Am sitting at the airport waiting for the first of two flights to fly home after three day in Rotorua at ULearn.
Sounded like a great idea in March when we decided as a leadership team to put in submissions to present at this years conference. Heading off to Rotorua this week we were very aware that our staff begin next Monday and that time pressures were well and truly hitting in and I think beginning to wonder if this was a good use of our time.
I think we would all now say that it definitely was.
We've been in the fortunate and privileged position of having the last 9 months to think and read, and visit and reflect and cogitate. To form the basis of a curriculum and to think deeply about all the "That's The Way We've Always Done It," rhetoric in schools and to interrogate this and ask why a lot until we had a direction for which we would like learning to evolve at Haeata.
So I guess many of the sessions we attended were more affirming of the learning that we've been privileged to do than new stuff for us. But we would also all say that the process of considering and creating presentations about some of our work is hugely clarifying for our own beliefs and practices.
And the absolute real power in the last thee days was the opportunity to connect. To connect with people we only know or recognise form the online educational community. To connect kanohi te kanohi with old connections and create new connections. To talk and to challenge with old friends and with new connections.
Years ago I read Will Richardsons book where the subtitle is Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education.
I think that is a big part of the power of the ULearn conference. Where else do you get nigh on 2000 educators together in one space? (And with a significant more joining the back channels of live streaming and following the twitter threads.)
For me, personally, I reconnected with educators I worked with as long ago as 20 years ago. Amazing conversations , amazing stories to share and reconnections to form.
For us as a school we've been able to share a little part of the journey of Haeata so far and our passion and excitement for what is to come.
Transforming education, and particularly transforming schooling is happening in little pocket all over Aotearoa.
The power of connections is moving us steadily towards the tipping point where the changes so deeply needed in ours choosing system will become the whole clothing rather than just the pocket.
The power of the understanding of the need for change when 2000 educators connect at an event like ULearn is palpable. Continuing to connect with each other- post conference is how we will work together in order to push that change over the timing point.
Thanks to all those old friends and colleagues Ive reconnected with in the last three days. What an awesome opportunity to do so.
And welcome to all this new connections to my personal and professional learning network. Long may the conversations continue.