My head has been spinning with ideas since last week’s #gtchat on Twitter! So many exciting things are beginning to take shape in the online gifted community. 2011 stands to be a pivotal year for gifted advocacy and the advancement of gifted children’s issues.
People have been researching and talking about gifted education for a very long time. I think it’s time for a change. It is time to focus on the needs of gifted children and it is time to work together. For too long, the gifted community has been divided by national boundaries, competing organizations, and parents being shunned by educators. It isn’t working out so well … not for anybody and especially not for the children. I’m not saying that progress hasn’t been made at all. Let me say that again: I’m not saying that progress hasn’t been made at all; it just needs to be kicked up a notch!
I would like to propose the concept of ‘Advocates Without Borders’… all kinds of borders; both real and imagined. I realize that governments at various levels do not and oftentimes cannot work together in this manner. However, through the magic of the Internet, it is now possible for the gifted community to work together and THRIVE via social networking. And I mean … everybody! This includes the sharing of information and resources between researchers and individuals, national organizations working with each other, and teachers working with parents. Out with the old, in with the new! Fantastic? … Not gonna happen? … Too many egos to be bruised? Well, too bad! It has to happen.
Every year the world loses the contributions of brilliant minds because we haven’t found a way to work together. Where would humanity be today if every gifted child were identified; if the needs of every gifted child were met both academically and emotionally; if the dreams of every gifted child were realized? If somewhere in your own education you learned to think critically, the answer should be quite clear. Connecting and working together is the only real choice.
Now that I have your attention; here’s what we need to do! Utilize the Internet to create a ‘digital’ community that can connect those working in the gifted community. We need to connect at every level and through all avenues of social networking. Here’s a little secret: it is already happening! If you are reading this, chances are you’ve already begun the process of looking for answers and want to do more. But this blog in some ways is ‘preaching to the choir’. We all need to investigate ways to become more interconnected and to encourage those on the Internet sidelines to get online!
Here are a few suggestions. Of course, there is #gtchat on Twitter! Last week, Deborah Mersino (chat moderator extraordinaire) began to lay out her vision for 2011 that includes the formalization of #gtchat into a baseline organization that will coordinate the aggregation of the gifted community in a digital format (formal name with appropriate acronym to be determined – see the inherent joke – how many gifted people does it take to decide on a name? … lol). Members were all abuzz and many took her words to heart by starting the process of connection across the many platforms they were already using. It has been phenomenal to see people getting to know each other who might have previously shied away from various avenues of connection. On Twitter, I would suggest that the easiest route to connecting with like-minded people is to do a search for #gtchat and start to follow the members found there. Then, check out who these people follow and those who follow them. Facebook and Facebook Groups is an obvious next step. One of the best pages to start at would be ‘Ingeniosus’, Deborah Mersino’s professional page. Overwhelmed, yet? Next head to LinkedIn if you are a professional involved with gifted issues. Check out groups that mention gifted and talented; both within your own country and internationally.
At first, it may seem like a daunting task or even a waste of time. It is neither of those things. Consider it a necessary first step to becoming the very best advocate for your child. An informed parent is the best thing that can ever happen in the life of a gifted child! Your child is a part of our future. Providing them with the best possible opportunities you can find will potentially change the course of history. The Internet can bring thousands of people who care about ‘your’ child to your doorstep. It’s time to open the door and let us in!