I.S.S. The Collaborative Lip Dub

I love this song.

I love what Commander Hadfield has been doing as part of his mission. He’s done an outstanding job in bringing us into the world of space travel and along the way reminding us what a wonderful world we live in.

I love lip dubs. I’ve been part of making a few. While they’ve been around for a while I think they represent the power of connected media and storytelling quite well. If you’ve ever participated in one, the weird sense of community and joy is palpable.

I love how my class works and connects young pre-service teachers with great teachers and classrooms around the world. This continues to be one of the most important things I can give my students: the opportunity to work with teachers doing interesting things and sharing openly.

So I decided to combine these things and create a collaborative lip dub. I simply invited interested students and classrooms to sign up for a line or two. Without mandating, it worked out quite well with about 25 participants. I then assigned them a line or two and had them send me their files. They all chose how they wanted to … Read the rest

Stephen Finds Joy

There’s nothing quite like watching someone’s passion and dream being fulfilled. Last month I got to see it in front of my eyes. ears.

During my time at Unplugd, I got to meet and know Stephen Hurley. Stephen is an arts consultant in Ontario and all around interesting, good guy. Stephen and I were in the same grouping as we did our collaborative writing. Stephen began by sharing this story.


The part of the story about his love of radio wasn’t even the core of his writing or story but it wasn’t hard to tell that Stephen had a passion for airwaves. Everything about it fueled his passion. What struck me was his determination despite the roadblocks and discouragments. Stephen’s story was heard a few times by others including Bryan Jackson and Giulia Forsythe, The two of them have become quite involved in the DS 106 Radio community, which in a nutshell is a off shoot of a course taught by Jim Groom in Virginia, and a collaborative idea with Grant Potter in Vancouver who started an internet radio station that basically is open to anyone to broadcast. (Read that sentence again and you realize Read the rest

Can Failure be an Option?

Over the past several years, I’ve attended many conferences and workshops where speakers have talked about how all kids can learn and the importance of that belief. They also talk about how, if that’s true, it’s our obligation and duty as teachers to make sure all students learn and have success.

Okay, I get that. We all love kids and want them to succeed. If fact we want to design systems where no child is “left behind” and no child fails. Full proof schools where everyone is a winner. They unintentionally paint pictures of kids “not getting away with not doing their work”. These are not places of joy but places where come hell or high water, kids will succeed and if they fail, it’s the teacher’s or the school’s fault. What if it is the kid’s fault? Can they ever choose not to be successful? Should a 5-year-old even be considered a failure? Should a 17-year-old be allowed to fail? How do we create a gradual release of control or do we ever relinquish that control? The other huge misconception that is rarely explored under this philosophy is that all children, while they are capable of learning, aren’t all … Read the rest

Barbers and School


My son, for whatever reason, has chosen to let his hair grow while at college in Toronto. His mother and sisters and I have been trying to get him to get it cut for months. On Friday he did. 

He Skyped me to tell me the good news and relayed how it was a rather lovely experience. The barber, who was recommended by a friend, was a little ways from where he lives in Toronto. So he took the subway and made a day of it. Not only was he describing the best burger he ever had but also the haircutting experience itself. Apparently the guy who cut his hair totally ignored my son's suggestion and proceeded to do his own thing. I guess he knew what he was doing and my son was quite pleased with the result. After he finished, he asked that Sam stay and play a game of chess with him. The barber schooled him. My son left feeling quite pleased with the whole day. It was indeed much more than a haircut. It was an experience and a time well spent with a stranger. From the tone of that conversation, he'll be back. 

During Read the rest

What does Joy have to do with Learning?

Full disclosure: This post is written at 3 AM as I wake up with crazy ideas and wonder and then feel compelled to write about it. Forgive any in cohernce, stop reading at any point and move on with your life.

After spending considerable hours investing into Alec’s little gift, I’m still feeling quite energized not only with the response of others but the experience of shared joy a project like that elicits. The fact that 75 of us were able to unite and create something of value and as one commenter put it, “ridiculosly awesome” makes me feel similar to being part of a championship team. Overstated? Maybe. Maybe not. 

My own family is quite aware of the time I invest in all kinds of silly little projects but as I’ve mentioned before about my photo of the day year end videos, they too  appreciate, in many ways share the joy of these efforts with me. 

So as is the case many evenings, I spend a good deal of time kibitizing around with my network on twitter.  Last night I referred to this video  which reminded someone of this video. (side note: I can’t tell you how Read the rest