This week was the Google Certified Innovator Academy in Singapore. Congratulations to #SEA19, the latest cohort of Innovators! As usual, the Academy was followed by a Saturday Energiser event that was open to all Innovators. On this occasion, I wasn’t planning to go. For me in Hong Kong, it seemed like too much of a rush to go to Singapore and back in one weekend. But then I kept seeing exciting #SEA19 tweets and, more importantly, lots of familiar faces from my PLN. So, at the last minute, I contacted the organisers, bagged my spot and booked a flight.
I’m so glad that I did!
This blog post is just a quick recap of the weekend. If you are interested in a more detailed blog post about a Google Certified Innovator Academy, click here to read about my experience in Sydney back in May.
The Singapore Energiser group included many people that I have been connected with for a long time. These are people who I call friends and know well, despite the fact that we had never properly met before this weekend. That’s the power of building a PLN! Over time, after many discussions and collaborations, deep and meaningful relationships form. It’s always exciting to meet these connections offline. This quote perfectly captures my experience this weekend. It’s so true!
“Social media won’t replace a handshake but social media done right will change the first meeting from a handshake to a hug.”
At these events, it’s common to feel “imposter’s syndrome”, as if we don’t deserve to be there. The organisers realise this and usually discuss it. I certainly felt like an imposter at my Sydney Academy, surrounded by inspiring educators and overwhelmed by the expectations. I was, therefore, relieved when they addressed it and we realised that we were all feeling the same way. If any Innovators are reading this and feeling like an imposter, believe me, the application process was competitive and your selection was no accident!
But this event was different, probably because it was my second. I didn’t feel like an imposter at all! I was exactly where I belong. These fantastic people inspire, encourage, support and energise me, and they seem to appreciate me in return. I didn’t want it to end!
Booking at last minute meant that I wasn’t really supposed to have an active role. It was too late to sign up to lead anything. But before I even found my seat, Heather Dowd asked me to speak about my Innovator project and its progress. Of course, I was more than happy to! Although my project, Media By Example, is still in its infancy, the site is starting to take shape. This weekend was a fabulous opportunity to share the ideas, gather some feedback and discuss where to take it next. We had some excellent conversations that pushed my thinking.
As I said in Singapore, here are three ways that I need your help at this stage:
- I’m looking for active, student-led class accounts (any social media platform). I want to make it easier than ever to connect classes by creating a bank of accounts that can be filtered by age, location, etc. Please let me know if you are responsible for one or know of any others.
- I would like to invite young digital leaders to share their experiences and projects on the Media By Example blog. I want the blog to be a showcase of positivity, action and advocacy. Again, please reach out if you know someone who might be interested.
- I would like a group of critical friends to take a sneak peek at new features/products and provide feedback along the way. Please sign up to receive updates and previews.
But Media By Example is just one of many Innovator/Advocacy projects that are taking shape. I was invited to a spontaneous chat for Naomi Toland‘s podcast and YouTube channel. It was just four people, around a microphone, having a chat. I love this way of podcasting. Naomi, David Lee, Chris Betcher and I had a good chat about advocacy and building an online presence. You will be able to see this on Naomi’s channel soon. In the meantime, swing by and subscribe! Naomi is one of the few people who I didn’t know very well before this weekend. I’m so pleased that I was able to meet her! She’s a fantastic educator who is doing great things. She’s not great at hiding golf clubs, but that’s another story!
Another project that is on the horizon is Thirsty Thursday. I’m going to join James Abela, Sethi De Clercq and Gary Garcia on this. We’re still thinking about some of the smaller details, but our plan is to schedule a chat about an education topic and encourage others to grab a beverage of their choice (whatever they fancy) and join the discussion. Simple. Watch this space!
Once again, the Energiser event had a big focus on advocacy and offered workshops on different platforms including blogs, podcasts and others. I attended the workshop led by David Lee about how he wrote his book. David offered valuable advice about writing and, in particular, getting started. I was also able to get my own copy of Design Thinking in the Classroom, his book that has been strongly recommended to me by others. If you are interested in design thinking and want to learn more, consider getting your own copy of the book and/or subscribe to his fantastic YouTube channel.
To wrap up a fantastic day in Singapore, I grabbed a beer with Craig Kemp. I couldn’t go to Singapore without reaching out to him! Craig is one of the most supportive and encouraging people on Twitter and someone else who I have been connected with for a long time. It was a pleasure to finally meet him in person!
To conclude, I just want to say how grateful I am to be part of this special community and how glad I am that I didn’t skip this wonderful weekend. I can’t believe that I almost didn’t go! I would encourage all Innovators to attend these Energiser events whenever you can. You will leave feeling energised (the clue is in the name). For those of you who are interested in becoming a Google Certified Innovator, you can find more information here.
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