Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Connecting - Reflections on the IT Summit 2015

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.” 
― Herman Melville (at Good Reads)

Earlier this week I had a chance to spend time with fellow educators and IT personnel at the IT Summit in beautiful (albeit, snowy) Saskatoon. Almost immediately, I ran into #saskedchat moderator, Kelly Christopherson (@kwhobbes), a former colleague who is now living in the bright lights, big city of Regina. I was excited to see Kelly not only because of our common interest in education, but because he also brought me a green gift - my very own #saskedchat t-shirt!

As I looked around the convention room, I spotted a couple of other educators in matching shirts. As a semi-regular contributor of the Thursday evening #saskedchat, I felt pretty comfortable in approaching these "strangers". So I introduced myself and was happy to meet @PrincipalSmart and @tgrantt face-to-face. Later, at our unofficial tweet-up, we even got a team picture to celebrate our team shirts. :)

Picture from @kwhobbes' Twitter feed

What continually impresses me about participating in online conversations on Twitter is the chance to get to know people on a different level - to connect with people's ideas and thoughts before ever meeting in person. I live on a farm and work in a rural school division. Connecting with people in the same way at during the work day is often difficult given the nature of our busy schedules. But for one hour a week, I am able to discuss issues, share links, provide words of encouragement, receive advice, and learn more from a group of inspiring educators. Thanks #saskedchat teachers for continuing to inspire me!

But the connections at the IT Summit didn't quite stop there. Vicki Davis, commonly known as @CoolCatTeacher, travelled to Saskatchewan from her home in Georgia to share her experiences through a number of high-energy presentations. I feel so grateful that I had a chance to get to know Vicki just a little bit during her time here. Vicki is clearly an amazing educator, but more importantly, she is a terrific person! Before her keynote even started on Monday morning, she walked around to tables and asked people questions about themselves and their work. Her warm welcome and southern hospitality was not only inviting, it was inspiring!

Over the two days of her stay in Saskatoon, I had a chance to chat with Vicki (we both have a farming background!) and what I learned is that she is a positive gal with a passion for helping others. I've already started to practice some of her habits (setting timers, using blocks for my to do list) and have a list of recommended readings and links to further my own learning and growth. I am so excited to continue to learn from this amazing woman!

Just a couple of farm kids :)

Making connections continued throughout the conference. By the end of my time in Saskatoon, I was able to meet people from both near and far and have already been continuing conversations on Twitter and Linked In. I re-connected with educators such as Dean Shareski (whose ideas are always challenge me to think deeply) and Kathy Cassidy (her energy and innovative spirit is contagious); with some new people such as of the vendors like Jeff  Tabacman from Cesium who were showcasing their amazing products; with IT people (including Sébastien Fillion who is travelling to the Ivory Coast this summer) and Don  Doré (whom I first met in 2005); with Ignite presenters, Carlene Walter and Jim Swan; with fellow Digital Leader and blended learning explorer, Thad Swidzinski; with our provincial digital citizenship guru, Joanna Saunders ... and the list goes on.

Oh I know, I know. I am name dropping here to make a point. And this is it ...

Connections matter. 
People matter.

How are you connecting?

1 comment:

  1. Hey Jade

    Thanks for the run down on the conf. Maybe I will actually make it there some year. Unless of course you plan on going forever and blogging about it. Looking forward to EdCamp on May 9. I hope you are able to bring some Sun West folks out to the event.