So something shifted a little bit more for me this week at Building Learning Communities. Or maybe it solidified. Whatever it did, it’s feeling pretty powerful at this moment.
I think a lingering hangover from Edubloggercon in NECC had something to do with it, but having another chance to spend quality time talking to people like David Jakes, Dean Shareski, Darren Kuropatwa, Ewan McIntosh, Barbara Barreda, Marco Torres, Chris Lehmann, Joyce Valenza, Christian Long and many others was just such a kick. And as I left this morning, I felt really sad on some levels, because even though I know the learning will continue, the conversations and connections we were making were just…just…scintillating for me. What was so cool was that 80% of my waking hours were spent in some sort of immersion in this conversation among people who ooze passion for it. I mean, read through some of the chatcasts on Dave’s blog. Good lord that’s some intense back channel chat. And it’s not so much a love for the tools as it is a love for what the tools allow us to do, to experience. It was just one pretty raw learning moment after the next, and it’s a feeling you don’t want to lose.
And that is where some of my thinking really solidified, that passion part. I know this sounds corny, but I was really wishing that every one at that conference could have experienced the same connection that I felt to this community. The one here where we’re just all talking about how we figure out what needs to happen, what we can do, what the world is going to look like, and how we can help shape it. Where, yeah, we ooohhh and ahhh over someone’s iPhone, but a minute later we’re back to talking about where all of this is headed.
And what shifted for me was walking into two of my presentations and basically chucking the script because it just didn’t feel relevant. I mean how ironic is it to talk about school transformation in a setting that looks like a…um…school? And I just got tired of it. I desperately wanted to hear other people’s voices in my sessions, and so starting with the one I wrote about on Wednesday and the morning session yesterday, I just decided to try to facilitate a conversation and see where it took us. And, I don’t know about anyone else in the room, but for me, it was pretty powerful.
Last night on the dinner cruise, I had the honor of being interviewed by some of Marco’s former students who were there to capture snippets of the conference in snippets of video. After they finished, we started talking, and I asked them what they thought of the conference. In a word, they were incredulous that teachers would come to an event like this and sit in long rows of chairs dutifully listening to whoever was in the front presenting. They talked about how people were coming up to them asking them for technical assistance, and how, in general, they were awestruck at how far ahead of everyone else they seemed to be. It was an amazing moment for me, to hear their reflections, because I found them so powerful. They just couldn’t understand it.
It was great.
One more story. Ewan was everywhere at this conference, and no one created more and published more content than he did. He’s amazing. I was looking at his pictures on Flickr and yearning to understand how I could make my own 35mm Nikon do what his 35mm Canon was doing. Believe me, it wasn’t the camera. So I snagged him and made him sit down with me on the bus to Boston Wednesday night and started picking his brain. My camera was different from his, so he had to experiment a bit with it to figure it out…learning in action, right? But he did, and then he took literally two minutes to show me how to begin to play. Not how to take a certain picture in a certain way. Not how to prepare for every shot. But how to play and experiment and take a picture, look at it, make an adjustment, try it again, reflect, reshoot, etc. until I finally got what I wanted. And if you look at my photostream, I think you can begin to see pretty quickly when that bus ride took place.
I learned just enough to teach myself. Pretty cool.
This was a great week. Really. I mean it.
Can’t wait for the next one.