Sunday, February 24, 2013

Why Twitter Makes Conferences Even Better!

Yesterday was the Dublin Literacy Conference.  If you've been following for awhile you know I LOVE this conference.  There are always so many smart speakers each and every year.  The combination of professional educators, authors and illustrations of children's books, and a dedicated audience always makes the day full of learning.  (Oh, and books ---- lots of books.)

In the last few years, that learning has been exponentially increased by Twitter.  How does Twitter change a conference you ask?  Let me tell you!

  • Virtual Attendance:  Torn between sessions?  Have to present when your favorite speaker has a session?  No worries.  Twitter friends will tweet the highlights from all over the conference.  By following the conversation, in this case #dublit13, there is no need to miss anything.
  • Back Channeling:   Back channeling makes conversations even more engaging.  Being able to follow the thoughts of other educators in the same session highlights important points, carries the conversation deeper, and helps me think about topics in a new way.  
  • Humor:  Thanks to Twitter you get an extra laugh every now and then.  There is usually a side conversation or two with a little bit of humor that makes the day even more fun!  (Especially when friends like @frankisibberson and @tonykeefer are in the house.)
  • Resources:  Through Twitter resources from sessions are shared.  Educators in sessions often tweet their own related resources they have created or discovered.  There is always much to learn and discover in these conversations beyond the general points of the session.
  • Meeting Tweeps:  Though I look incredibly ridiculous walking around conferences trying to recognize the people I follow on Twitter, it is fabulous to finally find success.   I'm not very good at visualizing the 2D avatar and spotting the 3D face, but I did manage to meet, catch up with, and get to know @aruddteacher100  @jenorr  @mbheartsbooks  @laurakomos (yes, we've met at several conferences, but because of distance I always look forward to catching up) @dahlia_constant @wizardozteacher.  Unfortunately I missed a several people I was hoping to meet.  We really need to wear special tags or plan a meeting place.  I think I saw a few others, but couldn't definitely match a name with the avatar.  My apologies if I looked right at you, but didn't make the final connection.  
  • Professional Conversations:  Thanks to twitter many of us have been having conversations across Twitter and blogs for awhile.  It is very easy to see each other in a session, sit together at lunch, or chat in the hallway about education and learning.  Friends on Twitter are always advocates for children and public education.  Our lunch table was filled with Twitter friends discussing sessions and education.  
  • Continued Professional Learning:  The conversation doesn't end at the close of the conversation. Thanks to Twitter these conversations will continue.  
Yes, the Dublin Literacy Conference was amazing, but the new thinking I'm taking away from the conference is a result of a combination of thoughtful sessions, informative tweets, and great conversations with colleagues.  Thanks to everyone!  

Dublin Literacy Resources
Tweetdoc collection of #dublit13 tweets


  1. Cath,
    Hi! We've touched base a lot these last few days...I was thinking about writing a post echoing a similar sentiment about the power of learning via beat me to it!

    Learning from not only the speakers but from others in attendance and continuing the conversation even after the conference ends all make for a full course meal! Diners who can't get enough of these good eats can come back for more and more all because of delicious tweets!

  2. And for those who could not attend the conference, and wished they were there...virtual attendance was easy! Although I do not "tweet"...I was following #dublit13 tweets. So many wonderful thoughts were shared...lots of great thinking on a Saturday after a snow (ice) day! :)

  3. Great summary of twitter. You are now a spokeswoman for Twitter, EN and I'm sure you have something on the horizon. It was and honor to present with you and I enjoyed our dinner afterwards. I appreciate your insight and thinking about life and teaching.