Catherine is a passionate educator in Kingston, Ontario and I have been honoured enough to get to know her through her contributions at #whatisschool – Over the coming 8 months I have asked Catherine to put together a series of 3 blog posts to follow her journey. A couple of months ago, thanks to 21st Century Learning, Catherine won a ticket to the Hong Kong 21st Century Learning Conference through #whatisschool as I will be speaking at this event. Here is part 1 of 3 from Catherine, focussing on her excitement of winning the prize and organizing her trip to Hong Kong.
For a long time, I was adamantly opposed to getting on Twitter. I associated Twitter with people telling the world mundane details about their everyday lives. I did not want to be one of those people. And so I held off.
In 2011, I finally joined Twitter as part of a pilot program during Teacher’s College. Slowly, but surely, I grew to see some of the value of this tool. Then, as fate would have it, I stumbled upon #whatisschool on the night of its debut.
It was June 12, 2014. I had never been in a Twitter chat before, and nothing could have prepared me for the flurry of activity that followed. Hundreds of tweets streamed in, and since I had yet to discover Tweetdeck, I could barely keep up with the conversation. The hour flew by, and I left that chat with a transformed understanding of the power of Twitter, and a burning desire for more. I continued to participate in #whatisschool, and began seeking out other weekly chats as well.
Fast forward a few months to April 23 of this year. #whatisschool had opened up the possibility of global collaboration for me, but once again, I was unprepared for the way that it would draw me even further down this path.
The topic of the chat that night was gamification and game-based learning – two things that I knew very little about. I posed question after question in an attempt to create some semblance of understanding, and when I checked my notifications at the end of the night, I found this tweet from @21cli:
My first reaction was confusion. I immediately went to check out the 21st Century Learning website (followed immediately by Craig’s website) to find out more. When I realized what it was that I had won, and saw that the conference dates were for the last few days of my maternity leave, my feelings turned to sheer excitement. I immediately suggested to my husband that we should go to Asia (who was still in the confusion stage at this point) and then began to express said excitement over a number of social media channels.
Over the next few weeks, I checked the 21CL website constantly, reading up on the keynote speakers and featured presenters. Justin Hardman, who had co-moderated that gamification chat, and to whom I owed this prize, had mentioned that registration would open soon. And so, I became very good friends with that “Register” button as well as the subsequent “Details coming soon” message.
Then one day, the details were there.
This was the time to claim my prize! I worked my way through the registration process, inputted that 100% off discount code, and am happy to say that I am officially registered for the 8th Annual 21stCL Conference.
I’m now in the process of getting all my ducks in a row. Things like booking my flight and figuring out what to do with my will-be-11-month old. I never imagined that Twitter and #whatisschool would be able to take me to where I am now with my PLN. Nor did I ever think it would end up taking me back to my birthplace of Hong Kong. Nevertheless, it has done both of those things, and I can’t wait to see where it will take me next.