What do you get when you take folks from across Canada from their classroom, their kitchen, and their car and connect them with 40 teachers in a local watering hole? An Evening of Discovery.
Most of you have heard of Days of Discovery. These are full out events put on by Discovery during the day with up to 500 teachers attending. Tonight in Winnipeg, teachers came together for an Evening of Discovery but not in the traditional way. Instead using Google Hangout several DEN stars shared their stories and some learning with interested teachers who would later do their own sharing.
The evening was organized by Andy McKiel of St. James-Assiniboia School Division who has a wonderful knack for bringing people together in a very non-threatening, relax way. The evening began with a google hangout featuring Rob Wall sharing from his classroom in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. Rob shared some of the things he’s doing in his classroom including the use of Scratch with his high school students. Sarah Thompson then talked about her use of Discovery Streaming and her use of student center all from her car as she waited for a meeting outside her school. Bonus, she used the block heater plug in to charge her laptop. We then moved to Lethbridge where Jared Heindinger shared the story behind Jared’s Homework Chopper. Jared essentially gets folks from around the world to share weekly vocabularly words after he flys a toy helicopter around the room. Sounds weird, but it’s pretty cool. Then we’re back east to Manitoba where Tammy Einarson talked about the many cool things her division is doing with initiatives around Kobos and Kindles among other things. Tammy is also off to Churchill as one of the winners of our Polar Bear contest. Finally we end up in Ottawa where Julie Joanisse talked about her involved with the Rock Our World project.
While that was pretty awesome in itself, the awesomeness continued as many Winnipeg teachers began to share various projects and ideas they were involved with.
Joanne Gibson of Arcadia middle school is a Discovery enthusiast. She’s talked about how they’ve implemented the sharing feature within their school as well as some student projects. Joanne, if you’re reading this, you really do need to make it official. Become a Star, since you already are one.
The evening just kept going with story after story, idea after idea. The better together video, the teacher who decided on Friday to do a lip sync. Another teacher talking about how he was inspired recently to use minecraft with his students. Erin Brie and her 200 days of awesome blog. There were likely a few other stories and ideas I missed. 3 and a half hours later, people were still sharing.
These types of events make me proud to know such wonderful educators are working every day with kids. It’s also a privilege to have a job that allows me to connect them and watch them feed off each other’s ideas. The challenging task of connecting educators across the country as we try and build community is still somewhat daunting, but seeing how these folks shared was extremely encouraging. Thanks to all for letting me participate.