Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tonight I Connected Some Dots

Each year I have many opportunities to attend conferences. One day, two day, week long, travel, local and yet, I still feel there are so many I would like to attend. As people get ready to attend ISTE 2012, I can either be sad that I am not there or I can be happy for all those who are going. I choose to be happy for all those going.

For those going to ISTE12, do turn to someone and greet them and introduce yourself. Don't use the usual line of "I follow you on Twitter" instead take a moment to introduce yourself and tell them why you follow them on the Twitterz. Was it something they said, something someone said about them, who recommended them, just something other than I stalk you.

So that being said, how did I connect some of the dots. Diane and I went to Memphis this past week for a conference called The Martin Institute for Teaching Excellence. This is a wonderful, collaborative effort between a philanthropic family, The University of Memphis and Presbyterian Day School for boys. These three organizations bring together public, private and charter school teachers alike, for the sole purpose of trying to help them become better educators. Professional development. Come learn, come teach, come see what others are doing in their classrooms.

This is the third year for this Institute and this year the keynote was John Hunter. Many may know Mr. Hunter from his TED talk back in March. Maybe you know Mr. Hunter's fourth grade students and the game John started called the World Peace Game. Somehow Diane and I had missed any news about John, the game and his fourth grade students. However, due to the Martin Institute, we were able to see and learn as well as talk with John and hear all about the World Peace Game.

On the way home from Memphis, Diane and I did things like listen to the TED talk that John gave back in March, talked about what we had seen and heard at the conference, and I also got to meet many new and seasoned friends from Twitter. Today I listened to John's talk again for there was something tugging at me. I knew the town name, I knew people there, but how? In what context did I know them? Albemarle County, Virginia. Wait, Pam Moran, Paula White along with several others in my network are from that area and work in those schools. This is where John Hunter is from?

So I sent Pam Moran a tweet asking if she was the same Pam Moran that John speaks about in his Ted Talk? She said she was and I was immediately flooded with feelings of joy. Someone out there who has been talking about what we need to do in classrooms had someone talking about what he got to do and how it helped his students develop wonderful, critical, thinking skills. I was blown away. Someone who trusted one of their faculty members to do the right thing, somone who treated another person with true professionalism and it all worked. Pam's simple response to me was "...make sure paths stay open and permissions remain in place to create, design, make, engineer, build, compose learning." How beautifully simple is that? All coming down to relationship.

While I realize this is somewhat scattered, trust that I will be writing more about all of this.

So much to learn and so little time.