Here I am 10 days post APPEC Hong Kong and still pinch myself about what transpired in three days. For everyone reading this blog that goes to conferences you know that feeling of being on cloud nine and not wanting to come down off this. Emotions were running hot across the weekend and the anticipation of both connecting with Twitter Hero's as well as the new-found level of growth knowledge were overwhelming. In this blog post I know that I may not do justice to the overall feeling I took away about APPEC HK but I am hoping that I may convince you to at least put it on your agenda for your future professional development.
I first came across APPEC three years ago when my good buddies Nathan Horne and Andy Vasily were live in action with keynotes. The only visual I can remember was this green tennis court perching on the 7th level of a multi-story high- school. I had never seen anything like it. The picture still stands out in my mind. A whiskery Nathan Horne, cool as a cucumber with his cheeky smile and Hollywood Shades shielding his ever-curious eyes from the hot Hong Kong sun. This had me! I was ready. I wanted to be there on that court, in that sun, with my Hollywood Shades on my face. I hate to wait three years but the call up came.
My first impressions of Hong Kong visiting for the first time were overwhelming. Landing from Australia at 5pm Hong Kong time meant only one thing……. Peak Hour Traffic. I was quite relaxed until Central Station where 500000 people were also moving through the tunnels to either go to the night activities or head home from work. I had no idea what this amount of people looked like. I can only explain it like a mass start in an Ironman swim where you seamlessly float along with the crowd without too much effort but at pace so not to be swallowed in the depths of those following in your footsteps. Central station was nothing compared to the subway to get to Tin Hau station. After a tight squeeze into a seat less train I stood tall with two commuters fixed directly under each armpit. This train was packed at the first stop but every stop Tin Hau it seemed more people hopped onto the train that go off. What an experience though. I took it in my stride and loved my two new armpit inspectors.
As soon as arriving at the conference I was greeted with happy smiles and hugs from those I don’t know. The best thing I ever did career wise was join Twitter and I get so excited when I not only find people that I follow on Twitter at conferences but more so are motivated by the excitement of Twitter Followers finding me and thanking me for the work I do to inspire them. This keeps me going to no end. APPEC is different I feel because so many people fly from different countries to attend so there is a sense of privilege to be in attendance rather that a sense of being sent to the conference. 21st Century Learning is incredible with their planning and nurturing of delegates. Justin was a machine behind the administration and I still scratch my head as to why Avinash wasn’t chaired on and off the transport bus each day. He had my back- Even when I was busy looking at the surrounds of Hong Kong International School he reminded me that it was bus time and that it is a long walk back to Causeway Bay from the school. Each of my 4 sessions at the Conference and Pre-Conference workshop were highly sort after with packed houses each and every time. However, I zeroed in on what was important and try to focus on the individual in each group just as we do when we teach. Personalised experiences with stories that could connect my theories with the content that individual teachers are teaching in their school. Despite being a bumbling mess in my Inquiry Feature Presentation because of the story of change in a boy I taught for many years that lost the use of his lower body as a child we managed to keep everyone in high spirits. I think my workshop highlights were the confirmation from highly regarded researches that my theories were in line with the rich research from around the world and then the energy that came within from the practical workshops in Spikeball and Cricket. These two sessions were huge. Even had my own Oprah moment in Spikeball when I had the pleasure to hand out Spikeball Sets for take home. YOU GET A SPIKEBALL SET, YOU GET A SPIKEBALL SET, YOU GET A SPIKEBALL SET!!!
Top 5 Takeaways
If you are at all interested in what goes down beneath the green tennis courts perching high above the water of Tai Tam Harbour then place APPEC down as a conference to attend in the near future. I have written above my thoughts and gloss about what you may experience but a conference like this gives you as much as you give it. If you want to sit down and not connect you definitely will be a long way from home and not motivated however if you smile and shake a few hands, get involved in activity rather than take notes, applaud Keynoters and dare to dream the APPEC will foster the growth of the Inner demon within you. You deserve it for yourself but more so the students that you teach are egging you on to grow as they know with that comes a Physical Education program that they deserve and dream about. See you next year APPEC, can’t wait to bring some more of my Aussie PhysEd buddies.