“I learned that what truly makes Partners in Learning and Microsoft Education great is the people that are part of it: the educators from across the globe who seek out other educators who think alike.” – Doug Bergman, USA
It was a tremendous honor just to be in the room. Only 250 educators were selected out of over 22000 applications. What that means is that you are meeting some of the most innovative teachers from around the world.
I am fortunate in that this was my second time to have been invited to the Global Forum, so I knew (at least a little) what to expect. And at the first Global Forum, I was so busy presenting (I actually had 2 presentations) that I really did not have a chance to interact with as many of my international peers as I would have liked. So, this time I made it a clear purpose to meet as many people as I could-but not just meet them—talk to them and get to know them. I asked a lot of questions, and I searched for those special connections that I will maintain for my entire life. It was also a pleasure to reconnect with some of my colleagues I’ve interacted with over the last few years. (Hey Don Wettrick, Andi Li, Steven Ronsijn, and Noura Al-Thuwaikh! Incredible leaders from U.S., Hong Kong, Belgium, and Saudi Arabia) But, I especially made it a point to make connections with fellow educators who are in my specific discipline, Computer Science, so that we can collaborate on something together that we each have such passion for. In the next few years, I hope to get a group of Computer Science educators together and submit a proposal to the Global Forum from all of us together as one. THAT would be truly mind shattering.
For 2 days, teachers presented their project to fellow educators, judges, friends, political leaders, and educational leaders. Like many people, I gave my “3 minute pitch” on the airplane, in the airport, in the hotel, in line at the store, in the conference center, at lunch and dinner, and of course to my judges. I think I gave it a couple times in the hotel lobby as well, and probably on the elevator. You see, the people there were passionate about what they did, excited and qualified to be there, and take every chance to make a connection and share an idea- to get to know a fellow educator.
Yes there was an element of winning, but what is interesting; there was not necessarily an element of losing. And that is rare in the world today. Because I met so many people from all over, all doing awesome things with their students in the classroom, it was very likely that someone you knew would be recognized with some type of award. And when you heard any name that you knew, you rushed over for a photo and a high five because you wanted to share that joy with your new friends- and they wanted to share that with their new friends. While I did not win an award, I still won.
I learned that what truly makes Partners in Learning and Microsoft Education great is the people that are part of it: the educators from across the globe who seek out other educators who think alike. And we are willing to spend hours submitting proposals, take many days off work, travel great distances….just to meet those people. You see, we don’t necessarily get that same energy and passion in our environments back home…but here at the Global Forum, there are literally hundreds of educators who are at the top of their game, incredibly passionate about what they do and why they do it, and want nothing more than to meet each other and share ideas. You can literally go up to anyone there, say Hello, and hear about a project which is world class and literally changing the world RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF YOUR EYES. And so that’s what I did for 2 days solid. Did I ever get tired of hearing those stories? Not a chance.
As far as the city of Barcelona. Wow. Wow. And Wow. Did I say Wow? We spent most of our free time in the Gothic section of town, loving every minute. Shout out to some of my wandering tour guides: Donna, Lee, Julie, Cheryl, and Patti!! And for those who are planning to go to Barcelona…..make the trek out to Rupit for an amazing hiking and medieval experience that will rock your world.
What’s ahead for you?
I met some incredible people from all over the world, but one of my most intriguing new interactions was with Ismail Abu Ishkhidem from Jordan. If you met him then you know what I am talking about: he has a certain energy about him that I connected with and he shares my passion for Computer Science.
I am also excited to be part of the Grelfie 250 Challenge ( shameless plug to join the Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/691397744204094/). It has been so fun being part of that. I’ve actually got an actual wall in my lab full of images from fellow educator classroom grelfies (grelfie = group selfie) from around the world. My goal is to fill the entire wall. I have loved watching my students and colleagues just looking at all the images and wondering what school would be like in all those different countries. But, what has been especially interesting about the greflie wall so far, I have noticed in every one of the images that there is a certain smile that is on the face of students who loves being in the classroom of an amazing teacher. THAT is one thing that is common across all cultures.
After years of saying that I was going to be part of writing a book, I have finally decided that this is the year. It is a book with a different kind of twist. It’s a vision for what the school of the future must look like in order to produce the types of students who can lead our world in academics, business, innovation, technology, politics, and industry. That school looks very different than what most of our schools look like around the US, and even around the world. But this book will be different because it is going to be written by people who are DOING those things right now in their schools. The book will be a guide for administrators, parents, teachers, politicians, and change agents to inspire them with real ideas by real people in real schools doing amazing things.
– Doug Bergman @dougbergmanUSA