I left the conference a little disjointed -- not sure why and decided to reflect transparently and see if any of you (my community of readers) can help me sort it out. Please comment below. I welcome your thoughts.
First let me say that meeting so many folks f2f (if I tried to list here would I miss someone) I had long admired or even had worked with on various global projects for the first time made my trip worth it. I enjoyed the human network element to NECC much more than any sessions.
I was looking back over the Tweets from NECC and saw a comment by Gary Stager, it was a push back to Wes Fryer (i think)- and I am taking it out of context -but it meshed with one of my take aways from the conference.
Gary said, "Contact doesn't matter if the connecting people are not doing anything. Don't you think?"
And while Gary often says things I do agree with, this statement left me shaking my head no. For me, connecting *is* the point. Connecting and listening to ideas and allowing this new contact to push my thinking beyond where I could take it myself, reflecting on what and who they are, and then deciding if it becomes part of my developing schema is in and of itself enough- regardless if we do anything beyond that connection. Alfred Lord Tennyson says that we are a part of all we have met. I believe that.
It was clear that NECC07 had an impact upon me in that I came to the realization that NECC08 was the anniversary of what came to be several key relationships in my life. But just as importantly, there are many folks this year with whom I connected and had a casual conversation with- that while they pushed my thinking in ways I had not previously considered- I will probably not do anything further. There may be tacit knowledge outcomes that will have a subtle impact on what I believe, but the meeting in and of itself was enough. These connections for me are much like watching a beautiful sunset. The beauty of the event is in and of itself perfect- there need not be any learning objective or standards met or end result- the beauty of the now is worth the time.
Why We Can't Go Back
I caught up with Vinnie Vrotny at the airport, he said something that I felt had deep meaning. I asked him if he had a good conference experience. He explained that this year's conference was different for him because he was different- he was in a different place. Others had approached me at the conference saying they felt this year's event had a different feel as well but attributed it to it not being the "love fest" last year's event became. One attendee told me she felt many of what she called "A listers" from last year had been saying they felt "D listed" this year. I must admit, I never have gotten this stream of thinking. Who exactly are the A listers? All I know is each new person I meet seems more interesting than the last. I am drawn to new ideas and quality conversation- regardless of how many readers you have online.
Class, gender, and race isn't something I naturally see. I tend to go straight to ideas- always have, even in high school. I am glad to have this type of blindness actually. However, I admit to feeling pulled at this conference. There were so many people I wish I had taken the time to connect with on a deeper level. I brought family and felt I was ignoring them when I spent time networking. I felt very ineffective. I am thinking that is what has left me in this funk-- of trying to figure out why I am not still high from the NECC experience.
So I am curious- did any of you feel similarly? Was it me? If you did-- why? Is it like Vinnie said-we are all at a different place so the conference should feel different? Or did I simply spread myself too thin?
Texas Star- CSouthard
Ewan and Jeff at the Edubloggercon- DWarlick