I entered the blogosphere in July 2011 with my blog Used Books in Class .Over these past three years, I have developed Internet relationships with other bloggers. I link my posts to social media. I name drop those I “follow” and I have kept up with their blogs, all from a digital distance…that is, until tonight.
Tonight I travelled to NYC with my friend Catherine to meet up with other education bloggers, to meet them in person, a sort of group online date. We were upgrading from from online to the professional development dinner. No, we were going to a professional date-velopment dinner.
There were seven of us:
Our physical meeting was also indicative of the most recent kind of change in educational professional development that has been brought about by social media. We were meeting in person the people we had been online professional date-veloping for years.
First, we looked at faces, matching those with the avatars on blogs or Twitter we knew so well. Yes, that was Fran; Vicki looked like Vicki; Tara had a new haircut; that must be Ryan…the only guy at the table.
But we still knew each other. I could hear for real the voices of these bloggers/Tweeters I had heard only in my head; our conversations not limited to comment sections or 140 characters. We sat at a table at Isabella’s on the Upper West Side with delicious food in our stomachs; our four hour discussion was food for our educational souls. We facilitated a very civil group discussion for seven that covered the the current issues in education. We talked about students, texts, curriculum, evaluation, teacher training, and professional development.
Words like “trust” and “messy” kept resurfacing in our discussion, both words indicative of the changes all of us are experiencing.
Teaching can be an isolating experience, so our online relationships were the inevitable creation of our mutual need to connect with like-minded people.
Meeting in person only confirmed what we already knew…ours is a great professional date-velopment.