My favorite part of NCTE this weekend was attending the session that Kristen and Emilie led on teachers creating digital stories through their graduate work and then bringing the implications of that work into their own classrooms. I seriously could have listened all day long to Emilie contrasting her own writing practices with the teaching practices of “Ms. Jones.” I felt so proud that I wanted to stand up and shout, “Hey everyone, I know her! We’re both in the DLC!” I also thought, “I want to present with Emilie and Kristen! I can’t wait until the DLC is all together presenting our work at a conference in the future!” (I know, I know. Too many explanation marks for any self-respecting English teacher.)
I also felt grateful for the ways in which Kristen started helping me open my eyes and my mind to the digital world of possibilities. I don’t think I would have encouraged the participants at my own session to tweet (#realmenreadchicklit) without her influence at some point. But now I find the back-channel discussions fascinating as both a participant and a facilitator. I want to think about how to use them even more effectively, not just with adults at conferences and professional development but with students during class, too.