Last summer I had the privilege of participating in Unplugd11, an experience unlike any other I have had. Unplugd11 was an opportunity for educators from across Canada to meet, to reflect and to write together, but it was more than that.
It was the people. Never before had I been in a place where every one of the people present were so passionate about education. Participants gave up their time and paid their own way, flying as far as 4300 km (2700 miles) to get there.
It was the location. We first met at a hotel in downtown Toronto and then travelled by train to a solar-powered experience at Northern Edge Algonquin. This retreat center is on a lake and surrounded by forest. Time seems to stand still there.
It was the fact that we all HAD to unplug. At the Edge, there is no internet access. No cell phone service. No contact with the outside world. There were only rich conversations.
It was the task. Going to Unplugd meant that you had to bring a piece of writing with you. Once there, we were divided into groups that worked on editing and bringing together all of the varied pieces of writing in a collaborative authorship experience.
And yes, it was the food. Mealtimes were a time of relaxed conversation and sharing over delicious organic and locally raised food.
This year, Unplugd is not just for Canadians. Unplugd12 will bring together people from around the world in an international education summit.
The best part is that I GET TO GO BACK! More meaningful conversations, more unspoiled wilderness, more writing and more great food.
If you are passionate about education and want to see change, apply to attend. I hope I see you there.