It is always a joy serving on the Discovery Educator Network Leadership Council (DENLC). However, when I am with this inspiring group of educators my joy for education is fueled. Thank you all for stoking the fires of inspiration within me. Today’s pre-conference involved a large portion of the day being devoted to an Unconference. If you haven’t attended an Unconference before I hope you will try one soon. They are amazing. To quickly summarize the concept – those in the audience suggest topics that they would like to learn more about and/or explore. Those with similar interests find their way to them. Together you discuss, brainstorm, share, plan, consider, and evaluate ideas and ways to gain greater knowledge regarding the suggested topic. This experience is always so very rewarding.
After the conference wrapped we had an outing to a cultural night of local hospitality. Many of us reconnected and chatted with friends. Several were brave enough to make it out onto the dance floor to try something new or perhaps just something that isn’t our forte. Watching these wonderful educator friends of mine embark on this journey reminded me of how we need to periodically put ourselves in the place of our students that are attempting to learn something new as well. Were you the DEN member that followed the fancy footwork easily? Were you the DEN member that needed to watch someone else to learn the steps? Were you the DEN member that focused on the verbal directions being offered and counted out? Did you try it and decide this wasn’t something you wanted to continue to pursue? Or did you sit out on the side line enjoying the view but not wanted to participate in acquiring this new or new-ish skill? We each learn in our own way. Sometimes it is nice to be reminded of how many different ways of approaching the same activity there are.
During Rafranz Davis and Conni Mulligan’s session for the Unconference I was struck with a notion that “Flexibility is freeing”. They artfully discussed the way in which one wonderful little boy has become his own best advocate for his own learning. He researches, tests, trials, and implements ideas. In yet another session Nancy Sharoff, mentions that to FAIL could be approached as “First Attempt In Learning.” As I said above, these wonderful educators inspire me to challenge myself to help my staff find ways to reach our students. ALL of our students. As Dave Tchozewski pointed out – It is should not be about the device. Our focus should be the task. What do we want to accomplish/learn? Then find the tool that best matches our need.
Thank you to all the wonderful DEN members that match my need for professional growth. I am so honored to count you among my PLN. The prospect of making new DEN friends tomorrow is music to my ears.