Thursday, June 19, 2014

2014 Space Odyssey

2014 Space Odyssey



I’ve been to my fair share of “professional learning experiences." Normally they are chock full of “team building exercises” and someone reading bullets from clip-art-clad PowerPoints. In short, PD Purgatory. This was not the case with the EdTechTeam Space Camp. Instead this leadership workshop felt more like a long lunch date with close friends. To summarize this, I’m borrowing 3 of the EdTechTeam values our fearless leader, Dr. Mark Wagner, shared with us during this experience.

Passion: This was the big one for the day. Everyone in the room was bursting with passion for so many of the same ideals. In fact we were all so excited that we were falling over ourselves to share our love for these philosophies or tools.  I call this being “geeked” about something. Not quite as eloquent as “passionate," true. But as I looked around the room, I saw my friends - new and old - absolutely geeking out about everything from a Gmail Labels trick to Future Ready Schools. This wasn’t just work for us - these were projects and concepts that mattered to us deeply. As such we were all engaged throughout what could have felt like a very long day.

Flexibility: There was an agenda. There were slides (albeit clip-art free thanks to the artful efforts of Monica Martinez). However, the day didn’t feel scripted or structured. Instead it felt like an organic flow of conversation and idea sharing because the facilitators (Mark Wagner and Molly Schroeder) kept us focused and intrigued throughout the day. When the energy of the room dropped, they initiated “fun breaks." When we needed a change of pace, we moved to another room. When a fellow Space Camper took ill at the last minute, we initiated an 8-hour Google Hangout to bring him into the conversations - even the games - all day long.

Synchronicity: Throughout this experience I continually had my affinity with the other people in the room re-affirmed. As professionals we often work in different teams and with different types of people. However, when we find a group of people whose ideals and passions so closely align with ours it’s like seeing a double rainbow. This happened for me yesterday. At the end of the day, we got up from that table not knowing exactly where we were going and not knowing exactly how we were going to get there. Yet we looked from one to another and we all said, “together we will change the world.” And with this team of double rainbows, I truly think we can.

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