Wow. Just spent an engaging and energizing weekend at the ConnectEd Conference at the Calgary Science School. What a fantastic experience, connecting with so many amazing educators and learning so much. It was so great to put so many faces to names, or twitter handles for that matter. People I have learned so much from for the past few years, connected with so often on Twitter, and there they were to share great face to face conversations. It was a great conference and an awesome experience.
It brought me back to the meeting I had with George Couros three years ago, in his office at Forest Green Elementary. Over the course of the hour, we signed me up for Twitter, created a Skype account and he introduced me to WordPress. George tried to explain to me the importance and power of being connected, and while I thought I got it, it took a year or so before it all really sunk in. That day changed the course of my career, and I am so thankful for that push that George gave me.
I try to honor that push George gave me by helping others get connected. While I met many connected educators at the conference, I met a handful who were not so connected. Either they weren’t on twitter or they hadn’t started to share much yet. Talking with those educators, I was amazed at the work they were doing in their schools and dumbfounded when they told me they had never thought of sharing their stories. I want to tell you about a couple in particular.
Mike Skinner is a Principal from Burns Lake, BC who I had the chance to have multiple conversations with over the course of the weekend. Mike is a passionate guy who wants to push education forward in his school. He told me about a project that his school does called the Alternative Arts Festival (See highlights here at their Facebook Page), a day of school dedicated to students sharing work they had produced. I was amazed that Mike hadn’t been sharing this with others, as I am sure so many would feel the same way I did when he told me about it – What a great idea! Mike is on Twitter, but I tried to urge him to get into blogging, as his Alternative Arts Festival is an idea that needs to be shared.
Sasha Wise is a Gr. 1/2 Teacher in Richmond, BC who I had the chance to speak with during breakfast at ConnectEd Canada. It didn’t take long talking to Sasha to know she was a teacher who really enjoyed bringing great learning experiences to her young students. She was telling me about this project she worked on with her students where they researched an animal, recorded their presentations on the Explain Everything app on iPads and created a life size drawing of their animal. She told me about how a student who before had been shy and quiet came out of his shell during the project. The entire story was inspiring and the activity sounded like such an amazing experience for students in Gr. 1 & 2.
Mike and Sasha are two bright Educators with so much to share. As they told me their stories, I thought of all the different people who would appreciate being able to hear them. I found I couldn’t help myself and I let both know how important it was that they find a way to let others hear about the amazing work they were doing. Sometimes being connected is a start, but in Sasha and Mike’s situation, sharing was just as important a message to send. Whether they wanted it or not, I tried to give them a little push.
The conference provided an opportunity for me to meet Sasha and Mike, but we all interact with educators daily in our halls and around our divisions. Is there someone that you know that hasn’t really jumped in to the world of Twitter or Social Media and seen the potential of a Professional Learning Network that stretches far beyond the walls of their school? Is there someone that could use a little push to share the great work they do? Give someone a little push the next time the opportunity presents itself, especially if there was someone that pushed you.