Friday, February 15, 2008

Backchanneling



I attended PETE-C this year and met so many people! It was really great to sit down next to (she even moved over for me!) Jennifer Dorman herself!! This is what is great about f2f conferences: getting away, taking a break, and meeting your colleagues with whom you work everyday.
The first few sessions weren't that great, and in reflecting (the snow and extra day ensured plenty of reflection time) I see just what was lacking. My engagement was lacking. I know am am worse than the "digital natives" in my classrooms. Then I went to a couple amazing sessions were I was totally engaged. What was the difference?
The sessions were all equally informative and all had equally bad internet access. Those being equal, there was one difference that made all the difference to me. A backchannel was that difference.
If the absence of one thing was the only difference between my engagement and disengagement, what does that absence do for those digital natives 8 hours a day?
Our jobs are to prepare tomorrow's citizens. If we are not engaging them how can we prepare them? Inherent in our titles is the assumption that we are ourselves prepared. If we are not prepared and are not preparing them, we may as well hang it up and go to Siberia.
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Photo by art_ep, Vienna, Austria, taken February 15, 2008

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