Recently, I went to the National Writing Project’s annual conference #nwpam10 in Orlando, Florida. I always really enjoy it–from the sessions which are very well thought out and insightful to the general session which is always inspiring to the conversations with friends, old and new . . . NWP is always a fantastic experience.
This time around, I did fewer tech sessions (which I really missed). However, there were a couple of sessions that were still helpful. I think my favorite session was one that focused on creating Writing Project-university partnerships. One team in particular was really informative in describing a day long workshop they’d done with both high school and university teachers. This is definitely something I want to follow up on.
Another interesting experience was my first Spark/Pecha Kucha experience. Basically, each team of presenters had 20 PowerPoint slides which were timed to advance every 20 seconds. On the whole, it was fun and even insightful to hear so many presentations in such a short time. As a presenter, I refused to allow myself to get rattled. Jeromy and I managed to stay mostly focused on our presentation about our hybrid (part face-to-face and part online) Technology Advanced Academy. We were relieved to be fairly close to the beginning so that we could enjoy the rest of the session.
Another thing I pushed myself to do was to Tweet during the general session. I tweet occasionally IRL, but during this particular session, there were about 15-20 people who were very much engaged with sharing the experience through their tweets. It was kind of amazing to be sitting in a room of 1300 people, but to share quotes, comment, and even make a few jokes with people that I haven’t met–I wasn’t even sure where any of them were sitting. I still have a lot to learn about twitter, but I really enjoyed what this added to the whole experience of listening to a lecture. My only regret is that there wasn’t a space to project our tweets to the room. I’ve read about conference sessions that include twitter as part of a lecture and I’m intrigued. My experience at NWP was that it was mostly a love fest for Sharon Washington, the Executive Director of NWP, and Donalyn Miller, our guest speaker and author of The Book Whisperer. Both were amazing, and it was especially cool since Donalyn is quite active on Twitter (and a very generous Tweet-er).
Lastly, for your listening, enjoyment, I recorded a couple of audioboos during the conference. Here’s one with my friends Jeromy Winter and Kristie Leyba.
And here’s a final, late night, sleepy sounding Kristie and I sharing our tired enthusiasm for what we’ve learned.