As I traverse the snowy Midwest plains at 550 MPH and 35,000 ft. on my way from Denver to Orlando for #OLCAccelerate 2018, I’m reminded (by way of turbulence and cheap pretzels) of the importance of perspective. As educators, we are constantly injected into new environments, very often alongside new audiences. And while navigating this ever-evolving landscape can bring moments of familiarity, we should proceed cautiously, not losing track of the novelty and uniqueness of our experiences.
As I head towards a very familiar event, coupled with the excitement and anticipation of reuniting with many familiar faces, I remind myself (with purpose and intention) of the reality that will accompany my shifted perspective. Not only have I changed and evolved since attending this conference in 2017, but others have as well. The networked effect of shift-happening is compounded, propagating throughout existing professional networks like a viral meme. The resulting changes are not only worth our collective attention, but they can (and should) meaningfully affect the way we approach every present professional moment.
Since my reflections of a year ago, I’ve found (stumbled?) my way into a range of new projects and communities; some for the first time and some from years past with a renewed intention or purpose. This is a less-than-comprehensive list of such projects and people to have left a mark on my current world view:
- Squad Goals Network (Angela Gunder, Ryan Straight, Keegan Long-Wheeler, Jessica Knott, John Stewart, et. al.)
- Equity Unbound (ℳąhą Bąℓi, Catherine Cronin, and Mia Zamora, et. al.)
- Future of Education Forecast (Bryan Alexander, Tom Hames, Keesa Johnson, et. al.)
- Hypothesis & Marginal Syllabus (Remi Kalir, Jeremy Dean, Nate Angell, et. al.)
- Colorado University Innovation Council (Sarabeth Berk, Ph.D., Nina Sharma, et. al.)
- Colorado Blockchain (Paul Foley, Dan Shields, et. al.)
These projects, people, and communities have unavoidably and meaningfully intersected my personal and professional reality in 2018. As I approach OLC Accelerate, my perspective simply isn’t what it was, and it shouldn’t be. I prefer it not to be. I enjoy the newness that this shifted perspective brings to an otherwise familiar experience. It’s this mental novelty (if seen as such) that creates a sense of boundless wonder and amazement. It’s bridging old perspectives with new ones that create growth in the present. It’s the construction of new scaffolds upon old ones that fortify philosophical and ethical pillars that make us who we are.
Join me in kicking off OLC Accelerate 2018 with a new connected perspective that comes both from where we’ve been and where we’re going. We have all evolved, regardless of the hedonic perception that ties us to the past, so engage with intention and make this collective experience anew. The differences we all bring forward are exactly why I’m excited to return. How have you changed? How can you be sensitive to, and truly acknowledge the inevitable changes in others? How can our collective sea of perspectives be equally weighted as we (re)invent the future?