The selection of these individuals does not mean to say they were previously insignificant to the world, nor to declare that 2018 was more important to themselves than other years, and they were not necessarily the most important people of the year. It's just that I noticed certain accomplishments from these folks that impacted my work and thoughts .... and you should know about them too!
This guy was everywhere in 2018! Published a book (DIBS: Using Digital Instruction Blocks), produced and appeared in I-don't-even-know-how-many podcasts like "Ask the FLN" and "EDU at Your Best", wrote and narrated a set of 8(!) articles about Myths of Flipping .... not to mention his moderating duties for nearly all the #flipclasschat sessions on Twitter since the summer.
Personally, this year Matt encouraged and inspired with all those projects -- although I didn't directly acknowledge his impact until now. Also, he was the first Person From Twitter Who Turned Out to Be Real that I met in New Jersey before FlipTech, and we met for a terrific hour in the hotel bar (weird jug of lemonade for him, a local-brew IPA for me) before other visitors arrived for dinner. He helped me start to feel like I could belong in this potentially-intimidating community.
That feeling of potential belonging has been reinforced repeatedly by this man, ever since we first spoke on a snow day in January to record my video introduction as a conference presenter. As I step into the organizing duties of FlipTech New England this fall and winter, I gain new respect on an almost daily basis for what this man and his amazing wife had to consider and problem-solve. I often feel overwhelmed, even though I didn't have to create so many things from scratch!
And, perhaps most importantly, last month Dave bought me the first Philly cheesesteak of my life ("wit" not "witout", of course). I will keep leaning on this guy in 2019, but he deserves recognition this year for inspiring my journey. Probably some day I will go asynchronous too. Maybe.
Our paths crossed several times this year, and I really can't imagine 2018 without Joy in my life*. We co-participated in a webinar this April about "flipping alone" -- that fact alone symbolizes the inherent paradox/jumble/confusion of 2018. Somehow, so does the fact that you cannot find a video recording of that webinar anyplace on the internet. It's almost like it never happened, but I vividly remember planning this event together via Twitter DM and also the moment when Joy asked me to join her for the event, while I was shoveling the back porch in the dark on a warm January evening. 2018 was really weird, right??!
I was delighted to see many people at FTEC, but nobody's arrival was more welcome and surprising than Joy McCourt's. Also, she taught me some intricacies of Canadian federalism and politics!! I will never be the same.
He is not a flipper*, but Jay has been a terrific supporter and a powerful force in my teaching this year. His school is on Hanscom Air Force Base, which means the student population is uniquely transient and connected to the federal government more directly than most of my students. Who else would meet with some guy from Facebook/Twitter in a supermarket on a gorgeous day in August?
Then this month we both got invited to a super-cool event at the Edward Kennedy Institute where we could hear from and briefly meet with four US Representatives who seek real bipartisanship in Congress and government. It seems clear that our paths will cross again.
I cannot move on before noting Jay's selfless sharing of curriculum materials on the MA Civics Facebook page, which at first glance show the many hours of work and countless brain cells that were expended to create these documents. Our tricornered hats are off to you, Mr. Peledge!
* at least not yet ... give me a little time to convert him :)
Also not a flipper, although you can see her recorded lectures on the American Revolution from a few years ago. She was my most important and influential professor at Yale, and the lessons still echo today. Her voice is the editor in my head that guides the organization of my writing and my focus on stating what can be proven, and admitting when it can't.
Professor Freeman's persistence and patience paid off with The Field of Blood, the deserves-to-be-influential book about the dark truth of violence and threats in American politics for decades before the Civil War. I'm not exactly sure how, but the lessons of this book will appear in my 8th grade social studies classes, because they are eerily and unfortunately relevent today.
If the year were 2013, then this educator would also be on the top list of Andrew's influences. However, he's back in the top 3 because of that FTEC keynote (yeah yeah, there is clearly a theme here in case you haven't noticed). I blogged about that address soon afterward, so I don't need to summarize it here. Then a few weeks later I nervously recorded a video interview with the man himself for the FLN newsletter. Ugh, it looks like a visual definition of cringey-ness. Please don't watch. Sorry I brought it up! Better to listen to his Ask the FLN episode with Matt Moore (there he is again!!)
Aaron's impact means more than words can say. (Only 4 other people get that joke.)
I still believe that his claim at FTEC that "flipping is mostly about the videos" has been lost in the shuffle somehow, and I want to maintain and uphold that message and all its implications. That's one of my driving forces to make FTNE happen, and one of my big takeaways from 2018. Thank you for sharing all the deep dark honesty of everything, Mr. Sams!