Sometimes something magical happens that makes you stop in your track and savor every minute. This magical moment happened for me this week but started 4 months ago.
In January, I was contacted by George Couros and asked if I would be able to Skype with a grade 2 class in his school learning about Saskatoon. They had a list of questions about my city and wanted to learn from someone who lived here.
Having never Skyped before I really didn’t know what to expect or how “this whole digital connection thing” really worked. I certainly did not expect to feel so connected with students 6 hours away. Even after the conversation was over I continued to think about them and wonder how their learning about Saskatoon was progressing. Most of all I thought about the enthusiasm they displayed during the conversation, both for connecting and for learning.
I was excited when 4 months later I had an opportunity to meet this class face to face. I was a bit nervous when I walked into the school. Would they remember me? What if the connection I felt was just on my side and not the same for them? All of my questions were answered when I stepped into the classroom to cheers, smiles and hugs!!! I chatted with the class, read them a story, meet parents and connected with each and every one of them again. It was an amazing experience which has taught me many things:
- Virtual connections can be powerful.
- For me Face to Face encounters are necessary to really solidify the connection and make it seem real.
- Students can and do develop strong connections virtually. (an obviously so do I )
- We can use virtual connections in the classroom to enhance the learning experience and teach responsible digital citizenship and safety.
- The four walls of the classroom no longer limit the connections we can make and the relationships we can build.
Thank you so much Grade 2 for teaching me about the power of virtual connections…and for the hugs!!!