Monday, 31 January 2011

Connect More

30th Street Station, Philadelphia 

As I said my goodbyes and left Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station I noticed a message on a banner above the door. I paused. The sign read, “Connect More”. While this was not the entire script on the banner, these words were in bold and immediately resonated with me. The remainder of the sign read, “Trains CONNECT MORE Than Cities”. I took a quick picture and was on my way.
This message lingered as I drove home. I sent out a tweet with the picture accompanied by the text “An enduring message from Educon”. This is the message we all must carry with us as we depart from EduCon.  We must connect more.
However, we must carry this message far beyond the “EduCon fraternity”. We get it. Those of us that have attended this past weekend, and in the past get that we must connect, share, etc., but what about those that did not attend? What about the colleagues that don’t get it? How do we delicately approach them and tell them about the weekend without sounding like an overzealous tween that just met Justin Bieber?
We start by opening up subversive connections within our disciplines and work places. Simply approaching a colleague and mentioning one small thing you learned this week is great start to connecting and encouraging a culture of sharing. Don’t bombard them with EduCon highlights, photos, blog posts, etc. but show them one thing you learned and walk away. Follow up in a few days, or maybe a week, or not at all. Just connect.  
As educators we must model these positive connections while empathizing with a hesitant colleague. We not only owe this to our hesitant colleagues, but our students. All of us must encourage building new relationships within our learning environments and promote transparent learning.  
Further, we need to bring new faces into the fold. Edcamps and ntcamps are happening monthly across the nation. There are plenty of free opportunities to introduce colleagues to these learning forums and create new connections.  Much like the train, we need to build more depots along the way so that we can continually bring new colleagues along for the ride.
EduCon is built on connections. It continues to grow because of the culture of sharing and connecting that it provokes. As I left the station yesterday, I promised myself that I would take the message of EduCon and make every attempt to cultivate new connections and reinforce old ones. We all must strive to connect more, to share more, and to constructively criticize each other.
It is our responsibility as educators.

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