ConnectED Canada is coming!

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As the Spring term gets into full swing, I am really looking forward to meeting new people and connecting face-to-face with my PLN, including George Couros, Neil Stephenson, Zoe Branigan-Pipe, Rodd Lucier, and Brian Harrison at the ConnectEDCanada conference May … Continue reading

Transformative experience at ECOO11

It may be because of @snbeach and @willrich45 ‘s keynote address; or being surrounded f2f by tweeps with whom I have only ever dialogued online; or sitting beside REALLY smart people during the sessions I attended on Thursday; or chatting with @digitalnative post-conference in the lobby of the Sheraton hotel; or thinking about my digital footprint after hearing @royanlee and @zbpipe ‘s session. Basically, I am not sure how it is that I am finally entering the blogosphere, but here I am after what I am referring to was a trans-formative experience at the ECOO2011 conference October 20, 2011!

First off, I am most grateful to Todd Wright, Principal of Curriculum in the York Region DSB for supporting me to be away from my school last week as a member of the Literacy@School (L@S) [#litschool] leadership team to attend #ecoo11 for the day. Thank you Todd!

Walking into the keynote room Thursday morning, there were familiar faces everywhere! I was delighted to hear that @royanlee (fellow L@S team member) and @danikabarker (first time meeting f2f) wouldn’t mind sitting right up near the front, so we settled in and were soon joined by @shannoninottawa (first time meeting f2f), and @jeygenraam and David from York Region DSB. As all good 21st Century presenters do, Sheryl and Will leveraged the expertise and interests of the group by having us interact with one another in a Google doc (tres cool!). In no time at all, it became very evident that each of us brings different perspectives and value to the conversation, and working within this group dynamic was a great experience.

At one point, Sheryl commended Canadians on our collective know-how, experience, etc…, but then reminded us that we still have far to go in terms of sharing our know-how, experience, etc… with others. This stuck with me big time, and I got to thinking, unless I share all of my ideas, thoughts, solutions, how will anyone else ever benefit?

So, when we were prompted to create our personal professional #changegame tagline, mine came to me right away: I Am What I Share!

I had a chance to share this a-ha moment with  @snbeach in the vendor’s area at lunch and not only did she listen attentively, she challenged me with: “So what are you going to do about it?”

She’s right-how many times have you gone to a conference and left with a gazillion different ideas to use in your practice? Unfortunately though, the minute we walk through the school doors, that enthusiasm and momentum seems to go out the window.

Following my magical minute-long conversation with Sheryl, I thought, the onus is on ME to make the change I want to see. So…. during an impromptu chat in the lobby of the Sheraton with Colin (@digitalnative) and Royan (@royanlee) we charted the path for what might become our ‘sharing opportunity and venue’ about our learning journey regarding critical thinking and inquiry.

In a nutshell, one thing I have learned about leading change is that change is SOCIAL. So, before we can lead any change in the way teachers explicitly teach and assess critical thinking, we need to know the people who will be the change agents with us! This means taking time getting to know one another-and I mean REALLY getting to know what they are all about, their passions, what they know, where they have been, what they have seen/learned, what they can do. If people know that you really know them, and are aware of how THEY can EACH fit into the change equation, they will walk to the ends of the earth for you! I know I have done that for a number of amazing Principals and Superintendents in my time. Haven’t you?

Bottom line-out of mutual respect, comes committed and shared purpose… Please join us on Twitter Wednesday evenings from 7-8 pm EST for #CTchat to talk and learn about critical thinking.

Thank you #ecoo11 for all that you did last Thursday. You have NO idea how ‘changed’ I am as a result!

Tania