Sunday, May 10, 2015

Celebrating Connections

This week was a week of Observing - Reflecting - Connecting - Sharing.
I Celebrate Connections!

When you listen intently to the voices around you, you are able to make deeper connections with your surroundings, family, friends, colleagues, and nature. 

Connections were a common theme for me this week starting with the #NYEDChat convo on Monday night with Jimmy Casas and Jeff Zoul. The lively discussion that trended on Twitter revolved around the topic of "What Connected Educators Do Differently" which, by the way, is the name of the 2015 book written by Todd Whitaker, Jeff Zoul, and Jimmy Casas. Prior to Monday's threaded conversation, connections were made with thought leaders, bloggers, teachers, and administrators via flyers and tweets that were circulated throughout the Twittersphere. #NYEDChat's Moderating Team worked diligently with Zoul and Casas to create a lively and engaging hour of power-packed statements. Educators from across the states raised their voices to share perspectives on how social media has influenced their professional lives. Strong voices joined the chat to celebrate the new age of connected learning.  

In the world of connected education, teaching with closed doors is replaced by open door, shared learning. Face-to-face and virtual professional learning communities and networks offer opportunities for individuals to connect with each other in a spirit of collegiality. Online educational chat communities such as #NYEDChat offer conversations on timely topics that allow educators to link and learn with each other. What connected educators do differently is that they passionately embrace new learning, openly share their practices, anecdotes, stories, and challenges, as evidenced by #NYEDChat's Monday night convo. As lifelong learners, they lead with their hearts and are committed to finding new avenues to affect change in teaching and learning.

NYEDChat-Twitter Chat CommunityIn the past few weeks, #NYEDChat heard the news that it was nominated for the prestigious Bammy Awards in the Twitter Chat Community category. As the voice of New York State educators the Moderating Team of Bill Brennan, Vicki Day, Blanca Duarte, Dan McCabe, Lisa Meade, Starr Sackstein, Dennis Schug, Tony Sinanis, and I have been elated with the news. The announcement circulated and additional connections were made.

From the virtual world of connected educator conversations on Twitter to face-to-face professional development, I traveled this week. Each connection strengthened my belief in reflective practice as a common bond among educators who wish to become difference makers. Honing skills through the building of content knowledge and sharing ideas with each others in a reflective community of practitioners is the glue that cements the bonds of connected education. The journey from unconnected to connected is a notable trend that is beginning to take hold as educators realize the value of moving beyond closed doors to sharing practices and perspectives about teaching and learning with those across the globe in a 24/7 environment. The world has become smaller with the advent of social media. 

Shifting to a personal level, I noticed a mood change in my locale this week. Spring decided to make its full entrance on Long Island, a much awaited event. With the temperature rising and the sun shining brightly, I connected with the earth. Gardening, decorating my patio, and reflective writing allowed me to connect in a creative way with my inner self while enjoying the fellowship of family and friends. 


In the realm of possibilities and the spirit of moving beyond my comfort zone, I decided to try out a new tech tool, Sumo Paint, an online image editor. In the above collage, the picture of the nature preserve to the left is the real time photo. To the right, I altered the picture using Sumo Paint to create a poster, water color-like effect. Then, I took the images and created a collage with PicMonkey, a favorite tool that I use for the various online galleries of artistic expressions that I create. You can connect with me in the newest online global gallery, Spring's Symphony, that I am creating. The invitation is here

I would be delighted for you to celebrate connected voice with me in the future. Enjoy springtime and don't forget to observe, reflect, connect, and share in meaningful ways with those around you. 

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Because connections are so important, I am offering this post to two writing communities where many connected educator voices are raised each week: Ruth Ayres' Celebrate This Week and Margaret Simon's DigiLit Sunday.



DigiLit Sunday