Monday, October 29, 2018

DigCitSummitCA and the learning I choose not to share

On Saturday, October 27, 2018 I attended the Digital Citizenship Summit at OISE-UofT HQ in Toronto. I wasn't an organizer. I wasn't a presenter. I was *just* a participant. It was a pretty liberating experience.

Usually, when I attend a conference, on my blog I list the sessions I attended, a summary of the workshops, three key points and my "so what, now what" next step. I'm not going to do that this time in quite the same way. Why?

A) I did a lot of "session surfing" at this conference, because there were so many talks I wanted to hear and people I wanted to support with my presence at their workshops.

B) Not everything needs to be shared digitally. Some of the conversations that I had were chock-full of learning, but intensely personal and/or private. Consent and confidentiality are crucial concepts. (How's that for a lot of alliteration?) I still want to acknowledge that learning happened, and thank the people that made it happen, but I'm not going to reveal details of what was said. (This fits with Chapter 2 of that book I'm currently reading on documenting learning.)

9:00 - 9:45 am

Sneaking in this pic of T at TT
I was delighted to see how many people I knew as soon as I walked into the space! I didn't even have time to properly take my coat off before I was grabbed for a TDSB group photo! Teresa Allan (my Tinkering Thursday partner from just a few days prior) gave me an adorable "T-bird" that she made by hand. (The T stands for Twitter, Teresa, and tea, since she is my "tea mentor" who taught me how to make wise, healthy tea choices.)

I sat with Chelsea Attwell for the opening remarks, which were led by someone I'm honoured to call my friend, Jennifer Casa-Todd. As part of the whole-group beginning, Andrew McConnell came to give "community wisdom". I'm used to hearing land acknowledgements at the beginning of conferences but this was different. This was the first time I heard someone speak Annishnabek (did I spell this right?) with such a degree of fluency - and Andrew told us that this was his fourth language.

With TDSB friends, new and old (Julie, Larissa, Laura)

9:45 - 10:40

I had planned to attend a gaming session, but it seemed to be more of an introduction to a platform I was already pretty intimately familiar with, so I passed. Instead, I had not one, but two, fantastic conversations. Laura Collins, I want to thank you for your positive nature. Larissa Aradj, I want to thank you for your honesty. I am a privileged educator because I have the opportunity to access both of you virtually and in person and I'm grateful for it. I also squeezed in some time reviewing how to use a MicroBit with kidscodejeunesse and scored a free Bit to try out in my Library MakerSpace!

10:50 - 11:50

Being a session butterfly isn't all it's cracked up to be! I wanted to grab as much information as I could from as many different people, but when you are moving from place to place, all you can hope to achieve are little snippets of ideas. I spent a bit of time first in the session called "Where Does Media Literacy Fit In?" which was a panel with Michelle Solomon, Jane Mitchinson, Matthew Johnson and moderator Carlo Fusco. I heard a couple of good observations around algorithms and echo chambers, but I can't accurately report on the entire experience because I didn't stay long enough. I then popped into "Samaritans on the Digital Road: the OCDSB journey from Digital Citizenship to Digital Integrity". Bill Cocoran, the session lead, made me really think about the purpose of filming good deeds and how much humility and kindness could and should play a part. (Heads up - a friend who wasn't at the conference posted a reply to my tweet and I deleted my reply to her because it sounded too snarky and could have been misinterpreted as mocking the message - a valuable reminder that wry observations or dissenting opinions shared online should be carefully phrased so they don't accidentally offend.) I ended this time slot by visiting Annie Slater, Artemis Manoukas and Katina Papulkas as they concluded their talk on "Digital Citizenship of Staff and Students (and Parents too)".

Selfie with Katina and Annie

11:50 - 1:00

Lunch is still a time to learn! I sat down with a good TL friend who isn't in the GTA, Ruth Gretsinger. Time spent with her is always valuable. We had a great conversation that was wide-ranging in scope and content. Ruth, thanks for sharing all the many things you know and explaining to me things I didn't know.

1:00 - 1:55

I had planned on making this another "butterfly adventure" because I really wanted to hear Julie Millan's talk on "Go Google Yourself: Building an Online Presence" as well as Jennifer Casa-Todd's "Empowering Students to be Digital Leaders". Plans change, and I ended up spending the entire time at Diana Hale's focused discussion on "Integrating Digital Citizenship in Elementary Classrooms". This was because the people in the room - Diana Hale, Jessica Longthorne, Teresa Allan, Matthew Johnson and Carlo Fusco - had so many darn tweetable things to say that I couldn't go! I learned some great new phrases like "empathy trap" and "digital sunset". Literally every person had something wonderful to contribute. I'm going to share Diana Hale's continuum with my staff, since I need to extend my "tendrils of influence" further, now that our school's technology is decentralized and more class-based.

Chatting with Teresa, Jess and Diana

2:05 - 3:00

Being at a conference can be tiring, even if you aren't the one presenting. I took a break to visit the Pop-Up and Playground space on the first floor. I spoke with Tina Zita about some of the cool items she brought with her (including a retro phone receiver that actually plugs into all devices to use as a mic and headset). I then took a "people break" to catch up on the Twitter feed for the event. I snuck/sneaked into Carlo Fusco's session, "Taking Care of Your Digital Identity" for the last fifteen minutes and was able to learn something new even in that brief slot of time.

Check out the "phone"!

Photo with URL for Carlo's presentation
3:10 - 3:30

Our closing keynote was the effervescent, enthusiastic and energetic Olivia Van Ledtje. She's a youth activist and reading enthusiast - and when I say youth, I'm talking a Grade 4 student!

My own networking didn't stop with the end of the conference. I got to "meet" two people that I've known for ages but have never met in person previously. Thank you to Helen deWaard and Julie Johnson for delaying their departure from the conference so we could chat, if only for a little bit.

Diana and Helen

Julie and Diana
Thank you so much to the organizing committee for creating such a fruitful (and affordable) conference. I was reluctant to come, as I have report card comments to complete this weekend, but it was worth it. Thanks also to the people who talked with me, as well as the people I wanted to talk to but ran out of time to do it thoroughly or at all (Natasha Khakoo and Stephen Hurley, I'm looking at you two here!) All of you accelerate my learning!

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful summary of your day. So many highlights and insights to share. Thanks for taking time to connect and chat at the end of the day. Our paths didn't cross since I attended other sessions. I've shared my collection as a way to remember my day, and build links beyond the one day event. I'm going to add this post to the curation I've got (
    Let's keep connecting to share this conversation about digital citizenship until the next summit event.