CHANGEd 60-60-60: CONNECTEDNESS

Thinking about What if we taught history backwards or offered “war and peace” course? 60-60-60 #42 and reflecting…

Connectedness. I am often amazed at the amount of connections that social media enables and inspires in my personal and professional life. I have reflected on this before, but tonight I am reminded that just over 18 months ago I connected (through a Twitter hashtag) with a stranger after an Atlanta screening of the movie Race to Nowhere. That connection has actually led to a personal friendship and a number of professional projects that have spanned the city of Atlanta. I suspect that 18 months ago I never would have expected that a ninth grade physics teacher and an elementary school administrator would have had any reason to connect with one another.

It’s a pretty remarkable thing actually. And it’s also what inspires me to explore the ways that we all need to break out of the silo-ed departments and disciplines and divisions.It inspires me to commit to doing this more often. And not only by hashtag-happenstance.

So, enter John Burk’s words for his second day of riffing…both days unplanned. John’s comment on Bo’s 42nd post led me to something he wrote a year ago about Alan Turing and the Day of Silence. With no background knowledge of either the person or the day, I followed link-to-link-to-link to learn more. Finally, once I got to the comments at the end of the post, I smiled at the incredible power of this kind of connected reading and writing.

Marilyn Knight Just, a home-school teacher, added to John’s post:

Another benefit of sharing science history is that the math/physics that you are sharing then becomes hard fought treasure rather than just a formula that must be learned because the physics teacher says so. And, for some teens, the fact that a person had to be radical – to assert their individual thoughts – for some that will resonate with their own struggle to become adults.

And then Megan Simmons, a graduate student, shared:

Hi, I am visiting as part of an assignment for Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class and will be posting my thoughts about your posts on my blog. I love that you are tying so many other subject areas into your lesson. Integration is such a great way to help students make connections and see how the information they are learning relates to them personally. It is really inspiring to see a teacher taking the initiative to show students that not all great contributors to our world are old straight white men. It is important to provide role models for all of our students. I can see why you can’t get through the lecture without a lot of hand waving. I was riveted by the story of it alone!

The lesson, the post, and the dialogue in the comments represent a connected web of learning…something not separated by division, department, or disciple. We need more of these kinds of connections. I love how Bo puts it: “The spider cannot weave a web except by leaping from where she currently resides and connecting to another anchor. From these anchors emerge the threads that last when the wind blows most viciously.”

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