Dear PNL, I’m going off-line to “learn”

Tomorrow afternoon I will be heading to Calgary for our annual Teacher’s Convention. This is a required professional development event, and I am looking forward to connecting with my friends and possibly even a few interesting sessions.

I am not looking forward to the “learning” environment. Our convention takes place in the Calgary Convention Centre and there will be no wireless access. I will have to disconnect from my personal learning network all day on Thursday and Friday. That means no back-channel. I will not be able to follow the learning and key messages being Tweeted by other convention attendees. If useful sites are shared I will have to wait until I leave the venue to check them out. If I want to delve deeper into a topic, perhaps find out more before I ask a question or share a comment, I will not be able to do so.

I was able to connect to wireless last year when I was at the 21st Century Learning Symposium in Bluffton, Alberta (population 152). I can connect to wireless when I am at Tim Hortons. But I will not be able to connect when I am at convention.

I have changed over the past few years. I am no longer interested in learning in a disconnected manner. I want to be connected to my personal learning network while I learn, I want to be able to share, connect with others and dig deeper into what I learning about. But later this week I won’t have that opportunity.

I am glad that etmooc, my chosen professional development, will be discussing digital literacies for two weeks. I will be able to catch up once I get back from convention.

I understand how our students feel when we make them lock their media devices in their lockers all day. We should be teaching them to connect strategically, and disconnect when it is appropriate. I am disappointed that later this week I won’t be able to make that choice for myself.

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