Social fluency, not technological fluency is the essence of learning in an age of social media. Or, in Angela Maiers’ poetic language, “twitter is not a tool; it is a community.” Privileged to participate in not one, but three learning sessions with Angela Maiers (@angelamaiers) at the EdJEWcon conference, my own learning journey of the past several years gained context, nuance, and meaning.
I acknowledge; I was star struck. Yet, Angela quickly put me, and I sensed all of us, at ease. She did not seek to present the wisdom of one who has expertise, although she possesses incredible expertise. Instead, she crafted a collaborative learning environment in which we together explored topics that matter, not technology, but rather relationship and community.
Changing the Conversation: Using Technology R.I.G.H.T (in ways that are real, impactful, global, honoring passion, and talent amplifying), the title of Angela’s key note address, framed much of my essential learning not only for the day, but for the entire conference. I began the conference, as shared in my blog post, The Purpose of Ed Tech, acknowledging that we would not be learning about educational technology, as I had anticipated, but rather about creating communities of learning and character in a rapidly changing world. I continued the conference, as shared in my blog post, Comfort with Discomfort, respecting the challenges we face when we are changing communities; honoring our ability to address difficult realities not with stress and discomfort, but with a spirit of possibility, energy and fun. I ended the conference with Angela Maiers’ inspiration to enter learning with the mindset of an invitation to experiment, giving ourselves permission to play and to take play seriously.
Mike Fisher (@fisher1000) co-facilitated Angela Maiers’ first session on social media and personal branding for teachers and schools, and Andrea Hernandez (@edtechworkshop) co-facilitated Angela Maiers’ last session on creating a collaborative, reflective professional learning community with your faculty. Mike helped us recognize that there is no longer a clear division of personal and professional; we instead create, in Mike’s marvelous language, profersional identities. Andrea shared with us ways that social media can strengthen a school community by deepening relationships among those who work together in the same building, yet may not have sufficient time during the work day to connect, reflect and collaborate.
I came to EdJEWcon thinking about educational technology. I left thinking about ways of collaborating as profersionals, with playful energy, to support our students to develop the mindset and skills to enter, sustain, and contribute to their own communities of meaning. In the process, I gained perspective on my own learning journey of the past several years, recognizing that it has been a process of developing ever greater social fluency. There remains a long road to travel; yet a magnificent road, with some stress and challenge, but with much more playful experimentation and creative collaboration.