soul strikers

powerful moments in education

What does the successful empowerment of a PLN look like?

I had to buy a new desk chair today. It was inevitable for 2 reasons: First, I start class 2 of 4 in my teaching online program today- Creating and Facilitating Online Learning Communities. Second, EdCamp Boston gave me around 1,000 reasons to be attached to my Mac today. My poor, tired iPad gets a day off anyway. The amount of swiping and tricky typing I did on it yesterday was astounding…but delicious.

Why couldn’t I sleep the night before EdCamp? Well, to quote @dancallahan, a co-founder from Burlington, MA, “At edcamps I feel like I am closer to being the kind of teacher I want to be.” I knew it was going to be an event of heightened excitement, a place where it was totally acceptable to have wandering feet, fingers, and minds, all with the intention of learning more deeply instead of being deeply bored. Since I have Muppets on the brain (read this post linking Muppets to PBL by Michael Milton @42thinkdeep) I will say it was quite like realizing you truly belong somewhere, that you are, in fact, a muppet, not a man.

Holy cow. What a place of equity in passion and positive spirit for the profession and for education for American students. In a profession where so much conversation is wasted on teacher hours and how the world doesn’t understand us and so on and so on, that conversation did not exist at EdCamp.  This is a  group of people that are living and teaching NOW- a profession we chose-and we are choosing to be professional and move f-o-r-w-a-r-d, regardless of politics or cynicism.

On a somewhat side note, there is something exhilarating about seemingly hidden societies aren’t there? Think of movies like The Skulls, Fight Club, Dead Poets Society, to name a few.  Why do we love them? We wonder if they really exist and want to know what makes them tic.  I couldn’t put my finger on it, but as I wandered around the building, I did have some level of excitement to glance at each person’s Twitter @handle scratched across the name tag.  It was like this living, breathing being came to life on among the hallways of the Microsoft New England Research Development building. The thing is, education Tweeters are anything BUT secret. “Sharing is caring” is the comment I see most often when I weave through streams and chats on Twitter.  And why NOT put real faces to the connections on Twitter! It was not only possible, it was necessary to strengthen the confidence of teachers and professional empowerment of this PLN.

the ever-growing board of discussions waiting to happen...

What existed yesterday were creative professionals of all ages, male and female, (as well as a handful of high school students!) exhibiting the exact traits we want to pass on to our students- be innovative, ask questions, be resourceful and most importantly- Be each others’ teachers! Who : 1. figures out a free event with 3 meals (ok, 2 1/2) in the gorgeous Microsoft building in Cambridge, and 2. goes with no agenda, but rather equipped with electrified faith that the schedule board will fill with the intellectual concoctions from fellow educators, and 3. schedules an experience-rich day of learning in a non-judgemental, collaborative format?

We do.  So do not be afraid, world.  You may read horror stories about “failing” states, or schools, or rude “teachers” but those are old news- they are not the force that is EdCamp.  I am humbled and honored to share a mindset with all of you.

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10 comments on “What does the successful empowerment of a PLN look like?

  1. Pingback: The De-Isolation of Teachers: Crowd-sourcing Passion (part one) « soul strikers

  2. Love this! I had the same problem the night before EdCamp…I couldn’t sleep because I was so excited AND I couldn’t sleep Saturday night because my mind was too busy thinking about how I was going to implement all of the new ideas and tools people shared. It is amazing to go to a conference and be surrounded with crazy, passionate, and excited teachers. Thanks for your thoughts!

    Like

    • soul strikers
      April 30, 2012

      Thank you for commenting. It is so important to share all of our community thoughts. I dreamt in Twitter last night- my brain is so full of tools! Glad yours is too!

      Like

  3. conversationeducation
    April 29, 2012

    Imagine a world where this sense of possibility is ever-present! You inspire me!! Keep writing and creating the world that you want the world to be!! (thanks Ghandi!).
    West Side Story? Grease? I may be stretching these a bit!!

    Like

    • soul strikers
      April 29, 2012

      Wow! Expand on your musical references. It is SO how I think…and I won’t sleep till I make relevant connections!

      Like

  4. @42thinkdeep
    April 29, 2012

    I always find it amusing when people call you by your Twitter handle at these!

    Overall, it really was an amazing day. It is inspiring that everyone came out in order to learn and develop into “the kind of teacher (we) want to be.” And it’s not like it’s a one and done PD – these conversations will continue all over Twitter, the lunchroom, and in blogs.

    Looking forward to seeing you around (both on Twitter and in person)!

    Like

    • soul strikers
      April 29, 2012

      So true- and thanks for commenting. No, it certainly is NOT one and done- the conversation will always continue. Sometimes that can be overwhelming, but not one of us knows everything, but we can teach each other everything!
      Totally looking forward to reading more of your blog. What other movie references can you come up with?!? (challenge….!)

      Like

    • soul strikers
      April 29, 2012

      You know, it made me think about my Twitter handle, too. Like, I chose Jkarabinas because I wanted people to know my name- But why didn’t I choose my first name? Or why didn’t I go with my blog name? What directed you to go toward a name of certain inspiration?

      Like

      • @42thinkdeep
        April 30, 2012

        My Twitter handle took me a long time to come up with – I would have preferred to be @MichaelMilton but it was already taken (as well as a few variants of it). After much internal debate, I chose to pay homage to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy with @42ThinkDeep (42 is the ultimate answer to life, the universe, and everything and Think Deep is the machine that came up with the answer). As a result, few people get the allusion and people think I’m a bit odd. Luckily, I feel less odd when hanging out with this group.

        Today, I was thinking about Ben Franklin’s quote about hanging together or hanging separately in context of EdCamp. We are all working very hard to develop and to teach our students better and if we were to do that on our own, we would work ourselves into exhaustion! But if we support each other, then we will be more likely to achieve our goals. I think this is why your point about being professional and moving ourselves (and education) forward resonates so well.

        Also, challenge accepted.

        Like

      • soul strikers
        April 30, 2012

        Feelin’ the power of moving forward! Awesome. And great to hear the story of your @handle. Looking forward to more of your posts!

        Like

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This entry was posted on April 29, 2012 by in education, PD Power and tagged , , , , .

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