Saturday, May 15, 2010

A New Way of Education

On Friday, May 14th 2010, something new happened in Edmonton.  At least, I think it was new. According to a tweet from Walter (@fusedlogic on twitter), he is not aware of an event like this either.  So what was so earth shattering, so new, so un-tried?

Some might say "nothing".  Unlike the famous line from a 1967 movie called Cool Hand Luke ... "What we have here is a failure to communicate", was an organization stepping UP to the plate by sponsoring a tweetup.  (For those not aware, a "tweetup" is generally an informal gathering of people, usually from twitter and friends, where lots of coffee is consumed, and huge amounts of talking happens.)  And who were the hero's?  A group of people with the forethought to see and use the power of Social Media, to get engaged and provide a means and a place to communicate.

The group might surprise you, for clearly they are not "big business" looking to promote their wares.  The agenda was simple... just come on out, have a good time, and talk.  No stage, no speakers... just people.  Yes, this event was sponsored by the Edmonton Public Teachers - Local 37 (@EdPubTeachers on twitter).  Again, one would think that this was no big deal... but then one would be wrong.  The amount of effort it took to arrange this was no simple task!  Quoted below, with permission from @Patrick_Johner..

Edmonton Public Teachers- Local 37 is a democratically elected group of volunteers that are all teachers (example - classroom teachers, consultants, principals, etc). The Local voted to pay and host the tweetup for a few reasons. The first two are official statements that our total membership agreed to last year. But in a direct and very real way the teachers who sat on the committee that supported my request for $ realized that there parents, community people, advocacy groups, who can see the importance of allowing a grass roots citizenry activity that would allow all of us to engage in some dialogue that was not institutional, or political....BUT real. Allowing us to listen to each others idea, opinions, questions, concerns, stories, etc that was neutral.
Patrick went on to say
As well, we wanted to help inform the social media community that our local has become a part of social media, to develop community networks for people who care about our community in many areas. Not just in education.  I believe so deeply in our community being a sustainable one for all our citizens. Maybe we helped a few feel they can get involved, and feel more empowered to get involved. I know I do.
Now that's what I'm talking about!  Not only did this group of people, this organization... have the desire to do things better, they also went above and beyond what any other tweetup has done before.  They supplied not only a most impressive array of food (buffet cold plate style) but also refreshments, including a glass of wine!  At no cost.

While there was no "requirement" to discuss education issues, the desire by the people attending was clear.  Education problems, goals, the things that worked that we need to do more of, and the things that don't work and need fixed... were definitely the major focal point in the various chats I was having with several of the people there.

I came away with new insight, new determination, new friends... but most importantly, I can "feel" the need to get more involved, and to stay involved.  I could go on for literally hours, in writing this blog. But I know most of you will never put the time into reading everything.  So with that said, I will close this by saying a HUGE THANK YOU to the teachers and individuals from Local 37. You have the wisdom to see the future, a better future, not only for the children... but for the communities that you deal in.  You understand that as an organization, your need to be involved is critical. And in my opinion, what you achieved in last nights tweetup was a complete success.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Gary,

    A Very flattering article about The Teachers in Edmonton Public Teachers-Local 37!

    Just to clarify for your readers, about the reference of "The first two are official statements that our total membership agreed to last year." This refers to two of Local 37's Public Vision Statements. They are stated below for easy reference:

    By 2012 the Edmonton Public Teachers Local will be:  

    1. A leader in promoting member (Teachers) engagement in the Local, the ATA and the COMMUNITY.

    2. A respected voice that advocates for policies that address issues, trends, and conditions affecting public education.

    If anyone is interested in more information, they can call Ed Butler-President of Local 37 or contact through Twitter @edpubteachers

    Thank you Gary for coming out and being part of our ever expanding family!