2020 – What a year!

2020, who’d have thought it hey? Looking back, it’s been a pretty rough year for everyone. We lost loved ones, we’ve practically been forced to lock ourselves up at home and our mental health and wellbeing collectively have definitely taken a knock. 

It was especially hard for me. I lost a lot of friends and loved ones. I wasn’t able to meet with friends and family for the best part of the year. I’ve always thrived off in-person conferences and making real life connections that have gone on to blossom into some of my closest friendships. We lost all those opportunities in 2020. I also missed out on the opportunity to go to Anaheim and present at ISTE, which was a huge disappointment, especially after winning the People’s Choice ballot! And to top it all off, I spent the last quarter of the year battling a long term illness.

But COVID-19 aside, I look back at the year that’s been and I can’t help but celebrate some truly wonderful things that have happened that might not have if 2020 had just been another year we were used to. 

There’s a meme that I saw a few months ago that said, “Who’s been responsible for your organisation’s digital transformation?”

a) CTO
b) CEO
c) COVID-19

I think most organisations (especially schools) will agree that COVID-19 was the primary factor in forcing organisations to embrace digital (and sometimes much more productive and efficient) ways of working. For someone who has championed digital transformation for many years, it’s been great to see the leaps we have taken in embracing these digital tools. I think we’ll all agree that we just wish that it could have been under better circumstances. 

In my last post after I was awarded the title of EduFuturists Network Manager of the Year, I thanked just some of the connections that I made both in person and online, that helped me to achieve such accolades. That theme definitely continued through 2020 and I don’t know how I would have got through some of the rough moments without those connections and wonderful friendships. I have to thank every leader in Global GEG! What we have achieved this year since its inception in May has been nothing short of phenomenal! We reached and helped to inspire tens of thousands of educators worldwide. None of this would have been possible without the unbelievably hard work and support of the Global GEG Team. Every one of them has put in so much time and effort, for which I and the other founding members are truly grateful.

To the founding members, you guys are some of the most awesome human beings I know. Thanks to your amazing kindness, I now sit here writing this in my brand new “#ITjustworks Headquarters!”.

On the subject of #ITjustworks, my Google Certified Innovator project. I launched my project in July and was able to reach more than 2,000 people worldwide. Far more than I could have in person. So, that’s one example where the move to virtual events certainly benefited me! Once again, it was thanks to the team at Global GEG, as well as the kind sponsors, who made this amazing event possible! 

I also want to thank the amazing team at Google for Education and Canopy, especially Dan Stratford and Andy Caffrey for the opportunity to be a coach at the first ever virtual innovator academy, #VIA20. It was an honour to be the coach of my lovely team, #TeamCarnivals! You are all superstars and I am so excited to see your projects grow in 2021!

A special thank you to May Jue from the Google for Education team, for being a huge support with everything GEG related, for being a support behind the scenes and also taking the Google Certified Trainer program to the next level with some great benefits for trainers!

To Daren, Ben, Wendy and Toby, for supporting everything GEG UK related! You guys have done a great job with “Nice & Slow” and “Short and SUITE”.

And finally, of course, to my wonderful family, without whom, none of this would be possible!

I know there are tons more people to thank and I could go on forever, but know that I am immensely grateful to everyone who has supported me this year!

2020 certainly didn’t go the way we imagined this time last year. But, without 2020, some of the things and the connections and friendships that we now cherish the most might not have been made either!

Here’s hoping for a return to some of our fond normalities in 2021, but also to reaching new heights to make it the best year ever! Fingers crossed I’ll finally make it to the USA for #ISTE21 in San Antonio!