Behind the curtain at Diane Ravitch in Sacramento


Set up

This post is more a personal behind the scenes reflection of Diane Ravitch’s recent speaking engagement in my town. For a more comprehensive look at that event, look here. I’ll be adding more posts at over the next few days.

Part of mi vida loca lately has been taking over social media duties for my union local. Complicating my union work further, we are having our contract “opened” on wages and benefits, and there were threats to bring TFA to our district (now quashed, thankfully). Just to make life exciting, I’m doing this while teaching  full-time, and I also suffered through stomach flu, and one of the worst sinus allergy attacks of my life since coming back from Winter Break.

The capstone to the last few weeks, heck to the last month or two, was a visit from education historian and commentator Diane Ravitch,  in an event to which SCTA (my union local) was the main sponsor and organizer. Needless to say, when you are having the Queen of Education Twitterers visiting , you want a robust social media presence. I was happy to supply that ;-). What did I do? I put up Facebook and Twitter notices of the event, and got others (Larry Ferlazzo, other locals, etc.) do share and re-Tweet. For the event, I tweeted, perhaps excessively at points (blame it on the coca-cola I was drinking to get through a long night) during the actual event. I made some videos, and took some pictures. I even had an “intern” (a high school volunteer) who helped with coverage. Did it turn out perfect? No, but I got some great stuff, and some good responses. Could I have done more–maybe a live stream? Sure, but we managed (thank you intern JivAn Feliciano) to get some great audio of Diane Ravitch. The pictures, because of the dim lighting, were less than optimal, but others with better cameras were there, and I’m going to try to collect shots from them over the next few days.

Lessons learned? In the immortal words of Wes Fryer, it’s better to bring your own bandwidth. I’m now packing a 4G (LTE) hotspot on my new Moto Droid Bionic. That kept me online, and helped David Cohen earlier in the day, and Larry Ferlazzo at the event. Oh, and the reporter from the Stockton Record would have been “dead in the water” filing his story without “borrowing” from me. Having electrical will also help make you friends. Because I was with the folks putting the event on, I had the set up crew rig me up a cord, and a table, and brought my trusty 8 foot power strip. This helped the Stockton Record reporter, and the video crew from PBS who filming the event. That’s how you make friends! My take away, I think during live events, I need to edit my tweeting a bit more, and not flood the stream with every comment the speaker makes, but you as readers will have the final word on that.

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