EdCamp, TCEA14, Paul Simon and Sting: What I Re-Learned

This month has been a blur of learning! It started with EdCamp in Round Rock, Texas, on Feb. 1 where I heard from educators who sometimes struggle and sometimes succeed in doing what we all want: integrating effectively, using the best tools for the job, and engaging students.

Teachers told of taking the best of what they had learned and tweaking it for their particular situation. Google Apps for Education, Twitter, Facebook, and the Flipped Classroom were explored with passion and thoughtfulness.

TCEA14 began two days later in Austin, and I saw incredible presentations on the same topics as the small but powerful EdCamp. The convention center was teeming with educators who want to do the best thing for their students.

I saw Paul Simon and Sting together in concert in Dallas just two days after TCEA14 ended. These singer/songwriters own different styles of music and delivery. I have heard that they previously did not like each other, but they figured out that they share something vitally important to each of them: passion for music and songwriting. They sometimes shared the stage singing together, sometimes sang solo with their combined bands. And it worked beautifully. Each retained his own style, yet they were able to sing together with obvious respect and care on Sting songs and Simon songs. It was an unforgettable 2 hours and 45 minutes of incredible music.

I’ve been thinking about all I have seen so far this February, and it has hit me AGAIN~I seem to re-learn this frequently~ we all share the passion for our craft and want the same thing for our students. Our styles may be different, but so what?

Each educator takes what he can from the others and then uses his best strengths to meld the new learning into something just right for their classroom. So the flipped classroom sounds awful to you? Or maybe you hate social media of all types. That’s okay.

You can find something to incorporate without losing your identity and beliefs. Learn from one another, and then take away and tweak what works for you. Remember, we are more alike than we are different. You can be Paul Simon or Sting…and still sing together without losing anything of yours.

My goal is to continue to look for teachers using new tools and techniques to pass along, not so you can copy them, but so you can take something new, do what you do best with it, and make your classroom even more engaging. 

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