Revisiting That Ontario Group

I had an interesting memory pop up on Facebook this morning.

It was a note by Steven that he posted to his archive and shared with those on his subscription list (which I’ve been a long time subscriber – look at the date!) He’s devoted to sharing places where we don’t know exist and adds his comments to them. In this case, it was a post to my blog.

As with most of Stephen’s comments, he makes me stop and think about this words and the message behind them. The post certainly is an old one but I don’t think that the message is dated. The technology that I referenced is certainly gone (Seesmic Desktop) but I think that the premise behind the post is just as important or maybe even more important than at the time of the original post.

Heck, back then, some educators were blocked from Twitter by their district as muscles were flexed and those in charge had no idea that Social Media could be used for good and for good learning and good connections. Being part of it often was something done in the evenings at home for just these reasons.

Social Media has been a lifeline during tough times and a collaborative workspace for projects. It’s been a way to attend professional learning events when it wasn’t possible to do so for any of a million reasons.

I’m going to copy/paste the original post below and I hope that you enjoy it and see the value today, May 2, 2022 as we did on April 24, 2010.

There has been a pretty amazing thing happening in Ontario in the past couple of years.  It involves a small group of people who have turned to Twitter as a way of conducting their own self-directed professional development / actualization.

It’s not a huge group, but it’s fairly substantial.  Heck, it’s not even geographically tight.  Ontario is a big province.

You can check out most of the group at this list from my Twitter account.  I took a look up and down the list and there are only a few people that I have known, PT.  (Pre-Twitter)  Now, I turn to this list first whenever I need to make a connection or to learn something.  My personal learning has been amazing over the past while.

  • From @danikabarker, I learned what a yurt was;
  • @kellmoor and @lawler have taught me so much about weeding libraries and the use of Hasmet suits in education;
  • I can’t wait for face to face meetings with @markwcarbone to solve the ills of the world and we Adobe Connect or phone between meetings;
  • @brendasherry and @peterskillen who, had we met years ago, we could have scored an educational coup d’état;
  • @jeffreaburn who I could have planned “Take your kid to work” days with;
  • @windsordi from whom I learned that no matter how powerful my computer is, hers dwarfs it;
  • @pbeens who came to Windsor in a heartbeat to help out with the implementation of a new Computer Studies guideline;
  • @pmcash who I know I can send a simple technological request to and get a pretty good answer within minutes;
  • @kentmanning who is the inspiration for tomorrow’s blog entry;
  • and the list goes on and on.  I could create a significant bullet point for most people who are on the list.

And yet, if it were not for this mode of communication, we would have passed each other in a public location without a second glance.  Now, whenever there’s an education event, we check with each other to see who’s going to be there so that we connect.

We’ve had some momental “tweetups” to bring the group together.  I think about the hospitality room at the Western RCAC Symposium where the whole group hopped in to stuff registration bags and the collegiality and chatter was deafening.  For that evening, David Jakes and Leslie Fisher became honorary Ontarians.  I also think about the ECOO conference where our “tweetup” took place in the Presidential Suite and Alec Couros assumed the role of guest trillium.

When the Ontario Teachers’ Federation needed technology ideas and support, they knew exactly who to turn to for support.  In a heartbeat, a group of us was contacted and we descended on Barrie to help out, but I think more importantly to continue to build the healthy and prolific group that is far better than the sum of its parts.

Does it ever end?  I don’t see it happening soon.  A small group put together TEDxOntario and delivered it to the world.  @robdelorenzo had the idea of Ontario Meetups online using web tools and we’re all there when we can be.

It doesn’t go unnoticed either.  Over the Christmas Break, Sharon Peters a Quebecker who I consider a high profile person in the Education Beyond Borders project was in town and wanted to meet up to find out about this Ontario group.  More recently, Pennsylvania educator Yoon Soo Lim remarked about what  a tightly knit group these Ontario folks were and how we’re all so seemingly connected.

I’m totally at a loss to explain why it works.  I know how it works – it’s the old adage that the right people for the task are the people that are there.  Somehow, this group, or a subset of them, just comes together at the right time and the magic happens.  For this, I am so grateful.  I learn so much from this group on a daily basis.  In my Seesmic Desktop, I have a column that is just composed of people from that list.  On #FollowFridays, I just run down that list to give a shout out to those who have been active recently.

I’m so proud to be able to say that I’m a part of this amazing group of educators.  We’re constructionists; we’re connectivists; but most importantly, we’re educators and we thrive on learning together.


OTR Links 05/02/2022

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.