Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas? by Marti Sides #30Goals

Part of the series: The 30 Goals Challenge, Goal 14: Cause a Ripple

Marti Sides, who just celebrated her birthday this past Friday, took the 30 Goals Challenge in January, please read this incredible post about her journey with Goal 14: Cause a Ripple and how she caused a ripple at her school….

The Butterfly Effect“The Butterfly Effect” just happens to be the title that Philip Merilees coined for a speech about the “butterfly effect” by Edward Lorenz when he failed to give it a title himself. The butterfly effect can also be known as the ripple effect, as both terms seem to describe the effect that a single person (animal, insect, etc.) can have on all of the subsequent events that happen. However, this blog post isn’t about butterflies, or rocks, or water. This post is about education and the effects that one single person can have on education.

Today’s goal for @ShellTerrell’s #30Goals challenge, is to create your own ripple. I like to think of myself as a butterfly rather than a rock (I mean, really, who wants to be a rock?). The moment I made my New Year’s resolution to become more technologically innovative was the moment that I began to flap my wings, and this flight has definitely set off tornadoes in (Lubbock) Texas.

You see, I began this blog back in October. As @MZimmer557 mentioned in his blog post on The Pursuit of Technology Integration Happiness, I only had 3 posts between October and December. However, this will be my 14th blog post in January alone. This is largely due to Shelly Terrell’s #30Goals challenge. If it weren’t for these goals, I know that my larger goal of greater technology integration would not be going as smoothly as it is. This is just another example of a butterly (Shelly) flapping her wings in order to make change happen.

I want my wings to make a difference too. I originally began this blog as a way for me to share technology resources with my staff. Instead, this has become a place for me to reflect as well as share. This has lead to greater excitement from me, which has lead to a greater excitement among my teachers.

Last week, I finally shared my blog with my teachers. Since that time, several of them have not only commented to me about their increased excitement for technology, but they have also begun to come to me to ask for help in creating lessons for their curriculum using technology. This is something new for me. In the past, I have had to ask them what they were teaching, and then go to them with ideas. Sometimes they were enthusiastic about the ideas, and sometimes they weren’t.

Last week, two teachers decided that they wanted to create their own blogs. Both wanted to create a blog that would engage students at our campus in discussions. Wow! I know that this is not new for many educators around the globe, but it’s new for us and that makes me excited. (One blog is not quite ready for reading yet. You can check out the other at wblibrary’s blog – she would love your comments.)

Perhaps even more exciting than my two future bloggers, was the enthusiasm from my Pre-Kindergarten teacher. She came into my office Wednesday, looked at me and said, “You’ve motivated me.” There was nothing said prior to that so I was a bit confused. I guess I had that quizzical look on my face because she expanded with, “Your blog has motivated me to do better with my kids. I can just feel your excitement about it all so I want to start using technology more with my kids.” This is coming from a teacher who is amazing at teaching computer skills to her 4 year olds.

Within 15 minutes of this teacher walking into my office, we had brainstormed several ways to use email and a blog, create podcast stories and videos, and collaborate with our high school using the ITV lab during her upcoming fairy tale unit. Wow! Can you see what’s happening here? The butterfly effect…

I know that I am just a single butterfly trying to flap my wings and fly. It is my hope that the path that I take during my flight will excite and encourage others to join me. With that being said, I will leave you with this:

The only tangible way to enact change on a LARGE SCALE is to lead by example. It takes just one person, one action, one idea to spark interest and inspire change. ~The Ripple Effect

Marti Sides is a Curriculum Technologist who works with teachers in grades Pre-K through 5th in order to incorporate technology into their curriculum. She also holds a black belt in Kunami Ryu. You can follow Marti on twitter at @kunami10. Visit her blog, From the Sides-lines.

Try Marti’s challenge and flap your beautiful butterfly wings this year to cause a tornado in your school!

Download your free copy of The 30 Goals Challenge: Join the Movement e-book!

Don’t forget to leave a comment that you accomplished this goal using the hashtag #30Goals!

Submit a guest post for The 30 Goals Challenge Series!

Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell),, and on her blog,, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at

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