This past Saturday I had the wonderful opportunity to attend my first Playdate. In general, the idea of a Playdate is a time for educators to come together and “play” with technology tools with the support of one another. To read more about the Playdate philosophy and how it got started, click here.
I agreed early on to facilitate learning during two of the four sessions. In the spirit of the Playdate, I did not put together a formal presentation, but instead , I built a Weebly site full of resources for participants to explore and try. This experience was so exciting because even as a facilitator, I was learning. There was not an expert in the room – we were together, sharing ideas, trying out tools, and pushing one another’s thinking.
During one of my sessions, I brought along some library books that I had enhanced with QR codes and augmented reality. It was so fun to see the teachers play, show each other what I had created, and come up with ideas for how they could use the same tools in their own settings.
What made Playdate DG58 even more exciting was the size of the PLN who was not in attendance, but was still engaged in our day. Through a Twitter hashtag, we were able to share out resources and ideas with those who could not be present. The biggest eye opener of the day, for me, was just how connected we all are. When I went home that evening, I scanned Twitter and saw that one teacher had taken a picture in my QR session. This simple picture was favorited by dozens and retweeted even more times.
Many of the participants in both of my sessions also Tweeted out a link to the Weebly Site of resources I had built. To date, that site has had close to 600 unique viewers – pretty powerful stuff considering there were only about 100 people in attendance at the Playdate!
Of course the MOST exciting part of my day was getting to meet so many of my Tweeps in person. @NoApp4Pedagogy and @JoyKirr were just as friendly in person as they are online. @Mattrich0722 was so laid back and super supportive at the same time. I got a chance to chat with @sledeaux84 and look forward to connecting with him again soon. I even met “the dog lady,” @JPiekarz, and think she is way too pretty to have her dog as an avatar 🙂 Of course I made so many new connections too, which I will continue to foster through Twitter in the hopes that our paths will cross again.
While I have been a connected educator for some time now, meeting so many of these people in person and seeing just how far our ideas can spread is so uplifting. My PLN reminds me that I am not a lone wolf (thanks for the analogy, @noapp4pedagogy). I am part of a much bigger wolf pack that is passionate about the kids they work with and the hard work that they do. And that, my friends, is a blessing worth celebrating.