Today was Day 2 of ConnectEd Canada (#ConnectEdCA). My brain is swirling with incredible ideas, conversations, personal narratives. My takeaway from the last two days is reinforcing the idea of finding meaning through the relationships that you build.
In every session I’ve attended today, as well as the speakers from yesterday, there was some degree of discussion about connecting to other people…
- Intentionally making everything you do personal.
- Sharing yourself.
- Trusting those around you enough to share what is most meaningful to you.
- Building and nurturing relationships, both in person and virtually through social media.
Tom Fullerton talked this morning about “teaching from the inside out.” He asked those of us in his session to reflect on practitioner research, making professional development meaningful and personal for educators, and helping educators become “translucent cocoons.” When you are transparent in your own learning as a teacher, the process should be visible while it’s occurring.
Rodd Lucier and Zoe Branigan-Pipe shared experiences from Unplug’d 2011. Again, so much of the discussion centered around nurturing relationships and trust in those relationships. I really loved hearing the stories about the Unplug’d event and how great it was to unplug from “the world” for an extended weekend… but then continuing those stories once they plugged back in. You can learn more about it here: http://unplugd.ca/
It’s so interesting to me that many people I know only in face-to-face situations hassle me about my relationships that are mostly online. I often hear, “but those people aren’t your REAL friends” or “don’t you think that social media is superficial? Aren’t we just ‘liking’ and ‘friending’ our way into not having to deal with people face-to-face? What about social skills?” I try to explain how social media can enhance a relationship that might not happen otherwise. Some of my most treasured friendships started with people I met on Twitter. I am working in a school of my dreams because of Twitter!
So it fascinates me that the most repeated phrases of this education conference have been about creating relationships and sharing yourself with others… and continuing to cultivate those relationships through some type of social media after the conference ends. The people here get that, and I feel so grateful and lucky to be here. I flew all the way to Canada to connect with people that I had only met on Twitter. With the exception of George Couros (whom I had met on Twitter before meeting in person at EduCon in 2011), I hadn’t met anyone else in person until Thursday evening.
Most importantly, perhaps, is what this all speaks about teaching and learning. As educators, we must work diligently to create caring relationships with students, parents, community, and each other:
- sharing our successes, as well as our failures
- building trust
- creating a safe environment where we can share our personal narratives
- holding each other accountable
- working together to celebrate our common goals AND diversity