On Connections and being Connected

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There’s been a lot of talk about connections these day. It’s the one word that has given me pause for reflection more than any other in the last few years. The term is widely used, but how are we defining it? Do we have a common understanding of what it really means to be connected? How is the term “connection” being defined in our classrooms? What/who is a connected teacher, student, or classroom?

Last year I wrote a blog post: “The Power of Connections”  and I’ve presented workshops and was a spotlight speaker at CONNECT 2016 on the very subject. I thought I had a pretty good grasp of the word. However, recently Derek Rhodenizer  invited me to join he and Stephen Hurley on voicEd Radio to help break down the word as part of Derek’s #WordinProgress weekly radio show.  Our conversation can be heard here:

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After the show, and some time for reflection, a few questions were still gnawing at me. So I direct messaged Derek and Stephen on Twitter…

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I think what I am having difficulty understanding is the difference between how be define a “connection” and a “relationship”. We know that a relationship needs to be reciprocal, but does a “connection”? Can a student make a connection to a book? Can one be connected to nature? Can a parent be connected to my class? Can I say that my class in connected to our community, to the world? Is it technology that has led to the new term “connection”?

Today, I did a writing lesson with my students. I asked them to share what, in their opinion, the word “connection” meant to them. First, I simply said the word  connection and had my students write words that came to mind. Next, we did a visualization activity, using our five senses to help dig deeper into the word. I had my kids close their eyes and visualize what they “saw” in their mind’s eye when they thought of the word connection. They then recorded their thoughts. I did the same with each of the other four senses. We have done this activity many times and the kids really have become quite good at it.

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We took a break, got active with “Go Noodle”, did some mindfulness and then came back to our assignment where I had my students review all the ideas they had generated. Finally, they wrote their definitions of the word “connected”…

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Thanks to my great class for sharing your amazing and thoughtful insights! You have given us all more food for thought.

What are your thoughts on connections and relationships. We’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

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About mrcameron14

I am a Grade 6 teacher of 18 years in Thunder Bay Ontario, Canada. Passionate about sharing with teachers throughout the world. Teaching students how to use technology 4 good and to make a positive difference in the world. Apple Distinguished Educator 2013, SMART Exemplary Educator 2013, Google Educator 2015.
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One Response to On Connections and being Connected

  1. Hi Peter, great post – good questions. I think the two are interrelated, but relationships somehow are deeper. I have lots of connections through my PLN and over time I have developed very good relationships with some of the people in this group, but you can’t do this with everyone.
    I think over time, I have come to value all my connections and have tried to nurture as many as possible into relationships. This has become increasingly important for me as I have realized what a small, constrained bowl we all swim in splashing around in our own school boards.
    To really take flight, we need to leave the petty politics and politicians of our own school boards and reach out to like-minded people who work far away from us.
    So connections and relationships, for me its a continuum. Very happy to be part of your PLN, thanks for making me aware of your post!

    Like

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