Thursday, June 4, 2009

NECC 2009 - DC Here we come!

I am excited that in a few weeks I will be attending my 3rd National Education Computing Conference - NECC - one of the best conferences in and surrounding Education Technology. Beth Still's post about surviving your first NECC has me thinking back on the last two I attended.

The first NECC I attended was in 2006 in San Diego, CA. It was the first National Conference I had ever been too, and I was so excited. My husband, Brent, came with me and we made a mini-vacation out of it. I was shortly joined by Lisa Grable, a long time NECC attendee & the pair of us divided and conquered the sessions. It was nice to have someone to meet up with and discuss the sessions, but the downside is that you don't really socialize too much with others. This was the first conference I saw Wil Richardson speak at, and I was blown away by his message and presentation style. I am still influenced by what he pulled off that day.

There were a small group of us that were bloggers and we met at a Bar/Pub/Brewery to discuss what was going on. Steve Hargadon was passing out "Support Blogging" buttons. I had an idea of whom some of these people were, but I really was just hearing or meeting them for the first time. It was strange to be in a room full of people and know things about them, but they know nothing of you and try & start a conversation, but I held my own & had a good time.

I missed the NECC in 2007 while I was on maternity leave with Evan, but was able to make the trip to San Antonio last year. I knew I would be headed to the conference not knowing anybody and I was really intimidated by that. I really wanted to go to the Edubloggercon on the Saturday before the conference started, but knew that would basically leave me with nothing to do on Sat night & Sunday. It also happened to be a big birthday for my mother (of which I will not reveal her age - sometimes she actually reads my blog :) and I thought it would be perfect to inviter her to spend the weekend with me. This worked out perfect, I was able to experience the best of the conference and enjoy San Diego.

The Edubloggercon really helped me to get to know my fellow attendees, and helped facilitate some great discussions that carried over into the next few days. I found myself hanging out more at the Edublogger Cafe than actually attending sessions. This was also my first "real" introduction to Twitter and how it could be utilized. I found out what sessions were popular or full, made lunch plans with virtual strangers and went out to night clubs. The twitter dinner was a great culmination of all the connections I had started to make and solidified friendships that I have kept up in the past year.

I'm excited to see what this year will bring. I am presenting for the first time, and with a group of people I have never met in person! Luckily, this year it is in DC, so that even though I have no travel budget I can afford to travel on my own and stay with friends. I wonder what this NECC will bring? I hope I will meet some old friends & make some new ones. My PLN has grown so much over the past year - I look forward to meeting everyone in person!

P.S. My blog will probablly be filled with NECC related entries in the next few weeks - as will my Twitter so watch out!

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