Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Day 13: Creating Relationships

Tonight as I stared at  the picture of Mr. Rogers on my SxSw EDU tote bag from PBS Kids  I started to think about all the people I learn from, especially as the people in my neighborhood changes so often.   For example in less than a month,  I've gone from a neighborhood where there was hardly anyone around while we boondocked in the desert in Holtville California to a city filled with people living and learning together (Austin, Tx).

And as I thought about this,  it occurred to me that the most important thing we can CREATE as we live and learn is relationships.   And even though today's tools have the potential to disconnect us from each other,  they also have the power to help us create and keep relationships and expand our neighborhood - if we leverage their power to keep us connected. 

Thanks to our solar panels and our 100 gallon water tanks, we can go a few weeks without being plugged in and escape to some pretty quiet and remote places, but even during that time I have technology that keeps me connected and building relationships with family, colleagues,  and friends thousands of miles away.  We have both Verizon and AT&T cell service which provides us to with enough bandwidth to access most any resources we need  to stay connected with neighbors many miles away.

Then there are those days when we change neighbors almost every night. It took us about 5 days to travel from Holtville, CA to Austin TX.  The long travel days gave me large blocks of times to connect with others  as part of my work.  And each of the  4 nights we spent on the road provided very different neighbors.  Sometimes we learn from long conversations over a bottle of wine, sometimes we learn by short conversations as we pull in for the night,  sometimes we learn from conversations we inevitably overhear from the close proximity and the open windows on a warm evening, and sometime we learn from the messages we receive from their home on wheels.  

An overnight stop to visit some friends from Vermont  who have a site at this RV resort
 gave us a chance to empty our tanks and refill our water supply.

An overnight stay at Walmart not only gives us a place to stay for the night
but also a chance to pick up groceries, TP, or other supplies.

This truckstop gave us a chance to chat with folks
who were making repairs on their homes.

And on our last night of free camping  at a
Winery through Harvest Host
 we experienced a wine tasting with these
new friends.

Finally we arrived in Austin where BELLA (our home) would remain nestled in a Pecan Grove for the month of March.   Although we are here for the month, our neighbors change often as the site next to us has turned over several times during this busy time where SxSw Festival/Conference descends on Austin. 

Camping downtown Austin provides us with the chance to experience Austin SxSW without having to drive.  Each day we walked a mile and a half to the Convention center where we experience NON stop learning via two back to back conferences (SxSw EDU) . and (SxSw Interactive).  

And each day we connect with new and old friends and colleagues from all over the world. 

 Learning about Virtual Reality with friends we visit when the bus makes its way through Colorado.   Jeff from Sparkfun and Rachel from Bldg 61 Makerspace. 

Talking about the power of our Vermont schools partnering with WeVideo with John Kline.  I even scored two Green Screen T-Shirts! 

So cool when a fan girl wins a door prize from design thinking evangelist
and amazing educator Dan Ryder

And what better day to spend International Women's Day than making new friends
with women from all over the world who are committed to a #BalanceForBetter.

and there is nothing like connecting  from the people
from your home state while you are out on the road.
Thank you to these South Burlington School educator for sharing your
enthusiasm about teaching our our kids.

One of the themes with all these connections and conversations at SxSwEDU was that each of us were determined to provide our students with the skills and tools to create their future. 

So as we explore how we can Create, Make, and Learn in this series, I am reminded that the No. 1 thing we should make sure we CREATE as we strive for a better future is RELATIONSHIP. 

Thank you Mr. Rogers for always reminding us of this!

Won’t You Be My Neighbor   

Documentary Feature, 2018

This definitive portrait of Mr. Rogers, America’s favorite neighbor and an enduring force for kindness and compassion, is the film the world needs right now.

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