Professional Development | Viewpoint

Keep FETC Alive Year Round with Social Media

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Putting all the pieces together for a conference like FETC takes a great deal of planning, logistics, troubleshooting, and patience. Participants from near and far have created plans for substitutes (if they’re teachers), arranged meals for families at home, and traveled to be part of the action. But the end result, when you can feel the excitement throughout the hallways and sessions, makes it all worthwhile.

Then, sadly, we all have to return to our crazy schedules and, in my case, to bad weather. Yet, here I am a few weeks later cleaning my desk in my not-so-paperless office and I came across my FETC folder. As you can see from the picture, there are notes scribbled both front and back. I did have my laptop, iPhone, and iPad with me, but the ideas were coming at me so quickly I just had to pick up a pen and write as fast as I could.

Weeks have passed, but I have moved the folder to the top of the pile and plan on spending a few hours tonight exploring, sharing, and organizing the gems collected from other presenters and participants from all across the globe. My book, Creating a Digital Rich Classroom: Teaching and Learning in a Web 2.0 World, came out last year. It is fun to say, “I wrote the book on it”, but, as I look over my scribbled notes, I am reminded I have a lot more to learn. Thank you to everyone at FETC who so generously shared your time, treasures and talents!

Now, where are your notes? Dig them out of your bag of goodies and join me in exploring. Let’s keep the conversation going with social media.

Some getting-started tips if you’re just getting acquainted with Twitter, or restarting with Twitter, and want to follow some of the presenters from FETC:

1) Follow me on Twitter as I share what I learned @megormi. I use Tweet Deck to organize my many Twitter conversations. I find it much easier to stay connected to the various conversations organized around hashtags. I currently have over 25 columns of hashtags, including #fetc. Recently on the #fetc conversation I learned about an App of the Week, Murky Reef, posted by Nirupama Bala. A quick link to her Twitter page showed that I was not following her…but I am now, and I look forward to learning with her and collecting additional app ideas.

2) Don’t forget about the Edmodo community that was started at the FETC conference. For each of the sessions there are links, handouts, presentations, and connections to the presenters. The Edmodo platforms makes it easy to stay connected and begin to feel more comfortable using a social networking platform. I discovered many new features in Edmodo as I prepared for FETC--and remember the best part: It's free to use.

3) Another way to stay in touch is by visiting the web sites of the different presenters. Visit me online at my newly redesigned website where I have resumed blogging--I've promised myself that I will stick with it this time, so stay tuned. Commenting on blog posts are also a great way to stay connected to your favorite presenters. Ask questions and let us know how we can help you.

4) If you are just not there yet with social media, try staying connected to your favorite speakers through e-mail. After a conference like FETC I often receive e-mails months later asking for this resource or suggestions on that problem. I try very hard to answer every e-mail that comes in. Test out my response time by e-mailing me a question at [email protected].

Let’s continue the professional development we all started at FETC!

About the Author

Meg Ormiston is a speaker, former classroom teacher, and veteran presenter at FETC. She is the author of Creating a Digital Rich Classroom: Teaching and Learning in a Web 2.0 World.