I am totally blown away….

The K12 Online Conference totally rocks.  I have enjoyed all of the sessions so far.  Three of them have stood out for me or at least parts of them.

1) The Pre-conference Keynote by Angela Maiers was just a great way to kick off the conference.  I listened to it a few days after it was posted and so I didn’t have that long wait for the conference to begin.  Using her understanding of children at play she set the stage and gave all of us permission to start to play again.  While the videos of the little guys playing was good and cute I did feel that maybe a little bit older children included in another video would also have been great.  But, of course, that is just me…… It was also great to see the beautiful sunshine and blue skies behind her during her presentation especially while sitting in cold Beijing. Her continually recurring theme of “You Matter” was a great reminder to me especially as my life seems to be going through a bit of change….Job hunting can sometimes be a difficult task with the uncertainties and the questions of whether your value will be of value to someone else.  The reminder that I Matter was a great encouragement.

(PS – since I wrote this I have accepted a position for next year – apparently I do matter.)

2.  George Couros (a favourite of mine  since we are Canadians) talked about many things but the one that stood out the most was the idea of what would happen if we spent 100 hours learning something we didn’t know.  It should be different from our day job and something we have always wanted to learn or never really thought we ever could learn.  For some it may be an instrument. For others it may be a language and learning to run a marathon…who knows.  Anyway, the point was made that if we took up  this challenge and also were transparent about our learning and the struggles what a terrific example would it be for our students, families or just people that we come in contact with us.  How fantastic would it be for our students to see us learning something new….

I was able to do that to a certain extent when I shared my work with my students when I was working on my Masters program.  While they probably didn’t really understand what I was doing they thought it was incredibly cool that I was going to school at the same time they were and having to do homework.

I can't even count the strokes.

3. The one I just watched is a MUST WATCH for everyone.  The Black Line Mystery – a story about the most complicated chinese character known to mankind and its community  I am not going to spend a lot of time talking about it because I cannot emphasize enough the excitement of watching this presentation – it makes me wish I was Agent 42 or even Charlie. (you have to watch it to understand).  What brilliant work educators are doing around the world.  It is amazing how one idea can turn into this project that just continues on.  It reminds me of the Around the World with 80 Schools project that start a few years ago and is still going though the creator is now doing something else.  Teachers from all over are discovering it for the first time and getting involved.

Note:  I have also just discovered that the Black Line Mystery was presented at the Global Education Conference. Check it out.

Another example was given at the Global Education Conference called The Global Read Aloud – how one idea connected 4,000 students created by Pernille Ripp 5th grade teacher West Middleton Elementary.  It is an honest account of how an idea starts in a teacher’s mind and grows and grows.

My amazement continues to grow at the ingenuity of educators around the world and what happens when we are given a voice.  While there are cries that education has not changed in 100 years all things considered I prefer the possibilities that we have now…. I wonder what we will think of next.

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