Things Will Be Better When…

As a parent of 4 adult children, I have witnessed a reoccurring conversation, particularly from about ages 17-25. This is a significant time of transition for everyone as we move from high school to college to employment. There are a number of stepping stones during that time that is often seen as barriers to overcome. Whether it’s graduating, passing a difficult course or finding new living quarters or applying for a job, these all cause a great deal of stress and while in the middle of them, my kids will say something like, “things will be better when I get through this.” While it’s understandable and relatable, I was quick to remind them all that they needed to be careful not to wish these moments away. Many times these barriers were just that, they were in the way of a goal. Applying for jobs for example is not something anyone likes but it’s necessary.

Certain life struggles may cause people to turn to alcohol or other substances to help them cope up. If not controlled, this can lead to addiction. The Ft. Myers treatment center is where one can go to get the necessary help when it comes to getting … Read the rest

Moving from “What is the Matter?” to “What Matters to You?”

The education world is full of smart people. We are not short of innovative and creative thinkers. What I believe holds us back at times is finding a different lens.

When we think about the priorities of our schools and the priority of learning it is of course grounded in curriculum and the things that have been determined to be important. Top of that list is the basics, literacy, math, science and social studies. More recently global competencies or the 5Cs have represented a more updated lens of what matters. On top of that, we are shifting from a one size fits all to a more individualized approach to education.

All of those things address the questions of “What is the matter?” as well as “what matters?” Diagnostic tools and insights help teachers find out both what matters as well as what is the matter with them, or what things impede their learning. From there we work tirelessly to ensure these things that matter are offered, shared, delivered to students. I don’t want that sentence to read as negative because not only is that the core of the work of schools but it can and for the most part is … Read the rest

I Don’t Think I’m an EdTech Guy Anymore

I have a Master’s Degree in Educational Technology. For 9 years I had the job title of Digital Learning Consultant. I held another job for a software/media company. I’ve taught post-secondary courses that focus on the role of technology in schools. I’ve spoken at dozens of technology conferences. And yet today I feel more removed from educational technology than ever.

Workshop Preparations
Workshop Prep circa 2006

My relationship with technology is like many people I know. With a limited computer background, I became interested in technology because of its increasing ability to connect us at a very human level, I started becoming interested in computer software systems like Ubuntu. Knowing it just opened a lot more doors for me in the industry. Beginning in the late 1990s, I became an early adopter. It was at this point I began to use computers and cameras, specifically in my classroom. This is when I began to see technology as magic. Doing things I was not previously able to do. At that time, interfaces were clunky, hardware was slow and unreliable and so it was only those that saw the magic and potential that preserved and learned. That enthusiasm allowed me opportunities to share and … Read the rest

Nine Lies About Work (and maybe school)

I’ve been using this quote fairly often in presentations because it’s a good reminder to myself and educators that embracing ideas, even ones that seem to contradict our beliefs or thinking can be joyful. As educators, modelling this might be one of the essential gifts we can share with students

I’ve been a fan of Marcus Buckingham and his work around strengths and the title of this book intrigued me. I’ve been told on a few occasions that I”m a bit of a s*&T disturber. Depending on the person or the context it’s unclear whether this is a compliment or not but under the guise of “strengths” that’s what I take it as. This book aligns well with that character trait.

The chapter titles alone might intrigue you:

The book is based on a large research sample of thousands of employees in hundreds of companies. Lie #1 hits you pretty hard. Swap out “company” for “school district” and you have a very interesting conversation. The message is pretty simple. People’s experience at work is not based on a companies values or mission but on the individual teams they work on. The role of a company’s culture is much less impactful … Read the rest

Who Pushes Your Thinking?

Speaking in generalities and platitudes is easy. But living out the hard things in life is rare. Believe me, I’m guilty as the next person and am working on my own ignorance and faults.

An ever-growing passion of mine is to seek out people that I disagree with and yet can have productive conversations. Even if a conversation is not possible, at least reading/watching/listening to those ideas and beliefs can be fruitful. My premise is that the many of the people I see online would like to believe they are open-minded and yet are so easily offended that they rarely if ever seek opinions and ideas that would contradict their own. We know the echo chamber exists and it’s not always a bad thing, in fact, it’s important to surround yourself with those who support and encourage you. At the same time finding a few folks who will push you, challenge you and straight up disagree with you is the sign of a mature, healthy learner; the kind of learner that educators ought to ascribe to.

via GIPHY

As I said, I’m sceptical. Easy to talk about being open to new ideas, harder to seek them out. As I scan … Read the rest