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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sticklers - NECC Edubloggercon



Based on Will Richardson's post - I'll Be In The Hallway
And Jeff Utecht's post - EdubloggerCon and my need for Beta Time

First, I hope Will will have a sense of humor about the character. Yes this in homage to one of my favorite people to read and from whom I learn. When I sat in his class at the GAETC in 2006, he wore a long-sleeve T-Shirtlike shirt. I did too.

Second, let me be clear. I wish I was in San Antonio. Although I have received 0 credit for Professional Development by reading and interacting with my educational colleagues from around the world through blogs, Twitter, Ning, and other services the web affords us, I choose to spend a lot of time with these people. I think many of us feel there is a sense of camaraderie, collegiality, understanding, and...family. For this reason I hope for the day to shake hands with my teachers.

With that said...

Like Will and Jeff, I wondered how the edubloggercon would go this year. I think Steve Hargadon's leadership is outstanding. He seeks to help educators, and does it regularly. Thank you Steve.

But, the one thing I know, deep in my heart, that when something happens that was not truly planned (like the description of the 2007 edubloggercon and blogger's cafe in Atlanta) people do not want the experience to end.

And sometimes the worst thing to do is try to PLAN for it to happen again.

It simply won't. That's why we must learn how to live in the moment...because they seldom, if ever come again.

Teachers -- we cannot plan spontaneity.

It was the atmosphere of spontaneity that made 2007 successful. Go back and read what the attenders wrote last year. It was what we wish could happen in our classrooms...that people would "get it" and want to discuss it, learn from it, and go move mountains.

Is the experience this year void of value? Absolutely not. Attenders and absentees alike will come away better in some way.

I do wonder something though. I have read about the number of people in the edubloggercon and the blogger's cafe increasing. Some have suggested that more people (and Pearsons's disruptive recording) made it difficult to have conversations. This could be a space issue (which I have also read), but could Tim Holt (June 2006) and Jon Becker (April 2008) have made a point about this earlier? I hope this is not the case. But I do wonder if the "buffet table" was too crowded.


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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Feed Reader Irony

Skitch.com > rrmurry > evolutionirony


Scott Lehman "argues" that change in education should be evolutionary rather than revolutionary.  In a loose quote, "Revolutions are messy, and the body count could be counted in students who suffer."

Slashdot posted an article stating that Louisiana legislation is seeking to get the State BOE to provide schools and teachers with material to allow for more critical thinking. 

Quoting from Slashdot's quote of the Legislation (bold highlight mine):

"The text of the [Louisiana Science Education Act] suggests that it's intended to foster critical thinking, calling on the state Board of Education to 'assist teachers, principals, and other school administrators to create and foster an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories.' Unfortunately, it's remarkably selective in its suggestion of topics that need critical thinking, as it cites scientific subjects 'including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.'"

So, all I can say is even in evolution the dinosaurs became extinct.  If we take too long to change education, perhaps our students will die off as well.  The law (at least in Louisiana) may make what Scott wants illegal if we think through it critically.  =)

This, for me, was almost as good as Saturday morning cartoons when I was growing up.
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Friday, June 27, 2008

Twitter May Need a NECC Brace

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Heads Up - Don't Fall Victim =)

Your Admins may be receiving this training during the summer months. Hilarious.




If you cannot see video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8VAJSXsIFo

//ht to Geeks Are Sexy
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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Now The Mouse Is In The Other Hand

He visits porn. She post online pictures of herself unclothed. Numerous chatroom conversations
about meetups. She is hooked on World of Warcraft. When "not at the computer she's like a lost soul."

Who is concerned? From where is the outrage?!

The government? No!

ISP providers? No!

The schools? No!

Who, then!?

The kids
...That's right! The kids, the same age as the ones we think are in danger of making bad online decisions.

From the interconnected departments of "Pot Calling The Kettle Black" and "Out Of The Mouths Of Babes" this story reported by Slashdot.

Children Concerned By Parents' Web Habits

Original article (from Sweden)

When will we begin giving props to the kids when it comes to understanding online behavior?

Image: http://flickr.com/photos/bdegraaf/396413411/

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

On Becoming a Good Teacher

Perhaps I should use the term "lecturer," but that is not a highly accepted practice in the 21st century.

Many of you know, my son is entering his final year of teacher prep.  He's a good, quality young man (who will be getting married in June 2009).  He will become a good teacher I think, mainly because he has the personality, and the ability to teach math in ways that even I understand some of it.

Anyway, I have been cleaning out my home office to take things back to school (I head back to the classroom next year!).  In the process, I have come across some old notes and books.  So I am creating a list of things that are a part of what I believe make for a good teacher (lecturer in the days these books/notes were new).

  • HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY
    • If you want to teach, you better be a great learner.  Learn your subject.  Fall in love with the content.  As an old homiletics professor once told us, "Preach from the overflow."  As the leader (in the pulpit or classroom) you should know more than you are able to teach.  Will you know everything?  No.  But you should know your content well enough to be prepared to speak intelligently about it.  This way you are seldom caught off guard.
  • KNOW HOW TO SAY IT...WHO'S YOUR AUDIENCE?
    • Teaching civil rights to a 2nd grader will be different than teaching it to an 11th grader...or it should be.  In this era of "differentiated instruction" it behoves the teacher to have several ways to present the same content.  If you know your content, but can't deliver it on the level of the learner, then it doesn't matter that you know the content.  It is about the story, and the way you tell it.
  • EARN THE RIGHT TO BE HEARD BY YOUR AUDIENCE
    • Clche, yes.  True, yes.  Your audience doesn't care how much you know until they know how much you care.  If you have a class of 25 students, you will have to care about them first.  They must know, and to a deeper level believe that you care for their well-being.  When they know that you care, they will trust you.  Then they will be more willing to "hear" your message, not just listen to it.  Remember the Jimmy Hendrix dialog in White Men Can't Jump?  Can white people really "hear" Jimmy? [This movie was as much about race relations as it was basketball.  Great Social Studies movie. Language prevents it from being shown in classrooms though.]
  • SAY IT WITH PASSION
    • I recently read a quote in one of my quotation feeds that went something like this - "Passion is a mixture of frustration and a healthy dose of anger."  Think of the issues about which you are passionate.  Is there frustration that more people don't share your views?  Is there a little anger about the state of affairs surrounding the issue?  If you are passionate about the education of young people, you probably feel a little frustrated with the current state of policy, and you are a little angry that things don't change as quickly as you would like.  The bloggers I read tend to be this way.  They are passionate, which is why I choose to follow them.
  • EVALUATE THE RESULTS
    • All good teachers evaluate their day.  I try to do it on the drive home.  What worked?  Did I see the light bulb go on above my students' heads?  If not, what do I need to change?  Do I change my knowledge of the issue?  Do I change how to communicate it to my students?  Did I earn the right to communicate with the students the things discussed?  Did I really care, or was i just going through the motions?
  • CHANGE ONLY WHAT NEEDS CHANGING
    • Too many teachers I have known (and C.O. personnel with whom I have worked and outlasted) believe that if something didn't work, everything must be changed.  I disagree.  Could it be as simple as changing one thing in the scope of the many things it takes to communicate to a 21st century student?  Things that might need to be changed include: a) The teacher's knowledge of the subject, b) The teacher's understanding of the audience's needs, c) The teacher's relationship with the audience, and/or d) The teacher's presentation of the material.  See my evaluation questions above.  If all I need to change is my knowledge of the subject, issue, standard, etc., it would be a shame to scrap the whole thing. 
What led me to this post was finding Robert Mager's Preparing Instructional Objectives (1962, 1975 - and updated in 1997) and comparing it with Wiggins & McTighe's Understanding By Design (1998, 2005).  Teaching strategies really haven't changed much.  It appears that Wiggins & McTighe simply waited long enough for educators to forget about Mager (and others).  In other words, Wiggins & McTighe had something to say, they knew their audience's needs, and the said it with passion.  Good for them!  In doing so, educators around the world have relearned how to write lesson plans that make sense.  But UbD is nothing new.  As a matter of fact, it's already 10 years olds itself.  Who will be next to demonstrate how to construct a lesson plan?

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Don't Wanna Be Nick Burns...duh

Slashdot posted a brief snippet stating that graduates think IT jobs would be boring, so they don't want one.

The author asks if it is Bill Gates's fault because he made the industry look "nerdy." 

The line of jumping logic..."Surely with so many (especially young) people being 'web first' with not just their buying habits, but now in terms of what they do in their spare time, we'd expect more of them to want to get a career in it?"

http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/06/24/1526240&from=rss


The comments to the post are worth your time too.  There are statements like 'please stay out, that means more money for me' lines from the current IT Professionals.  Then there are the 'working in IT is boring, like wanting to be a part of the phone company in the 1960s...al you do is repair things' sentiments.

I'll toss in my hat, based on conversations with my son, who at the age of 13 passed his A+ Certification exams. 

He wanted to know how to fix his own stuff, so he wouldn't have to rely on the "professionals" who might really screw things up.  He did not (and still doesn't) want to rely on the word and work of someone else when it comes to his ability to gather information, play games, or just network.  He didn't want to be "taken advantage of by someone looking for a pigeon."

The edublogoshpere echo chamber was on the - It's not about the technology, it's what it allows you to do - rant for several months.  I happen to think this is precisely the issue why recent grads don't want IT jobs.  They have found out that it is about repair and maintenance of machines.  That's not much fun.  People are looking for something more meaningful and transcendent in their lives. 

It's the Daniel Pink theme coming to pass. 

As more workers know how to repair their own stuff, the need for the Nick Burns will dwindle.  The very people the Slashdot author thinks would be expected to want a career in IT don't want it because they expect the technology to work and they are moving on to create...where there is a possibility for transcendence.

Just thinking out loud.

Oh...by the way..."You'rrre Wellllcome."

Image: clipped from http://www.cnettv.com/9742-1_53-11125.html

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Friday, June 20, 2008

This I believe...Meme

I feel bad and good.  Bad that I did not see that I had been tagged by Jon Becker several weeks ago to participate, good that I did find it.  And how did I find it?  Ego searching, based on the digital footprint post by Will a few days ago.  I taught a class yesterday at our local ETTC, and demonstrated why they need to control the digital footprint as much as possible.

Anyway, thanks Jon.

Based on the instructions from Cathy
Write out your view of education using the “This I believe…” format.

I know this is an NPR segment, but I will choose the Blue Collar Comedy Tour format.

I now begin.

I believe...Education too often gets in the way of learning (Mark Twain).  I simply hate it when a something in class strikes a deep chord with students, but because of the need to "stay on pace" and "cover the standards" we leave what could have changed the life of a young person.

I believe...Standardized testing is a political ploy for politicians to develop a platform on which to get (re)elected more than it is a tool for schools to determine what they can do to help children.  This was true even before NCLB, and will continue to get proliferate in years to come.

I believe...publicly elected officials should be required to send their children to public schools.

I believe..."Gifted" kids are no smarter than "General Ed" kids.  Too many I have known have had opportunities because of parental success, got lucky coloring the correct circle on a test, or had the local influence to bend the rules to get into segregated classes labeled "gifted."  This comes from a father with children who were classified in both categories.

I believe...Standards are meant for teachers, not the students.  Further, standards have been developed because politicians do not believe teachers have the intelligence to determine what is best for the students in their classroom. Even further, teachers do not realize this is what has happened to them (which may make the politicians correct)...much like the scene in Lean On Me, when Morgan Freeman's character throws money on the table and says, "Here, pay your bills" when the teacher's union caved in and voted to let the state curriculum become their standard or else they wouldn't get a raise.

I believe...Recess is important for children in order to learn.  And not just elementary-aged kids. I could use it too.

I believe...Too many teacher have stolen the dreams of kids, by saying that most dreams are unachievable.  "Remember, it's always important to have something to fall back on" is the single most dream-stealing statement that can be made to a child.

I believe...Fixing the problems above will only happen in isolation.  It's too late to turn back.

I believe...Children are NOT our future...they are our TODAY. 

I believe...Education and schools have the money, just not the creativity to use it wisely in order to make a difference.

I believe...Sir Ken Robinson should be appointed the Secretary of Education in the United States.

I believe...Teachers who are "in trouble" with administration are probably the most effective with students.  Barring the obvious illegal activities too many teachers commit with students.

I believe...Most of what I say falls on deaf ears.

Who to TAG?  Since so much time has elapsed, these folks may have already participated.

Darren Kuropatwa
Clay Burrell
Stephen Rahn
Liz Kolb
EducatorBlog

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Boneheaded Decision OR Just Another Brick in the Wall

Look at the Top 10 Words Right Now in Twitter (2008-06-19 21:08:22):

ice, mars, best, water, iste, ready, work, google, usa, today. See http://tinyurl.com/2jzqq2

Mars rover has found ice created from water.  Pretty cool (pun intended).

Best, work, today, ready are innocuous.

Google and USA - makes sense that these words would be used frequently everyday to me, based on the people who use Twitter.

But ISTE.  C'mon.  It's an education-related term.  Who truly cares what ISTE is outside of the education technology world.  No one.

And that's the point.
------------------------

The reason for the talk is that ISTE is denying attenders the opportunity to record (audio/video) of any presentation without the presenters approval.  I'm good with that; after all the material they share may be their livelihood, or even better, they may have already made plans to have the session recorded.  [I believe I read that Will was planning to Ustream his session].

But ISTE thinks it is now Major League Baseball and decides to do the "...no recording or rebroadcast of this game, without the express written consent of Major League Baseball, is prohibited..." announcement.  Since the advent of BetaMax, how's that working out for ya MLB?

I first read about this issue from Wes.

Last year, when NECC was in Atlanta, the Blogger Cafe was all the rage.  I followed the conference everyday from the education writers I enjoy reading.  I got a sense of the atmosphere.  I was sorry I wasn't there (only 90 minutes from my house). 

I decided during last year's conference that I wanted to go to San Antonio, but since that decision my niece decided she would was getting married in early July (in Charlotte, NC), and I would rather be at her wedding.  I would like to invoke the digital divide conversation, in that I can't afford to do both in the same week, but I'll refrain.

Besides, methought, I could catch the rerun.  I could actually have the opportunity to LEARN from the world's best and brightest because the technology that will be discussed at NECC is being used by the best and brightest - so I, along with thousands of others, could "attend" and support the work of colleagues. 

Guess not.

Other have written, and will continue to write, about this issue.  You can follow the conversation at Miguel's Diigo page. 

The only way I could possibly be assuaged, is if ISTE recorded all the sessions themselves, then provided each session, free of charge, as a service to educators (service is what a non-profit is all about, right?).  The long tail approach could be to gain membership, even though Gary Stager might oppose that view (read his comments from June 19).

Speaking of Gary, he sent me a tweet with two great comments on this issue.

@rrmurry
How about going to a conference to listen, talk and learn? Why should we all become broadcasters or stenographers? What do we lose?

@rrmurry
I'm equally concerned about liveblogging. I've been savaged for misquotes and comments out-of-context. You can't unring that bell


My response is Gary should WANT TO BE RECORDED is to avoid the misquotes, and the recording is for those of us who are not able to attend, who can rely on nothing more than the misquotes.  We all shouldn't become broadcasters, but perhaps some of the better ones could.

So, ISTE has ticked off a fair amount of Ed Tech people. Not enough to shut down Twitter like an Apple conference, but enough.  It would seem that ISTE might want to reconsider their position.  They'll never rescind this one, that would mean admitting wrong, and God forbid that would occur from anyone not running for President these days.  But perhaps they'll have an answer before 2009, or perhaps a boycott might do the trick in D.C.

Anybody else who presents at NECC have these kind of guts...from Miguel Guhlin.

In fact, I'm so disappointed that I regret that I provided ANY
assistance in helping ISTE advertise the NECC Conference, a part that
involved having bloggers write about NECC 2008 event!

I will NOT present at NECC 2009 or any other ISTE affiliated event
UNLESS this wrong-headed policy is changed. I urge you to do the same.

Then again, maybe all this prohibition is just an advertising campaign to get some buzz for the conference.  Maybe it is ISTE's attempt to prove that "any publicity is good publicity."  Kind of like Coke Classic in '80s.  Wait, that didn't work out that well.

You know what our students do when they are told they can't do something.  I have the image of Seinfeld sneaking into the theater with a Handicam to pirate the presentation, so the movie can be sold on the EdTech underground.  Perhaps another reason why more students should be invited to NECC.  If they did, I could catch that killer panel discussion on YouTube, with the "We Don't Need No Education" song from Pink Floyd as the background music.

In the World of Education, this is just another Brick In The Wall.


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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Presenting at Local ETTC

My phone rang a little before 9:30 yesterday morning.  It was one of my mentors from when I started teaching over a decade ago. 

He asked if I remembered the scene in Star Wars when Obi Wan says, "...You are our only hope."  He then went on to say that they needed someone who could do a 2.5 hour presentation on Galileo (The Georgia Library Learning Online).  The service is a subscription site with nearly 175 databases for schools K-16+ in the state of Georgia.  I will be delivering this information at the Dalton State College Education Technology Training Center (DSC ETTC) on Thursday.

This was a somewhat difficult choice for me.  On one hand, I find it hard to say 'no' to Randy after all he has done for me through the years.  On the other hand, Galileo, though noble in what they seek to provide to Georgia educators, is not a very user-friendly resource.  It takes a multitude of clicks to get to the information one seeks; and when working with 12 year olds, the more clicks the less interest and attention.

I have spent about 9 hours since yesterday looking at their newly configured site.  Galileo does have a better design.  After talking with the ETTC director, I am going to talk about SIRS Discoverer with their Lexile indexed articles (pretty cool for differentiation), the New Georgia Encyclopedia (alphabetized under 'N' for New, when in a year it won't be "new" - one of the reasons this service gets frustrating for teachers), Novelist (great resource for librarians and teachers to find and recommend books), image searches (since Google Images is usually blocked), and I will probably demonstrate the RSS feature on many of the databases (which could become the feature that gets Galileo noticed by more teachers -- once they learn what RSS can do for them).  Tomorrow I will look for ELL, ESL, EFL resources to discuss. 

Anyway, I am looking forward to presenting this week.  I've also appreciated having a reason to look at this resource again as I prepare for my class next year.  What I have discovered again, and reinforced in my thinking, is that for someone to learn a resource (software, websites, etc.) one needs time to play.  We either have to create time, or make learning something new a priority.



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Friday, June 13, 2008

Purdy: Feb 14, 1997 - June 12, 2008

She was named after Purdita, the female dalmatian from 101 Dalmatians, even though she was a Border Collie mix. The boys named her.

On an early April Saturday, 1997, my wife and I walked into Walmart, and outside of the doors was a family giving away puppies. After begging for the entire shopping experience (though she somewhat denies it) I said, "If there are any left, we'll get one." We already bought the puppy food, so I knew what was about to happen.

There were three puppies left, and the one we liked was still there. The lady said the mother was a Border Collie and the father was a solid black dog "of some kind." They were born on Valentine's Day.

My wife handled all of them, but it was the one who licked her chin that became our new puppy.

When we got home, our boys (ages 8 and 11) were so excited. They were watching a Disney video, like every Saturday morning. This was one of the first times we left them home alone. When Mom brought the puppy up the stairs, the boys started jumping around. The puppy opened her eyes, and wagged her tail. The boys immediately had a name...she would be called Purdy.

------------

Yesterday evening, while I was at a small track meet, my wife called and asked if I had seen Purdy during the day. I had seen her at her water bowl, and I thought she was tied up. She wasn't.

It was hot (mid-90s), so we usually kept her in the house or on the back porch where there was plenty of shade. Apparently, one of our porch doors was not secure, and Purdy opened the door. This was something she learned early. We actually had to move the hook-and-eye lock out of her reach because she could unlock the doors when she wanted out. Anyway, she was gone, and we haven't seen her since. My older son is now 22, and is heart-broken...Purdy really was his dog.

I learned some valuable lessons from Purdy:

We are born to do something specific
Purdy was a Border Collie. That means she was born to herd. We have a large pond across the street from our house. When Purdy was young, she would run after the ducks and geese. We thought she was trying to eat them. One day she got away from us, started to run after a group of four or five ducks that were not with the rest of the flock. We just knew one of them was going to become a meal. We were wrong. Purdy ran the ducks across the road, so all the ducks would be together. She herded ducks instead of sheep...really. She also chased cars, because (as we learned) if she couldn't do what she was born to do, she would find a way to do it anyway. She would have loved this morning's scene in our front yard...62 Canadian Geese were eating breakfast.

We are bored when we can't do what we are meant to do
The one thing that we didn't enjoy about having a dog was our leash law. My wife grew up on a farm, and her dogs ran free. We are outside the city limits, but in a neighborhood. Our county passed a leash law a few years ago, which meant that Purdy had to walk with us on a leash. We only leashed her when others were outside though. On a leash, Purdy just went through the motions. She looked at us as if to say, "What did I do wrong? Why the restriction? I'll be good, really I will. Aahh, what's the point." We adjusted our walking time so she could run and play along her route.



We are excited when we learn new things
When Purdy was a young dog (maybe 6 months old), we read that Border Collies would play fetch until your arm got tired. So we thought we would try and see if this was true. It was for us. After about five throws, Purdy had the idea of what was supposed to happen. I recall playing fetch in the yard and in the pond. When we finished my arm was shot, my son's arm was tired, and Purdy looked up, ready to go again. We played fetch many hours over the past 11 years. The last couple of years, Purdy controlled the game though. She would return the tennis ball a few times. When she had enough she would chase the ball, clutch it in her jaws, jog to the shade, drop the ball on the ground, and roll on the ball like she was scratching her back. Very cute.



Be patient and soak it in
For about the past five months, my wife and I have noticed that Purdy was slowing down...a lot. Our walks were becoming slower paced, and Purdy wanted to stop and sniff the grass, flowers, and berries. At times, she was just stare off into the distance. We'd keep walking, and call her. It was like she would come out of a trance, look around and think "Oh, yeah. I'm coming." She stopped herding ducks about a year ago. She just didn't have the energy.



When it's time to go, try to go quietly with pride
I'm not sure what has happened to Purdy. We have called the pound. We have talked with all the neighbors - all of whom knew Purdy very well - she was the community dog in a way. She loved children, would walk with them along the shoreline, lick their hands, and "protect" them from the ducks. Our assumption at this point is that she found an opportunity to go away quietly to the woods nearby, where she could take a nap in the coolness of the moist ground under a pine tree to escape the 90 degree heat. That way she wouldn't be a burden to us.
My wife always said, "She's a proper lady." I wish I could have said goodbye, and rubbed her ears one last time...she always liked that, and would force her snout under my hand when I tried to quit before she wanted me to.

------------

This was the last picture I took of Purdy. She was in the back of my truck getting ready to go get her shots. She used to be very nervous in the back of the truck, but this time she was comfortable enough to lay down on the ride. She had never done that before.



I don't know if "all dogs go to heaven" is theologically sound, but if they do, Purdy deserved it. She was the best value we've ever had from Walmart.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

2 Web 2.0 or Not 2 Web 2.0 - That = ?



Edubloggers make me angry!  They have too much to say.  I can't handle it all.  I get confused.

This morning, I read Ray Schroeder's Educational Technology post "Teachers Told To Be Wary Online" from the BBC.

I read the realities, like this one...

Concerns were raised about teachers contacting pupils by e-mail, or communicating through social networking sites such as Bebo or Facebook.

Some fear that it could lead to the kind of accusations that have ruined careers in the past.

Teachers in Scotland have been asked to adhere to a new code of conduct.

Later, one of the teachers says...

There has to be a balance between building a rapport with pupils, but also maintaining a distance and a level of formality.

There is always an element of naivety, particularly with those who are new to the profession, but this new code will benefit us and protect us.

I can't argue with this reasoning.  Some teachers simply aren't able to distinguish between the need for building both "rapport" and "formality" with their students. [By the way, I have finally found a word I like to substitute for "professional" when it applies to teachers.  The British folks have come to my rescue.]

But then, Wesley Fryer, being the terrific learner he is, decides to take notes on Kevin Honeycutt's keynote at ESSDACK.  Hi Tammy!  Wes does a great job of "topic sentencing" presentations.  Here are a few that hit me...

This whole business of school is about relationships: connecting with kids and making them superstars.

Hw are you going to win me?
- the relationship is key

Want to find the best teacher in a building?
- often the one who is in trouble
- the one who is not afraid to get snot on them

when the human brain is on survival mode, it has a hard time learning
- the only way to help a child like that learn is to build a relationship and create a safe space

kids we teach today are living in a different world
- they are playing on digital playgrounds we didn’t play on
- we’ve got to get there so they are not alone

Do you see my problem?  Can you synthesize the two and be comfortable? 

On the one hand, teachers need to protect themselves from obvious setups that students will bring their way.  Look at all the Out-Of-Context, Student-Edited YouTube videos.  Search for "Angry Teacher" on YouTube and see the mess. 

Remember, some kids lie in order to get what they want.  What they want is the same as what some adults want...they want power and control of their life.  One way to feel they are in control, is to control the lives of others.  Students know they control the school in the new era of teachers are guilty until proven guiltier...teachers are never innocent in the 21st century.  So we must protect ourselves.  But this sets up an adversarial relationship...not good.

On the other hand, if we are to reach the students who are forced into our classrooms (and we are forced to teach) then building rapport, developing relationships, and letting them know we will meet them where they are so we can take them where they need to be is very high on the priority list for the effective teacher.

As I type this, my son comes in asking about pedagogy questions for his GACE test on Saturday.  What method of teaching is the best in a certain situation?  Theories abound, curriculums written (and sold en masse), and ultimately it comes down to knowing all of them, applying them when the need arises, and being comfortable with how you approach the art of teaching 21st century students.  

Funny how things still come back to the basics of the Greek aphorism γνῶθι σαυτόν Know Thyself, and from Shakespeare's Hamlet as Polonius prepares to send his son into the world - To Thine Own Self, Be True.

Teachers - If you know yourself, know your strengths and weaknesses, and are true to yourself (thus avoiding uncomfortable situations) you will be fine.  In other words, if the idea of social networks makes you uncomfortable, uneasy, or concerned in any way - don't use it in any way.  To Your Own Self, Be True

Just don't tell those of us who are comfortable with these tools that we can't or shouldn't use them.  Or worse, that we're misguided.  Trust me, I keep all my digital conversations archived.  I seldom enter a meeting without a recorder.  I'm comfortable with my approach.  Teachers wonder why I want video equipment in my class - perhaps it's more than just for podcasting...perhaps it is as much for protection as it is for educating.

Image:
Yelnic. “Blaisdell Center.” Yelnic's Photostream. 27 May 2007. 12 Jun 2008 http://flickr.com/photos/yelnoc/515719778/.
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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sir Ken Robinson is back

Speaking at the Apple Education Leadership Summit. Edutopia.org is the host of the video.








A few of my observations (in no particular order):
  1. Three main ideas -
    1. There is a global REVOLUTION in changing education.  [He defines revolution]
    2. Human Ecology (love this phrase) - Crisis is that creativity is educated out of students - economically cheaper to pay to get it right first rather than clean up the mess - expense for higher ed vs. prisons.
    3. We must do something else - NOT education REformation -- education TRANSformation.
  2. Education is not linear.
  3. Final quote (loosely) - "It's not that we aim too high and fail, we aim too low and succeed" that is our problem.  By "succeeding" under the current system we see no need to change.
  4. Perhaps this is my cynicism sneaking in, but this talk was only slightly different than the TEDtalk from 2006.  The audience at TED got his jokes, were engaged in the discussion, and applauded at the end.  Here, in the presence of educational leaders, there were glazed looks, side conversations, and little laughter (as Robinson tried three times to help them understand the humor in a comment on "only one crisis at a time).
I am particularly interested and taken by the "human ecology" concept he promotes.  I want more of this idea.

//Tip of the hat to Durff through Twitter.


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