Sitting In My Kitchen…

Some of us were talking about our “moments,” that is–when we realized our teaching lives had changed forever.
Mine was in the fall of 2007. I had been on Twitter for a few months, learning how to connect with like-minded folks about the shifts (re:Karl Fisch). I had caught a tweet from Will Richardson, saying he was going to try something new–a live broadcast on an app called Ustream.

That night, I turned on my computer and started working in the kitchen, not paying much attention. Suddenly, I heard a voice coming out of the speaker, “Go for it….Live from the heart of….”

Yikes, someone is there, I thought turning to look at the screen, dropping the dishtowel on the floor. And there they were, Will, David Jakes, and Steve Dembo, in my kitchen. They realized three of us were actually watching them,  and at one minute and 8 seconds or so into the stream, Will says, …”and scmorgan…whover that is!”

Me, hey that’s me! Fascinated, I stayed and chatted with them (well, lurked) for some time, as the conversation moved from beer to books and all about how this tool might be used for learning. Within the next few days, Chris Lehmann was walking around the halls of his school with a laptop running ustream, sharing what was happening. He even put his kids on camera, huge for 2007!

Yeah, that moment from the bar, I realized we have the power to connect and learn like never before. In January, I attended Educon 2.0 at SLA, and by spring had talked to Sheryl Nussbaum Beach about Powerful Learning Practice for our teachers.

Sitting my my kitchen that evening, I think I realized schools could be alive, engaging, and meaningful. The lens through which I saw my world had changed.

When was your moment?

5 thoughts on “Sitting In My Kitchen…

  1. How interesting Susan. Mine was in August of 2007, and funnily enough, involved Will Richardson too. I went to a conference and signed up to do a four hour workshop with some guy by the name of Will Richardson. The experience made me realise education could be different too. The next year, there I was, involved in the same PLP cohort as you. Funny isn’t it, both of us on opposite sides of the world, influenced by the same person, and having our lightbulb moments at similar times.

    Jenny : )

  2. Serendipity! I’m so glad we ended up in the same cohort, Jenny. Hoping for more f2f times as well!!

  3. Thx Susan, for sharing your moment and for reminding me to visit my memories of moments!

    I made a Pecha Kucha relatively recently which describes a major moment for me. (See the link at the bottom! You may have seen this already – if you were with Sheryl at the Pecha Kucha night!)

    Here is some of the text from that 6:40 presentation that details this moment with my Grade ones.
    You know, I never thought I would use computers with kids.  Cuz back in the 70’s I was a ‘humanist’.  OK – I still am!  But they were so mechanistic – however I decided to take a course with Ron Ragsdale at OISE. We used the Commodore Pet. We learned BASIC – there were really no programs available until a little later.

    I kept asking myself, “What can this computer do for me?  What can it do for me?”
    After a few nights I realized I was asking the wrong question!  I had the wrong expectation – the wrong belief!’
    It’s not ‘what the computer can do for me?’ but rather, ‘What can I do with this computer?’
    “What can I do with this computer?”
    It was significant because it was so consonant with my beliefs about learning and education.  constructivism, constructionism, active learning, metacognition, taking charge of one’s own learning, internal locus of control, building knowledge and so forth. And this is still the case today. 
    That question rings true with – 
    So… Question IT. 
    Are we using computers in ways that afford students the opportunities to be in charge of their own learning and to TRULY build new knowledge for themselves?
    So, after that evening, I was moved. 
    It was 1977 so I went and rented a dumb terminal for a month – for 70 dollars – and took it into my Grade One class. 
    I hooked it up to a telephone line connected to OISE.
    And I taught these little grade ones to do simple programming in BASIC.
    Print “Janine”
    Print “Janine 10 times”
    You should have seen their faces!!

    They squared their shoulders… head their heads high.

    They were in control!

    And they wanted to struggle some more!
    They wanted to try new things.
    .. to fail more… so that they might succeed!
    (just like videogames!)

    Did they each have a computer? No!

    Was that a bad thing? No!

    Because it was a social event. It was a ‘happening’.

    It was shared. They all had a stake in it… not just in what they did… but also in what the other kids did.

    Passionate collaboration.

    That was a huge moment for me!

    For your entertainment see the Pecha Kucha at


  4. Thanks for sharing Peter. What fun and what a great question. We should all be asking ourselves (still) that question. Your memory reminds me of some others from the classroom, oh so long ago, too. These moments are the glue that holds us together when things break, life is frustrating, or there doesn’t seem to be enough time. Passionate collaboration indeed.

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