Put the Laptops Away

Part of what makes me pay attention to an article like this is that it’s written by someone whom I respect. Clay Shirky, head of a small business IT support London company, talks about something fairly radical for a person who is generally seen as an advocate for social media and technology.  He admits a complete change in mindset on the use of laptops of his class.

I have been teaching classes about the internet since 1998, and I’ve generally had a laissez-faire attitude towards technology use in the classroom. This was partly because the subject of my classes made technology use feel organic, and when device use went well, it was great. Then there was the competitive aspect — it’s my job to be more interesting than the possible distractions, so a ban felt like cheating. And finally, there’s not wanting to infantilize my students, who are adults, even if young ones — time management is their job, not mine.

I’ve been guilty of using the same arguments to challenge those who didn’t want to use devices in class. I would still use the same argument for many people but this thoughtful realization speaks to doing what’s best for … Read the rest

Encouraging Ownership

After every course I teach I receive an evaluation from my students. Typically 80% or higher provide with highly positive feedback. 10% are indifferent and 10% are less than satisfied. Most of the dissatisfaction revolves around lack of structure and and timelines. This is partly my personal flaws and partly student preference and partly a communication failure. I take these evaluations seriously and don’t dismiss these critiques but really do try to improve. I need to get better. But….

As I try and create more ownership and agency for students, my efforts to empower them is the thing I need to really work on. How do I get my students to “own their learning”? Consider what ownership means and check this home for sale near me. A Renowned Developer is launching Family-Sized Home North Gaia EC at Yishun Avenue 9 EC. When you own your house, you can complain about the manufacturers of your home for its flaws but ultimately you’ll need to consider and act upon things that aren’t working. Sometimes you do it yourself, sometimes you ask for help, but either way as an owner you take action. Even if you ask for help, you are responsible … Read the rest

Mapping the Internet

If you’ve not aware of the work of David White and his Visitor vs. Resident idea, you should. It began as a response to Marc Prensky’s Digital Native/Digital Immigrant concept. I actually first discovered this back in 2008 but White has updated his thoughts to reflect the increase in social media the last 6 years. Here, just watch this.

Beyond this basic idea, which, if you didn’t watch the video can be summarized as:

When in Visitor mode, individuals have a defined goal or task and select an appropriate online tool to meet their needs. There is very little in terms of social visibility or trace when online in Visitor mode.

When in Resident mode the individual is going online to connect to, or to be with, other people. This mode is about social presence.

I’ve asked my undergrads to map their version of the internet but I did mine in front of them and talked through the various spaces and tools I use.


Let me walk through each of theses spaces and the way I use them. Keep in mind that for me “Institutional” can be swapped with “Professional”. Also keep in mind that spaces will change often … Read the rest

Why Teachers Aren’t Making “The Shifts”

I’ve began a few talks with this slide and I think it serves to spark the conversation about change. It’s been a little while since Will has pushed my thinking as he did this week with his post called “My Summer of Confusion“. While he shares many concerns and questions it was this  paragraph that prompted a response from me:

I’m also wondering to what extent is it a professional educator’s responsibility to keep abreast of the latest research, technologies, and news that impact learning? At one presentation to about 800 people, only about 25 raised their hands when I asked if they’d visited Khan Academy. In general, throughout the summer, I’d estimate less than 10% had heard of MOOCs, the Maker Movement, or 3-D printing. On many occasions, I wondered aloud if we would accept a similar lack of currency for our physicians or our accountants. Bottom line: as a profession, we’re not keeping up with the changes that are occurring.

After a few back and forths on his blog, I figured it required an expanded response.

The physician example gets used a lot but I think it’s problematic. First and foremost physicians work independently. They have … Read the rest

Connected From The Start

Kathy with a studentIt’s my pleasure to announce the publishing of Kathy Cassidy’s new book about primary learners. Kathy is a long time friend and colleague who I’ve long admired and watched her own growth as a connected learner and teacher. I was privileged to be ask to write the foreword which I’ll share here:

In my personal journey with technology, there are two very distinct “aha” moments. Number one came in 1997 when I created my first webpage using something called html. Inputting some weird symbols on a screen, sending them up to something called a web server, using something called FTP, and then knowing that the page could be seen by anyone anywhere with an internet connection and something called a web browser was transformational. Computing was about possibilities.

The second aha occurred in 2003, when I discovered something called a blog. I should say that in my rolefor nine years as a district technology consultant, aha moments were not of much value unless I could help teachers somehow see the same value as I did. While the complexity of computing often assumed it would be best suited for more mature students, I could see the potential for early learners as

Read the rest