Momentum is not a solo act- it is a collaborative adventure.
This statement kept going through my head as I returned from my first FETC Friday evening. If you have never been to a conference like FETC (Future of Education Technology Conference), you are truly missing out. I still can't get how much I not only enjoyed this conference, but also grew and leveled up while there.
When I began my year of #momentum, I focused on four mini goals and while at FETC, I found myself leveling up in each of them through a variety of amazing experiences that led me to this conclusion.
The Magic of Positive Collaboration
The conference begins with Shawn Achor's keynote. I have to be honest, before the keynote, Shawn Achor was someone that I had never heard of. But if you haven't heard of him yet, you will thank me later. Shawn speaks about the Power of Positive Education. What's that, you might wonder. Well, it's the transformative power of joy. Shawn shared:
We are not our genes and environment. The greatest advantage in modern society is the positive mind. When our brains become more positive, our productivity improves by 31%
He shared how everything we do improves dramatically when the human brain is positive first. He emphasized the importance of scanning our environment for gratitude and finding 3 new things that we are grateful for each day. But more than that, he encouraged us to take a few minutes each day and send a positive email or text thanking someone in your life for 21 days. Research shows that as your social connection score rises, so will your positivity and productivity.
FETC was a perfect example of this. Each day, I started my day so thankful for this opportunity. It was more than just attending sessions and workshops- it was about the connections. After almost two years of only interacting with my PLN online, I got to meet so many of the people who have become so near and dear to my heart.
It was so exciting to walk through the halls of the convention center and meet people who have been part of your network- have face to face conversations with them- even give them a hug, But it wasn't just about the prior connections, I met so many new amazing people while at FETC as well. There is truly magic in positive collaboration.
A New Perspective for Design Thinking
As part of my ISTE certification process, one of the criteria that we learned about was design thinking. Design thinking was not a new concept to me then, but I learned a great deal about it through my work. So when I saw that there was a FETC session on Design Thinking, I was automatically curious about it and added it to my schedule.
This session by Brian Whitson and CA Chauncey was truly one of my favorites. I initially connected with Brian when I presented at NCTies virtually last year. In this session, Brian and Chauncey shared their work using design thinking to explore literature. They had us first listen to the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. After, we began the design thinking process:
Empathy: Identify a character and provide some characteristics about the character
Then, we described some possible problems for our character
Define/Identify: Choose one problem for a character of your choice.
Ideation: Describe some possible solutions for the character and problem you chose.
Prototype: Choose one of the solution you suggested. Describe how you would make/create that solution.
A New Way of Looking at Comics
This session was another amazing session given by Danielle Abernathy and Debbie Bohanan. In this session, they focused on how educators can use comics as a way to help students develop and share their social emotional skills. I loved how they shared both ways using technology tools as well as low or no tech options. What a great way to have students use their creativity. Whether students used Storybook That, Wixie, Book Creator, or just paper, this is definitely an activity I plan to bring back to educators and students.
Leveling Up at FETC 2022!
While at FETC, I could truly feel myself leveling up and building momentum.
After 2 months of physical therapy, I was now able to move without pain as I walked around the Orange County Convention Center. I made sure to plan and made healthier food choices than I did at the Georgia Educational Technology Conference.
By connecting with so many amazing educators in my PLN, I grew in my leadership skills. Attending sessions like the Innovators Mindset by George Couros, and Leading with Purpose by Tara Desiderio and Tom Murray helped me to reflect on my own leadership abilities and the impact of those around me.
Not only did I get to have my first "Meet the Author" session, but I presented my first in person workshop at FETC. What an amazing experience that was. I loved both sharing my content with some phenomenal educators and learning from them through our discussions and collaboration.
As I listened to all of the fabulous sessions, tweeted highlights and reflections, it truly hit me-
Momentum is not a solo act- it is a collaborative adventure!
None of us have to do this work alone- we are all here to help and encourage each other. My connections at FETC helped me build momentum; as I learned from others and shared my learning therefore building momentum for their work. We all have our own gifts and together, we truly grow stronger. I am so grateful for the experiences I had at FETC 2022. Life is truly an adventure, full of ups and down, and I appreciate my PLN who help me to "be better each day as we encourage each other on our collective journeys!