July 20, 2015
As the young girl bent over gazing into the water, she saw a beautiful adventuresome young lady smiling back at her.

This is an exciting time of year. Students are looking toward the summer with excitement and families are making plans for activities that will take them on new adventures. As educators, this is a time of looking back over the year and defining lessons that were awesome and those that didn’t quite go as planned. Summers are a busy time of renewal and asking how can we improve on the impact we are making with our students. At NETA this year Adam Bellow made a brief but noteworthy comment to “Take time to Reflect.” So often we rush from activity to activity, staying busy and believing we are making great progress. If we fail to evaluate where we have been and what effect our lessons have created, we are gambling with our students’ future. 

What changes did we make this year and were they worthy of refinement? Next year what can we do to better help our students shape their own future? Are we helping them to be creative and find their voice in this world? These were questions asked by George Couros at NETA 2015. 

George challenged many of our concepts of education. “Learning is creation, not consumption”; even more it is “meaningful creation!” He talked about the need for students to take risks; “Find a safe way for your students to have an audience”.  “Kids need our guidance”, we are not bystanders, disconnected, uncaring and unconcerned. We need to keep them safe, there is a lot of danger out there but without guarded risk, growth will be diminished. How can we help them find their voice in the world?

As a videographer I often see the world through a lens. When you look in a mirror you see who you are for a brief moment but through a camera you come to life, both the good and the bad. Through the lens your students can reflect on themselves and their world, a first step to discovery, creativity and sharing their voice.

I leave you today with a thought that George Couros challenged us with: “To inspire meaningful change, you must make a connection to the heart before you can make a connection to the mind.”

Gently the grandmother knelt by the side of lake, once again gazing into the water as she had done decades before. This time her granddaughter was by her side smiling down at the reflection of the two connected figures. A tear dropped from the grandmother’s eyes rippling in the water as she reflected on the years that had passed. 

May your reflections guide your path as you enjoy your summer and prepare for another year of exciting enrichment with your students.

-William Bolen, Videographer