This week is the B.I.T. Conference in Niagara Falls, and this year, I’m not going. I think that it’s bothering me even more than I thought that it might. B.I.T. was the first educational computing conference that I attended (under a different name at the time), and it’s one that I’ve attended for many years since then.
Because @acampbell99 is the best, here's our #bit16 selfie: done just on the way out! 🙂 pic.twitter.com/XaDBqKW8Dv
— Aviva Dunsiger (@avivaloca) November 11, 2016
This is the conference where I meet many of the educators that I converse with online throughout the year. It’s where I meet my P.L.N.! This is a conference that’s as much about the face-to-face connections (if not more) than about the sessions. It was the incredibly memorable dinner at The Keg last year that helped me re-think my views on media literacy and what “reading” can look like today. These are moments that will stick with me, but they’re also moments that I can’t get from following a conference hashtag — even though I will be doing so. It’s these kinds of conferences that take the 140 (or 280) character conversations and turn them into a rich dialogue that has you thinking and questioning in new ways. Maybe you can capture some of this thinking in a blog post, but it’s beyond what a tweet can contain.
I've been pondering this for weeks, but a great talk with @avivaloca & @msolomonteacher at #BIT17 while the sun set on Niagara Falls produced some conclusions: https://t.co/0V2nW3IkwH #musicbiz #CloudComputing #DigitalMarketing #Millennials pic.twitter.com/cg8cX3LUSR
— 𝒯𝒾𝓂𝑜𝓉𝒽𝓎 𝒦𝒾𝓃𝑔 (@tk1ng) November 11, 2017
I really did try to think of a way to go. There were just too many things working against making this conference a reality for me this year.
- My teaching partner, Paula, is off for dental surgery at the beginning of the week, and having both of us out of the classroom, just doesn’t seem to be an option that’s best for kids.
- It’s the last week of placement for our student teacher, Kate, and I’ve committed myself to being an associate teacher. This means being at school and in the classroom with her.
- My Teacher Leadership Course is this week, and I can’t miss it. Trying to make it back from Niagara Falls in time for the course, would be a struggle. (To think that this week we’ll be discussing P.L.N.’s, and I will definitely be missing mine.)
- We have some visiting consultants from the Board this week, and their visit corresponds to one of the dates of the conference. I want — and need — to be there for this. We’ve already rescheduled this visit once. It’s not fair to do so again.
I tried to think of ways around these problems.
- Maybe I could go for one day.
- Maybe I could leave early.
But the truth is that if I go, I want it all. I don’t just want the sessions, but I want the connections that come outside of these sessions. It means staying late. It means the dinner times and the coffee breaks, and it means that this is not the year for me.
BIT18, I will miss you this year, but because you’re about more than just a conference. You’re about the people behind the conference, which again speaks to the importance of relationships — not just for kids, but also for adults! I will definitely follow Twitter throughout the conference, but I hope people blog as well. I’ll be eager to read the big learning that I know happens year-after-year at B.I.T.. How do you connect with others at conferences when you can’t be there? Is this a case of face-to-face connections ultimately being the most valuable ones? I’m left wondering about this as I see the many #BIT18 tweets, and wish that I was also anticipating these three days of learning, sharing, and maybe most of all, people.
I love you, Aviva…and I will miss you in the conversations more than you know. I totally understand about your week. I am blessed with a class that could manage my absence, and an administrator who knows how important this is. We have to do what’s best for us, and I, like you, want it all – and driving Peterborough to Niagara is not reasonable for 1 day.
There will be other connection times. And you know how much you are valued in these spaces. Enjoy your week. Be good to yourself,
Thanks Lisa! I will definitely miss you too. I have such a supportive principal, who I know would have supported the decision to go, but there was just more at play this year. I hope that next year I can go too. Just like you, I would definitely want the multi-day experience. Hope you have a fantastic time!