Storytime Part 2

It’s been almost a month since we were all sitting in rows in the grand hall of a Berlin hotel anxiously awaiting the start of the institute. 400 or so Apple Distinguished Educators that made the treck from various corners of our world to learn together.

I’ve been thinking about the takeaway for my time together with such amazing educators and every time I’m led back to the idea of STORY. It was my takeaway last year as well (Storytime Part 1: read more here), the power that comes from listening and appreciating the stories of others or co-creating a story as a community.

The week was definitely chockfull of stories. Some of the most memorable came bright and early during the fast paced morning spotlights. House lights down and 3 minutes on the clock. Each story brought with it inspiration, from educators that took the risk and innovated their practice whether it was connecting on social media or having learners design their learning space, to stories of empowerment and student voice. I had to hold back the tears more than once seeing/ listening to the story of learners that found confidence and a voice through the tools and the support of caring educators.

Every lesson I shared about stories last year stood true: the humanity, the inspiration, the power to build community. This time I picked up a few more.

We often look for story in the words written on a page or spoken on a screen but there is a story being told all around us. As we had the opportunity to explore Berlin one day, I realized how much PLACE tells it’s own story. Definitely there is no greater city than Berlin to illustrate that each road, each monument, each dimple in a wall carried with it a story. It made me wonder if I was taking the time to listen closely, to observe and appreciate the story that was all around. Funny how you have to travel thousand of miles sometimes to be reminded of simple truths.

Sharing stories can spark new adventures. Our work group was massive at the institute. Many amazing folks with great ideas of how they had used STEAM with K-5 learners and how we could support fellow educators. I’m going to blame my inattention on the fact that I just finished an AQ course or my introvert-ish tendencies but Seth Godin said the good stuff happens at the edges, right? Well either way, as we sat on the steps Stuart shared his story of success with animation. It got me sharing my story with animation and math this year. We roped Matt and Mike in suddenly there was this spark with our small group that grew to even more by the end of the week. We could see the common thread between our stories of success as well as our stories of need. What we needed to share was #1smalltweak. (Stay tuned for more!)

We all tell our stories differently. I have been working on #the100dayproject and it came to an end right in the middle of the institute, actually the same day we heard from the team at EyeEm. I was excited to listen to a fellow photographer. As I sat and listened to her process I did have a moment of panic. Listening to her process it varied so greatly from mine. It took a few seconds to realize that was ok. We each have a different process, desires, drives for our storytelling and that is ok. It was a reminder to be open to different paths. To approach each story with open ears (eyes) understanding our different rhythms.

It’s amazing the power stories can have to connect, inspire, empower us. As varied as the storytellers or the formats, each story reminds us how much we have in common.  

 

Yellow Light: Getting Ready to Speed Up or Slow Down

 

This year has been a bit of a whirlwind. I can’t believe I haven’t posted since June! I’ve had a few ideas swirling as I traveled across Europe, kicking the time off with a group of dedicated educators at the Apple Distinguished Educator Institute in Berlin. Here goes nothing!

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There were many great sights while travelling across Europe the last 3 weeks but there was one simple difference that caught my attention. It’s funny how the little things get you. It happened first in Berlin then later again in Split. We were waiting, sitting at a red light when the yellow light lit up as well. Our driver inched up, anxiously waiting for the green light to flash, preparing himself so he could zoom off.

It seemed like a silly difference to notice but it made me think about what we do in education. Do we often treat innovations in education like our Canadian stoplights: full speed ahead till the cautions start popping up and then we slam on the breaks? Is there value in the pause and preparation that comes with the yellow warning light along with the red? Seeing the red and yellow light together reminded me that in education we really never just stop (or at least we shouldn’t). There is always a yellow light reminding us to get ready before we go full steam ahead.

Maybe more than anything it was a reminder to me that a yellow light can remind us both to slow down and to speed up.

Love to hear your thoughts!