Just the beginning

“beginnings are usually scary, and endings are usually sad, but its everything in between that makes it all worth living.”
Bob Marley

Making it real
Making it real

In November I started #AfricaEd with inspiration and help from some newly found friends on Twitter.  I had no idea what would happen.  I had a lot of questions. Would anyone join the chat?  Would I be able to maintain it once I started?  Would it be beneficial to anyone?  But I also realized I had nothing to lose.  Maybe I throw some Tweets out there and end up with nothing.  Big deal. I’d lose a few minutes of my time writing Tweets and checking my feed for responses then fade back into anonymity among the Twitterverse.  I figured I could live with that.

I had no idea the connections I would make, the doors that would open or the time I would end up putting into the chat.  It’s been awesome. I don’t have any delusions of grandeur that this was a world changing Twitter chat or that a multitude of people are sitting at their computers waiting for 7am GMT each Tuesday and Thursday with their homemade #AfricaEd T-shirt and coffee mugs, but I do feel like it has been successful.  There have been a core group of people who have showed up for almost every chat and we’ve had some fantastic conversations.  The topics have been mostly solid and, I think, provided opportunity for real learning and growth among participants.  That’s all I wanted.

As a bonus, I’ve made a ton of “stranger friends”, been asked to be a part of Learning 2 Africa, managed to set up multiple Mystery Skypes for colleagues at school, helped my wife connect with other counselors and start a Mindfulness group within AISA, started collaborating with colleagues in four different countries to develop a Digital Citizenship for Parents program over the coming summer and countless other opportunities along the way.  I reflect in amazement at how 140 characters here and there can open up the world and create connections.

Sunset in South Africa
Sunset in South Africa

So as the sun sets on the year, thanks to each and every person out there who showed up for every chat, dropped by from time to time, stumbled on us once or lurked in the background.  I hope you all enjoyed the chats as much as I did this year.  I have had a great time getting to know so many fantastic educators across Africa and across the world.  Enjoy your summer break and I hope you will come around again in August. Oh, and bring a friend with you too.

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