The Smartest Person in the Room

In Daniel Pink’s Drive, he describes the point in history where Wikipedia and Microsoft Encarta were competing online encyclopedias. Encarta had the benefit of being the product of those at Microsoft, paid employees who were set to design an all encompassing online encyclopedia. Wikipedia would take advantage of the masses, asking volunteers to work for free to document the collective knowledge of humanity. As Pink points out, at the time, it was a no brainer that Microsoft, as a massive corporation would produce the superior online encyclopedia. We all know how it turned out for both Encarta and Wikipedia. The power of the collective whole prevailed, and Wikipedia became the largest gathering of information on the internet.

As educators, we can learn from the example of Wikipedia. We can learn from each other and grow together. There was a time when many teachers closed their door and were left on their own. They might share with a teacher in the classroom next door or occasionally a teacher down the hall. As connected educators, we are now more powerful than we ever were. At Edcamp Leadership in Philadelphia last year, I heard an educator say the smartest person in the room IS the room. This is what we must learn from the Wikipedia example. We are all smarter for the connections and collaboration that we are able to utilize. As connected educators share and collaborate, we grow on a daily basis. Great ideas are out there and being shared every day. Trust the room!

When four o’clock faculty was started a few months ago, my goal was to share my knowledge, things that I have learned that might help someone else. I also wanted to share my influences, those other educators who have inspired me. What has happened in the process is that I have continued to grow and learn. I have learned from educators who reach out to comment on a post. I have learned from educators who share similar thinking and mindset. I have learned from the many educators who have shared their responses to 5 questions.

As we approach the end of the school year, I want to say thank you to all of the educators who have shared with me over the past six months. Thank you for continuing to read Four O’Clock Faculty. Thank you for the daily inspiration that helps me in my journey as an educator. I look forward to continuing to share what I have learned on, but also look forward to gathering new ideas and inspiration from the many dedicated educators who also realize the collective power of the room. Just as Wikipedia took advantage of the masses to document knowledge, connected educators are able to continue learning from each other, continuing to improve on a daily basis, and continuing to rely on the room.

By @RACzyz



Daniel Pink. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. 2011.

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