It was just around 8:20 this morning. I had just fired up my laptop and turned on twitter, skype and my other connection tools, but didn’t check to see who was on yet. I was half listening to the morning announcements and then I heard it, the familiar sound of the skype call. Someone was calling me, at this hour of the morning.
Without looking I answered, figuring it was one of my colleagues from Asia or Oceania looking for some info, but lo and behold the voice was a more familiar one. Being east of the east (the Eastern Time Zone that is), we rarely see anyone up and around from North America – most are still dozing or going through their morning routine. However, there is one time zone even more east than Atlantic, and that belongs to our wonderful friends in Newfoundland and Labrador.
This morning, it was that province that beckoned me. I recognized the first voice as that of my teaching colleague Keith Pender, who also happens to be a colleague from the softball community as well through his post as the Umpire-in-Chief for the province. He teaches at a small rural community about an hour south of St. John’s – the provincial capital.
And then I heard them – his students. He had promised them an audience using their new Mac computer in the class, and he delivered. For the next three minutes I provided them with an authentic audience of one. While the audience might be small – it was not insignificant. They were delighted to play the new song they were learning for me, and I was delighted to listen.
This is exactly the kind of opportunities our kids need to address the three critical questions (see previous post on this here) we/they need to address to prepare them for their future; how do we prepare them to be information artisans, how do they learn to develop personal learning networks and how to develop/manage their digital footprint. By connecting with me, Keith was able to model for his students how his networks allow him (and them) to learn, the role of an authentic audience and how music (and art and photos and video and…) all have a critical role to play in the information landscape of the 21st century – rivalling text as their tool.
For me, it was a wonderful opportunity to meet and engage with some wonderful young people through a colleague – and a gentle reminder of why it is we do what we do.