Catching up with Old Friends for the First Time

Educon 2.2 is next weekend and I can’t wait.  Not only will I have the opportunity to hear Chris Lehmann, Dean Shareski, Will Richardson, and Michael Horn speak about current, progressive issues in education, but I am going to get the chance to meet face to face with some of the most valuable people in my life these days, my PLN.

Since July of 2009, when I started writing this blog and being more of a participant in the global conversation, I have begun to develop very meaningful, albeit virtual, relationships with learning leaders across the United States and the world.  These are people who I have come to count on to push me, provide me with support and resources, and challenge the way I look at teaching and learning.  These are folks who I began “chatting” with over Twitter, my blog, or Ning and have developed a real fondness for, and relationship with, over time.

But, what you need to know about me is that I am not a gregarious person by nature.  I’m something of an introvert and can be quite insecure about my thoughts and insights.  Put me in a room with 150 strangers and at the end of 4 hours I’ll walk out with 150 strangers.  In my virtual room, however, that introverted, often times insecure person is pushed aside by the person inside of me that is interested in developing a voice in the global conversation.  During the past six months since I started this blog and began growing my PLN, I’ve noticed that I am more confident in my ability to interact with others online than I am in person.  I am simply more comfortable communicating and conversing virtually than personally.

This shift has really been meaningful for me because it has allowed me to unlearn old beliefs and practices while I try transform into a 21st century learning leader.  Next week, I’ll have the opportunity to meet my peers that are helping me find this voice and undergo this transformation face to face for the first time, only I won’t be in a room with strangers and I won’t be awkward or hesitant, because I will simply be catching up with old friends…for the first time.

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5 Responses to Catching up with Old Friends for the First Time

  1. Just registered. I wasn’t sure I would be able to attend. I am looking forward to the weekend. See you there.

    Your reflection is great. The power of a PLN is so difficult to explain to people but it has changed the way I learn and has brought amazing people into my world.

  2. tbaldasaro says:

    Karen,

    That’s great. I’ll see you there.

  3. Tony,
    I wish I could join you there!
    It has been wonderful reading your reflections as you have developed your PLN, and grown to become a great 21st Century Learning Leader!
    I am glad that your virtual voice is ringing loud and clear!
    Mike

  4. Beth Still says:

    I feel exactly the same way you do! I am very outgoing and able to articulate my thoughts online, but this is not nearly as easy for me to do in a room full of people. I hope that I am able to share some of my experiences during the conversations that will be going on next week. I am so excited to see everyone soon. It will be great to be in the same physical location with 200+ people who think like I do!

  5. Let’s try that again.

    I couldn’t be more excited about EduCon and the opportunity to meet so many members of my PLN in person. These folks push my thinking daily and have made me more reflective. As Beth notes above, it will be strange to be in the same room as many of these folks. Wondering if I will add something useful to the conversation?

    I guess there will always be the car ride to and from PA with a captive audience. Maybe we should organize a busload from NH and MA next year?

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