The Top 5 Things I Learned in Portland

One day as I browsed through my Twitter feed, I discovered a post about blogging.  Since we had recently begun blogging here at CAPE, I decided to check it out.  I don’t recall who wrote it, the title, or the major content, but the gist of the piece was what the author learned by analyzing his posts and responses.  The one thing that caught my attention was that his posts that included a list of items (i.e. Top 10, or Top 5, or Three Things You Can…) were his most popular posts.  The idea has stuck with me, but I haven’t yet been able to quantify my blog posts as yet.

But…I’m going to give it a shot today.

While I was in Portland last week, I became aware of quite a few things.  Some of the most important and relevant to you are included below:

5 – Portland really isn’t as cold in November as I expected.  On most days, I was fine in a long sleeve shirt and a light sweater/jacket.  And, contrary to popular belief (or at least mine), it only rained one day while I was there (one whole day – it started sprinkling one evening, but since I was headed back to the hotel for the evening, I’m not counting that).  Overall, it was a very pleasant stay.

4 – As an introvert, I like going to conferences by myself.  However, on the last day, I ran into Donna Rodriguez who had apparently been at the conference all week as well.  I enjoyed chatting with her about our experiences and the different things we had done.  Therefore, it was no surprise when I ran across this article Go With Your Colleagues to Conferences which extolls the virtues of going to conferences with, well, your colleagues.

3 – While I was at the conference, I was able to relax between sessions and stay up-to-date with my Twitter feed.  There was a POD (Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education) conference on Critical Reflection being held at the same time (only in San Francisco).  Derek Bruff (@derekbruff), the Director for the Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University, posted his sketch notes from his sessions.  I am now fascinated with sketch noting and have been watching YouTube videos on the process.  However, I also feel as though I gained so much information from sessions that I didn’t even have the chance to attend.  Technology is simply amazing, especially when it allows us to share all of this lovely information with one another.

2 – I’ve been doing quite a bit of research lately on the idea of gamification.  I went to two different sessions – one dealt with gaming to guide blogging and the other focused on engaging online students.  The first session used educational games to enhance disciplinary literacy in an INRW course and the second used technology and Second Life in an online music course.  I was blown away by the creativity and ingenuity that I saw.  I immediately felt renewed and rejuvenated.

1 – The most amazing thing that occurred was meeting Linda B. Nilson.  I’ve read and studied three of her books, so meeting her was akin to meeting a movie star.  However, she was down-to-earth and hilariously funny.  As I listened to her speak about her classes and experiences, I couldn’t help but wonder if I would still have her passion and energy in a few years.

This has been a great reflective experience.  Until today, all of these thoughts have been swimming in my head but taking the time to write them down has produced much greater clarity.  Upon my return, I felt behind and exhausted, but writing and reflecting on my learning and experiences has re-energized me.  What about you?  How do you feel about going to conferences and what have you learned?

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