Friday, May 1, 2009


Why Conference?

Kim Cofino 21st Century Literacy Specialist at the International School Bangkok in Thailand.
6 04 2009

I love learning. I used to love professional conference too - mostly because they were a great place to learn. But, last weekend, at our regional teacher’s conference (ETC), I made a realization, well two, realizations:

1. I get more relevant, interesting, and informative information via my PLN (Professional Learning Network) than I could hope to get at even the best professional conference experience - and without having to leave the country or spend a cent.

2. For me, conferences are no longer primarily about learning, at least not in the traditional sense of attending lectures, doing activities and taking notes.


...quite the opposite. Last weekend I realized that conferencing is all about people: connecting, building relationships, finding new paths and solidifying old (or virtual) friendships.

I might not have gotten something new from every single session, but I did meet at least a dozen people who were already in my personal learning network.

So, I guess what I’m saying is that I’m looking at conferences differently now. Like Jeff, I don’t like learning alone. But, I think we can make our conferences all about learning together - we just might not want to follow the pre-determined program… I guess we’ll have to make our own.

Has your perception of conferences changed now that you’ve built a PLN? What about our students? Is this how they feel while they’re in school? As educators, should we expect that students can learn more from their PLN than they can from us?

1 comment:

  1. I concur with Kim Cofino that the whole concept of going off to learn alone at Professional Conferences has,or will need to,change due to our ever-increasing PLN's. I personally love learning together, as I'm sure most of my students do. It's a fascinating concept that our students can learn more from each other- their PLN's -than from us, their formal educators.