#ISTE15 Conference is underway and I am amazed at all I am learning….from the comforts of my home. Conference attendees are tweeting, blogging and sharing their learning and I am learning vicariously through them…and I am inspired! One tweet led me to a conference handout, which led me to a website link, which led me to two blog posts where I hit the jackpot. Mauilibrarian2 and Sue Waters talk about ways to engage in the learning at the conference even if you cannot attend. In the past, I would sit at home and wish I was at the latest conference with my colleagues, but this time around, I am taking action. I had never thought that I could attend a conference without actually attending, but the virtual opportunities are endless, all without leaving my home or spending a dime.
Inspired, I thought I would try out a few of the ideas so that I could attend #ILA15 (The International Literacy Association’s 2015 Conference in St. Louis) without actually leaving my home. Here are my plans to get the most out of the conference I can, starting on July 18. Please, join me, and let’s learn together!`
Download the ILA Conference App
Even though we may not be able to attend the sessions, we can still feel like we are there and get a sense of who is presenting, what the hot topics are and even obtain session materials as if we were there. If you have not downloaded the app yet, be sure to do so or access the conference program here.
Have fun with this! Map out your schedule as if you were actually attending and make a point to ‘attend’ at that time by checking social media and downloading available materials. It is almost as if you are there! Just be sure to be mindful of the time zone difference, if this applies to you.
Follow Conference Proceedings on Social Media
It is amazing what you can learn through Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. I will be following #ILA15 daily and have started a hashtag of my own to join together all of the educators who will be attending vicariously through other mediums: #ILA15athome. The #notatISTE15 feed was so successful, that I thought I would start one for ILA and see what happened!
Here are the links you might want to follow:
Start a Google Drive of Files and Notes
After mapping out your conference and finding conference materials, you might consider creating a Google Drive Folder of your materials, notes, reflections and plans to share with others interested. This folder will serve as a wealth of resources to read and review, even if you do not have time to do so right when you download them. Think of this folder as your conference bag full of goodies to browse at the hotel room (I mean your kitchen table!).
Join My ILA15 At Home Google Community
I am taking a leap here! Based on the success of the Not at Ed Tech Camp Google Community group, I went ahead and create an ILA15 AT Home Google Community Group. While it is not nearly advanced at the Ed Tech group, it is a start! I created this public group so that those attending ILA15 from home could introduce ourselves, network together, share resources and discuss what we are learning as if we were in St. Louis. Please join the conversations!
Read Blogs and Write Your Own
As Cathy Mere writes, we all have a teaching story to tell. By taking a risk, telling our story and sharing our learning, we connect with others and collaborate in a professional learning community. To keep current with #ILA15, you might follow popular blogs of educators who are at the conference and blogging about their experiences. I'll post a few of my favorites on the Google Group.
But, don’t stop at reading blog….write your own posts! If you will be at #ILA15 or will be blogging about it from home, please add your blog to the comments below. I will continue to update the blog list and share with the Google Group.
So, there you have it. Here are the ways that I will be attending #ILA15 without ever leaving my home and I am just as excited as if I were attending. I know there are many educators like me out there and I hope to connect with as many of you as possible. By participating in the learning from home with me, we are starting a revolution and taking control of our own professional learning.