Don’t we all wish it was August again? Fresh faced from the summer, we were full of piss n’ vinegar, ready to take on the world and make 2014-15 the best school year ever. Now, it’s late November and the wind in our sails has died. Only…three…weeks…till…winter…break….
Saturday was my first Face to Face Cohort 21 experience, and inertia from the event is still propelling me forward through this exhausting late November workweek when the short days seem sooo long. After spending a Saturday afternoon in a room full of motivated, enthusiastic educators, I’m feeling a little more August than November right now.
Cohort 21 is special because of the camaraderie, yes. Being accountable to one and other through the blogs and social media tools (as Garth put it, having a “workout buddy”) helps us each to move forward and pushes us to make time and mental space to reflect. And, just like at the Klingenstein Institute, I found that it’s those break and lunch time conversations that make the experience really shine. But moreover, Cohort 21 is special because it seamlessly incorporates the what (tools), the why (technology integration frameworks), and the how (action plans). By integrating these four things, we come up with a pretty awesome equation:
It’s clear to me that Cohort 21 is going to be a motivational force in my teaching career for a long time to come. After energizing conversations on topics like how online math tools (Ed Hitchcock) are redefining the way we teach and reading blog posts that bring up great questions about student’s use of technology (Andrew Rushton), I can see that I am not the only one who is finding Cohort 21 to be a meaningful experience. Meanwhile, Graham Voight is leveraging the Cohort 21 community all the way from New Brunswick to get feedback on his lessons and Tim Hutton is continuing his Cohort 21 experience from last year.
All this time, I have been debating about what my action plan would be – tossing around ideas such as investigating online tools for facilitating Project Based Learning, or using badges to motivate students. However, these are things that I would probably test out on my own, regardless of Cohort 21.The one thing that Cohort 21 has provided me is a network of like-minded teachers working together to improve their practice. Errr— wait, I already have that too. At Greenwood, I work with incredible teachers doing incredible things. But, we RARELY have the time or energy to share what it is we are doing with one and other. So I realized that the best thing that I could do for my action plan would be to work to bring the Cohort 21 experience — of sharing and networking using these online tools — back to Greenwood this year.
Because, wouldn’t it be awesome if we could all have a little wind in our sails this time of year?