by Diane Cordell “TVintage Luggage
Parmiters Antiques Southsea Reduxext” http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/geishaboy500/3217701386/ You’ve just learned about a wonderful conference. You feel that it offers opportunity for professional - and personal - growth.
Because sometimes... “virtual” just isn’t
enough. “dream on” http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/gi/2953550/ You’ve connected with people online, you participate in online conferences, webinars, Elluminate discussions...but you realize that you’re missing out on a lot of valuable face-to- face interaction.
You may encounter some “resistance”
to the idea. “what?!?!” http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/justbecause/291874981/ Your supervisor isn’t convinced of the value of such a request. Money for fees, travel, a substitute, and other expenses can add up.
Don’t just sit back and
hope for the best! “Help for some decisions” http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/no-luogo/199372215/ If this really matters to you, you need to present a reasoned and compelling rationale.
Use some persuasion points: “A
prickly personality” http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/mharrsch/49790191/ Here are some points that you might want to make in stating your case:
Networking “Happy crowd” http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/alesk/356136498/ There
will be networking opportunities that can beneﬁt both you and your district. You will have the chance to interact with professional colleagues, respected experts in many ﬁelds, authors, visionaries, vendors, movers, and shakers. People will “put a face to the name” and be more willing to interact with you online, once the conference is over.
Presenting “Visual Tools for Public
Speaking” http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/jonnygoldstein/3877740779/ You may have an opportunity to present in front of your peers and beneﬁt from their feedback. Preparing a presentation is a great way to clarify your ideas.
Exploring & Gathering “ALA Conference
2009 Exhibition Hall” http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/vees/3727151140/in/photostream/ There will be vendors eager to showcase their newest products and services. You’re sure to come home with Good Stuff (anything from pencils to software, posters to books) for your district. And those business cards you collect may come in handy, when you need information or technical assistance later on.
And when you return home...
And when you return... “The Flight Home” http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/cayusa/2263853533/ Remember: the conference shouldn’t end at the Closing Session. Stand-alone PD, in any form, usually doesn’t lead to meaningful change in understanding or practices.
...with students “Skyping in Mr.
Silversides’ Classroom” http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/57634636@N00/2869677077/ “AASL 2009 Gaming with Chris Harris” http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/82712595@N00/4077595141/in/set-72157622629562751/ “Civil War Sallie” http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/71634097@N00/3696521643/ “Geocaching” http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/paul-w-locke/2638586231/ “The Alice Project” http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/dmcordell/4320885492/ Use ideas generated by the conference with learners in your school (Skyping; Civil War Sallie; Geocaching; Gaming; The Alice Project).
...with staff, administrators, the BOE,
parents and community members. “Faculty Meeting” http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/editor/2652425435/ Offer to do inservice trainings, workshops, and presentations in your district. Take every opportunity, formal and informal, to make what you’ve learned available to others.
Take time to reﬂect on
your experiences. “The self image” http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/dmsmidt/3657956504/ Was the experience social, inspirational, transformational? Document your professional growth and how what you’ve learned at the conference has affected others, particularly students.
Continue the conversations. “Frosty Morning
Web” http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/foxypar4/2124673642/ Don’t let your experience end on the last day of the conference! Maintain contacts, continue conversations. (Twitter, Facebook, Plurk, Delicious, RSS, Flickr, Skype, Diigo, Wikispaces, Ning).
Should you attend on your
own nickel? “Business and Pleasure” http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/kisho_h/4278896830/ If you decide that the experience would be a valuable one, but your school district is unable to fund conference attendance, consider going on your own. Think of it as a working vacation, with self-directed PD.
Weigh the possibilities. “Large set
of balance scales” http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/30084068@N08/3813864085/ Decide: Is there signiﬁcant value in real life attendance, or will virtual attendance suffice? How much does “being there” matter to me, personally and professionally? Which conference best ﬁts my needs, desires, schedule, budget?