Thursday, August 9, 2012

Connections

I’m hoping to go to TEDx San Diego this year.  My husband, Kris, went last year.  I didn’t apply because I was presenting at an educational conference the same day, but I followed some of the live stream before my session started.

When he came home he said, “You really should have been there.” I agreed and told him I would apply this year. He said, “No, you should have been there at lunch today.” and then he told me this story. It’s been told and retold a few times, so I hope these details aren’t too embellished.

During the lunch break he had been sitting with a group and education came up. Kris mentioned that I use a blog to manage my classroom interactions to the woman sitting next to him. Another woman, across the table, paused, looked up and peered for a moment at his name tag. “Are you Jen Roberts’ husband?” she asked. Surprised, he acknowledged that he was.

To hear him tell it the woman from across the table went on to tell him that I do way more than blog. “She’s a Google Certified Teacher.” (As if Kris didn’t know this fact.) She told him she followed me on Twitter and (to hear him tell it) raved about me for a few minutes.

I asked her name. He couldn’t remember. I asked my twitter followers. None acknowledged being at Tedx San Diego. I still don’t know who she was, but I need to thank her. Not only did she create a memorable family story that will often be retold, but she also made me realize that my blogging and sharing provides value to many people I will never meet.

Through Twitter, Nings, Conferences and blogging I have connections to thousands of other teachers and they are connected to thousands more and so on and so on. All of them constantly pouring resources and ideas into this great lake of knowledge that I can draw from. But, unlike a real lake, the more knowledge I take out the deeper the pool gets because we are all constantly passing those ideas on to others.

I’d like to see a study done about connected educators. I bet it would find that teachers with strong connections to other educators through professional social networks are happier, more effective (if you can measure that), and experience less burnout than teachers without any professional social network.

I’m looking forward to the TEDx San Diego applications being available this year. The lake just gets deeper and deeper.