New Ideas, Fresh Ideas and Changed Ideas

c21_logo_medium Like many I’m sure, was nervous for the first day of cohort 21. Almost like those first day of school jitters when you don’t know where you’ll sit, or who you’ll meet. I had no idea what to expect, but it blew my expectations out of the water. Given that I’m a math teacher by trade, lists and organization are the way my mind works, so here we go…

4 reasons that joining cohort 21 was the best decision I’ve made all year.

1. The positive people and environment

We’ve all seen those people, and been those people who have negative thoughts and question things. The ‘buts’, the ‘I don’t knows’, the ‘I already know this’ are frequently heard anywhere, even from our students. This is not what I experienced at cohort. Everyone was keen to learn new things or new features of something they already knew. There was only ‘wows’ and ‘how abouts’. People were willing to share their experiences and their understanding of things, without questioning the use of any of the tech tools. After this realization, I knew it was the right decision.


2. Time to set aside

We as teachers don’t often have time to set aside to reflect on our practice, and just play with new tools that have potential in our classroom. Just time to share with others, see and hear what others are using in their classroom, or to explore. Given that this is a professional development opportunity, I cannot wait to reflect on my practice, gain from others, and they hopefully in turn make me a better educator as we move forward through this year.


3. New Learning – even in the ‘in-betweens’

I, having had twitter for a number of years, was unsure what I could possibly learn from a twitter session. I approached it with an open mind, and who knew that twitter deck existed? Or that twitter chats are actually much more simple than I had anticipated? We got to participate in a twitter chat using Hashtags, something I hadn’t done before. My negative thoughts were quickly thrown out the window when I realized that I, too can learn something.

The ‘in-betweens’ were my favourite though. Amongst all of the learning of the specific tools: Diigo, Twitter, WordPress and Google Hangouts, there was more… as there often is. In passing, Tim Rollwagen mentioned that he had used ThingLink in his classroom (see his blog entry on this here). Given our growth mindsets, and our eagerness to ask questions we were all instantly wondering what it was. After spending my break playing around with it, it is officially my new favourite ‘find’. I quickly thought of how I could use it in the math classroom, and everything it could be used for. More on this later, since I have a feeling I will be incorporating it into my action plan.


4. It is the best part of my day.. All Day long

You know those parts of the days where you say ‘oh cool’ or ‘I wonder how I could use this because it’s super neat’ or ‘I might be able to use this this way’. The entire day was like this. It was overwhelming in the best way possible. It was exciting, scary, and just plain awesome. I loved being able to set aside time in my day to explore and become excited about something new that I thought had potential in my classroom. I can’t wait for more opportunities like this. As someone who has a pretty good handle on the technology and is not really afraid to take risks in the classroom, this is my… shall we say… coolaid. I love new tech pieces that make things better and really enhance what I’m trying to build in my classroom. I also love hearing other ideas and while I’m listening I find myself thinking of how I can improve what I am doing. To me, the most amazing part about this profession is when we share our ideas and our practice with each other.


Looking forward to even more ideas and learning in the coming Face to Face sessions and the ‘in-betweens’.



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6 thoughts on “New Ideas, Fresh Ideas and Changed Ideas

  1. I’m so thrilled to read this post! You always have a moment of “did I oversell this?” It sounds like I did not. So excited to be on this journey with you!

    Have an awesome evening,

  2. Wow! What a glowing endorsement of not only Cohort 21, but of those that made this happen for you! I really like your reasons listed above, particularly your recognition of the social aspect, or the ‘in-between’ conversations. These are the moments that we are trying to create for everyone.

    Keep this momentum going by connecting on the blogs of those the resonate with you.

    Looking forward to more,

  3. Christine,

    I think you will love the next face to face session as we will begin to unpack the “action plan” and road map the year. Lots of “design thinking” ahead.


  4. I love this post! Can’t wait to hang out at the next F2F for loads of in-between moments and to talk math education! You will get soooo much out of this year, I can tell!

  5. Hey Christine,
    I couldn’t agree more! C21 is always the best part of my day too! What I like about the “in between” is all the processing time we get and the constant infusion of new ideas via Twitter, G+, Diigo and reading other people’s blogs. Even if you don’t comment on all of them, they are good reads. That said, it’s always nice to comment on a few of them.

    I am really looking forward to learning with you this year!


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