Posts Tagged ‘advocates’

11.26

Gratitude for Those Working in Education

By Deborah Mersino

Make no mistake about it. Education is at a crossroads in the United States. Wherever you stand on Common Core, graduation rates, budget cuts, poverty’s impact on outcomes, teacher unions, coaches, public versus private, teacher evaluations, Gates and other corporate education influences and/or digital learning, you’ll find a slew of opponents to your opinion. What is clear, though, is that we have hundreds of thousands of individuals who have chosen to serve learners with their time, talents, and passion.

Today, I applaud you.

I applaud you for waking up extra early, so you can fine-tune that lesson plan on the trajectories of hurricanes or grade the last batch of persuasive essays on whether O. Henry should be pardoned. I applaud you for spending your evening at Michael’s and using your extra time and sadly even your own money to ensure your first-grade turkey art projects bring joy to your students.

I commend Algebra teachers who are compacting curriculum in nearly impossible ways because of furlough days and budget cuts. I applaud administrators working with new and old teachers alike to ensure they feel valued for their own creativity and impact.

I applaud language arts teachers and librarians who help bring words to life and connect stories to emotion and humanity. Here’s to the social studies teachers and curriculum masters who challenge students to think about Columbus, Kent State, and the Boston Massacre in a new light and the physics instructors inspiring future engineers and problem solvers.

To the educators and counselors who not only know students’ sometimes tragic back stories, but do what they can to let these students know they matter and provide support, I’d like to give you a standing ovation.

Today, I salute professors who hold high expectations and hopes for their students. More and more of you are being paid far less than you should, yet we demand and command that you ready the next generation to lead and prosper. Here’s to you.

To the tireless board members, district leaders, and education advocates who spend their days and/or evenings trying to make sense of it all, I tip my hat to you. Here’s to the staffs of education associations and foundations who work day in and out to fulfill vital missions. And to the PTO volunteers, janitors, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, music teachers, and robotics and sports coaches, as well as after-school care and office workers who go of your way to make students feel seen and valued, I thank you.

Wherever you are located and whatever role you’re playing, I hope the gifts and passion that you have been sharing so freely are reflected back to you in spades today – and in the years ahead. You deserve it big time.

12.19

5 Gifts from 2011; 5 Hopes for 2012

As we come to the close of this year, I find it particularly refreshing to look back and reflect on the many blessings, which have been bestowed on this community of impassioned educators, parents, and gifted education advocates. Here are just five of the happenings, which have brought me hope and renewed my belief in our ability to positively alter the future for gifted learners via digital media collaboration, the removal of walls, creative programming, and strategic communications and advocacy.

1. Global #gtchat continues to grow.

Our worldwide chat is now officially two years old! Congratulations to all of you who have helped make #gtchat what it is today. I continue to be overwhelmed by the devotion of participants who have made – or are just starting to make – #gtchat a regular part of their week and learning. Please join us for our last chat of 2011 this Friday, December 23rd at noon (EST), as we reflect as a community on “Progress Made in 2011; Hopes for 2012!” Global #gtchat will then take a holiday hiatus and resume its regular schedule on Friday, January 6th at noon (EST) and 7:00 pm (EST).

2. People throughout the world are recognizing the power of collaboration & digital platforms to benefit education.

This year, participants from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, Germany, Honduras, India, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, and all throughout the United States demonstrated the power inherent in sharing resources, dialogue, and ideation in real-time to benefit these learners and those who serve them. The Ingeniosus site drew a record 55,000+ unique visitors from 150 countries in 2011 alone for a total of 800,000+ hits to date. <=look what you’ve created!

3. I’ve had a dream come true.

When I participated in a Keynote Panel, moderated by TAGT President Lynette Breedlove, on the power of Social Media at the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented’s Gifted 3.0 Conference, I felt immensely privileged. Addressing 1,000+ educators and parents, I had a ball and was blown away by the amount of interest, enthusiasm, and dedication demonstrated by individuals hungry to tap new professional and personal development opportunities online. Hearing people I’ve never met scream down a hallway, “I just sent my first tweet!” with enthusiasm made my heart sing.

4. I’m honored to be working with three of the finest organizations devoted to gifted learners right now.

For 2011-2012, Global #gtchat Sponsors include The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky and the Gifted Development Center, as well as our new Lead Global #gtchat Sponsor, the Texas Association for the Gifted & Talented (TAGT). I also want to tip my hat to the Summer Enrichment Program at the University of Northern Colorado for its support this past year; it was an honor to serve you!

5. I’ve offered Social Media Trainings/Consults to premier organizations in the United States this year.

Being able to debunk myths about the role of Social Media today, evoke an honest understanding of its power and capabilities, cull organizational findings via customized online surveys, and offer strategic communication and organizational recommendations to institutions and businesses serving gifted learners has allowed me to combine my knowledge and professional marketing experience in such a pragmatic way. When I see light bulbs going off and when I challenge organizations to view themselves in today’s environment versus “business as usual” I am able to see linchpins in action, which is satisfying beyond measure. Moreover, the Ingeniosus Authors Program launched in 2011 and has already started to gain momentum!

My five hopes for 2012 include:

1. Kicking Ingeniosus into full gear.

Ingeniosus is just three years old and is finally figuring out what it wants to be when it grows up – a leading global consulting firm dedicated to fostering connections to benefit gifted learners worldwide. In 2012, I plan to raise the ante on advocacy and programming, and also look forward to expanding the Web site, conducting more Social Media Trainings/Consults, securing additional Global #gtchat Sponsors, and growing the Ingeniosus Authors Program.

2. Being a productive rabblerouser.

I’m committed to continuing to ask hard questions and provoke thought, action, and change. Seeing that my CALL TO ACTION: Making Gifted Education Relevant Today and 10 Ways Social Media and the Web Are Moving Gifted Education Forward posts were among the top-read posts of 2011 has further ignited my commitment to stepping out. Even stumbling across this news from the Government of South Australia’s Department for Education and Child Development reminds me of the exponential power of our work. Casting fear aside, I want to be bold enough to foster new paths and enthusiasm for intelligent advocacy today, new forms of professional development (including digital swaps and real-time collaboration), and a blend of traditional PR and sage digital relations.

3. Speaking to 12,000+ individuals in 2012.

Educators, parents, and gifted education advocates are hungry for connection and learning. In 2012, I have a goal of speaking to 12,000+ people throughout the world via a variety of paid speaking engagements (in-person and Skype). Every person, every voice counts. Every parent who feels inspired, every educator who begins to incorporate more 21st Century Learning with his or her gifted students, every advocate who sees an avenue amid the Perfect Storm of gifted education matters. Every professor of gifted education who sees digital media as an opportunity and takes a risk, every gifted organization that asks itself how it needs to evolve to better serve, every parent who interacts more with local school boards, embraces their intense child, and partners more effectively with schools matters! Contact me if you want to help ensure this happens!

4. Launching the Ingeniosus “Your Move” Awards Program.

This may prove to be one of the most challenging, yet inspirational endeavors yet; however, I’m determined to find a way to birth the Ingeniosus “Your Move” Program into being and provoke young minds to tap digital tools for social good this year. I’m currently working to secure judges and sponsors for this program. Stay tuned for what I hope will be a powerful illustration of the potency of young minds utilizing today’s technology for good while supporting passion and learning with global connections.

5. Remembering always that each person is a part of the harmonious whole.

My life and work has been transformed because of you – yes you. If you’re reading this, if you have started to delve into the world of digital collaboration, and/or if you’re an advocate – young or old, then you have given my life immense purpose and supported my passion. Here’s hoping in 2012, I serve you – and those in your care — with fortitude as I do my part to honor the harmonious whole.

With gratitude,

Deborah Mersino

10.19

TAGT Signs On as Lead Global #gtchat Sponsor!

#gtchat Sponsor logo

By Deborah Mersino

Global #gtchat just got a boost. Today, I’m pleased to announce that the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT) has signed on as a Lead Global #gtchat Sponsor for 2011-2012!

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the work of TAGT, I encourage you to visit the TAGT Web site and check out its upcoming 34th Annual Professional Development Conference, which will take place this year in Austin, Texas from Nov. 30th to Dec. 2nd. Tomorrow, TAGT Executive Board President Michelle Swain will share a Guest Post on the Ingeniosus Blog with all the details on this year’s Gifted 3.0 theme and conference offerings. It’s just around the corner, and it’s all about connections; I could not be more enthused!

According to TAGT Executive Director JJ Colburn, “The Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT) is thrilled to sign on as the 2011-2012 Lead Global #gtchat Sponsor, and we look forward to working together to connect our community. TAGT has been exploring strategies to expand our online presence and #gtchat is a proven leader in providing services to and collaboration between educators, parents, advocates, and gifted learners. Innovative, relevant, and engaging are words that embody the purpose of TAGT and also describe perfectly the endeavors of #gtchat, making this relationship a natural fit.”

The Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT) is the nation’s largest state advocacy group of its kind, providing more than 2,500 engaged and diverse members a forum for exchanging ideas and information about the education of gifted learners. Chartered in 1978, this non-profit organization leads the way in creating and offering meaningful resources to benefit the gifted community. TAGT’s mission is to connect and empower educators and parents to meet the unique social, emotional, and intellectual needs of gifted and talented students, and it carries that mission out by providing relevant, innovative educational services, programs, and resources.

What a privilege to have TAGT step up and recognize the power of #gtchat and collaborative online platforms! TAGT’s Lead Global #gtchat Sponsorship will support the upcoming expansion of the Ingeniosus Web site, including the addition of an Ingeniosus Parent Portal and an Ingeniosus Educator Portal. Moreover, this sponsorship will help ensure Global #gtchat continues to be a source of education and inspiration for the thousands of parents, administrators, educators, psychologists, and gifted education advocates who make up our growing community. Here’s to positively impacting the lives of gifted and talented learners in the year ahead; thank you, TAGT!

08.20

10 Ways Social Media and the Web Are Moving Gifted Education Forward

By Deborah Mersino

Amid early adopters, platform loyalists, time and budget constraints, enthusiasm, privacy concerns, real-time collaboration, media hype, avoidance, and resource-sharing, it’s clear that social media is not only alive and well and impacting the world of gifted education, but it is also truly shifting mindsets and creating opportunities.

Here are 10 ways social media and the Web are catapulting the gifted education movement forward. Some of these developments have been around for a while now; others depict social media’s current and future evolution relative to gifted, talented, and creative learners – and those who serve them. Thank you to those who have helped crowdsource many of these points.

Should you have additional ideas to offer, please “Leave a Reply” so others can benefit. If you’re a parent, educator or organizational leader who is just getting started online, welcome! I’m hoping this post inspires you to delve in further. As always, feel free to contact me with your questions and/or consulting needs. Here we go!

1. Down come the walls

Scholars, gifted education specialists, classroom teachers, administrators, parents, counselors, authors, and advocates are communicating outside of their long-standing silos, which is igniting newfound learning and compelling action.

2. Up comes the engagement and true collaboration

Like never before, you will find parents helping parents, teachers supporting parents, parents enlightening teachers, psychiatrists answering parents’ questions, authors asking for input on new books, journalists finding sources, and teachers sharing ideas online with verve.

3. Read all about it

Access to scholarly articles, resources, videos, podcasts, blogs, and news about the gifted movement is allowing more immediate response and action, especially relative to advocacy.

4. Options galore

Whether searching for homeschooling resources and/or garnering assistance with a passion or specific subject area, open-source and distance learning opportunities continue to give gifted, talented, and creative learners more opportunities to learn 24/7 – often in collaboration with other learners throughout the world.

5. Dialogue develops

Real-time chats, like #gtchat on Twitter, continue to boost understanding among varied audiences and remind us all that gifted learners and those who parent and serve them need and deserve ongoing support. Gifted organizations can – and should – begin planning now for virtual conferences to reach broader audiences cost-effectively and efficiently. And while online discussion platforms have served powerfully for years, we’ll continue to see significant growth in this area and other online parent forums in the years ahead.

6. Facebook groups and Google+ Circles provide ideal platforms

Everyday, these tools allow for audiences to witness and participate in Q&A sessions, professional development, and curricula sharing across the globe.

7. Images create momentum and memories

YouTube, Flickr, video blogs, Skype, and Google+ Hangouts are bringing the power and benefits of gifted education and peer interaction to life.

8. Community comes home

Whether a parent or teacher is looking to connect with others about issues of twice-exceptional students, dual-college enrollment, camps for profoundly gifted learners, and/or students in rural areas, today’s social media platforms are making finding one’s tribe not only possible, but also convenient and rewarding.

9. New Zealand informs New York and vice versa

No longer bound by geography, gifted educators, parents, policy makers and advocates are sharing knowledge, resources, and insights globally.

10. Socratic Seminars in Google+ Circles

We’re just at the beginning of transformative learning. Educators at universities and high schools are already seeing the power of shared learning through social media tools. Group projects and real-time dialogue between professors and students, mentors and students, and learners from different countries will continue to ignite ideation and solutions. Here’s just one of hundreds of examples of an organization recognizing the need to “get it” soon: Stanford University GSB Seeking Social Media & Email Marketing Manager, Marketing & Communications.

No Limits

What impresses me most is the intense commitment shown by teachers who are creating, sharing, and applying the latest social media tools and apps to their curriculum. Parents and students are just now seeing the seeds of true engagement. And we haven’t even scratched the surface yet.

As more private gifted schools, gifted nonprofits, publishers, and psychiatrists adjust their views of social media, they will stop “marketing” to target audiences and begin engaging them. They will cross the aisle to communicate with other fields. They will tap advertising and online sponsorship options instead of simply signing up to be a vendor at a traditional, in-person conference or expecting others to manually visit their Web site without interaction. Those who don’t may soon find themselves struggling, wondering why conference attendance rates, revenues, and donations are down, and/or finally realizing they’re becoming obsolete despite long-standing leadership in the past.

It can be hard sometimes to fully comprehend the complexities inherent in the intersection of social media, education, and marketing. Leaders who see behind the predominant myths and embrace the possibilities truly will be the ones shaping the future. Here’s to all of you who are open to seeing these new realities!

07.19

5 Reasons to Celebrate Parenting a Gifted Learner Today

By Deborah Mersino

James T. Webb, Ph.D. not only “gets” gifted children; but he’s also been working tirelessly for decades to ensure parents get the support they need to better understand their children fully. As author, founder of SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted), and president of Great Potential Press, Webb continues to inspire and educate. Together with the board members and volunteers of SENG, Webb and this organization serve as model exemplars for how individuals and nonprofits can stay fresh and impact.

For my leg of the National Parenting Gifted Children Week Blog Tour (brought to you by SENG), I have decided to focus on the positives of parenting a gifted child. We all know that sanity and harmony can feel elusive at times; however, organizations like SENG continue to remind us that community matters, gifted learners deserve support, and parents need other parents.

So, without further ado, I’m honored to share 5 simple, positive truths about parenting gifted learners today:

  1. Gifted children are complex beings who make life ultra interesting.
  2. Finding other parents of gifted learners has never been easier.
  3. Social media and the Web make finding resources and support a snap.
  4. The more you learn about your gifted child, the more you might find out about yourself.
  5. Our world needs your gifted child.

Let’s take a closer look!

Gifted children are complex beings who make life ultra interesting.

Whether you’ve just started on the parenting journey or have already navigated the complex twists and turns of raising a gifted child, one thing is undeniable. Life is never stagnant! The more you tap organizations like SENG for support and learn about the characteristics of these children, motivation, discipline, peer relationships, sibling relations, stress management, and communication strategies, the more you’ll realize how fortunate you are to be guiding these gifted learners through life. And if you haven’t already downloaded your free SENG NPGC ebook, The Joy and the Challenge: Parenting Gifted Children, do yourself a favor and check it out now.

Speaking of complexities, I recently came across a video, courtesy of SENG Board Member Lisa Rivero’s Everyday Intensity Blog, which blew me away. Click here to access Rivero’s post on Webb’s must-see video on gifted learners. You’ll find yourself nodding in agreement, learning, and appreciating how SENG came to be.

Finding other parents of gifted learners has never been easier.

Finding parents who live in your area, becoming a SENG Model Parent Group Facilitator, and/or starting your own SENG group is just one of many ways to create community. Here’s information on the next training, which will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina. Keep your eye out for training opportunities in your area and/or make a plan to be in Milwaukee next July!

Social media and the Web make finding resources and support a snap.

During NPGC Week only, SENG is offering a FREE SENGinar recording of its popular presentation “Is it a Gift or a Curse?” by Victoria Ragsdell, Ph.D. Sign up during the week of July 17-23, 2011 to take advantage of this limited time opportunity, a $40 value. Register now!

Moreover, whether you favor Facebook, Twitter, Google+, online discussion boards, and/or Webinars, today’s social media and Web are filled with opportunities to find answers, support, and hope. It’s never been easier to find like-minded individuals who have a passion for gifted learners. Take a moment and explore some of the social media and Web platforms available today!

The more you learn about your child, the more you might find out about yourself.

As you arm yourself with new resources, knowledge, and insights pertinent to your gifted child, you may just wind up discovering more about yourself. And couldn’t we all use a bit more grace, understanding, and self-acceptance in this hyper-paced world of ours?

Our world needs your gifted child.

On those days when you’re making tough decisions about the best educational options, coaching kids on friendship challenges, contemplating a grade skip, deciding to homeschool or change schools, and/or find an occupational therapist for your twice-exceptional learner, remember this. You’ve been blessed with raising a child who has the potential to surprise and delight you. This world needs your child, and even though his or her wants and needs may not always align with yours, one thing is clear…these young individuals will find their way into a future that desperately needs them.

So, this week, pat yourself on the back and remember – YOU are to be celebrated!