One day after receiving an invitation to submit a workshop proposal for FETC 2011, I'm sitting down to tap out what will probably be my final post on the 2010 edition of FETC.
In the months leading up to this year's conference - my first FETC - I waited in eager anticipation for the trip to the magic city. While I was eager to see what the workshops and concurrent sessions would have to offer, what I was really looking forward to were the personal connections that would be made "outside the lines" - in the exhibit hall, the restaurants, and, best of all, at the Thursday night Tweet-up. This came to mind this past week as I talked with colleagues at my school about reporting our FETC experiences for professional development points. Our school district offers points for time spent in workshops, and even time spent in the exhibit hall talking to vendors.
What is more difficult to document is time networking with fellow teachers that, until recently, you had only met online - through their blogs or their Twitter feeds. That's a real shame, because that is some of the most valuable time logged over the three days in Orlando. Though I enjoyed James Gubbins' session on Twitter, and the Teaching with Video session by Steve Katz; the lasting impressions of FETC came from talking edtech with these guys and Jerry Swiatek (@jswiatek) at TGI Fridays over a cold beer. Sitting through sessions with Jenna (@2sonsup) or Elizabeth from SimpleK12 (@SimpleK12) was as rewarding as the sessions themselves.
Even reconnecting with teachers from my district that I seldom see at home - folks like @artykel, @fernandezc4, and @educatore - provided added value to the conference experience.
So now, as I begin working on session proposals for FETC 2011, I am again looking forward to renewing those personal relationships - and making new ones. One thing that I'd like to see added next year is a more formalized "unconference" infrastructure - a blogger's cafe perhaps. What would you like to see changed or added in 2011?