Saturday 11 October 2014

Making Connections & Keeping it Real

The evening prior to setting off for ULearn 14 I connected with someone remarkable and shared that my first 'job' at 14 years old saw me engulfed by a lion costume, standing outside the local dairy offering Paddle Pops to other kids. That huge head I had to wear was heavy and I'm 'balance challenged' at the best of times! But I was determined...

Fast forward to the ULearn Showcase on the final eve, it was with amusement and wonder that I read a text from my 'modern 21C learner' daughter (no, she does not own a phone) that read "Mummy I miss you so much. I hope you have fun and can you please bring me home a Paddle Pop?"

On the long drive home (as I imagine most others did) I reflected.  I noticed this particular snapshot began and would end with ice cream!

My learning goal has been visible through my blog posts; share more; while connecting with, listening to and learning from people around me (face to face and virtually).
I conversed with and engaged with so many wonderful people during ULearn 14 and it was awesome. I loved it and I can't wait to connect further and with more!

All connections made were relevant to SOLO Taxonomy - I knew my learning goal and I framed my steps with it.

Connections were often made or strengthened while feasting on the delicious kai provided and served by talented, friendly staff (yes, details matter) at the Events Centre and in Central Rotorua. Connections were made about coffee, pallet furniture, beauty in the far North, fishing, whales, Antarctica & F.I.S.H, Bon Jovi, gardens at home and school, residing in West Auckland, Minimally Invasive Ed, Twitter - the why, how (and what if you don't? Please, you don't have to! The world will still turn & wonderful things will continue to happen in your classroom and your school!). Connections were made about Grease, choosing you 'tude, trains, roads, Thomas the Tank Engine, our kids being killed, disrupting, and kindness.

Connections were made or strengthened before, during and after the breakouts I presented at; about teaching learning to learn strategies, Inquiry, young learners, sustainable learning practices, Kaitiakitanga, wicked problems and citizenship - what matters most now?

Connections were strengthened hugely by having Pam @arti_choke present virtually during my first presentation; she made herself visible to answer questions and add her huge wealth of experience and knowledge to the breakout.

I compared the energetic, responsive and organic interactions between the small, eclectic and wonderful group of educators at my breakout about growing sustainable learners, to the interactions between 500+ equally eclectic and wonderful educators at a large corporate conference I attended in April, where I could have heard a pin drop as everyone had their eyes fixated on their devices.

What I appreciated most during ULearn 14, was that when I looked up and said "Hi" and took my first step out of the comfort zone, the rest seemed to 'just happen' because so many friendly, genuine, kind and passionate educators attended. And people matter. Kindness matters, as does 'keeping it real'.

Perhaps my 'Extended Abstract' wondering might be... That I really appreciated that I also made connections over feelings of disconnect with certain ideas and themes... I feel that may be another blogpost. :-D

So yes - as success requires effort, I made 4 stops before I found (thanks 'connectivity') that the requested Paddle Pop flavour doesn't exist... It didn't matter, she was most excited to see Mummy anyway. People matter.

I made this and added it to my first presentation as a result of an awesome first eve in Rotorua with awesome people I connected with after meeting through Twitter - it really can be an activator for real life connections, if you make it happen. I'm so happy I did.

My ULearn Presentations:  

My TeachMeetNz Presentation: with a huge reference to @vanschaijik who is so connected! :-)

And of course... for all things SOLO and so much more:

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