I am very proud to announce that I have just presented at my first online conference, RSCON4. As an educator, I’m always trying to put myself into the shoes of the learner and this online experience has taught me more than ever before!
So what exactly did I learn about my learning?
1. Learning takes place when you take yourself out of your comfort zone (I think having a few glasses of champagne in my system after my recent recipe book launch encouraged me to quickly accept my invitation without changing my mind). I often asked myself “what’s the worst thing that can happen?”
2. Learning happens when you collaborate. I could not have done it without connecting with other first time presenters, RSCON support people, colleagues and friends.
3. Powerful learning comes into play when there is tension. Over the last 3 weeks there were many times when I felt my heart racing and my stomach churning. I often asked myself “why am I doing this?” and whispered to myself, “this is so hard!” Through positive self-talk, persistence and time, I was able to work through my difficulties and come out the other end – smiling.
4. Learning is about goal setting and never losing sight of the big picture.
5. Learning is a process not an outcome. When I started taking just one step at a time, I started to believe that this was actually going to be achievable.
6. Learning through authentic inquiry is the way to go! I have never needed to join google+, sign up for an online tutorial, use a webcam, use a microphone, tweet and retweet, upload a powerpoint to blackboard collaborate or speak to a group of people who I cannot see or hear! When you need to learn for an authentic purpose you find a way to make it happen. When you want to learn there’s often an excuse as to why you can’t! NEED = INQUIRY = LEARNING.
7. Learning happens when you feel supported. My family, friends and colleagues were all there encouraging me every step of the way. Others often see you in a different way to how you see yourself. Edna put me up for this (truthfully it would never have entered my mind) and her belief in me contributed to my belief in myself. What a confidence building journey!
8. Learning something new takes practice. I joined a training session -twice (as I still felt out of my depth after the first one). I organised myself a practise room and experimented with the technology. What initially took me hours, would have taken others just a couple of minutes. However, practising resulted in familiarity and this familiarity set me up for success.
9. Making mistakes led to deeper learning. Uploading my profile into the wrong place, publicly communicating with someone that should have been private and not considering the change in time zones when initially registering my session are all things that led to learning moments (and feeling kind of silly) but I don’t plan on making any of these mistakes again!
10. The best learning is self directed. I like the term “just in time learning” – learning when you need the particular skill/knowledge/attitude/understanding. I went on my own journey – professional learning did not take place because of my school – it took place because I made it happen.
I have often resisted the use of technology in my own learning journey but through this experience I have learnt that there is so much out there just waiting to be tapped into. Technology gives us a wider audience, a louder voice, access to a wealth of experience and immediate connection to other learners with similar passions. Yes, for me there is still tension – as it does not come to me naturally – but this tension has forced me to grow!
When I now step into the shoes of the teachers and students who I learn with, I have a new appreciation of what “hard” feels like. What comes naturally to me does not always come naturally to others. My learning continues . . . . . .