Show us what you learned

June is conference season, and this year we had a number of people attending regional conferences here in BC. Many of my colleagues in the Centre for Teaching and Learning at Royal Roads attended ETUG in Vancouver, and I attended IT4BC.

My Director, Mary Burgess, had a great idea. As she sat at her computer composing a long email to the unti to debrief them on what she had learned at ETUG,  she decided to bring us all together face to face and have an all department session, which she called ‘Show Us What You Learned”.

My colleague Donna Dowling sharing what she learned at ETUG

What a fantastic idea. Yesterday morning, 20 people from my department gathered together and had the session.

Mary started the session by throwing out the question, “who has something to share?” A whack of us threw our hands in the air, Mary put the names on the whiteboard and, for the next 90 minutes, had a show and tell filling in our colleagues on what we learned. We threw out websites and links, talked about reference and resource materials we discovered, played with some new tools, and found out about some new technologies.

I really enjoyed the session. We have a big department, and it is not often we get together as a group and have these kind of informal sessions where we just talk and learn from each other. The loose atmosphere and camaraderie, seeing my colleagues engaged in something other than day to day operations. I loved being able to get a glimpse of  the kinds of things that my colleagues chose to amplify and bring back to the larger group. It gives me an idea of what resonates and inspires them.

It also makes me grateful to conference organizers that plan ahead to archive their events, including ways to archive the Twitter backchannel, like ETUG did with their Storify summary.

So, I am curious. How do your colleagues share information you bring back from conferences? Do you have a similar type of event with your colleagues? How do you report back what you learned?


Clint Lalonde

Just a guy writing some stuff, mostly for me these days on this particular blog. For my EdTech/OpenEd stuff, check out


3 thoughts on “Show us what you learned

  1. I like this idea! Our team usually has an informal discussion about a conference or meeting shortly afterwards, or we send out an email with some info and links; but this idea sounds more interesting and hands-on.

    I'm going to try and use this method in the future, and encourage the others to do so as well. Thanks!

  2. What a great idea, so much better than "trip reports" (ugh). Not only do you share, but doing it this no doubt generated a lot of stimulating discussion and brainstorming and general collaboration. Am constantly impressed with Mary and your whole team for the culture that seems to have been built there.

    How do colleagues share info they bring back with me? Um….

    How do I – I try to blog my experiences, share links to good talks in our internal wiki (which no one sees). I tried to get something similar happening from the bottom up, but I expect one of the lessons here is the need for leadership from above on some of this.

  3. We've been struggling with how to do this type of sharing as well, and your post and tweet the other day is pushing us to pull something like this together. So thanks!

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