Mapping Our Connections: My RSCON3 Session

RSCON3 was last weekend. What a great experience! I’ve written about it here and here, but in this post I’m going to reflect on the session I led. I called it “Adding a Directory Map Using a Spreadsheet to Your Wiki.” Yawn!

Here was the published description…
“Recently I added a participant map to the Global Read Aloud wiki using There were a few tricky steps, so come and do a walk through. Also, brainstorm other uses of maps like this. (UTC-5)”

Yes, that was it. And that crazy URL was not even a hyperlink. It looked just like that. Who would come to this session? I wondered many times over the two weeks leading up to my session.

I explained in one of the previous posts why I agreed to lead the session. Clive asked for something like “reserve” sessions. I thought maybe it meant he needed a back-up plan in case someone got sick. I said yes, thinking a “reserve” session wouldn’t be as important or well-attended, and maybe not attended or needed at all.

Clive was very amiable and welcomed me into the “presenter” fold.
I was put on the schedule. I sent a picture. He put me on the map. He began to treat me like a presenter. Hmmmm! I got more serious about planning the session, although I was very nervous!

Sylvia Ellison signed up to moderate. And then I saw my picture on the Reform Symposium Conference web site. OK, I thought, I guess this session is a go.

I got serious about preparing the session. 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. Not a bad time. I even thought someone might show up. In fact, I started to hope they would. In my head I had changed the name and description of the session countless times, wishing I would have been more creative when I first wrote it. I began thinking of it as “Mapping Our Connections.”

RSCON3 people are passionate learners, inspiring educators, and global connectors. Why wouldn’t they want to map their connections? I thought. If they haven’t already done so, I can show them one or two ways to make a map for their blog or wiki. If they already have mapped their connections, they can share their genius with the rest of us and show us another way to do it. I began getting excited.

Unfortunately, I became enthused a couple weeks too late. I wish I would have had the confidence and gumption to believe in myself and my topic and write it up with more enthusiasm. But I didn’t.

Maybe that was a good thing because I am so glad I had this experience, and I never would have had a session had not Clive asked for last minute “reserve” sessions. I am thankful he sought that last round of volunteers because I didn’t have the confidence to volunteer early on when the bulk of the schedule was prepared.

Well, the morning came, and I went bright and early into my room to add some live links, to check the sound and make sure I felt comfortable in Room 42. It was over an hour before the session, and Sylvia came in. What a relief that was! She was so professional; we went through the session quickly and I felt ready and so thankful she had come in so early.

During the session I asked participants to share a link to their blog or other website where they’ve made global connections. Here are the links that were shared…

  1. Laura Coughlin in Missouri
  2. Celia Coffa in Australia
  3. Tina Schmidt in Pennsylvania
    Also from Tina: A Week in the Life Flat Classroom Project
  4. Sylvia Ellison in Florida
  5. Sherri Edwards in Washington
  6. Denise Krebs in Iowa connecting with New South Wales, Australia

Those are just the participants who shared links. Here is the map we made while we were in the session, showing where some of us were from.

Amazing! In no other era in the history of the world could this varied group of people, in their own homes, come together from North America, Asia, and Australia to share global connections they’ve made. It was delightful!

After viewing the archive, I learned some things I would have done differently in my session. If I did it again, I would:

  • smile when I had the video on!
  • open the map while it was being updated, but I would application share so everyone else could see it too.
  • move more slowly and deliberately when I was application sharing to avoid motion sickness in the participants.
  • speak up, and not have such a “shy” voice.

After 30 minutes I had not gotten to the meat of the presentation, and I shared that I wasn’t sure what to do at that point because our time was up. Sylvia, so gracious, acted surprised and said something like, “It’s been so fast and exciting so far.” Smile! She is so nice!

Then, Shelly Terrell, who was in the session, suggested that we take ten more minutes to finish. Oh, perfect! Just the time we needed to wrap up by making a map of the data points we had gathered.

But how to do it? Should we go through the slides, which were annotated screen shots of how to do it? Or go out to the Internet and actually do it again? I really didn’t know which one would be more helpful, so I asked.

Do you know when you ask a question to a class and no one cares or has an opinion? It is a sure sign of disengagement and apathy, which is death to learning. As I asked the question, which do you want–slides or watching the process live–I was so afraid no one would care. “Doesn’t matter, Denise, I’m disengaged anyway. Not even sure I heard the question,” came the unspoken answer in my head.

But no, Tina to the rescue! She answered right away, suggesting we go through the process rather than the slides. I was so happy she dared to care and expressed her opinion. I jumped on her suggestion. Thanks so much, Tina!

Anyway, we went through the process, and just like I had hoped and prayed, at the last step when I added the map to the wiki, it opened and really did work. I knew it would, but what if in my nervousness I had missed a digit of the API Key? Or any other of dozens of little mistakes I could have made? Then it wouldn’t have worked, and my closing statement–“just like magic, your map is there!” would have been really embarrassing!

All in all, I was pleased with and proud of my first attempt at presenting online at a global conference!

If you are interested in putting a map on your wiki, you can watch the session’s archive. (You have to click several times to get it open.) If you watch it, I hope you will add your name and location to the map. The links in the archive will still work for you, and the Google Doc can still be updated. Please let me know if you participate through the archive!

Related Links:
Children’s Literature Blog Contributors
Global Read Aloud Tuck Everlasting – Notice there are more participants than the archive screenshot had. These maps  update automatically! Little to no maintenance!
Global Read Aloud Flat Stanley
Participant Map for this Session
You can also watch the slides.
Adding a map to a blog using

Posting a Directory Map at RSCON3!

Where are you?

My online life this summer has taken some amazing turns. I am having a delightful time learning and growing as a creator and contributor. I’ve connected with more people, and I’m collaborating on two big events right now–the Global Read Aloud, which I wrote about last week, and the Reform Symposium Conference, which starts tomorrow. Reform Symposium Conference, or RSCON3, is an online educational conference with hundreds of planners, moderators, and presenters, as well as 8,000+ participants. I’m looking forward to it–a three-day conference of genuine professional development.

Well, I’m a bit nervous about this, but I volunteered to lead a session at RSCON3 about uploading a directory map onto a wiki. It was something I learned to do this summer, and it has some tricky steps.

I decided to make this blog post for a couple reasons.

  1. There are those who may be interested in the subject, but can’t make it at 8:30 a.m. Central Time on Saturday, July 30. (That would also be called UCT-5. I love that we are learning so much geography as we connect and collaborate globally.)
  2. Some participants in my session will need to come back here for more information.
  3. Some of you who read this will decide to attend the Reform Symposium Conference. It’s not too late to sign up, if you are seeing this before July 31.

Anyway, in this post I am not going to explain how to make a map, but I am going to add my slides and a Google Doc, all of which will be helpful if you care to add a map to your webpage.

Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you will attend my session on Satuday morning. Here is the link to the Elluminate room 42, where my workshop will be held. I will be waiting there with bells on! Here is the schedule for the complete conference.

The session I’ll be leading will mostly talk about making a self-updating map, but is another way to make a directory map. It is a very simple process. In this screencast I show you how.