Nov. 1, 2020: The Strengths of the Virtual World
Just this past month I have participated in two events, both of which have been part of my life forever. Things I normally look forward to with anticipation and relish during the experience. Normally in-person events. This year, both were virtual.
Clearly, we are all blessed to have the option of even continuing events virtually. We are so fortunate that we have the technological advances and tools to continue to connect without being in the same physical space. Just a few short years ago, neither event would have been able to even go on without the in-person aspect.
While the pre-pandemic, in-person events were always hands down my first choice, I have come to realize that there are some powerful positives with doing things virtually.
One event was an annual Writer’s Conference. This is always a 3 day event and typically, I am only able to attend two of the days. Additionally, the typical conference involves multiple break-out sessions, which means choices. And choices often mean some great sessions I do not get to attend.
This year however, because it was a virtual conference, all sessions were recorded and attendees have access to the recorded sessions for the next month. That means I can see every session I want, when it is convenient for me.
It also meant that the day of the Conference, when something unexpectedly came up that typically would have required me to miss out on a session, I was simply able to watch it later that evening, as I sipped my wine in my sweats. A definite win.
Parent Open House at our school was the other event. I love Open House. I love the parents gathered in my classroom where I can share details of our day and they can get a glimpse of their child’s daily world. They can peek into his/her desk, browse the books on the shelves, and see all the posters on the wall. This year though, it was virtual. While I was worried that parents would not get the same experience on-line as they would in the classroom, I realized that the things I loved most about the Writer’s Conference going virtual, would most likely be things the families loved about a virtual Open House.
Parents have so much on their plate. Between their own jobs, their children’s school and activities, and basic life tasks and chores, I am sure it was often a struggle to get to Open House.
This year, some parents did log on and see my session live, however, those that had conflicts and were not able to be there, could still see exactly the same thing that those who attended saw. Not a summary or a re-cap, but the same presentation. A win for them. And for me!
As we make our way through this pandemic, there will most likely be things we learn and changes we have made that we will want to continue, even when it is no longer necessary. While face-to-face conferences and events will always be a first choice, perhaps virtual event are also here to stay.