A few years ago I was involved in a collaborative project called Learning Mathematics Together. We explored the idea of using technology as a tool to reach our learning goals together and engaged our students. Using video conferencing technologies we planned collaborative learning opportunities to connect our students and engage them in real world problem solving. We built a technology enabled learning environment with our students where we felt safe to explore, discuss, question and share our learning with each other and the world.
It was inspiring to be part of a team of co-learners that had similar beliefs about learning and technology. I learned new things every day from my students and colleagues about collaboration, problem solving, explaining our thinking and using technology as a tool to enhance that learning. I saw a big change in the learning environment that year as we shared our stories, learned about each other as learners and ourselves. Hearts and minds were connecting. Throughout the project I learned about myself as a teacher and a learner. I was motivated to learn more, not because I had to but because I wanted to. This was just the beginning because when the project came to an end, the learning continued through the relationships we built. Jaclyn Calder was an incredible source of inspiration throughout this project and continues to be as she shares her learning through virtual communities and networks. If you would like to learn more about co-planning and co-teaching between schools, you can watch the video Connecting Classrooms with Technology from the professional learning page on MathGains.
My thinking and perspectives were challenged even further that summer during an opportunity to connect with educators from around the world at UnPlug’d. Many emotional stories and conversations were shared, which resulted in my continued reflection on the importance of listening, vulnerability, taking risks and sharing my beliefs. I was inspired to step outside of my comfort zone and learn together with a group of amazing educators. Thank you for your inspiration and leadership Donna! To put it simply: you change my path.
Every day I see the power of connected learning through relationships in schools, teamwork, technology hubs, collaborative inquiry and my growing online professional learning network. I am grateful to the people who have impacted and will continue to impact my learning journey by sharing their thinking, asking questions and engaging with me in conversations. It is exciting to be part of teams that support my growth because we can do so much more together, than we can in isolation.
At the EdTech Team Ontario Google Summit we were challenged to find our passion and then make a step toward that goal. The first part of that challenge was easy for me. I am passionate about learning, connecting learners and technology in education. This blog is my next step – a canvas for sharing my thoughts and making my learning visible. I believe that the more we connect, build relationships and learn together, the more opportunities we have to grow!