Another inspiring week at the ULearn conference over in Christchurch NZ last week. A deeply impressive place and space, for those who don’t know about it. To all of my Aussie and Asian readers especially…. I recommend it very highly. In early Oct each year. And you could even tag it on to a holiday in a beautiful place!
If you’re into outright spectacle, not much beats the grandeur of their conference dinner. Here up above is my rather ethereal IPhone snap of the Enya impersonator (and a very impressive one) who provided some of the entertainment.
As part of my ULearn contribution, I’m now going to offer to you The Ten Laws Of ULearn-ing (well… from my perspective, anyway). While you’re welcome to adapt these to your own conference / session / talkfest anywhere in the world, I have specifically drawn these up for the magic that is ULearn.
So here we go with the Ten Laws:
1. The Law Of Frivolity. You’re a teacher. You have to know how to play (or, I sure hope you do). And ULearn gives you endless frivolous opportunities. The conference dinner (see above), the entertaining sessions, the one-off conversations with interesting people. Call it whatever you like. Fun. Zest. Excitement. Play. It’s all there; and it makes for a fantastic three days.
2. The Law Of Insight. Insight has to come before information. The knowledge that you can gather at ULearn is quality stuff. Yet what’s even more important is that you are challenged to develop deeper insights about that info. It’s when you say to yourself: “…..Aha…so that’s how it could work for me.” It’s the insights that will enhance and reform your practice. You get lots at ULearn. I had several powerful ones this year.
3. The Law Of Chronology. You save time by attending ULearn. Wha..? How the heck can you save time when you’ve actually given up 3 days of your holidays to be there? Well, that’s the rub. Where else would you find all of this knowledge (and insights) packed into just 3 days? It would take you months to compile it all by yourself.
4. The Law Of Andragogy. Yeah…OK. It’s a big word. Live with it. It refers to adult learning (as compared to pedagogy ie child learning). It’s critical that you do lots of it. And it’s what you do when you attend a top conference. You Learn (….U Learn?!). But I’m talking about having a lust for that learning. And I mean a lust. If you don’t, then you’re a hypocrite if you’re hanging in on teaching. You have to model that learning desire to kids everywhere. And ULearn is packed with lustful learners (Hmmm… maybe I need to express that some other way!!)
5. The Law Of Community. If you could scroll through all of the attendees, you’d find people who could give you the answers to any professional question you’d ever need to ask. So just ask around, and create a learning community. It might end up just being a 5-min learning community; or a lifetime one. It’s the new time management. Find someone else who’s already done it, and pick their brains. It saves you having to search for it yourself. You can create these immediate learning communities at breakfast; in the lift; on the dance floor; on a bus ride. ULearn is packed with people who want to share. Get 2gether with them.
6. The Law Of Twitter. Or whatever other online networking environment that takes your fancy during and after ULearn. The point is, it just makes life easier when you network online. Oh yes it does. If you’re still lamenting about and longing for the good ol’ days when everyone just talked to each other in real life, then you may need to get over it. Just take the plunge, and you’ll see how easy it is to source ideas when you need them. It’s what we call Collective Intelligence; and it’s very important that you align with that global intellect.
7. The Law Of The Young. ULearn strongly involves students all through the conference, and because they are the focus of our work, we must pay deep respect to their needs and their future. As well as being super-helpful to the attendees, these young people are a constant reminder of what teaching is all about. And that is: To create inspiring learning experiences for them!
8. The Law Of Consumption. I don’t care what anyone says. If a conference serves up stale sandwiches with spray-on chicken, it’s missed the opportunity to be sensational. The ULearn food is first class. As is the mind food; and the soul food.
9. The Law Of Adulation. For the organisers, that is. Core Education do a brilliant job with this conference. I assure you that the hours stretch endlessly into the distance when they’re getting it altogether. Just bow deferentially the next time you walk past one of them. And it’s the same for anyone who devotes so much professional energy and time to co-ordinating these events. They deserve adulation, because their efforts support quality professional learning for you.
10. The Law Of Returns. Savour your return upon the following year. Expectation is good for the heart and soul. Just looking forward to something is magic in itself. It has deep spirit to it. As you savour that next ULearn experience, keep thinking: which speaker will inspire me to lifechanging action? Which genius will I meet on the bus? What’s the strangest outfit that someone will wear to the dinner? Looking ahead also challenges you to ponder: What will I accomplish between now and then? Now there’s a thought! What will you create between now and then?!!!