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A Year of Community

Well, 2011 is over. So what kind of year was it for me?

I would sum it up as a year of community. I have been lucky enough to be involved in several events, some local, some national, and some international. Looking back, I have enjoyed every minute of it, even though it pushed me in ways I hadn’t expected.

As a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) for over 15 years, I am used to being up in front of a group of strangers on a Monday morning, and making them feel comfortable for a week during a class. One of the things I did for the first time in 2011 was conducting a webcast. I was asked by Microsoft Learning to do a session for them in the build up to TechEd North America, as part of their ‘Cram 4 Exam’ series preparing people for exams. As an experienced trainer, I am used to seeing feedback from students in class (i.e. you can tell if they are enjoying it/bored/or just plain fallen asleep (I have to point out this is not a regular occurrence!). Not being able to see the faces, hear any feedback or get much in the way of interaction was a little intimidating, but the session was a success. Over 70 people attended, and I had the fortune to meet some of them in person later in the year at the TechEd conference itself!

TechEd itself was a great success for me as well. I was selected again by Microsoft Learning as an MCT Ambassador. For this, I spent a lot of the week staffing the study hall we ran, that allowed students to read, ask questions from trainers, or take practice exams in our lab room. I was also asked to deliver two more ‘Cram 4 Exam’ sessions in person. So, my first gig as a TechEd speaker! I have to say I loved it, and I can see myself wanting to repeat the experience!TechEd

Into the summer, I was asked by MCT Europe to speak at the MCT Summit in Stockholm. This was a great event, and for the second year, I was fortunate to have my session submissions accepted. I talked on courseware, Small Business Server 2011 and Windows 7 application compatibility. I still can’t get used to the sun not really setting in June though?!

After the summit, I got more involved in our community closer to home, and ran a few sessions at the Yorkshire IT User Group, hosted at York University. I had attended a few sessions (and continue to do so), but am now co-organising this, and have recently got our group listed on the Microsoft UK User Group site, so you can find our details on there, and upcoming events and speakers are listed there too. (Look for UK & York).

Another event I got involved with, was being asked to present at TechNet UK’s ‘TechDays’ online event, where cloud computing was, again, a hot topic of conversation. My session can be accessed from my site (see below).

After TechEd, I also became a STEP member. That’s a “Springboard Technical Expert Panel” member for www.microsoft.com/springboard. STEP is a program that leverages experts like MCT’s and MVP’s to present technical sessions at events, be it in-person, or online, to present to the community from our technical knowledge, information on topics like Windows 7, Office 365 and Windows Intune. I have since delivered several sessions, and plan to be more active in 2012 as well.

Finally, one more community activity that I am most proud of, was being selected to represent the wider community of nearly 19,000 MCT’s on the MCT Advisory Council. That’s a tale for another blog post though!

So, what will 2012 have in store? I already have some ideas up my sleeve, but you’ll have to stay tuned! 😉

Note: Most of the sessions mentioned above can be viewed as recordings, or as ppt on my website www.windowsmct.co.uk/5.html

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