Yesterday I had a chance to revisit and share my experience as an MIEExpert and Fellow. I gave a talk with Lia DeCicco-Remu at the MSFT CAMP 21 in Fredericton. Thank you to Lia and Jacynth for having supper with me the day before. It was more than just a trip down memory lane, but also a chance see where we were with a view to the future.
I started my teaching career, teaching the way that I was taught, like a university prof, finishing the course with time to spare and only a couple of students left at the end. My mentors talked about finding out “How are my kids SMART?” vs “How SMART are my kids?” However, I never had the excuse, or the latitude to explore.
Mario suggested that I apply for the then “Global Innovative Educator Forum” through Microsoft Partners in Learning. This designation gave me an excuse to color outside the lines a bit.
The Xenotransplant Project was born. It was selected to attend the Global Forum in Cape Town. The project placed 3rd for communication and collaboration. The first Canadian Project to be a winner. Maybe New Brunswick Education can make an impact on the world. Maybe we are on the right track. Small town New Brunswick can compete on the world stage!!
Lia was inspiring and empowering. Jacynth taught me that NB can do great things. Norm told me to write. (I now have 3 books in the works.)
It opened many doors to interact with people like Angus McBeath, Sir Ken Robinson, and Bill Strickland. Together they taught things like, “Teaching is the most important paid job in the world”, “My students cannot wait for another research paper, a task force, or report. My kids are dying now.” “If you are not willing to fail, you will never do anything original.” These global mentors added to my local mentors to help me explore project based learning, collaborative projects, how technology can help or hinder etc…
Last year, I was designated as Canada’s first MIEExpert Fellow. This is an invitation only program. Part of those responsibilities is to mentor others. I had been doing that anyway in Virginia, China, England, and Colorado. Truth be told, Maybe I learned more from them.
Since then, I have been trying to unite the Canadian Network. So the last time I was in Toronto, I scheduled a delay in my flights so I could meet with other MIEEs. I had the privilege of meeting Kaylan Dorland. She was a first year Grade 2 teacher and already an MIEE. Wow! Her show case was Who to You, a program that uses Skype to connect her kids to others. I left our meeting inspired. We have plans for her grade 2 students to teach my grade 12’s how to use SWAY. I also tried to connect when in Calgary, but it is a bit too far to them.
I was surprised and excited to hear from Lia that Kaylan also walked away from this short meet inspired and excited. This seems to happen a bunch. I guess I should just expect it when you put great people together. I just still have a tough time putting myself into that caliber of teacher.
The GIEF was the flashpoint that the mounting pressure was trying to produce. I owe much of my success to a whole bunch of people who invested time and energy into me. I Stand on the Shoulders of Giants.
It has been a great ride so far and I feel like the best is yet to come. I am looking forward what is on the horizon. Finally, Microsoft have created an environment that merges the functionality that I use from many different locations. Maybe I no longer need Moodle, Twitter for class, Google, WordPress, Grades, and YouTube. Microsoft may have leapfrogged many of the other companies who dabble in Education. The SWAY, ONENote Class and O365 may be the trifecta.