Tuesday, 9 April 2013

The IATEFL effect - I think my head might explode!!

As I write, day two of IATEFL 2013 (day one of the conference proper) is still in full flow.  Here in Vietnam, however, Tuesday 9th April is almost over and I am reflecting on how it's been for me so far.  The answer is .... frenetic!  In my desire to be a part of things, even from 6000 miles away, I've definitely tried to do too much.  After experiencing technical difficulties yesterday (I wrote about these here), I got up at the crack of dawn this morning (actually, that's a lie - it was still pitch black outside when I switched on my computer!) in an attempt to catch up on all the recorded interviews I'd missed.  I was largely successful in this endeavour and wrote a post about what I'd seen, but the consequence of my nocturnal writings was that I was already tired when I started work and was in no fit state to cope with the cyber onslaught I was bombarded with when events got under way in Liverpool at 9am BST (3pm here)!

I was geared up to watch David Crystal's plenary.  It was important for me to experience it live, rather than watch the recording later.  What I wasn't prepared for, though, was the huge amount of activity in the hour or so before the conference actually started.  My wonderful PLN were tweeting and retweeting like crazy.  The sense of excitement was palpable, even from all these miles away.  I was desperately trying to keep up - I didn't want to miss a single choice nugget - but it was impossible; my Twitter feed has never whizzed by at such a rate in all the years I've been using it!

Sandy Millin
One member of my PLN, the fantastic @sandymillin, was tweeting about Mike Hogan's presentation which was on before the opening plenary.  It was the next best thing to being there myself, but I was blown away when notification of her summary of Mike's talk in the form of a blog post published on her site, dropped into my inbox at 2.51pm (8.51am in the UK)!!  At that point, I gave up any idea of trying to keep up and sat back to rethink my strategy!

I did watch the opening plenary live and really enjoyed it, especially when Eric Baber invited delegates to wave down the camera to all those of us tuning in around the world and we all waved back!  By the end of David's talk, I had reminded myself of why I was following IATEFL online (for my own PD) and had accepted that there was no way I'd be able to record all the amazing things I was seeing and hearing.  Instead, I decided that, for the rest of the week, I'll watch as much as I can live, bookmark everything else I don't want to miss, and then write measured, reflective posts when I have time to do so.

Chia Suan Chong
So, that's my plan, but, in the meantime, @sandymillin, @chiasuan and all the other truly amazing people who make up my PLN, please keep the tweets and posts coming - there's a whole world of us out here who really appreciate your sharing!!


  1. Agreed, Andrea! My kids actually have a "freezing rain day" at home, so rather than trying to get my writing done with screaming kids in the house, I'll be trying to catch up on some sessions that I missed, including David Crystal's plenary. Maybe we'll meet up for real at IATEFL in the future!

    1. That would be good! Bizarrely, I'm already thinking ahead to the 50th anniversary IATEFL in 2016 because I know I won't be able to make it next year or the year after!!