Even 8 year olds get it

My wife, after spending the last 10 years as a teacher librarian is back in the classroom. She's doing a fantastic job and has committed to share her students work through her blog. I set her up with posterous and it's working really well. She's posted more than once a day sharing photos, videos and is getting great feedback from students and parents. She'll be shifting to students posting their own work soon. 

She told me interesting story today. Each week she does a little warm up activity called "Minute to Win It". She draws names out of a hat to determine the order. Today she realized that the one student that would not get picked today would not take it well. She knew the student  was going to cry.  Just as she was about to film the other student, the water works began with loud wailing. My wife turned to the student and said, "Do you want people on the internet to see you crying?" She was shocked when the student immediately stopped crying. She didn't need to say another word. She didn't think it would make that much of a difference but it did. Later the Read the rest

What about Forgiveness?

Cross Posted at TechLearning


A recent post by Vicki Davis has me thinking. Vicki warns about Facebook’s challenging privacy options and suggest educators will run into problems if students view our pages and see our friends posting profanity on our walls. This post isn’t really about Vicki’s post as much as it simply triggers some thoughts about the way we handle what we view to be inappropriate content and interactions. It made me think about forgiveness.

I’m not opposed to anything Vicki writes. I think we need to be empowered as much as possible to control and manage our content and identity. Understanding the nuances of a space like Facebook is an important skill in 2011. Schools and teachers need to be talking and showing students how to manage their online lives.

But if we address the specifics of Vicki’s issue there are a couple of things that concern me. Here’s an excerpt about what triggered Vicki’s post.

Someone in our community – an adult- posted HORRIBLE things on his page.(School Fan Page) Because the adults were friends and the students were friends with the teachers and adults, they were exposed to it. Some people blamed the school because

Read the rest

“One in Five” Really?

Data driven decision making is a buzz word in education of late. My crap detector goes into high alert when this discussion roles around, since data in this case usually means test scores and tests usually means low level, knowledge based memorization. Without this discussion, it's too easy to move to solutions that potentially address something that in the end, real educators care about… improving test scores. 

Data can be extremely useful and yet our obsession with it is leading to some really weird and potentially damaging decisions in all areas of life.

Parents are just bad at risk assessment,” said Christie Barnes, a mother of four and the author of “The Paranoid Parents Guide.” “We are constantly overestimating rare dangers while underestimating common ones.” Nytimes.com

The one that continues to haunt me is the very scary Internet predator. I've written about it often enough but what I want to address here is the way in which data has be used carelessly and unethically to promote fear and sell products.

“One in five children is now approached by online predators." This statistic has been quoted numerous times by media and other agencies to paint a very inaccurate picture … Read the rest

Robbing Students of Recognition

Cross Posted at the TechLearning blog

Our district uses its front page to post success stories from our 40 schools. These range from academic achievements to athletic accomplishments of school teams. Schools post the stories to their own Website and submit them to me to post to the district page where generally there is more traffic. This one was sent to me earlier in the week.

Tanner Spencer from Craik, SK, attended team Canada's World Junior top 35 camp in Orlando, Florida from October 5th to October 15th.  Tanner is the youngest Saskatchewan player ever chosen to go.  The majority of the team was from BC, Ontario, and Quebec.  One player was chosen from the Maritimes, one from Manitoba, one from Saskatchewan and two from Alberta.  Tanner started pitching the first game in Orlando, started the fourth game and closed the last game.  He gave up no earned runs on six innings pitched.  Congratulations Tanner.

As soon as I read it I realize they had violated our district policy which states we will never publish a photo of a student with a full name. I also realized in that moment how absurd that policy is.

As we explore the idea … Read the rest

EdTech Posse 5.4 Grumpy Old Digital Residents

We missed Rick and Alec but welcomed back Heather Ross and Kyle Lichtenwald as we talk about digital safety and identity, digital residents and digital tourists. I was able to elaborate further on the debacle of the other night’s presentation. I actually don’t show up until about 15 minutes into the conversation. I was busy eating donuts. Thanks to Rob for the quick turn around.… Read the rest