In February, St. Raphael's Catholic School hosted their annual State of the School. As I was assisting the teachers on their presentations and talking about various topics regarding educational technology, a nagging thought kept coming into my mind, "What is Global Contribution?" We talk as educators that we want our students to contribute to the community, but is today's community larger than our local neighborhood? In fact, it truly is a global community, here are a few examples:

  • I studied abroad at Oxford University and on my Facebook page, I am able to connect with friends from my time there.
  • I joined a Ning and am networked with individuals around the world who have the same vision.
  • My blog has been visited from every continent except South America
and a multitude of other things showing me that the world is much bigger than when I was a child.

Whether we know it or not little things have the potential to be contributed globally.

How did I ever come to this conclusion? What very few people know is that I speed skate. I picked up the sport during college, it was due to the fact that Bemidji was literally the "Ice Sports Capital of America". I also tried playing hockey, curling, figure skating, but speed skating stuck. Over the past few years I have been so busy with other things: student teaching, writing my thesis, buying a house, getting married, that I reluctantly put my skating on hold.

This year I made a promise to myself to take my speed skating seriously and devote as much time as I could. However, the speed skating world changed in the past few years. With changes like: boots that are interchangeable from ice blades to inline blades, the Nike swift suit, and the fact that world record times are dropping. I felt like I had literally been moved to another planet, bad crossovers and all.

As a true millennial all of my answers to life should be found online, right? However, speed skating is not as popular here as it is in the Netherlands but rest assured this is the 21st century and I could connect to someone, somewhere that had a connection to speed skating even if it was in Danish.

Then I found a blog, Zen and the Art of Speed Skating (www.andrewlove.org/blog). Who? What? An American a speed skater who decided to keep track of his preparations for the 2006 Olympic Trials and just posted his 500th post on February 29th. I learned that over 1,000 visitors come to his site daily, has had close to 3,300 comments, and will crack 500,000 visitors this year alone. He writes in his blog:

"I never intended to create something like this. I just wrote and photographed what interested me, and the world showed up."

I could only think about how it is such a profound statement. Connecting to something I once saw in a picture, "From personal knowledge, to global contribution." This is so true.

Finally, I just want to send out a thank you Andrew for helping me come to the conclusion about global contribution.




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