Connecting Beyond the Technology, Ron Clark Academy at ISTE2014

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 12.31.09 PMWhile at ISTE, I found myself drawn to watching two different Ron Clark Academy Classrooms in action. I’ve seen the videos but this face to face interaction was different. As a matter of fact, I found myself so removed from the fact that I was at a technology conference that I nearly forgot that I had a plane to catch and needed to leave that space.

I became a fan of Dr. Camille Jones when I saw postings of her taking her class to experience geometry by playing pool…just like the animated scene in Donald Duck in Mathmagic Land. This was a part of their Atlanta Real World Class where the city of Atlanta became their classroom. (Such a great idea!!) I didn’t expect to see her and to be able to share my admiration of her work was something that I am honored to have done. She’s THAT great. To be fair, she and Mr. Clark where there to model the use of a vendor product, but it was the connections beyond the product that drew me in.

I watched as children, that mirrored my own child, were excited about presenting how they learn. I saw teachers and staff connecting with kids so fluidly that any observer could feel that the most important aspect of their teaching…of any teaching…is in the relationships built. For an hour, while watching the “vendor demo” that was much more than a demo, I felt myself feeling the pangs of wanting to be back in my classroom with my students…not to replicate RCA but to help my own kids see themselves for who they were/are…Beautifully Brilliant.

My gosh, I miss my students!

To the vendor that laid out the RCA red carpet, thank you because in that moment, while on that vendor floor…smothered by the push and pull of chords and devices…I needed that hour of inspiration.

I needed to tell Dr. Jones how seeing her for the brief moments that I did meant the world. She has no idea how much she inspired my own teaching.

On a personal note, Ron Clark is my son’s favorite teacher. He even read the book. Of all the things that I could’ve brought back from Atlanta…that snapshot meant more than anything that money could buy.

For him, Mr. Clark is the teacher that he always wanted…but never had.

It’s definitely not the technology that forges connections but the relationships that we build and how we inspire growth from deep within. You can’t put a price on that as it is an invaluable skill and feeling.

In that one hour…I experienced engagement in ways that I haven’t done in years. It’s a feeling that I can barely explain in words.

Maybe I just did…



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