Looking Back: The Value of the Archive

In the age of instant and public publishing, what’s trending now seems to be what we focus on most. What someone wrote last month, last year or even 20 years ago seems less relevant that what comes across our various feeds today. One of the great promises of digital is it’s ability to archive and store. All of us have been thankful we’ve saved that email from 8 months ago but with the great affordance of storage and easy retrieval, how often to we use “old” stuff? I was thinking about my rather large data collection and how much I value being able to reference it days, months and years later. For the better part of 10 years I’ve been blogging, posting images to flickr, videos to youtube and sharing bookmarks and a scattering of other artifacts to other spaces and still have access and reference these in a variety of ways.

Let me share how I use my personal archives.

My Blog

I’m now in  my 10th year as a blogger. I proud of this space as a place of professional thinking and learning. After over 1,000 posts, I think I’ve become a better writer and communicator and have … Read the rest

My Community Story

Cross posted on the DEN blogs

If we consider life a journey, it’s important and fun to look back at how we ended in the place we are today. For the past 10 years or so I’ve been on a journey and many of you have been on one similar to mine. Some have started at different points but the idea that we’re a community of learners looking to leverage technology to create better and transformative learning experiences is what keeps us together. That and the vibrant and diverse nature of our relationships.
Let me go back 10 years. While the DEN was just birthing, so was my own community experience. On Feb 6, 2005 I started a blog. Without knowing what it was but had heard that it was free and easier to publish than using Dreamweaver or Frontpage, I thought I would try it. To say it transformed my professional life would be an understatement.  Specifically the first comment I received which came from a special needs educator from Texas had my mind spinning. Why was he commenting? How did he find me? What did I know that might help a special needs educator? As I reflected on this … Read the rest

Happy Anniversary to Me

10 years ago today I wrote this. Brilliant. Not really but I continue to believe and advocate this kind of a space both as a way to reflect, but to collect. My enthusiasm for this medium early on was a result of discovering what it was to connect and learn from strangers. I spent a great deal of time over the next 5 years in particular trying to get others to share in my zeal.  I assumed everyone would jump in and see the same value I did. I managed to get many teachers and students to create a blog, but few stuck with it.  The last 5 years I’ve had my students create them and have had a slightly better success rate. I don’t consider myself the most resilient person in the world but I did stick with it. It wasn’t because I had a huge audience or popularity. There are lots of things within the web that I’ve started and stopped but blogging has stuck.

It has been the single most important space in my professional development.

 

This is still true today.

What I will tell you is that I need to blog more. Not for … Read the rest

The Problem with Exemplars

https://www.flickr.com/photos/shareski/4902924091

Years ago while working on new curriculum, I spent a great deal of time with colleagues collecting and identifying exemplary work. Usually attached to rubric, these artifacts were intended to showcase the highest quality of work and present students with something to aim for. We often would reference these with students to the point where these became more than guides but the ultimate goal. It’s one the problems with rubrics. But it’s not just within curriculum where exemplars can be an issue, it happens all the time.

There’s no question that exemplars can be useful and even motivating. But often they are unattainable or perhaps not even desirable.

Let me share a few examples.

In Curriculum:

While I believe showing examples of quality work can be useful, many students immediately shut down when they perceive too great a gap between their current ability and what is deemed exemplary. I’m certainly not against the use of high quality exemplars but caution against too few examples as well as a lack of scaffolding to see where incremental success can be found. In addition, the power comes when the student decides what they want their work to be.

In my pre-service … Read the rest