I just arrived at the Bloggers' Cafe. It's a cool place, people sitting around talking, reading, and writing - and most likely learning. Sounds like a classroom, doesn't it? It's super informal and I bet people are getting something valuable out of it.

While I think about that, I think about the different personalities here. Like the classroom, there's a wide variety of people. There are popular "kids" who are leading the conversations and having people search them out, there are the shy ones who are sitting by themselves, and there are people in the middle. There are people a lot more outgoing in these types of situations and are able to just walk up to people and say hi. Here, I'm not sure if people are working or not and I'm not sure I want to interrupt them. There certainly are some familiar faces and I may have to introduce myself soon before I continue sitting here like a loser.

Do our students feel the same way in our classrooms? Are there students sitting quietly in the back with a lot of good stuff to share? I bet there are. The question is, how do we get them to step up and join the conversations?

Just a thought.

10 comments

  1. Alan Lutz // June 29, 2008 at 2:42 PM  

    IMCGuy, Have a great time at NECC. Jump in there and introduce yourself if you feel like it. Regrets are only for not trying. Make lots of new friends. (twitter: OCTechguy)

  2. John Pederson // June 29, 2008 at 3:04 PM  

    "Hi. I'm from the great state of Wisconsin. Educational technology capital of the world. @ijohnpederson pays me 5 bucks every time I say this."

    "Wow. That's a lot of stuff hanging from your conference badge. May I weigh it? We are having a contest at the end of the week."

    "Do you mind if I get your picture inside this crazily oversized Best Buy bag?"

    No worries. Dig in, join in, butt in, whatever. In the grand scheme of things, the Blogger's Cafe attracts about 300 of 15,000 people that will be at NECC. These people want one thing...to meet other people...especially people they don't know.

    (I was in your exact position this time last year!)

  3. Tim // June 29, 2008 at 5:32 PM  

    Chad, it was great to meet you last night, even if it was only briefly and very loud. Glad you are enjoying the Cafe. I hope to get by there while I'm here myself. I agree with Alan and John, jump out there and let people know who you are. You may run this thing one day!

  4. Hockeymom // June 29, 2008 at 9:26 PM  

    Well, you got further than I did. I walked by several times, slowly, recognized a few faces but kept on walking. Maybe tomorrow I'll be braver and actually stop in. Because of my shyness, as a classroom teacher I think I paid close attention to those quiet kids and worked hard to make them comfortable and safe enough to speak up. Now as a teacher in a lab situation I miss having the chance to build that rapport with the students.

    Nedra

  5. Ms. Tina // July 1, 2008 at 7:10 AM  

    Hey Chad,
    We actually met at the blogger's cafe! It was my first time too. Last year I was too afraid to venture in. This year I know a few people because of twitter, but still don't know their faces. Great observation of the whole atmosphere. I am getting braver and walking up and introducing myself. I am having a great time just meeting people, like you!

  6. Judy O'Connell // July 1, 2008 at 9:30 AM  

    Such a great comment. Maybe I will meet you there some time too? It's harder for us aussies to meet new people :-)

  7. Kristin Hokanson // July 1, 2008 at 9:33 AM  

    Chad
    Your analogy about it being like a classroom is an interesting one...I think that Bloggers' Cafe (and the other special interest lounges) model what a classroom SHOULD look like. Individuals with common goals, learning together.
    All the comments are spot on! Visit the lounges find folks with common goals and learn from them
    Convene, connect, transform
    Was great meeting you BTW

  8. Shareski // July 3, 2008 at 7:05 PM  

    Thanks for introducing yourself to me. I certainly made a point of doing the same to others I recognized. I didn't have time to wait for them to come to me.

    @hockeymom I wished you would have said hi.

  9. 1teacher2 // July 4, 2008 at 4:02 PM  

    Bloggers Cafe was a little intimidating at first, I admit, but I found the people there to be very helpful, informative, and ready to share their ideas with others. In another setting I don't know if I would have had to "courage" to walk up to someone and just introudce myself. For those of you who really know me, hard to believe, eh?

    I digress--the classroom analogy is one for us to ponder. Who are those "popular kids" and why are they there. Are they there for us to learn from, for them to share their ideas, or are they there to learn themselves? In other words, do they view themselves as part of the "popular crowd?"

    Just some comments to make us think some more!

    Teryl

  10. IMC Guy // July 4, 2008 at 10:35 PM  

    @alan @ijohn Thanks for the encouragement. Everything went well.

    @tim @ms. tina @kristin @shareski The pleasure was truly mine. I hope I can continue to learn from you.

    @teryl It gets easier, doesn't it?

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