I love good discussions and this is one I've had in the edublogosphere (man that is a lame name for a cool group) a couple of times in recent months, so I figured I may as well capture my reflections...ehem, here, too.
My responses were here, and here, but if you read on you'll see this conversation started nearly four years ago.
As a recently indoctrinated (is that even the right word) Google For Educator,#gtaco I can say that my peers in the central office crack on me every chance they get. Much of what you said is right on, and so was @djakes honestly, but there are still valuable “connections” so to speak that come from a group going through anything, whether a teacher academy or some other group convention, training etc. I can say that as someone who has attended a number of conferences in person and virtually the two best “sustaining” conversations were this experience Colorado Learning. So, while reeking of “corporatism” there were some great connections made while I was there. And as much as I am against Big Business, I admire Google’s persistence in open source and their drive to share their work and content with developers and educators.
I think this conversation needs to happen, so thanks for bringing it back to the forefront.
Here is my response and the link to @djakes original post.
Thank you for this post. I agreed with you for much of my career. It was a post by Bud Hunt that really Challenged my thinking on this topic. His post a year later is something that I read again when GTA came through Colorado. My position as an online learning specialist and the launch of our large district employment of Google Apps made me re-think and re-evaluate my opinion. I was lucky enough to attend an “ACADEMY/BADGE” conference (#GTACO) in August. I learned some and made some good connections with great teachers that otherwise I may not have met face to face. With the explosion of twitter as a social communication/connection tool I realize that there is power in connecting like minded teachers together in a physical or virtual environment. Google, in this instance, met a need and connected teachers within my state and teachers I was excited to meet from elsewhere that I had met, followed or “tweeted” with. I would say that while it seems cliquey (great post by Ben Wilkoff on cliquishness of web 2.0, ) badges really are a connection device and in the cases I’ve seen, (MAC, DISCOVERY, and GOOGLE) it really is a conversation starter. I was and I am excited to be part of a network like the GCT, I don’t think the certificate or acknowledgment makes us better teachers necessarily, but it does connect some like minded folks in a positive way and for that I am grateful to have been chosen and given the chance.