Not virtual but virtually there: an intimate but by no means inferior Istek experience!

Istek schools ELT Turkey

Istek schools ELT Turkey

Last weekend I participated in the ISTEK conference in Istanbul. turkishflag It was one of the most enjoyable conferences in my life and I experienced it looking over the Danube in Budapest in the comfort of my own home.  For the first time in my life, I spent the whole day watching an ELT  conference online and…tweeting. In fact, I tweeted 171 times on Sunday during 3 talks by Jeremy Harmer, Herbert Puchta and Luke Prodromou.  That’s about a third of all the tweets I’ve ever tweeted since I got onto twitter on October 10th last year. tweet-retweet

Getting onto twitter in the first place

I’d written an article for our Hungarian IATEFL magazine, (see pages 29-32)  about twitter, featuring the opinions of 10 different ELT people, Jeremy Harmer @Harmerj , Shonah Kennedy @MissShonah, Scott Thornbury  @thornburyscott ,Gavin Dudeney@dudeneyge ,Burcu Akyol@burcuakyol, Ken Wilson @kenwilsonlondon, Lindsay Clandfield@lclandfield , Máté Elek  @elekmathe, Dennis Newson and Németh Nóra @noranem . It was fun writing to them over the summer, I wasn’t actually on twitter then, but through writing the article I became curious. I followed a few people without signing up, puzzling Ken Wilson in the process, who finally persuaded me to try it out myself after our Hungarian IATEFL conference.

Ken in Canada

Ken in Canada

Tell me something – you clearly have access to twitter – if you visit, why don’t you put your six penn’orth in? What is clear from my dealings with the ELT gang on twitter is that most of them, including some quite big names, are keen to find out what is going on in every part of the English-teaching community. And sometimes, there are funny spats that you can REALLY put your six penn’orth in.

Just a thought.

Best wishes,


My first four tweets

1)      a very small step in the whole scheme of things, but a giant leap for me:) 12:10 PM Oct 10th, 2009

2)      good discussion about using poetry in teaching, + specifically poets who gave birth to the mersey sound in 1967 12:52 PM Oct 10th, 2009

3)      thx @elekmathe , really enjoyed your article about our IATEFL-H conference in Budapest last weekend: 1:02 PM Oct 10th, 2009

4)thx @kenwilsonlondon for encouraging me to join and put in my “six penn’orth”. Was never lucky w/ slot machines but this is different innit? 1:39 PM Oct 10th, 2009

Preparing for Luke Prodromou’s plenary talk at Istek 2010, Istanbul Turkey

On Sunday afternoon, before Luke Prodromou’s plenary  Laura Ponting  @lauraponting in Vietnam sent this tweet:























@vickyloras @TEFLPet @cgoodey @annapires @marekandrews Are we all sitting comfortably?

I tweeted and Anna retweeted

annapires RT @marekandrews so we are all together for the grand finale? Good feeling innit? << Great feeling!!!

Somehow it felt great to be watching this together in Switzerland, Scotland, Hungary, Portugal, Vietnam Greece and England. Alice and Sharon in France, Anton in Scotland, Anna in Greece, Amanda in England and Sue from here, there and everywhere 🙂  (according to her twitter bio) were  also with us  @ALiCe__M @aelloway @Britsmiles @Amandalanguage @esolcourses @annabooklover

I had watched talks on the internet before, particularly the great TED talks with people like J.K.Rowling, Ken Robinson and Csíkszentmihályi Mihály but these had always been on my own and without twitter. This time I was in the pleasant company of fellow tweeters in different parts of the world watching the same talk at the same time, along with a lecture hall full of people in Istanbul. How cool and interconnected is that? What is even more intriguing is that these are people who I have only got to know over the last two months since I started writing a blog, but they are people who I already feel an enormous amount of empathy with.

Sharing our thoughts from afar but sharing them with some of those in the conference hall too

I don’t smoke but at training sessions I always feel that the smokers who sneek off in between sessions are having a much better time than the rest of us, secretly sharing thoughts on the day’s proceedings. On Sunday I felt like one of the smokers and that those of us who were watching and tweeting from afar were actually having at least as good a time as the people attending the conference in Istanbul and by no means an inferior time!  Maybe the fact that we probably weren’t hung over after a heavy night’s drinking 🙂 and lack of sleep was something in our favour. I don’t know, but for me it was a completely new experience and one that I was very much motivated and excited by.

Luke’s talk

Luke Prodromou’s talk was great as always, he was introduced as being one of the three most engaging speakers in ELT. I made myself comfortable with a cup of coffee and bar of chocolate and prepared to tweet.  Going through my mind was not only to tweet word for word what Luke said, Lindsay even had prepared tweets for us the day before on his slides! I also wanted to comment a bit and try to relate what Luke was saying to other ideas and people in the conference.  As I was doing this I was thinking all the time about how this experience differed from taking notes for myself in a traditional lecture.  The differences are enormous. Knowing that what I was writing was immediately being read by others made me much more focused in what I decided to tweet.

Some of  my tweets during Luke’s talk

Luke Prodromou

Luke Prodromou

#istek great to focus on reflection in final plenary, guess it’s the function of a final plenary

#istek nice to see “believed in students” there, echoes what Herbert Puchta  was saying

#istek Luke cleverly draws us into challenging our own perceptions of good teaching

#istek Luke encouraging us to always challenge our perceptions of how learning takes place

#istek my best teachers were hopeless at classroom management!

#istek and great to watch it with everyone online, first time in my life I’ve experienced this, can somebody tell people to keep sound on?

#istek we want to hear the end of the conference too and not just the talks, thanks!

#istek thanks ever so much Luke, great talk!

This was the first time I had ever tweeted during a talk and I found myself wanting to contribute to the whole experience  as constructively as I could.  As I mentioned, this meant not only tweeting what Luke was saying but trying to make sense of it at the same time and also adding bits of my own commentary. I found the whole thing an incredibly rich and creative experience. It transforms a talk into a dynamic shared experience between all those people who can read each others’ comments and follow the talk at the same time. The implications for lectures in my own university are huge and I know this is already being done in some of the richer parts of the world now. See this blogpost where twitter in lectures is discussed.

I tweeted this message at the end of Luke’s talk:

#istek @Britsmiles @vickyloras @lauraponting @esolcourses @annapires @cgoodey @aelloway @ALiCe__M wasn’t that gr8? + hi to all in Istanbul!

And Anton in Scotland retweeted Carol’s tweet:

RT @cgoodey: @marekandrews @Britsmiles @vickyloras @lauraponting @esolcourses @annapires @aelloway @ALiCe__M Hugely enjoyable! Thx all!

It was also great to get encouragement from in the conference hall.

TurklishTEFL @marekandrews glad u can join us in more than just spirit:)

And had to smile at Nick Jaworski’s  @TurklishTEFL comment

Nick Jaworski TurklishTEFL @marekandrews You here or watchin via webstream?  The fact that that kind of confusion can happen says a lot about blurred boundaries.

Nick continued to keep us updated about about both the content and the process of the conference proceedings. Thanks Nick! And thanks Ken for giving  us a shout and a wave at the end, really nice of you!

Is there a place that is not face2face or online but somewhere else?

There were other tweets from people capturing the communal experience we had all been through but the evening tweets when Sara Hannam joined the discussion made me really think about the way in which we use the expressions “virtual” and “face2face” and that there was something missing particularly with the way we use the word virtual. The IATEFL magazine I had edited last September was called “Face to Face and Online: getting the balance right” but now I find myself more and more questioning that binary oversimplification. It certainly didn’t capture the experience of watching Luke’s talk with all those people who were online and not in Istanbul and also those online who were actually in Istanbul tweeting from the conference. This felt like something different. This was the evening exchange of tweets with Sara, myself, Vicky, Jeremy, Anna in Greece and Anna in Portugal:

Reflection on the day in the evening after the event



sjhannam Sounds like #ISTEK was a real success both F2F and virtual. Well done to all! Great to feel so much positive energy everyone!

RT @annapires @cgoodey Think I’ve just experienced Twitter at its best! Excellent live coverage of #ISTEK & company of tweeters!

marekandrews @sjhannam somehow it didnt feel virtual though Sara, I wonder how useful these labels face2face and virtual are any more

marekandrews @sjhannam I felt totally involved and there and not virtual. Need to work this one out but there was something very special going on today

sjhannam @marekandrews Good point! Happy to change them if there is something else that better expresses different layers of participation.

annapires @marekandrews @sjhannam If you’re talking abt #ISTEK tweets, totally agree. Interesting the connection/friendship w/people we’ve never met.

@sjhannam @marekandrews I agree w/you, Mark…it was an amazing feeling!We could tweet w/people who were there &among ourselves who weren’t!

vickyloras@sjhannam @marekandrews It was great how we can connect even though we have never met up in real life w/most of the people!

marekandrews@annapires @sjhannam @vickyloras yeah I agree and these terms face2face and virtual don’t capture what we have experienced today.

Harmerj@sjhannam what a great pity that you weren’t here. U would have loved it, I think and it would have been great to have you along!

marekandrews@Harmerj @sjhannam yeah pity you weren’t part of it sara, I’d have enjoyed your comments.

annabooklover@vickyloras @sjhannam @marekandrews I had a great time too, following #istek from far and it really felt as if I was there, I felt I learned

vickyloras@annabooklover Yeah, isn’t it amazing? I felt that same way a while ago when following the #Educon conference.It was a great experience!

sjhannam@marekandrews @annapires @vickyloras different communities/individuals contributing in different ways. We need a new name!

marekandrews@annabooklover me too Anna @vickyloras @sjhannam i felt a quality of Jeremy,Herbert and Luke+people’s reactions which was v tangible 2day







marekandrews@sjhannam @jharmer several people wrote that they felt they were missing a party and sad they couldnt be there, but I didnt I felt 100% there

sjhannam@marekandrews @annabooklover @vickyloras excellent! Breaking new ground in connecting/sharing!

marekandrews@sjhannam @harmerj @annapires @vickyloras @annabooklover wherever “there” is….we were there:)

vickyloras RT @marekandrews @sjhannam @harmerj @annapires @vickyloras @annabooklover wherever “there” is….we were there:) –> Great comment,Mark!

marekandrews@sjhannam @harmerj @annapires @vickyloras @annabooklover It didn’t feel like a substitute for s/thing else or a lesser experience

sjhannam@marekandrews @jharmer honestly I wish I’d been there to share all of it with my friends but glad I had online/Twitter

sjhannam @marekandrews @harmerj @annapires @vickyloras @annabooklover perhaps ‘there’  is human communication – urgent & versatile in it’s splendour!

marekandrews @sjhannam @jharmer yeah but we can’t +maybe we don’t need to go to lots of conferences. I like contributing a lot locally here in Hungary

marekandrews@sjhannam @jharmer and feel that if I can get a good balance between what happened this weekend and contributing to the ELT community here

marekandrews@sjhannam @jharmer then that’s OK! haven’t worked this out either but somehow I felt really happy about this w/end and it was OK to be in BP

sjhannam@marekandrews good point. And u did contribute loads of great comments Mark. I enjoyed reading them.

sjhannam@marekandrews yes energy amazing!

marekandrews@annapires @vickyloras what a day! tweeted so much am totally tweeted out, any day now…i shall be….

(I  tweeted “I shall be Released” by the Band from the film “The Last Waltz” at the end of  a very long day! )

vickyloras@marekandrews @annapires That’s what I was thinking…ever since I started out on Twitter,today was a record day…but it was def worth it!

annapires@marekandrews You know just how to make me smile! Can you hear me singing away?

Porto, taken from Ken's blog and Andy Hockley's wonderful story

Porto, taken from Ken's blog and Andy Hockley's wonderful story

marekandrews@annapires yep can hear you singing….from Istanbul to Porto to Budapest to Zug?

The yellow house in Budapest that I live in

The yellow house in Budapest that I live in

vickyloras@marekandrews @annapires Yep, Zug is here singing too!!!!

Zug, the picture that Vicky tweeted us and where you can see the bottom of the lake the water is so clear

Zug, the picture that Vicky tweeted us and where she swims and where you can see the bottom of the lake, the water is so clear

And that was the end of an incredible day, 171 tweets later.  On Saturday morning Andy Hockley had tweeted:

Andy Hockley

Andy Hockley

“Think I’ll go off twitter for the weekend. It’s a bit like a live version of one of those “you missed the most amazing party” conversations” and then followed it up with, “It’s not exactly annoying, just sort of “wishing I was somewhere else”. Hope no-one stops tweeting because of my jealousy :-)”

Well I was very happy to be in Budapest, very happy that people didn’t stop tweeting and very happy to be part of the party that I certainly didn’t miss!  And finally, in the words of the great Douglas Adams…

Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams

in his article “How to Stop worrying and Learn to Love the Internet” he ends up by saying:

We are natural villagers. For most of mankind’s history we have lived in very small communities in which we knew everybody and everybody knew us. But gradually there grew to be far too many of us, and our communities became too large and disparate for us to be able to feel a part of them, and our technologies were unequal to the task of drawing us together. But that is  changing.

Interactivity. Many-to-many communications. Pervasive networking. These are cumbersome new terms for elements in our lives so fundamental that, before we lost them, we didn’t even know to have names for them.

Thanks Burcu and all your team who got this whole thing together. Online coverage 10 out of 10, fabulous closing ceremony, hats off to you, the Istek foundation and the 100 other Istek members you mentioned in your closing address who were involved in the organisation of the conference. I would really welcome any comments on any aspect of the conference including those who experienced it online and those tweeting who contributed to the online experience of everybody else.



teşekkür ederim or is it sağ olun ?

28 thoughts on “Not virtual but virtually there: an intimate but by no means inferior Istek experience!

  1. Hi Mark

    Thanks for the this coverage of the conference from a twitter point of view. It really brings home to me how these events now don’t just go beyond borders in the sense of people from many countries being there – they also spread now live through forums like this and twitter and so on. Amazing stuff. Someone showed me on their phone the tweets from you and others during my plenary and it was a really amazing rush.

    Look forward to seeing you at the next one, in person or virtually! Thanks again for bringing all these tweets together here!


    • yeah Lindsay I’ve tried to represent it as accurately as possible. It was my first experience of anything like this and it was an incredibly powerful experience, much more powerful, I think, than any experience I’ve had actually being in a conference hall and attending a conference in person. The feeling of connectedness with people in different parts of the world was very strong. And looking forward to seeing you too, good luck with “Global”!

  2. Hi Mark, great post, thanks very much for writing it.

    I would have loved to have joined you all in this ISTEK-from-afar experience, but if I’m at home the weekend is pretty much a family time, and spending it at the computer with other people (however valuable as a PD opportunity it would have been) is not really an option. If I’m away, actually attending the conference, then it’s obviously not an issue. At best, online this weekend I’d have been a very distracted participant, and I guess this for me is that big difference between attending online and attending F2F – when I’m there, I’m really there.

    (The other big difference, I would have said, is the networking that goes on F2F at the conference…but I’m reading that you feel you actually got a lot of that too, which is perhaps the most interesting element of this to me.)

    • Thanks Andy,

      you made me think a lot with your comment on Saturday morning. And as you say at end I felt I got a lot out of the networking side of the conference and not just the enjoyment of watching the talks online. It was a very special experience. Know how you feel about not being able to devote 100% attention to something and being distracted by other things. I was lucky to be able to have nothing else on on Sunday. We must meet up sometime, when dya plan to be in Budapest again?

      • I’ll definitely let you know next time I’m in town, but at present have no idea when that will be. Likewise, if you ever find yourself in Erdely or more specifically Székelyföld, please let me know.

  3. Thanks for offering such a great summary of tweets of the tw-input to the ISTEK conference. I really enjoyed getting an insight into how you experienced it Mark and particularly the importance of tweeting whilst watching. A comparable experience I had was when I watched Tony Blair at the Iraq enquiry. I was so fired (passionate & angry) about what he was saying, I think I tweeted about 80 tweets in 30 minutes! Luckily for you Luke’s presentation was passionate in a different (and more positive) way and it inspired you which is a far preferable feeling!

    At that moment it is about engagment. Indeed for someone actually watching Luke in the conference room in Turkey, they may have tweeted as much as you did, so this type of engagement is about being an active listener and processing information. A kind of communal note taking that highlights what is important and shares the interpretation with those around us (as we cannot literally share this in speech or it would be offputting to the presenter so it is articulating our in-talk thought process as it unravels). During my Tony Blair experience I was fascinated under the hash tag #Iraqenquiry what others were picking out as significant in his “spin” of the whole chain of events leading up to the war and there was a sense of shared agreement on some topics and diversity on others. Anyway, this is a new kind of communication in the making, and one that needs documenting and recording in just this way. It is fascinating isn’t it!

    Thank you Mark!

    • I too watched Tony Blair at the Iraq inquiry and tweeted a few times but I felt much more part of the community on Sunday. The only people I knew who were tweeting on the Friday a few weeks ago were you and Ken.

      The whole business of being an active listener, processing information and coming up with tweets which mean something to other people is a new departure for me but one that I enjoyed immensely at ISTEK. Hope to have a go again during the Harrogate conference.

      It’s very interesting to see what other people pick up from conferences. I’d love to see conferences where after an input session the next session would be a place to discuss the previous session for those who are interested. The processing of conference presentations always gets neglected for all sorts of reasons.

      Agree with you that this is a new kind of communication and it’s good to process it like this. Thanks Sara for all your comments on Sunday night. Written out it makes a cohesive thread and within the blogpost makes sense.

  4. I am thrilled to read how you all experienced this “on the other side” and although it was not always possible to be in touch with all my PLN as some of our friends with i-phones (I really must get one!!!!) I and all others felt you all there with us.

    This is an incredible first for me – and I look forward to many such rich future experiences!

    What a wonderful invention, the hashtag, and how well it has managed to bring a community together!!!

    You have now made me want to go back and read ALL your tweets from the talks!!!

    • yeah, we had a great time following from afar Marisa. Sunday really was very very enjoyable, tweeting in between the sessions asking each other if we would be there for the next one. Very special! Ahhhhhhh the hashtag! Am interested in what you get out of reading the tweets from the talks. Always good to get other people’s perspectives on how they experience the same event. I was glad to be a part of it all…

  5. Mark, you’ve really captured something here, not only about the value of connecting via Twitter and building a PLN, but about the excitement of experiencing live events, such as the ISTEK conference, where a lot of effort was made to bring the conference to a wider audience- It’s obvious from your enthusiasm here that this type of effort truly works – a combination of live streaming video and being connected to a global audience and the people actually there at the conference on Twitter via the conference hashtag – I’d like to add, from the perspective of someone who was fortunate to be at the istek conference in person, that being connected in this way not only brings the conference closer to those who aren’t able to attend, but also makes it extra special to those who are there and who are also connected iva Twitter to other participants and to those experiencing it from a distance. It really does give added value to the experience.

    I’ve seen this happen before to a lesser degree, at BRAZ-TESOL in 2008 and IATEFL Cardiff last year. I think now that Twitter has become such an important tool and the idea of the PLN so readily accepted in ELT (one that is bound to grow in importance), we’re going to see a lot more of this happen. ISTEK was such a great conference – I’m now looking forward to seeing if the same kind of vibe takes place at IATEFL Harrogate. It should do, as all of the same kind of infrastructure is now in place. Perhaps this will set a new standard for conferences in the future. I know that for me now any conference without this added value will now seem to be lacking…

    • yeah Anna, I mean we experience connectedness watching other events, like the Olympic Games but with this we were participating and it is OUR ELT community. It makes a big difference. It was certainly a first for me.

  6. Hi Mark,

    I really enjoyed reading your account of taking part in and reporting on the Istek conference via Twitter. So much so that I’ll really want to give it a try myself as soon as I have an opportunity. Great feeling to be able to recognise some avatars above; people I’ve never shaken hands with but whom I feel surreally connected to.


    Fernando Guarany
    Natal, Brazil

    • glad you enjoyed it Fernando and great that you want to give it a try yourself. How about Harrogate next Thursday morning, might be a problem with the timezone difference but why don’t we find one that we could both tweet in and see what it’s like? And with the avatars, it’s nice to see people a bit bigger isn’t it?:)

  7. Hi Mark!
    Thank you for all your wonderful posts – this one is great as it reflects exaclty what and how it happened on Sunday.
    I believe it was one of the most amazing Twitter experiences I have ever had – I continue to wonder why I was so reluctant to start using it.
    As you, my Twitter account made record Tweets on Sunday – I was between watching the talks, contacting those who were not there and those who were there. It was an amazing experience in exactly that – we all came together in a new and unique way. For us who weren’t there, it was a great chance to watch the talks and get the great updates from the tweeters who were there – and we thank them so much for that!
    We all confirmed the fact that no matter where we are in the world, we can connect as educators and people – I feel like I know every single one of you and I hope to meet soon in person with you, Mark and all the others!
    Thank you for a beautiful post and for Sunday’s Twitter exeperience,

    • thanks Vicky and glad you thought it was an accurate representation of what happened on Sunday. Decided to make twitter the focus of it by framing it with how I got onto it in the first place and Douglas Adams’ thoughts. Obviously he had died long before twitter had been dreamt up but it was things like twitter that he meant when he talked about new technologies restoring the very human, intimate relationships we used to experience in villages.

      Guess we had a very similar experience as you say that you too recorded record tweets for one day.

      I too feel that I know all of the 12 people pictured in my blogpost, including Andy, to differing degrees and I have only ever met them on twitter. Can we use the word “met” in this context now? Interesting! Maybe! Ken I had met in person on a summer school we did together in Serbia 4 years ago and at a dinner after a conference here in Budapest, just twice, that’s all.

      Exciting times!

  8. Mark,

    what a fantastic blog – actually, I think it’s more like a dissertation on blurring the lines between f2f and virtual. Sign up for a doctorate on the subject immediately – your final paper is already written. 🙂

    I was at ISTEK and can confirm what Sean Banville said in his blog about it, that it really felt like the best conference ever. A lot of us feel that, and now that the stardust has settled, I suppose we ought to work out why.

    I think it was a whole bunch of big and little things, from the choice of people who introduced all six plenary speakers (John and Vanessa, who deserve a massive round of applause for their work) to the astounding dance troupe who finished off the event.

    Then we heard that a tree will be planted for every participant – how cool is that?? Other incidentals include organising for the people at the front of the audience at Pecha Kucha night to sit on big cushions so the people behind them could see.

    But what you have talked about here – this absent-but-there community of people following events on the live-stream, this is the real difference. I know it isn’t the first conference to be streamed like this, but it’s the first one that has generated such positive interest throughout. I’m actually looking forward to the chance to see one in this way.

    I’m going to finish with one cautionary thought – I tweeted during the plenaries, like many others. But during Luke’s plenary, I sat next to an ELT luminary, whose eyes were on his iPhone throughout. What was he doing? Tweeting? Of course. Reading the other tweets? Also of course. The question is – can you do this and genuinely take in what is being said?

    I know, it’s called multi-tasking, but I’m still not sure if you really concentrate on the talk when you do that.

    Thanks again for your terrific description of the online experience.

    • Thanks Ken for your “six penn’orth.” Wonder how long it would have taken me to get onto twitter without your message? I actually began to feel guilty about reading other people’s tweets and not contributing myself. And I guess that is to do with feeling that I was taking too much and not giving enough.

      How things have changed in six months. I now love both blogging and tweeting and the two things are very closely interrelated. Scott a couple of weeks ago said somewhere that he probably wouldn’t have started a blog without twitter. Twitter is the oil that eases the deeper communication on the blogs.

      Funny you should mention the doctorate, one of the reasons I started up this blog just over two months ago now was to try and work out a) if I wanted to do a PdD and b) what it might be on. Maybe I’ve found the answer now.

      If this was the best conference that many people have attended it would definitely be worth exploring further why this might be the case as it definitely has implications for how further conferences are organised. We might have to thank Burcu and her team for a lot more than organising this one conference! The bean bags, were they bean bags?, somebody somewhere else mentioned bean bags, is a lovely idea and far more important than some people might think. It is about attention to detail and CARING!

      One little touch that I picked up was local people being responsible for looking after the guest speakers. Within IATEFL conferences outside Britain (and Ireland) I think it is always good when local people” look after” representatives of different organisations. All part of the hospitality really. Sonja Conjagic did this excellently in Novi Sad last year,so I was told.

      Let me know when you are tweeting a talk “from afar” and let’s see if we can do it together and compare notes.

      Your cautionary thought is something I’m sure we will return to again and again. I was tweeting and reading other tweets but I honestly think I was fully there and concentrating. Many people in a live audience without i-phones and laptops may look as though they are immersed in a talk but their minds can be on something completely different.

      It’s just with the technology visible some people might think that some people aren’t giving a speaker the respect they would deserve. I think Jeremy mentioned that Andrew had gently criticised him for being on his i-phone when he should have been listening. It ain’t that simple though is it? Am sure Jeremy was listening though!

      Difficult questions but ones that are fascinating to discuss. I actually think that all of this leads to both a deeper understanding of what it means to be living in 2010 and better relationships between the people who get involved in these things.

      Finally thanks Ken again for all your support and love of all things communal from going on the wave protest, to inviting guest bloggers from lots of different countries, to making the ELTONS so enjoyable, to having a good laugh and in this case saying such nice things about this last blog. Am happy, in this way, to be able to be part of the whole ISTEK experience and to be able to contribute to what it is that makes QUALITY experiences, QUALITY conferences and QUALITY classrooms.

      Good luck against Wolfsburg tonight. Will you be at the Cottage?

  9. ….and now I feel like I missed it all TWICE! A few days way from the twitterverse and look what happens!

    Great summary though, and it is interesting to see that blurring of the virtual and face2face. It used to be almost as good as being there, then it became like being there. Now it is just being there.

    • love the way you put that Darren, ” It used to be almost as good as being there, then it became like being there, now it is just being there” I think it is, wherever there is and there is now not just at the conference itself. It is where communication takes place which is between people wherever they are. Being connected like this watching and following quality stuff about the very thing we are all trying to do better, teach, is an incredibly powerful tool in teacher development. It is in its infancy but I think this ISTEK experience and careful reflection on the twitter experience related to it will take us into much better forms of interaction in the future. It certainly felt like a milestone event in this respect and it seems that many other people feel the same.

  10. I’m so glad I changed my weekend routine to share the #ISTEK experience with my twitter buddies, with my friends, singing at the top of my lungs “I see my light come shining from the west down to the east”. It was a great moment, Mark! 😉


    • yeah it was like our sitting in at the bar, chatting, enjoying a nice glass of something and listening to good music after the events of the day wasn’t it Anna? A truly great moment!

  11. Thanks for the nice thoughts, Mark.

    As for your point about ‘not contributing’ and ‘feeling that I was taking too much and not giving enough’ – only a socially-aware, sensitive and hard-working person like you would ever dream of a piece of self-criticism like that!

    For anyone reading this who hasn’t met Mark, he is one of the world’s great educators, and a lovely person to work with.

    On the much more serious issue of Fulham FC’s prospects in the Europa League, you have now pricked my conscience that I didn’t go and buy a ticket. I was hoping that the game might be shown on a TV channel I could get at home. It isn’t. So I may nip down the Cottage this afternoon and get a ticket.

    And if you ARE passing through London this weekend, come for tea. ISTEK maestra Burcu Akyol will be staying with us from Saturday until we all go up to IATEFL Harrogate together.

    If it’s being live-streamed in Budapest, look out for me – I’ll be wearing a black and white scarf 🙂

  12. I don’t tweet, so the only thing I can do is imagine what it must have been like for you to have such a rich tweeting experience 🙂

    Nice of you to have written about the sessions, not just tweeting 🙂

    A small digression: how exciting it is to see a person overjoyed by sharing feelings with others who are on the same wavelength!!!

    Great blog – keep it up!

  13. It was the ISTEK experience all over again this weekend with IATEFL. And what a grand time we had, Mark! Those who bad mouth twitter really have no idea what it’s all about. Or maybe we’re just lucky to be part of such a warm and caring community.

    • it was great again, wasn’t it Anna, wonder where all of this will take us but it’s definitely a very exciting experience. The way that twitter and blogs work is such a wonderful contribution to professional development and it’s GREAT FUN! And you’re right there are some very caring people involved in all of this. Let’s look forward to the next event…

  14. Pingback: Istek 2011, Thoughts on Competing | Classrooms on the Danube: An exploration of the quality of classroom life.

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