Last summer, I paid out of pocket to attend a conference, and I was glad I did (I went to Domains2017 and met many good online friends in person for the first time ever!), but I could do that only because the conference organizers worked hard to keep the registration fee very low; it was just $199 (but then of course there was all the airfare and the always-expensive hotel; the whole thing cost a lot of money, or what was for me anyway a lot of money).
And that's what I want to write about here: my thoughts about NOT attending InstructureCon, thumbs up and thumbs down.
Thumbs UP: Power of Twitter. I am so so so so grateful to people who tweeted during presentations, especially Linda Lee (look at this fabulous stream of her #InstCon tweets). I am glad to say that there were a lot of people who tweeted during sessions, and some people were so kind as to ping me for items they knew I would be interested in (and there was a TON of stuff I was interested in). As my contribution to the conference remotely, I made an InstructureCon Twitter widget. Of course. An #InstCon Twitter Widget in Under 5 Minutes
Thumbs UP: Live Streaming. I was able to enjoy presentations by Josh Coates, Jared Stein, and some others thanks to the live streaming that was available. I blocked out time to do that, and it was time well spent. When I was watching the live streaming AND participating in Twitter convos at the same time (thank you, Phil Hill!) that was really fun.
Thumbs DOWN: Keynotes without streaming. Given that I was hugely interested in all three keynote speakers (Jewel! Sheena Iygenar! Scott Barry Kaufman!), not being able to watch streaming for those speakers was so frustrating. I repeat: SO FRUSTRATING. I guess when you negotiate with people who are on the speaker circuit, they make that a condition of presenting. But hey... remember books, people? Because I was not allowed to watch those keynote speakers, I opted to read books by all three of them. And so for the grand total of $35, I was able to learn far far far more than I would have learned from listening to them speak at the conference. These books are all excellent, with so much wisdom not just about teaching and learning but also about life. Highly recommended!
Jewel: Never Broken ($11.99)
Sheena Iyengar: The Art of Choosing ($9.99)
Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire: Wired to Create ($12.99)
Here's a slide from Scott Barry Kaufman's keynote:
Why is that........???
Those are sincere question marks, because it is something I do not understand. I totally had fun at the Domains conference, but the people I met there are people I do interact with online, many of them every day. So meeting them face-to-face was totally fun, yes, but it didn't really change our working relationship at all; the basis for our working relationship is our ongoing online connection.
With Canvas, though, I know that many Canvas users (and many InstructureCon conference-goers) do not participate in online learning networks, relying on face-to-face events on their campus and on conferences for their professional development. That is definitely the case at my school anyway, where PD is almost entirely about face-to-face workshops and conferences. What would it take to shift some of that time and effort from face-to-face to online learning...?
I personally see so many benefits to making that shift, and just for examples of how powerful it can be, here are links to post streams at this blog which reflect my past participation in some great networked learning online like Connected Learning (that was a hugely important experience for me!), Rhizo15, and HumanMOOC. And now the Reflective Writing Club!
And yeah, ultimately I am being selfish here... because I know I would be learning more and having even more fun online if more people were bringing their knowledge and experiences to the online space. We can connect up and share without expensive airline tickets and hotel reservations when we are learning together online. :-)