I learned a lot back in those days, then something started to happen. I really wasn't learning anything for a while. There seemed, back then, to be only introductory lessons and most I had already mastered. So, I presented a few sessions for a couple of years, and that got very old quickly. It wasn't until a couple of years back that this all changed. The day I was introduced to social media.
I remember it well, it was two years ago next February and I had this fellow named Doug Peterson sit next to me on day two of the session. Many of us were introduced to Twitter that morning by an out of town presenter. I noticed that this out of town presenter was following the guy next to me. Hmm, I thought, this guy must be a player. It wasn't for a while that I realized what kind of a guy Doug Peterson really was. Encouraging, helpful, thoughtful and an all around great guy.
But it didn't stop there. I met about 15 or so folks "in real life", followed them on Twitter and then began probably the best professional development I've had in years. We started an on-line real-time discussion about teaching and learning that has been unparalleled.
I also noticed that most of the "real life" folks I had met a couple of years ago were now attending ECOO. I thought, why not give it another chance? So last year was my first return to ECOO in years. Now it feels like home.
Where else (I know there are other places:) can you arrive at a conference and immediately meet three people you've met before? Or within two hours of arrival be sitting with 15 others, some of whom you have met and others you are now meeting after following them on Twitter.
And it did not stop there. I didn't have a chance to join the official and unofficial tweet-ups this year, but every room I entered or corner I turned I would bump into someone I would know. This happened time and time again. There were embraces for new faces, smiles from across the room and waves from passers-by. The theme: "Where's the Flock" was a terrfic tag line for this year's conference. Even if I had to have it explained to me that there may be another meaning to this phrase.
So hat's off to the organizers of this year's ECOO2010. My best experience yet!
I'm really happy to have that "Feels Like Home" feeling back again.
See you next year.