In February, upon returning from Educon I blogged about the importance of building relationships in education-and in life. This is true in the classroom, in your school, your district, your community, your family-wherever you are in life. Maybe that is why social networking apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Ning, and a host of others have reached a critical mass. In this electronic, fast moving, digital  world where anyone and everyone has access to all the information they need-and more-in spite of the independence this inspires, we are feeling the need to stay connected more than ever. But connecting electronically is not enough to create the types of lasting, trustworthy relationships we need and desire to learn and grow.

In July I had the fantastic opportunity to connect and learn from some amazing people who just happen to be educators. Thanks to federal funds our district received via the federal government’s Enhancing Education through Technology budget, I was able to put together a three week technology summer institute-a veritable “buffet of knowledge” according to one of my teachers. The idea grew from my PLN, and the connections I had made throughout my career, and the year. From little more than a tweet and a request for workshop facilitators, I was able to connect and get to know Kyle Pace, and Steven Anderson; I was able to re-connect with Paula White, Pam Carr, Elizabeth Peterson, Marcy Royce, and John Fladd. I also re-connected with several of my own teachers, including Kathy Vetter, Sandy Blanc, Andrea Levesque and Jennifer Fritz. We invited teachers from area districts to participate-and so I was able to make connections with five area school districts; getting to know some of their teachers. Besides the opportunities for thoughtful collegial conversation with education leaders from as far south as Missouri-the institute brought together more than 50 k-12 teachers from our district from 3-30 hours over 15 days. Teachers were able to connect with each other, connect ideas, and share their stories-an amazing opportunity for all of us. In the coming days I will be creating a Summer Learning 2010 wiki with many of the best resources shared from those three weeks. In the meantime, here are some links to help you connect to some of my friends’ favorite resources:

Create Communicate, Collaborate Presentation-Steven W. Anderson

Everything Google Presentation, Kyle Pace; resources via Richard Byrne

Using Primary Sources to Teach Visual Literacy, Paula White

Using Audacity to integrate music across the curriculum- Elizabeth Peterson

How to be a Search Guru- Kathy Vetter, Somersworth High School Librarian

FREE Web 20 tools for awesome projects– John Fladd, Deerfield Community School

Moodle 101- Pam Carr, Oyster River High School and Virtual Learning Academy teacher

Photoshop- Sandy Blanc, Somersworth High School art teacher

Animation-ish by Fablevision- Andrea Levesque, Somersworth elementary teacher

Learning to use SMART Notebook software– Jennifer Fritz, Somersworth middle school teacher