Catharsis #ISTE2014

Here at ISTE, the best sessions I have attended have had one thing in common- they all had a powerful cathartic effect on me which ultimately, in the process of cleansing me, also enriched me with energy, knowledge, and the warmth of connection.

The best moments have been centered around the magical story-telling of George Couros, Alan November, Angela Maiers, Refranz Davis and others who touched us with tales of humor, sorrow, resilience, courage, adventure, and triumph while maintaining such a transparent humility in doing so- despite their celebrity rock star status amongst their world-wide peers.

George Couros had me with the warm-up dancing videos- he connected with me, and likely most everyone in the room, through these videos. I am pretty sure that he didn’t need to study neuroscience to understand that music is a powerful connection tool. Whether it is the connection between people, or one that I make as I hear a song that sparks memories of parts of my life when I first listened to that song. Or maybe the connection I make when I lean to the person next to me to ask “That’s Jamiroquoi, right?” and we talk- connected by music.

Isn’t that where the magic happens in the classroom? In the connection between the student and the teachers, amongst all the students- even if the classroom in this case was a huge auditorium with hundreds of people in it.  I felt like George was talking to me because everything he said was relevant to me.  I know many of my peers felt the same way.

Angela talking about her passion for inspiring all of to embrace mattering- not just for kids to know they matter, but for all of us. Refranz talking about Braedon and in only 5 ignited minutes, setting ISTE on its ear and setting a high standard for everyone who followed her.

And what a better way to fill my bucket at 8:30 on the final day than with Alan November embedding really powerful teaching tools in a session that went by way too fast- even thought he was on stage, I felt as if we were sitting in the cafe laughing and learning together.

All of these passionate educators artistically navigated our journey through so many emotions providing such a refreshing catharsis as we unwaveringly followed them and fearlessly felt the emotions necessary to really experience the moment in those rooms.

How many times did we laugh so hard we wanted to cry, and then feel so strongly that we held back the tears? How many times did the end of the session come and we were not ready to say good-bye not necessarily to the person up front, but to how that person was making us feel (insert Maya Angelou quote here…)?

Since Friday, we have been going non-stop here at ISTE.  If not for the emotional energy that these people have given us, we never would have made it. Not only have we made it, but we are cleansed, enriched, and growing stronger.

Kristen Swanson so beautifully and accurately wrote today that the main learning components of these events are 50% connections, 40% conversations, and 10% content.

For me and for all learners, if the connection isn’t there, the other 50% won’t happen.

Many thanks to everyone who connected in the name of making a contribution through education.

 

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