On this day, last week, a transforming era ended. Carl Hooker, the Godfather of iPadpalooza, announced the 2017 summer event was the last of this well-known incredible EdTech conference. As he spoke, I could hear the gasps in the audience. The final iPadpalooza?!? How? Why? Carl explained how he had fulfilled and surpassed his dream of the learning festival and thanked everyone immensely for living his dream alongside him and his iVenger crew. However, Carl is also the “Godfather of Innovation” so I knew this wasn’t the “end” exactly. As sure as I had that thought, he dropped the best suspense hook ever. (Dave Burgess, you would be so proud.) He assured us that he has another dream he wants to act upon. While it might take a couple of years to implement, we are all anticipating the event that will one day take the place of iPadpalooza. Carl Hooker’s dreams have yet to disappoint.
Just days before Carl’s announcement, Derrick Brown began his keynote saying, “We are all just living in a Hooker’s dream.” I couldn’t help but reflect on how one man’s dream has impacted an exponential amount of educators–more than can truly be counted. You see, when I attended Ipadpalooza last year, for the first time, I had no idea the influence this conference would have in my role as an educator. That is the place I met George Couros and became a “connected educator”–GAME.CHANGER. I, also, was inspired by Kyle Pace, Cathy Hunt, Cathy Yenca, Don Goble, and Carl Hooker, himself. Who knew that just a year later I would actually call some of these EDUheroes “friends”? That, to me, is mind-boggling. So, what makes this “Hooker’s Dream” so influential? What is it about iPadpalooza that others leave inspired, encouraged, empowered and ready to tackle their dreams in life? I don’t exactly know the answer but have a few thoughts concerning “why” this event impacts educators around the world.
A few benefits I’ve reaped from a “Hooker’s Dream”…
Keep it R.E.A.L.
Carl Hooker is about as REAL as they come. It doesn’t matter his EDU-awesome status; he takes the time to make everyone feel like family. In fact, humility is an ever-present part of Mr. Hooker’s character! Honestly, at first, I thought he was just kind to my group, but as I visited with participants from across the world, I realized he is much like your favorite teacher in grade school. You know, the one where every child feels like the favorite? That one. Carl’s leadership inspires others to view nothing as impossible.
Lead with Passion
I’m not 100% sure what the original dream for iPadpalooza was exactly, but to me, it is a festival of learning. Learning while having fun! Isn’t that what we want for our students? Carl and his team of iVengers model this learning environment beautifully; they practice what they preach! From being tricked into learning by participating in the AppMazing race to stretching oneself to perform a poem in the poetry slam, there are always “firsts” happening at iPadpalooza. Also, the speakers and participants can cut loose during the night life all while discussing how to save the EDU-world. So, whether your walking behind Richard Wells as he is teaching “on the go” or singing karaoke for an extra twenty-five AppMazing Race bonus points, passion and zeal exude from every pore of this EdTech conference.
Shower Others with Generosity
This year I got to experience iPadplooza as a presenter. Wow! Not only am I completely honored and humbled to be chosen to share my passion at this fantastic learning festival, but the VIP perks were outstanding. Carl’s generosity was over and beyond anything I’ve experienced at any other conference as a speaker. Since the Godfather understands innovative ideas are birthed in the midst of the collaboration of great minds, he had exciting VIP social events planned each evening of the conference that often included free entertainment, appetizers, and drinks. To top it off, on the last day, I was able to attend a fabulous boat ride along the river with educators around the world. As if these perks weren’t enough, presenters were allowed to bring a guest for free, and the guest received all of the VIP benefits, as well. So, I was able to bring an educator friend, one I had mentored throughout the year, to attend for free and she was able to connect with many outstanding educators around the world. Who does that? What an astonishing way to build capacity and impact even more educators. Thank you, Carl, for your many acts of generosity; I know this doesn’t even scratch the surface of what goes on behind the scenes.
LIVE Your Dreams
Carl is awe-inspiring to many educators…heck to people in general. I appreciate the way he modeled “living” his dream through iPadpalooza. What learner wouldn’t love this experience–young or old? In fact, this learning festival legacy has been the delivery room for many incredible EDU-opportunities. Carl, because YOU chose to live your dream we are empowered to embrace ours. I’m honored to be among that number.
Thank YOU! You inspire me, Mister!!
PS I can’t wait to experience the next Hooker’s Dream! Count me in.