11 February 2013

ICOT Part 3: The Other Dimension

I wrote here that I went to ICOT2013 by myself.  It is only partly true as a number of factors have contributed to exchange ideas and share experience with many, to meet people and discover their background and their interests, and to work together for the common good.
This is enabled through the Twitter backchannel: the comments using #icot2013 to form a thread, the links to support what is been presented, the immediate reflections, pictures, times for informal meetings, light banter... All that contribute to a sense of community, for all tweeps are "in the same place", but also to broadcast and amplify what is taking place to whoever follows #icot2013 from afar. 

Managing tweets by added them to Favorites allows to keep them for further reading. I chose to collate tweets in a spreadsheet as I know I will refer back to them. I have failed so far to convince you Ruth of the time and place and usefulness of Tweeter. A conference like ICOT2013 is the type of event to experience its strength: my memory of the event and my understanding of it will be all the poorer without it. Many delegates are using Tweeter, more or less regularly, some give it a go for the first time and see it do its thing. 
You could have followed #ICOT2013 and possibly felt that somehow you were there if you could have read the tweets generated during Ewan McIntosh's opening Keynote, or Guy Claxton's breakout! Tweets are informative, questioning, meaningful and often lead to something else, equally or more interesting. If this is not good enough a case to make time for Twitter, then read on!
- This tweet leads to this GoogleDoc.   
Follow the link to read the Keynote notes many delegates have contributed to, as they happened. Started by one, "broadcasted" via Twitter, and all the sudden many hands make light work to keep a record of what is being presented. It is certainly of more value if you are or were of attendance, but the quality of the quotes and the ability some have at synthesizing as they take in never stops to amaze me.

And through Twitter, you also get to read what people think or how they make sense of it. They may share their thoughts/ experiences of their blogs and mention it on Twitter. We both agree knowing there is an audience is an incentive to consign reflections. Some might see this as a sort of a showy behaviour, and not all thoughts and reflections are bone equal (here is an example!!). But what best way to collect thoughts and ideas, to later select them for a particular purpose? Why keep your notes to yourself? Will you ever read them again if they are on a bit of pad?  How will you get feedback? What better way to make your learning visible to ... yourself or your boss! 

But no need to convince you of the value of blogs, this is one battle won. For now. Until you and I find or invite an audience, whoever it may be, we can be each other's audience! I could have written about ICOT2013 but it would not be the same should have had not read the following blogs, from various authors, educators with different backgrounds, at different stage of their careers. And I may never have been aware of them should they not had been tweeted about!

  • @howen blogs in real time, as it happens. The Problem Finders are her note on Ewan McIntosh's Keynote and  Creative and Critical Thinking: Creating Space for Innovation is her notes on Ewan McIntosh's workshop she attended. By scrolling through the January 2013 blogposts, more ICOT2013 live commentaries are available. Hazel is a seasoned social media user who has great expertise in online communities facilitation.
  • Matt, a primary teacher in his second year of teaching, @hunch_box, wrote Playing Tag - Ewan McIntosh on Assessment very shortly after the end of the workshop.
  • @dukelyer, an experienced primary teacher, moves Icot2013 into his long term memory in his post where he consigns what he will report back to colleagues who did not get the chance to attend.
  • @mattynicoll, a secondary Science teacher, blogs about his attempts at improving the classroom experience for his students. He publishes his ICOT2013 reflections here 
I will be revisiting these teachers' blogs, amongst others, which I add to GoogleReader and read every so often, as a magazine.
So no, I can't say I know this people well, I can just say that there are commonalities and that all of us are animated by making sense of teaching and learning in our own terms, with the influence and the input of others. I don't know any regular blogger in our immediate community of practice, do you? Is the French teachers community still is my most immediate community I wonder?

I am indebted to educators who like @ewanmcintosh, and many others, blog and share what they do openly. I need to immerse myself more deeply there before I can see better: a case of going deeper in the dark hoping to see some light! Blogging invites questions and comments and conversations. And that is through a comment that I was introduced to @charte' blog. Chris's is highly likely to help me break down how design thinking, formative assessment maybe applied in a language acquisition environment: he was a language teacher in the UK who did a lot of very cool (and well documented) things when they got the New Curriculum there. He is now in Melbourne, has developed a love for SOLO taxonomy and I can't wait to dive in his blog either! 

A gem of a perfect ICOT2013 summary that was just so bang on for me was @virtuallykaren's Big Ideas emerging through the Week. GO read it if you read only one from that list! Spoiler alert: Karen highlights thinking processes and heuristics, necessity to have real meaning and purpose for students to get stuck in, and focus on making thinking process visible. 

ICOT2013 was definitely an opportunity to meet people, and if not face to face then, it happens virtually over time.


  1. Yep. It's certainly great to be able to benefit from others' synthesis and analysis of such events. Even though I would love to have been there, I feel that I haven't missed out, thanks to the conversation we're now having and reading of the links.
    As far as Twitter is concerned, I can see you've missed your calling as a super saleswoman. I have never doubted the value of Twitter for creating a sense of community and sharing of great stuff but for me it's just too fast. I'm a bit like Mainland Cheese and take a long time to mull over things. I find Twitter vaguely unsettling, as though I can never quite catch up with it. You're a speedier person in every respect. So I rely on other ways of accessing great ideas. As you know I'm somewhat of a Facebook junkie and following various pages and belonging to various groups, as well as exploring links suggested by friends from all over the world, in areas other than education, is about the right pace for me. As far as developing a following is concerned, it would be nice to think that whatever I write could be of potential value to someone else out there but it's mainly a reflective tool for me at this stage, as I undertake a major challenge. The other thing about Facebook I really like is taking part in educational conversations in the threads and having random real time chats with Art teachers in Lithuania, English teachers in Turkey, friends from closer to home that I don't see often enough. Since I joined Facebook I find I feel connected and think about my friends more than I did before. I've tried Twitter 3 times and failed to get hooked. It's just the way I am. I'm a long-winded and ruminative old carthorse rather than a thoroughbred racehorse. We both get there in the end.

  2. Would love a job with Twitter :-)! Yep I find Twitter hugely unsettling too (and horses too by the way!)and it needs some taming to extract the goodness. And also if I am not careful it is very easy to follow and read from people that sort of think like me, and that does not make me progress in my thinking much. One can only take so much affirming! I get my head out of the "education" thread. I am enjoying following a range of tweeps, who keep me real: fashion, activists,journalists, businesspeople etc. People I am unlikely to meet in real life.
    I would not go as far as envisaging to develop a following and making the buzz, but you and I have friends and colleagues whose awesome contributions would be very beneficial to help us in our thinking. Lesley is very keen on "Starting with the end in mind", Kheya teaches in an inquiry school, Simon has huge experience and expertise in language teaching, at that is just to namedrop a few! I would like to think that we could at times invite their feedback.


Let's go Back to the Drawing Board!