Maybe it’s obvious to me because I grew up surrounded by celebrities – Newport Beach, California in the 70’s – home to and vacation destination of many Hollywood stars. My sister’s baby shower was hostessed by Nancy Ebsen, wife of Buddy (“Jed Clampett”, “The Scarecrow”, “Barnaby Jones”). My family had dinners with “Tarzan” (Ron Ely), President Nixon’s Press Secretary, Ron Ziegler, and we have a photo of my sister sitting on Lloyd Bridges’ lap. I went to preschool with Ethan Wayne. I don’t remember meeting his dad, John, but Mom says I did on several occasions. I grew up playing tennis and was surrounded by many of the greats: Stan Smith was often at our tennis club visiting his father. My mom is still in touch with Mary and Rod Laver. My mixed-doubles partner as a teen was Antony Emerson, son of another Aussie great, Roy Emerson. I got pummeled by Tracy Austin (I never was much of a singles player), and spent time hanging out with Michael Chang and Pete Sampras.
This past month, I was shocked to hop on the MAX in Portland and find David Robinson on his way to watch his son play for Duke in the PK80 basketball tournament (it’s kind of difficult to be inconspicuous when you’re 7’1”). My son acknowledged my surprise with a nod, and I immediately tweeted it out.
Walking toward the venue, I was able to talk and laugh with him about finding myself in the “land of tall people.” I am only 5’4” and shrinking, but I expressed my comfort level as I’d become used to feeling VERY short when my son and nephew had played basketball. Back then, I’d usually worn heels to the games just to feel better. He has an incredible smile and is such a nice guy.
POINT: Most “celebrities” are – no matter their field of renown – friendly and interactive. Especially when you don’t go crazy over them. They are PEOPLE, people! And they like to be treated as such.
I’ve found this to be the same as I’ve met folks who are well-known in the EdTech world. Last March, I had dinner and drinks with Jennie Maguiera, keynote star of ISTE 2017 (although she tricked us into the drinks portion of the evening – we THOUGHT we were walking through the snowy streets of Chicago for Italian donuts. Do Italian donuts even exist?!). Also at ISTE, I took the San Antonio Riverwalk boat tour with, and then sat across from Eric Curts (and a whole bunch of cool Canadians) at dinner. Eric and I talked about tabletop board games and shared recommendations. MANY other well-known EdTech people, too many to list, have become dear friends. Which brings me to the impetus of this post: Lisa Highfill.
Lisa is the godmother of the HyperDoc. The pedagogy and delivery of instruction through HyperDocs are totally in my wheelhouse. Once I started developing them in Google Slides, and then learned how to use the “master slide” mode, my life as an instructor changed. I met, ate tacos, and chased Pokemon in August of 2016 with Sarah and Kelly, the other two “HyperDoc Girls.” I was thrilled, and they were great fun to hang out with. At ISTE this year, Lisa’s and my paths crossed, but we didn’t have a chance to talk. I did sit in on one of her sessions at the EdTechTeam booth. She remembered seeing me, I found out this past weekend. I was in the presence of an EduCelebrity, and SHE REMEMBERED ME! BUT. She remembered me as being a disgruntled audience member. She remembered my “angry face” and was upset that, when she found out who *I* was, she had “made a TechFairy mad.” She KNEW WHO I WAS? The creator of HyperDocs knew who I was before we’d had a chance to meet?!
Now, as TechFairies go, I am definitely the more reserved of the two. Ro is the “Campaigner” while I am the “Executive”. Ro will often times initiate and then “close a deal,” and then I will organize it. I book and plan all of our travel; Ro just shows up. Ro will “fan girl” and request a selfie when we meet new EduStars. I reserved my one and only “overly enthusiastic” response for when I met Sylvia Duckworth, sketchnoting royalty, at #CAGTI16. Ro is a vivacious, engaging talker and I am a SERIOUS listener. When I am learning, I don’t want any interference. And, Ro says, I have a vicious RBF. I don’t know how to fix that, but I will be more aware of my face when I’m listening to Lisa in the future!
Lisa and I truly MET and got to spend time together this past August, and immediately hit it off. I was excited to finish my HyperDoc Girl collection, and bought another copy of their book so that I could get Lisa to sign that one. We talked. A LOT. This past Saturday, over wine, she shared her *True Confession* of her memory of me at ISTE. SO FUNNY. And so sad at the same time.
So… ONE moral of this story is that “celebrities” are regular people with all of the emotions and insecurities that we all carry with us. Lisa Highfill, the HyperDoc QUEEN was worried that little ol’ me didn’t like what she had to say! They want to have regular lives and regular conversations – perhaps NOT about their work. I feel very blessed to have spent valuable time sharing my life and learning with others in our EdTech world. No strategy, platform, or program has improved me as a teacher or a human as the interactions that I have had with ALL of the people – celebrity or not – that I have met over the past three years.
The other lesson that I learned from Lisa is that I must work on my RBF. I’m an engaging, funny, creative, NICE person. Really!