|By D. Dibenski (images.fws.gov ()) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons|
I love language. That's one of the reasons I tweet. I love the crafting that goes into the "pithy epithet" of 140 characters.
I love collective nouns. A school of fish. A pride of lions. A herd of cats. A bowl of nuts.
I love being part of a collective noun. A thought that came from Danielle Myburgh at the start of the conference was the challenge of being "the lone nut": the person not afraid to take risks, to go against the crowd, to make a change for the positive, to sing in the silences and dance in the stillness.
A lot of twiducators seem to feel like lone nuts in their schools. They are fired up about the learning through Twitter, and the power of using other digital technologies for connection and collaboration. They want to find out more about modern learning environments, digital literacy, blogging, gaming and coding. And sometimes - maybe more than sometimes - they want to share and no one wants to listen.
More than once I've listened to educators who feel that frustration. It might be good to stand out from the crowd, but being an outlier is a lonely thing.
So opportunities like #edchatnz are great for us. It truly is a place where we swim with the Twitter stream instead of feeling like we are battling against the rapids.
And we like the opportunity to feel that collective togetherness by being in the bowl - in the flock of Twitter birds. Some of the birds are sharing sky space like the lovely folk of the Hobsonville Point schools, who opened their wings and shared their nests. (Apologies for the mashed metaphors, but I am enjoying myself).
For a weekend we are no longer the lonely nut or the ugly duckling; we've found our flock and we can't stop the singing in our heads.