All of this social networking is starting to pay off for everyone! For the past month I have been working with some really amazing educators to put together a free summer conference. I have never met any of these amazing people (Shelly Terrell, Jason Bedell, & Kelly Tenkely), yet this was one of the most successful collaborations I have ever been a part of. None of use have received any reward for the time we have put into planning the event, monetary reward that is, but somehow this has been an incredibly rewarding experience. This seeming paradox lends credence to the argument Daniel Pink makes in Drive, that money isn’t a very good motivator when it comes to intellectual endeavors.
Working on the Symposium has been an empowering experience. It is empowering because by harvesting the power of connections, and everyone’s desire to improve education we can all get together for summer professional development. No one is paying anyone, no one is getting paid. Many educational conferences have costs that are so high that we cannot attend, and what do we see when we get there….great educators talking about what they are doing in the classroom.
So in the words of The Monkees, I’m a believer. PLNs work! Making connections works! I suspect many of you are nodding your heads right now, that’s because most of you believe too. So here is your charge: invite a skeptic to the Reform Symposium. Not just a doubter, a skeptic. Offer to have them attend a session with you. Sit right next to them, help them click the right links. Make bargains to get them to agree. When it is over tell them about PLNs and help them sign up for Twitter and follow up with them over the year. Do all this because if you can convince a skeptic about the power of connections that is powerful, and that skeptic will talk to other skeptics, and this movement will grow. That is how reform will happen.