The theme of the DLC summer workshops is "The Digital Learning Competencies: For Educators, by Educators." It's a funny thing when teachers get together... there is always this underlying current of sharing and collaboration that flows like a river. It happens so naturally. One person shares an idea, teaching method, or new tool they've used. Another person says, "Yes, I've heard of that." Then the person sitting next to them says, "That is exactly what I was looking for to use in my class!" Being in that environment brings life to everyone who is in it because there is no competition to be better than or know more than the people around you. It's just about growth; student growth, professional growth, and the growth of your learning community. One of my favorite words is synergy which means the interaction of multiple elements that, when combined, produce a total effect greater than the sum of the individual elements or contributions. That is what experiences like this are for me; multiple points of expertise coming together for the good and benefit of all.
Personally, I learned so much from the people I was presenting with and even more from the people that came to my sessions. It is a beautiful thing when people can share thoughts and ideas openly. It is a cornerstone of community and something that we need to see and practice more in education. There is an old saying, "There is strength in numbers" and I agree. However, I'd also like to add that there is power in unity. That is the mindset and goal of meaningful professional learning. George Couros often quotes Dave Weinberger in saying, "The smartest person in the room, is the room." That is so true. Working on projects like this one with so many talented people amplifies that for me. Professional learning is about lifting the voices of others around us up and supporting them by giving them space to speak about what they are experts in and are passionate about. When we give space to others to share their stories, we make space for our own. I want to see more of that. I want to be a part of that more often.
As we begin our second round of the DLC roadshow next week, I can't wait to continue the learning from and connecting with others who love education as much as me.
Let's keep learning together, and finding synergy in sharing.
David Balmer serves as an Instructional Technology Facilitator in Wake County, North Carolina. David graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in Secondary History Education and recently completed his M.Ed. in Digital Learning & Teaching from North Carolina State University. Additionally, he serves on the board of Safe Schools NC. David is passionate about making sure that all students voices are heard in education in North Carolina.