Some Notes After COMO 2011
My personal COMO journey focused, with no forethought, on pictures books. I just kept ending up in cool little breakout sessions that told me about amazing picture books and ways to use them to teach with that were incredibly fun and interesting with all different grade levels. I still need to sit down and process through it all, but it definitely gets the creative juices flowing. And this is definitely a good time of year to get a renewed kick in the creative pants!
It was a smaller affair than in past years. Not as many districts are sending as many folks. I sincerely hope it doesn’t dry up and go away. The inspiration, information and new ideas you get from conferences and other good professional learning experiences are invaluable for tech and media people like us. I’m not saying you should go to as many conferences as possible every single year. I’m saying do go to at least one professional learning experience, whether a class or at least a local conference every year. You never know what you’ll end up taking away or how it will influence your practice.
It may not even be the main subject of the experience. I got just as much from lunching with colleagues as I did from the sessions themselves. I learned about technology that was new to me just by asking. I’m talking here about tech that was being used by presenters, but not necessarily the point of the presentation. Or I learned new and different ways to do things I was already into.
Probably everyone’s favorite general session was seeing Eric Litwin and James Dean in their Pete the Cat presentation. Yes it was amazingly fun and interactive, but it also taught us how to be better interactive presenters. Many people have commented that they read an author’s books much better after seeing the author(s) present it themselves. I know I learned a ton from seeing Mo Willems in person some time back.
So keep going to conferences when you can and share what you learn with the rest of us!