Sunday, 28 June 2015

The People in My Neighborhood at ISTE

Day one of ISTE, which was actually basically a pre-camp day is over. As with so many events that are chock full of activity, it's hard to believe that it's only been one day. I easily surpassed my 10 000 step goal on my new Fit Bit and participated in some incredible sessions and discussions.

Most importantly, however, I connected with people I've been working with online and others who I met for the first time today.

Jenni Magiera, an educator who I really admire, suggested in an article to create a "Dance Card" and have only three spaces on it. In those three spaces, list the three most important things you learned each day. I love this idea and used it during the HackEd15 un-conference today.

Here are a few of the most important things I learned:

  1. When you are using PBL, be purposeful, ask yourself if what you are doing is project oriented or project based. BIE 8 Essential Elements, TRUCADOT, Classroom Observation Template
  2. Supporting students on social media: When you decline to create or curate a culture in your spaces, you’re responsible for what spawns in the vacuum. - Alexander, 2014
  3. The teachers who are here are already converted into integrating technology into effective classroom practices. How do we go back and give the less proficient educators assistance and make them have agency?

Every day, I'll share my learning on Google Docs. Today's learning is captured here.

So, you've read this far and you're wondering, who are the People in Your Neighbourhood, Shauna? As always, I've taken a circuitous route to getting where I'm going, but I'd like to share with you some of the amazing connections I made today and the lessons I learned.

Lesson #1: Wave Your Weird Flag
If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I love Doug Robertson's book "He's the Weird Teacher" and have been so happy to connect with other members of his ever growing Weird Army. I love people who push boundaries, aren't afraid to be themselves and stand out in a crowd. More teachers from #WeirdEd have arrived tonight and I look forward to meeting them tomorrow, but I got to meet some totally unique and exciting educators today.
I was thrilled to connect with an energetic and inspiring Matt Fratt when I plunked down next to him for the three-storey HackEd group photo. We didn't even pose, we were so busy chatting. We shared a lovely lunch - or rather, we shared a lovely line up for lunch when Matt had to run, thinking he was running a session after we stood in line for an hour for cheesesteaks! Matt led an incredible, interactive session after lunch and we created a ridiculous short film. By being fearless and weird, we had a blast!

Lesson #2: Be Aggressively Friendly
After learning that this is a trait that Disney Cast Members are expected to have, I reflected on the way I behave in new situations. Although I feel nervous, I always try to be approachable and friendly. Disney uses the term, "aggressively friendly", which I love. Push yourself to be friendly and personable, even if it feels awkward. Oftentimes, you'll win someone over. Sometimes you don't. Aggressive friendliness helped me connect with Brenda Druecker, who I am pretty sure is a kindred spirit. I also managed to make a friend with our totally overworked server at an after-party and get wonderful service.
Recognize, acknowledge and show your excitement when you see someone you've worked with in the past. I was thrilled to hang out with

Lesson #3: Back Off
Sometimes the people you interact with online seem different in person. You may have the expectation that you'll be fast friends and it just doesn't work like that. It doesn't mean you'll never be friends, but sometimes you just can't speed up the process of getting to know each other in person, now matter how much you felt like you knew someone online.
If the person you are talking to checks over your shoulder constantly, looking for someone else to talk to, take the hint. I had to do this several times today. Clearly, connections were not as natural as I had hoped and I let things be. I'll try again later!
People are here to meet up with their tribes, their people, and aren't always interested in welcoming someone unknown into their group. For some people, it just takes time.

Lesson #4: Sometimes Things Just Click
Today, the Voxer group I've been talking with for months headed to Rosa's Pizza to enjoy inexpensive, fresh pizza and buy slices for needy folks in town. It was terrific. The hugs, laughs and selfies (and #turnies) came quickly and naturally. I feel so happy to know these people.
At Rosa's, I approached a trio who were there at the same time and asked if they were participating in ISTE. They were educators and administrators from Pittsburg who were full of interesting stories and shared my sense of humour. A great instant connection occurred. I look forward to continuing to get to know them.

Lesson #5: Go Up and Say Hello
I spend a tremendous amount of time (entirely too much) online, reading blogs, participating in Twitter chats, listening to podcasts, watching videos, etc. and the same edulebrities (yep, that's education + celebrity!) pop up time and time again. Thought leaders emerge and are embraced by huge masses of educators and I, myself, have been so incredibly inspired by so many.
Seeing, hearing, watching and reading the thoughts of certain people makes it feel like you know them, but they are still surrounded by the magical aura of celebrity.
If you know me in my non-educator life, you know that I have no shame and will always approach well known or famous people, chat with them, take photos and interact.
I am the same with edulebrities. If I have learned a ton from you and admire you like crazy, I am going to come up to you and say hello and thank you.
Today, I got to meet personal heroes including Ginger Lewman, Kevin Honeycutt, Pernille Ripp and Angela Maiers. They were all as delightful as I could have hoped. Even if they weren't, I was proud of myself for going over and saying hello. I think that people deserve to know the difference they've made in my life and my career.

Lesson #6: Embrace the Super Connectors
Rodney Turner is a Super Connector, and he knows it. He is so easy and fun to talk to and finds ways to connect educators to one another. He is happy to take the time to sit and talk with a new connection and then find ways to enhance your experience. If you're lucky enough to know a Super Connector, take advantage of their connections. Through Rodney, I met Sue Levine, who captivated me with her stories, made me laugh, think and reflect. I've already told Rodney that we need to have a daily sit down with Sue.
Ashley Hurley brought tons of us together to eat pizza and help those in need through her Rosa's Pizza Meet-Up tonight, she even made sure to document the moment.
If you're lucky enough to know a Super Connector, or a few of them, cherish the things they do for you. They're as close as education comes to Fairy Godmothers!

Lesson #7: When in Doubt, Hug it Out
I've seen people questioning whether to hug or handshake when meeting. I try to remember to ask before intruding on someone's space, but I gave a lot of hugs today. Four hugs a day, that's the minimum, right? Even though you may have never met this person, if you've connected with them daily, weekly or monthly, or they've made a significant contribution to your life, a hug never hurts.
Once you've had a chance to meet someone new, why not seal that new friendship with a hug?

Lesson #8: Be Yourself, Even if That Means You're Psych-Oprah
I can seem a little bit intense, I know. I love to meet and talk to passionate people. I want to know what makes them tick. A friend described this characteristic as Psych-Oprah. That's not psychologist + Oprah or psychologist + Oprah, it's psycho + Oprah. It's a reference to my questioning technique. Exciting people excite me. I love busy brains. If you feel like I'm giving you the third degree, it's because I'm super interested in what and how you think. I love humans. I love peculiarities. If I sniff out what makes you unique, I want to learn more.
Even though this is part of what makes me weird, I can't stop. People fascinate me. Fascinating people thrill me. I can't help but bring out the Psych-Oprah if what you're saying is compelling. My interruptions to seek details or clarification just show my intense interest.

Lesson #9: Your Avatar Should Match Your Current Look
On Voxer, I used a picture of me that shows me with straight hair. On Twitter, I'm pulling faces with Jim Carrey. On Facebook, NPH is photobombing me. On LinkedIn, I'm sitting at my desk in my classroom, with curly, unruly hair on display. LinkedIn has my most accurate picture. The others are ones I adore, but make me less recognizable to those who only know me online.
I've decieded to change my Voxer photo daily during ISTE to match how I look each day. I can't let go of Jim or NPH and those pictures showcase my quirkiness and joy and I can't think of better, more happy-making representations of me right now.
If you want your PLN to know who you are, at a glance, make sure that your social media avatars are current, accurate and showcase something awesome about you. Mine are conversations starters, for sure, but not necessarily my day-to-day look.

Lesson #10: Say Thank You
People have a lot of options of things to do and people to see at a huge conference like this. When you really connect with someone and get to share a meal, a drink, a walk or a conversation with them, that's a privilege. I strongly believe that taking the time to appreciate others is never wasted. A thoughtful comment, a call-back joke, an idea to extend someone else's learning, an introduction to new people or a huge hug shows gratitude and, hopefully, will be remembered.

1 comment:

  1. Shauna for prez! Shauna for prez! No idea where you found the time to write this, do you sleep??? :-)