I have to confess, writing this post is a method of procrastinating from what I really need to be doing. But I’m blocked on that task. You see, I don’t feel very creative and that’s what my other task requires. So, I thought I’d tell a related story…
Long, long ago I was in graduate school. During that time I had a year-long internship at an educational software company, Tom Snyder Productions. While there, which was amazing by the way, I had the pleasure of meeting and occasionally working with their in-house illustrator, Peter Reynolds. (@peterhreynolds) Of course, when I completed my studies I wanted to work there with Peter and the other fabulous people. But alas, they weren’t hiring.
So I found another position that was stimulating and challenging, though I won’t go into it here. A few years later, circumstances took me to Vermont where I happily re-entered the classroom again as a teacher. That was a wonderful move for me and I could apply so much of what I had learned in the preceding years.
Fast forward another 15 years. Time flies, eh? I attended an educational technology conference here in Vermont. I was especially excited because the keynote speaker was no other than Peter Reynolds. In the years since we had last seen one another, Peter became even more of an accomplished illustrator, had published children’s books of his own, and had started Fablevision with his twin brother Paul.
Before the keynote, I went up to re-introduce myself to Peter and before I could do so, he greet me by name. Wow- it had been many years. I was so impressed. I sat down in the audience to watch Peter in action. He was opening up and getting ready to share his book, The Dot. He called me by name in front of all of those people and asked me to come and assist him with some drawing. I froze. I totally froze. I didn’t know what was in store and I got scared about my artistic ability. I actually, in front of all of those people, declined. Yes, you heard me right, I declined due to my lack of confidence about my creative ability.
Well, for those who know The Dot, (Is there anyone that doesn’t know the book? If you’re one of those, you are in the minority! ) the book is about exactly what was happening at that moment in my life. Poor Vashti doesn’t have confidence to create and a wonderful teacher tells her to ‘make her mark’. It opens up a whole new world for Vashti. Yet here I was, scared to make my mark.
Peter found someone else to make their mark that day. I have thought about that moment often with regret that I couldn’t get past my fear. One great thing that came out of Peter and I ‘reconnecting our dots’ that day was that he asked me to be one of Fablevision’s ambassadors. Through that community, I have connected with other ambassadors and expanded my personal learning network. Within weeks after I saw Peter, I had the opportunity to assume the role of technology integration specialist for our school district. I have been able to stay connected to Fablevision on a new level.
The lead ambassador for Fablevision, Terry Shay (@tjshay), is the perfect person for that role. He inspires, motivates, and shares uplifting positive ideas. That year, 2009, Terry came up with the idea to spread the word about The Dot and connect many teachers and students globally around a common theme by encouraging them celebrate International Dot Day. And so it was born.
I can’t share statistics here, though I’m sure Terry has them. But International Dot Day has grown each year by leaps and bounds. It is celebrated around September 15th-ish and there have been dots created and shared from every continent – even Antarctica! This year, the goal is to get 1 million participants making dots. Are you one of them? Have you signed up yet?
So, back to my procrastination… I’m doing a day of training with some educators from my school tomorrow. I have to create a sample video to demonstrate an app. I’m stuck. I’m not feeling creative. Again. Many times over the last 4 years I’ve needed to take a deep breath, channel Vashti, and let those creative juices flow. And each time, it works out. I’m feeling confident that I’ll work through this one too – thanks to Vashti and The Dot, and thanks to Peter and Terry as well. For me and I’m sure for many others, every day is Dot Day.