Don’t Forget About Local Either #ISTE2015

    “I have found my tribe.”
    Little comments like this about people connecting around the world are something that really has the potential to make an impact on education around the world. I have often said, that the real power of technology now is not that we have access to all of the information in the world, but we have access to one another.
    At #ISTE2015 this year, I asked the room I presented in, “how many of you are NOT on Twitter?”, and one hand rose. It was the person running the audio for the session. For the first time was I in a room where every single teacher was on Twitter. Whether they saw the value of it or utilized it in ways to make an impact on teaching and learning is another story, but I have seen a tremendous shift in the past few years.  The world is at our fingertips and people are willing to embrace it.
    There is a huge power in bringing experts into our classrooms, but what about sharing our expertise to the rest of the world? Or even sharing it within our own schools?  The walls in our own schools need to be taken down, as we can utilize these technologies to learn from one another.  The idea of “crowd accelerated innovation”, is powerful, and something we need to embrace by opening our classrooms to the world, and to each other.  I shared this idea recently, and asked a simple question:

    Many people have started global, but we need to think how we can also make an impact locally in our schools.  Transparency to each other can make a big difference in learning and culture.
    It is easy to focus on all of the awesome ideas that are shared on Twitter and put educators from around the world on pedestals, but how many times do you see worksheets shared on Twitter? Do we really believe that this never happens in any classrooms?  We often are inclined to share our “best stuff” as opposed to a random sampling of the day-to-day workings of a classroom. Sometimes by focusing solely on the greatness outside of your school, we can sometimes belittle the efforts of those that we work with everyday.
    So as conferences like ISTE come to a close, it is great to be inspired by those that we meet at these events, but let’s remember that we can be inspired by those we see every single day. The idea of “you can’t be a prophet in your own land” is something that we as individuals are guilty of because we often choose to applaud the people we see daily the least. We often find greatness in the places that we choose to see it.  The world is at our fingertips, but so are the people in our own organizations. Let’s make sure we look and acknowledge the valuable work that they are doing daily.


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