doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

Passion at #expbound

This past weekend, I was at the Expanding Our Boundaries session in Toronto.  It was a great opportunity to learn and to meet new people.

As I do, I like to move to a different table on these multi-day events just to mix it up a bit.  So, on Day 2, I sat next to @kentmanning.  I’d never met Kent before although he said later that he’d been in sessions that I’ve given at previous ECOO conference.  So, I sit down and get ready for the customary meet and greet.  Instead, I get this from Kent.

“What’s your passion?”

Now, I’ve heard a lot of pickup lines and used a couple in my time but never anything like that.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that my current passion was just to find a position in the room where I could see both my laptop and the speaker at the same time without twisting around all day long.  Not wishing to offend, I made up some current politically correct statement like “I’m deeply concerned about the trend of using MISA data to predict where communities are going to build public swimming pools” or something similar.  Hey, I hadn’t even had my second coffee yet.

As happens, the conference ends and the real world kicks in and I’m going about doing whatever it is that I do.  In this case, it was to meet first with a principal who wants to podcast her newsletter to her community of over 1500 students and parents.  At the same time, and in the same place, there was also a Guidance teacher and a technician who figured to enjoy some small session PD at the same time.  They had their own personal reasons for wanting to know more and that was great.  I left anxiously awaiting to hear what this would generate.

Later that day, I met with a group of science teachers who will be presenting professional development on the use of SMART Boards and document cameras in the secondary science classroom.  We had an invigorating session and I even threw in a little of what I remembered from high school physics and chemistry to make it look like I knew what I was doing.  For the biology part, I had to plead the fifth or its Canadian equivalent.  In a few hours, we managed to cover all of the science curriculum, K-12.

As I drove home after all this, I was feeling pretty darn good around what had transpired.  These folks had gotten their dollar and a quarter’s worth of my time but I went home richer because our discussions had made some new connections for using technology to create new learning environments for students with the goal of further engagement and further success.  For that moment in time, I guess that speaks to the professional passion that drives what we do in education.

After supper, I’m sitting back looking at some online videos to accompany a little television.  It’s not that I’m a great multi-tasker, but the show’s a repeat so it doesn’t need my full attention.  From Microsoft’s sharing site comes this little video.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Passion at #expbound“, posted with vodpod

Now, I realize that there’s another passion within me.  I’ll call this my personal passion.  In this case, I’ve always been interested in the future and the next great thing.  There are lots of great things in this video.  It’s worth a couple of plays to really synthesize what’s in there.

As a child, as a teenager, and now as an adult, I’ve always enjoyed the Star Trek original series.  There are lots of debates over the technology illustrated in the episodes but if you look and imagine, you’ll see memory keys, tablet computers, voice activated computers, bio research, and so much more that we take as regular mainstream things today.  Visionary or before its time?  That’s a debate that can never be won.

I just find it so amazing that the technology from that series of shows has a parallel to so much that we take for granted.  It’s a shame that there weren’t more episodes focusing on education.  That might have helped us change and develop a vision of a classroom rich in technology.  Tri-corders have become our science probes, why can’t communicators become cell phones and be used just as effectively by a crew of grade 6 students as they were by the crew of the Enterprise?

So, Kent, I guess that answers another part of your question.  Yesterday, I identified both a professional and personal passion.  I know that there are more.

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3 responses to “Passion at #expbound”

  1. Just started listening to The Element on my ipod while I run. I think connecting technology and literacy is quickly becoming my new passion. It’s made me fall in love with teaching again! Thanks for posting that video by the way. It’s like a cleaner, happier Bladerunner 😉


  2. Well Doug,

    It is definitely never ordinary sitting beside me.

    While I was reading your post [just now] I received an e-mail from the lad I was with at the conference saying he stopped by his local book store to pick up “The Element”.

    Could one author cause such a stir? Every day since the conference ended [has it really ended?] I read about another person either downloading the audio version @davidweightman, waitlisting it at a local library @bruceetes or picking it up at a bookstore @dpotts5.

    I guess it is really that powerful, because as I ask more people about the one or two things in which they are truly interested, since I read the book, I’m getting the most amazing answers.

    Sometimes people hesitate, like you did for a moment, and come up with a few items, but for the most part, people can identify their current passion – – something that really gets to them, be it in the classroom or outside of it. One thing.

    I’m reminded [by all this] of one of my digital storytelling mentors: Marco Antonio Torres. At BLC 2008 in Boston last summer his two day storytelling pre-conference session sold out in two days. I didn’t get to go. Not this year. I was right off the mark to sign up for his summer session 2009. And guess what Marco has his participants create their stories about? You guessed it, “what’s your passion”.

    I’m glad you have articulate yours here today… it is great reading and viewing – – good on ‘ya.



  3. Brenda Sherry Avatar
    Brenda Sherry

    Hey Doug,

    Speaking of predicting the future…I think you’ll like this:

    Peter Skillen shared it with me a few years back…What vision those apple guys had WAY back before the web even!!!

    Cool to see the laptop-like thing and the memory key kind of thing!


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