A short while ago an amazing colleague of mine, Dave Shortreed coordinator of Educational Technology in SD61 and King of Collaboration, approached me to be a part of a cool event here in Victoria. The goal of #yyjignite was to bring together a group of passionate educators to share stories from their practice, spark inspiration, and perhaps even provoke change. The event would be held on a midweek evening at a local pub. Educators were challenged to share their stories in an adapted Pecha Kucha format, 15 slides for 20 seconds each. As the evening grew closer I became increasingly excited/nervous/feeling nauseous (in equal parts).
Any anxiousness I had before arriving at the venue melted away pretty fast once I saw so many familiar faces. One of the most beautiful changes to my professional development has been the creation of and the collaborating with my PLN. Having never met many of those I follow on twitter face to face, my head was on a swivel trying my best to keep up with who was arriving, who was speaking, and who I needed to network with.
Highlights were many. Dr. Valerie Irvine, edtech guru and a bit of my inspiration for breaking down the brick and mortar of our educational system, shared her family’s journey as a metaphor for discovering one’s learning path. Hilary Braid-Skolski shared her school’s focus on physical activity to awaken the mind and promote health and happiness. Aaron Mueller walked us through an inquiry-based learning process using memes to illustrate the many steps students encounter on their learning journey. The energy in the room was palpable all evening long.
I used my presentation as an opportunity to share my personal transformation as a teacher. I hoped that by talking about the most significant change I’ve made in my practice that I would inspire some small change in those who were in attendance. I used a slide created by Alec Couros titled The Networked Teacher. The slide has been pivotal in in helping me broaden how I support my students and when Alec touched down on it in a recent lesson in my EDCI569 course it reminded me of how important a symbol it is in my teacher transformation. So I decided to use it as my introductory slide.
I spent a few minutes recreating my presentation to share to a broader audience. Note: if you don’t like photos of incredibly adorable kids, don’t bother watching.
Throughout the evening #yyjignite was firing on all cylinders. I’ve complied twitter highlights using Storify in hope of reflecting a bit of the conversation that was happening beyond the face to face. See #YYJIgnite Sparks Inspiration Amongst Passionate Educators.
Opportunities like last night do not come often in our profession. To be truly inspired by colleagues, to latch on to a new idea or concept that resonates, and to network with talented educators was an invaluable experience. I’m so thankful I was asked to be a part of it all.