So I am an invited member of an international summit on ICT in Education. You can click on the logo below to join the discussions through google groups, and I hope you do!
I am so excited for the next few days –it is such an honor to be here, and I really have been nervous about what I can contribute. There are some amazing thinkers here (including some of my Apple Distinguished Educator buddies), but my introversive tendencies and also my belief that others could contribute so much more make me wonder how I’ll share.
However, my friends come to my side to shore me up without even knowing they do…Monday evening, my Superintendent wrote a great blog–How Twitter Tore Down My District’s Walls. Pam gave me great credit in her story (or great blame… I guess it’s all in how you look at it, LOL). My librarian and I did a workshop Monday and we made an impact on our teachers….nothing feels better than that in the moment! And, then, Monday night was the reception for the Summit–at the Library of Congress, no less, the day before the U.S. government might shut down! And, the coolest thing happened.
I really am not good in receptions. I really am not good in large groups. I mean, I can be, but I really prefer small groups or individual conversations over being in a large room of people and being expected to mingle…but I pushed myself to go to this reception. I ended up at a table talking with two guys from Europe–Hans from the Netherlands and Balfour from Italy. After we had all finished our small plates of food, Hans from the Netherlands asked if we were on Twitter. I said I was and he pulled out his phone to look me up. The first name that came up was not me, but I saw a tweet in his search that had @pammoran in it along with other names–and I pointed and said “I bet I’m the @paulawhite mentioned in that tweet.” Sure enough, I was–but then Hans from the Netherlands (that’s how he named himself multiple times while we were standing there, which is why I call him that) turned his phone around and, showing me the little “following bird” said, “See, I’m already following you–I thought I recognized you. You have a great profile!”
That was a confidence booster…once again a friend came through without even knowing they did. Just knowing her knew something about me from Twitter made me feel more like I was chatting with a friend than standing in a room full of people I didn’t know. I’ll have to point Hans to this post tomorrow as a thank you!
But this makes me wonder–how many of our kids–our introverts-our insecure ones–our kids who are not confident–go through each school day wondering who will notice them, who will get into their space, who will ask them to talk when they don’t want to, who will ask them a question when they want to be left alone?
How much do we pay attention to the cues they send us? How much do we honor their request (silent, maybe, but there none-the-less) to be left alone? How much do we accept them (without commenting on the different behavior) when they do choose to interact? How much do we afford them opportunities to work alone or not require the collaboration we ask of others? Is that fair? How often do we set them up to be seen as competent by their peers?
How do we, as teachers, read each kid, meet each kid, and help each and every kid? How do we support the learning of all kinds of learners?
Well, the answer is simple.
We rely on the networks we establish–the community of learners in the classroom, our online friends, our friends in the building. We realize no one person can do it all and we work to set up the best situations for all learners–or any learner. It’s not about looking at one of us or ourselves or any individual as the one who can do it all. We work together and grow together and share what we know about kids to help all of us grow and learn and be better…
It’s not about us in isolation–it’s truly about us as an “us.”
Because the “culture of participation” Pam describes truly does help all of us. As Maya Angelou is given credit for saying (and @beckyfisher73 always quotes), “None of us is as smart as all of us.” And, as Pam says in the post I mention at the beginning of this,”No one of us is more powerful or important than all of us together.”
So we need to work together to do the best we can for our kids, and build everyone’s capacity to work together and be sensitive to one another. I need to rely on the network of people in our Summit, and in the room, and out of the room to help us all think deeply about the issues brought to the Summit.
Won’t you join us in the Google groups and help us all get smarter?