Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Meaningful Connection Experiences

I wrote the Connections-based Learning book to paint a more complete picture of CBL. Part of that was to create questions for reflection that would promote discussion of the ideas within the book. Chapter 2, entitled, Why Connect?, guides the reader through the effect connections have on us and the effect they have on the world. In the chapter, I share about a student who beautifully illustrates the impact of her connections-based learning work. She said that it "is not only making an impact on the world but it is also impacting me as person". She goes on to describe the two sides of that coin: how the connection was helping her make a contribution, but also how it changed her personally. That is what I want for all my students. That is the meaningful nature I seek in all my classes. Of course I don't always get there with every student but that is the goal.

In chapter 2, Vision Checkup question three asks you to reflect on meaningful experiences you have had with your students and how connection has played a role. The act of reflecting on meaningful experiences we have with students is to tease out those powerful moments where something really special happens. My hope is that these moments happen on a regular basis in my classes and with those with whom I work. I truly believe that as a class connects with experts, organizations, the community, and classrooms around the world, this will happen.

I mention in the CBL book one powerful experience for me was the moments after my students had connected with The Community for Learning in the Dominican Republic.  How they set their sights on helping out and making a difference. Another powerful moment was when my Science and Tech 11 students brought in and interviewed a student cancer survivor for our medical innovations unit. What a meaningful opportunity for both the cancer survivor and the class. Another moment was when one of my student groups hit top 30 experiments for a chance to have their experiment flown to the International Space Station. I share about those moments in the Microsoft Education Transformation Story: A Journey into Space. What a blast it was!

I am about to have an interview with Noa Daniel on her Personal Playlist Podcast where she asks her interviewees to choose three songs that represent us: a nostalgic song, an identity song, and pick-me-up song. Though I won't reveal my identity song until the podcast plays, I want to share about it a bit. This song walks a person through life's moments and how fleeting they are. Different stages in life come and go and you can't go back. We have an opportunity to offer our students powerful moments or pointless moments. When the students are able to connect, I believe that helps those moments become powerful. That is what I wish for my identity: powerful moments for me and my students.

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