Day 3 – 12: Reflections on Connected Learning

The 2014 IERN Sharpens Iron Summit Tour consisted of crossing the city of Pittsburgh in search of effective models to help ensure that high-quality enrichment opportunities were accessible to all. You know, creating an infrastructure for learning.

Path graphic


When I would take selfies, over, and over, and over, and over again; people would question the effectiveness of posing with the cool crews in “The Burgh”

Which brings me to the value of striking a pose for the camera. So much of how culture is transferred will deal with our digital footprint and the legacies we leave that are documented digitally. The revolution for education reform may not be televised, but it must be documented. There is a tremendous amount to learn by capturing culture and learning opportunities digitally. In fact, as I write this I’m watching a movie.

Interestingly enough, I know the wardrobe director for the lead character. It was almost exactly two years ago when I tutored his daughter here in Pittsburgh. She was on the road with her parents, a new venture for all three of them. I was chosen to help with homeschooling, I happily accepted.

Miss M

The movie continues to play in the background and at this very moment I can see a story unfolding about a parent’s willingness to fight relentlessly to see their child safe, protected, and supported. The toughest part of being a parent is having to simultaneously master self-improvement, overcome adversity, and stay well while doing it. This movie is now revealing just how necessary it is to have a deep connection and sincere appreciations for the earth’s landscape and inhabitants in an effort to handle the “tough stuff” in parenting.

If there’s nothing else I’ve learned over this 14 years on again/off-again relationship with Pittsburgh, it’s that life has so much to offer, it’s simply a matter of determining when you’re going to cross that bridge.

#instalifepgh #PittsburghPeaceNearPNCPark  #SelfPortraitInPgh


But about this movie.  I feel like this movie is a huge metaphor for my life at this very moment. There are those driven by greed: those people are interested in nothing beyond survival and complete disregard for who is harmed along the way.

And then there are those of us willing to support group economics, truly understanding that our survival is based off our willingness to support, protect, and ensure the safety of earth’s landscape and inhabitants. Once we create a culture where all lives are supported, protected, and safe then we can live a life of love and not fear.


As the movie plays in the background, I’m reminded of the need to realize the power within your surrender. When you surrender to your purpose, you are equipped with the habits of mind that will allow you to engineer a life you don’t want to escape. I’ve seen the lead character go from a place of poorly managed power, to being at the mercy of the land and inhabitants to survive. I too have been in this position. My last two years in Pittsburgh speak to this position, actually.

This movie, similar to my own life, is also a story of love, of finding connections and foes in unlikely places, and fighting like hell to stay alive. It speaks to the value of being able to engage multi-culturally with the genuine intention to simply understand how to better support, protect, and keep community learning environments safe. So many of us can identify with the lead character’s plight; the most respected for their talents and strength, yet forced to endure the most adverse situations. But one thing I do know for sure, once you conquer the fear of dying, you’ll make life worth living. Makes me think there’s some truth to “only the strong survive.” You must be fearless.  So I’m committing to continuing to connect the dots in an effort to help everyone, no matter the demographic, build bridges to their success.



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