Thursday, January 7, 2016

"So you've sold your soul..."

While at the Bringing-IT-Together conference (one of the best gathering of learners in North America) in November 2015 I had the opportunity to present at a few sessions, mostly on OneNote (of course?) but I also got to work with some folks from Microsoft and, in recognition of being a Microsoft Education Fellow and Innovative Expert Educator and my school being a Microsoft World Tour School, they gave me an amazingly red t-shirt with the image below on the back.
I'm not one for "labels" (Distinguished Educator, Certified Innovator... all those pretentious, self-aggrandizing badges from various companies... what was the SmartBoard one?) .  I'm not a fan of wearing corporate labelling, either, and am regularly removing tags, flags and the like from my clothing.  And except for PCMI, I'm not one for t-shirts at all (I used to have to wear a collared shirt to sit at the dinner table), but I was very humbled that our Microsoft Canada Education rep Lia De Cicco-Remu had gone to the effort of recognizing our contributions that I wore the shirt the second day of the conference.  And I liked the way the artist had brought a lot of important ideas together into one design -- I shall track down her name.
But sure enough, friends noticed and one of them said "So you finally sold your soul to Microsoft, eh?"  I replied as I have whenever my enthusiasm (or my wardrobe) emphasized a particular company's product -- I will sleep with anyone who produces a better learning experience for my students.  I will push them out of the bed, though, if something better comes along,  For the past eight years, right now, for the foreseeable future, Microsoft has been bringing their A-game, first with OneNote on a pen-based tablet computer (okay, and then we ran with it) and now the on-going development around Office365.  There is nothing better on the market for the learning that goes on in, around and beyond our School.  Not a day goes by that a different teacher (or staff member ... they're on board now too) expresses to me how one aspect of Office365 has made learning more visible, deeper, easier, more collaborative or their job/life more interesting, quicker, better.  Microsoft Canada has been incredibly supportive and their staff are nothing short of amazing. 
So I'm quite happy to sleep with them.

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