Posts Tagged ‘passion’

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

08.30

Q&A with Actress Jeri Ryan

by Deborah Mersino

I’m delighted to bring you the second installment in my new Women Living Their Dreams series. My goal is to spotlight authentic women who are impassioned about their work and willing to shed light on their professional journeys. It’s time to chat with Jeri Ryan, who currently stars as Dr. Kate Murphy on the ABC drama series Body of Proof. Perhaps best known for her iconic role as the liberated Borg, Seven of Nine on Star Trek: Voyager, Jeri also has starred as Tara Cole on Leverage and Veronica “Ronnie” Cooke on Boston Public, and has had recurring roles on the science fiction show Dark Skies and the legal drama series Shark. Ryan played opposite Rene Zellweger and Ewan McGregor in the 2003 comedy “Down with Love,” and appeared in “Dracula 2000″ opposite Gerard Butler. She describes herself as “Mom, wife, actress, foodie, Francophile, obsessive gardener, and Twitter-addict.” I would describe her as generous, warm, and wickedly smart.

1. Many youngsters dream of becoming a Hollywood star; however, you’ve actually made that dream a reality. How did it happen?

Honestly, with a combination of preparation and luck. I had some experience acting in community theater, and then I majored in theater at Northwestern University. The education & training I got there was pretty critical in making sure I was prepared for it when I got my “break”. And that’s where a lot of luck comes in…! My Chicago agent had sent my headshot to some LA casting directors before I moved out and one of them called me in for a meeting. I read a scene for them and they called a great agent on the spot and told them they had to sign me. So I was INCREDIBLY lucky to get an agent before I even moved, which is not usually the case!

2. What qualities have served you best throughout the trajectory of your career?

Persistence and a thick skin! It’s a tough industry; there’s a LOT of rejection, and a lot of critique about physical qualities — you’re either too pretty or not pretty enough, too blonde or not blonde enough, too tall or not tall enough, too thin or not thin enough.

3. What has surprised you the most about life as an actor?

I’d have to say — and this is specific to the life of an actor in Hollywood, as opposed to the theater –  how much (and how quickly) the industry changes.

4. How did school prepare you – or not?

As I mentioned earlier, the training I received in the craft of acting was invaluable. I learned how to create a character and give them life. But it was (at least at the time) pretty specific to theater. It didn’t prepare me at all for the technicality of acting for the camera, which is a very different beast.

5. Many gifted and talented kids feel “different” and/or “out of sync” with others. Did you ever experience that growing up in Kentucky and/or at Northwestern?

I don’t think there are many people who can say they never experienced that as a kid. But I was an army-brat who moved around a lot. When you’re always the new kid, you learn very quickly how to get the lay of the land and find out how to fit in with your new classmates. I do have one memory that stands out: I lived in a very small town in Western Kentucky from 6th grade – high school (the longest my family had ever lived in one place.) I kept a diary for a couple of years when I was 12 or 13. I was writing in it one day (and I remember this so vividly!)  I wrote “…I don’t think he really likes her” — and then went back and crossed out the word “think” and wrote “thank”, even though I knew it was incorrect, because that’s how all my friends wrote it. Pretty sad that I so badly wanted to avoid being different that I’d “correct” my own diary.

6. Did you have any teachers and/or mentors who really “saw you” and impacted you powerfully? Can you share a bit about them?

My middle school music teacher, Gayle McDermott, was an incredibly supportive mentor for me during those years. (As a side note, I was on a talk show many years later and they surprised me by flying Mrs. McDermott out to LA to appear on the show with me!)

7. Do you have any thoughts on how the United States could improve its support of gifted, talented, and creative learners in public schools?

It would be wonderful if schools could offer as many opportunities & challenges — both academic & creative — as we would like. Unfortunately, until our public schools are sufficiently funded to support any of our students… let’s just say we have a long way to go.

8  What are the biggest misconceptions people have about life as a working actor?

That it’s glamorous. There are moments, sure, but that’s not the norm!

9. What advice do you have for students interested in pursuing an acting career?

If there’s anything else that you would be happy doing, DO THAT. If you truly need to act to be fulfilled, then really COMMIT to it. Get trained — really work on your craft. You can’t control when your break will come. What you can control is making sure that you’re prepared when it does. Be persistant. Be confident. Finally, and this is much easier said than done, don’t, don’t, DON’T take the rejections personally. It’s just part of the business.

10. What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned in your career?

That it’s a bit of a numbers game. There will always be many more “no”s than “yes”es.

11. What are you most proud of?

My amazing kids.

12. Can you tell us something about your non-professional life that might surprise people?

I’m a big science geek.

13. What’s the most rewarding part of your life right now?

That I’m able to balance getting paid to do what I love and having a real life with my incredible family. I’m a lucky, lucky lady!

You can catch Jeri Ryan on Body of Proof’s Season Premier on Tuesday, September 20th at 10/9 CST. She’s also currently starring in the live action series for Warner Brothers, “Mortal Kombat: Legacy,” as Sonya Blade. You will find her on Twitter at @JeriLryan and she tweets a lot! Feel free to leave her a comment here too.

And stay tuned for future installments in the Women Living Their Dreams series. #StrongWomenRock

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!

07.06

Global #gtchat Sponsors Rock; It’s Time to Share Your Gratitude!

Global #gtchat has become a vibrant hub of sharing, dialogue, and collaboration among parents of gifted learners, educators, psychologists, scholars, and advocates throughout the past 18 months. We’ve grown from small group of early adopters to a wide range of participants from all over the world. New faces continue to pop up in our #gtchat stream each week. It’s a privilege and an honor to see the interactions, learning, and outcomes resulting from this growing group of impassioned advocates.

Your Voice Matters – A Chance to Thank Our Sponsors

I wanted to give you each an opportunity to say a quick thank you to our Global #gtchat Sponsors. If you have benefitted in any way throughout the past year and a half from your interactions on #gtchat and/or via the connections you’ve made, would you “Leave a Reply” for our Global #gtchat Sponsors below? Taking a minute or two to share your appreciation and how you’ve benefitted from #gtchat will help our Sponsors realize how valuable their support is to you – and all of us who have dreams of growing awareness and collaborating on behalf of gifted learners!

Our #gtchat sessions would not be possible without the generous support of our Global #gtchat Sponsors. Personally, I cannot thank the Gatton Academy and the Summer Enrichment Program at the University of Northern Colorado enough for their early support of this new platform. I’m also pleased to announce the Gifted Development Center (GDC) in Denver has become our newest Global #gtchat Sponsor. You’ve likely heard me raving about GDC’s services recently, and I’m thrilled to be able to have this organization on board for the next year.

In addition to commenting below, be sure to “like” these inspiring organizations on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and/or check out their Web sites. You’ll find lots of useful information! Here are the links for you:

Thank you in advance for taking time out of your busy schedules to acknowledge these supporters! You rock too.

Fondly,

Deborah Mersino