at NECC this year? Would love to meet you in person – hopefully in Denver!

    Thanks for an excellent NECC wrap-up post and for providing a space for others to reflect on their experiences too. Keep up the great work. I’m a big fan!

  28. Ben Grey Reply

    Chad- Perhaps ISTE can consider more of a hybrid model. A combination of sessions for those who need it, and more open conversations with a bar camp type feel for those interested. Smeech had some very intriguing ideas as well in this post. http://www.smeech.net/smeech/2009/7/3/is-this-asking-too-much-of-iste.html

    Melanie- I’m really enjoying watching your photography learning take place. Isn’t it incredible that we now have the capacity to share photos so easily?

    Ken- I’d love to stay connected. If there’s any value I could add to a panel in the future, count me in.

    Barb in Nebraska- Sorry for not using the hashtag as much as I should have. I’d really encourage you to consider attending an event like NECC in the future. It’s quite a tremendous opportunity for learning through discussions. And I can certainly say that I can entirely recommend each person listed above as someone to follow and pay attention to on Twitter.

    Chris- Looking forward to meeting you next year or sooner. I was telling my wife how cool it is that conversations were happening all over DC and beyond simultaneously, regardless of geographical inhibitions. That’s pretty astounding when I stop and really give it thought.

    Judi- Likewise on all accounts. We’ve quite a year of learning ahead of us, and I’ve a feeling we’re all going to need plenty of support along the way. I’ll provide the poor humor, and you can provide all the wherewithall and knowledge.

    Concretekax- Thanks for prompting such a great conversation. The whole notion of “top” edubloggers is quite fascinating to me. I need to continue ruminating on it before I write an entire post about it, but truly, people only have as much value as that which we ascribe to them. I’m not in what many would consider the “top” edublogger classification, but I can say with relative certainty that most of them started exactly where you and I did. With a desire to engage in meaningful conversations. Each did so, and as a result, the breadth of their conversations grew. I truly believe that’s the natural progression. Be yourself and engage. The audience and connections will then follow in due time. Don’t press to make it happen prematurely, but rather, continue adding your authentic voice, and the connections will happen.

    iJohn- We will be yelling. Oh, and nice emoticon. I see you made it in your likeness.

    Kelly- That’s one of the great things about making connections online. When you “meet” someone in person for the first time, you can fall right into meaningful conversations without all the awkward, “What do you do for a living?” “Where are you from?” “Will you give me $5?” ice breaker questions.

    Jeremy- Excellent comment. I agree entirely that you have to engage. There are no shortage of “why I don’t follow everyone who follows me” posts floating around, and I do have to agree with most of them. Just following someone doesn’t a conversation make. You have to engage. Personally, I enjoy it when someone doesn’t automatically follow me back. I want to have to earn it. I’m sure there’s a song in there somewhere, but I’ll leave it be.

    Ann- The only rule of engagement is to engage. Jump into conversations. Be a willing and active learner along with those who are learning next to you. We’re all here for that. Be about the conversations and the learning, not about self-promotion or preservation, and you’ll be invested in and involved in the community very quickly.

    Andrew- You are absolutely correct that the PLN, in its current iteration, is still very much emerging. Many teachers have yet to see the value in investing their time and resources into such a concept. I don’t think they realize how much return on their investment they can actualize. I was certainly there once myself, so I can say that the feeling of being an island of one should become a thing of the past. It’s simply too easy and too important to get connected with others. I also agree that we’ll start to see more regional tweet-ups and flexibility in the organization of future conferences.

    Michelle- I’d like to see the opportunities for “Unplugged” sessions grow and expand as well. Perhaps a few embedded bar camp experiences throughout the week to get more organic conversations to occur. How’d you like the ketchup chips? I found them much better than I thought they would be.

    Hadass- Your comment has now been printed, framed, and placed in a prominent place in my office. To be mentioned with Dean and Alec is an honor I certainly don’t deserve. I do believe many of the perceived “top” edubloggers got to be there because they engaged in the first place. I don’t see many people in such position who aren’t engaging.

    Mark- It was truly my pleasure. You were one of the first people I started following on Twitter last year, so the honor was entirely mine in meeting you. Thanks for the kind words about my son. Yes, he has no lack of personality already.

    Joe- You’re correct; there are a few less Cubs fans in northern Chicago then there are in Southern Milwaukee. We’ll keep you updated on a midwest get-together.

    Kristin- Yes, meeting face to face rather brings it all together. At least, that’s been the case for me.

    Paula- It was great meeting you, and you are entirely correct. At some point, you have to jump into the conversations and become part of the community. I look forward to staying connected and being part of your community.

    Lee- Great suggestions. That is a most excellent list of ways to get involved. I know I was reticent to do so in the beginning because I felt that I really didn’t have anything unique to add to the conversations. Once I realized that it wasn’t necessarily about me, it was more about what we are all learning together, that’s when I really started to see my investment in this community pay back 10 fold. I also really like your last sentence. It is a truth that I wish we all could accept.

    Sylvia- I agree entirely. It’s the serendipity and opportunities that are so fascinating about this space we’re all in together.

    Mrs. Durff- I never forget you. I wished that you were there so I could have finally met you in person. Hopefully the chance will present itself at some point in the near future, and should that happen, I promise not to use any of Jon Becker’s inappropriate language.

    Scott- Entirely likewise on the enjoyment of the blog comment. It would be an honor to meet you. I promise I won’t ask you to sign my tote bag. But I might have to have you sign my “I heart Scott McLeod” t-shirt that Jon gave me. Seriously, thanks for the kind words, and I’ve heard no shortage of great things about you from many as well.

    I also received a few links from Ryan Bregag and Jon Becker on similar posts they’ve written in the past. I’d encourage you to give them a read.

    http://edinsanity.com/2008/04/10/reflections-of-a-new-ish-blogger/
    http://www.ryanbretag.com/blog/?p=356
    http://www.ryanbretag.com/blog/?p=779

  29. Hank Reply

    Ben,

    This was my 2nd NECC as well. It is always incredible to make virtual connections of my PLN truly personal. It also is incredible to me how diverse some of our PLN’s are – even within our EdTech group. There were a lot of us there from our area that see each other from time-to-time face-to-face – yet we were constantly connecting one another to new people.

    That was incredible….

  30. [...] my Twitter people. I loved seeing how they were so true to their online personas—see @BenGrey’s post... tzstchr.edublogs.org/2009/08/14/summer09
  31. Jana Reply

    One of the main misconceptions about glass is that it is rather dull with practically no privacy. With all the new advances in technology- that is simply just
    not the case anymore.

    Over the years, glass manufacturers have come
    up with various types of glass like double glazed windows and patterned glass.

    You can use glass doors for your bathroom, patio and other
    places at your house to give your home an ultramodern or elegant look and feel.

    So you do not have to worry about the glass being dull or plain. Purchasing glass that has etched designs of nature like flowers and trees or any other categories based on your personal taste is possible nowadays.
    So finding the right kind of glass to blend with other furnishings in a particular room
    is indeed possible. There is no shortage of choices in terms of glass design. 

    Another benefit of glass is in terms of insulation. Glass is not
    a good conductor of heat. During our hot summer season, with all the advances in energy efficiency with glass, glass will not absorb heat, making the room
    hotter. During a winter or autumn period, glass will not
    cause much heat loss. 

    So you and your family might enjoy a more cooling effect during summer and a
    warmer effect during winter or autumn. You also save money in terms of utility bills.

    Since there is less heat loss, you can turn down the heating system
    to a lower temperature, which results in less
    energy consumption. During summer, there would not be
    any necessity to lower the temperature. 

    Another benefit of using glass doors and windows is that it just makes
    your home brighter and more cheerful feeling. With our famous sunny days,
    there might be no necessity to switch on lights to light
    up a particular place since there is sufficient natural
    light.

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