After my annual stop in Memphis for the Lausanne Laptop Institute conference last week and a couple of days in New Orleans with my wife and some teacher colleagues, this week I am lucky to be enjoying a week at the Discovery Educator Network’s Summer Institute in Bozeman, Montana.
Discovery Education provides a range of services and content for educators. While a couple of districts in our province subscribe to DE, only one of the schools I work with (my former school) subscribes in my district. Luckily I am able to continue to enjoy DE resources through their subscription as a part-time support to their staff (and I also manage the DE account for the school).
I am extremely wary of corporate “solutions” for schools. I avoid vendor areas when I attend conferences (I am a bit of a conference junkie). I have resisted collecting the various corporate tags that teachers seem to love to collect, viewing them as cracks in the door to outside influences in the classrooms within which I work.
In fact, I wasn’t even a DEN STAR – this event is reserved for those with that DEN recognition – when I was invited to come to Montana. I was, however, involved in conversations about building the DEN in Canada – not because I think DE has all the solutions, but because I honestly believe that building a community of connected educators is critical to shifting in the story of education in Canada, North America and internationally and I saw DE’s work as paralleling my passion for supporting building that culture of connection and professional collaboration. So I signed up and here I am.
This morning we had a chance to get together for a breakfast conversation with the eight Canadian educators here, along with Canadian community manager Dean Shareski, Tom Metuzals and a couple other members of the Discovery staff. Not that we don’t have a lot to share and learn from and with non-Canadian educators, but we do have our own unique challenges, needs and opportunities and it was great to be able to meet new learning leaders from across the country and build my personal network. On a larger scale, I really am encouraged that this may be the start of a new DEN community within Canada, a community where we can begin to bring new conversations about using digital media and the social web for learning (my personal passions).
The DENSI 2012 has been fabulous. A day trip to Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park, great presentations, opportunities to share informally and build networks are abundant. On top of all that, I had the chance to touch base with my friend David Warlick once again (Dave changed my life on day in Memphis seven years ago!) as he keynoted the opening session. Discovery seems to be genuinely open and supportive of new ideas and tools. I sense that we can all work well together – for learning and learners!
Tags: densi2012, shareski, discoveryeducation, learn