The Stupidest Creative Act

I was honored to be chosen to give an ignite talk during the opening session at this year’s ISTE conference in San Antonio.

2013 ISTE Conference, San Antonio, Texas, USA

A few random thoughts:

  • These are hard to do
  • I tried to submit slides that contained video and transitions but that wasn’t allowed
  • I’d love to see more of these sessions
  • I think smaller ideas are better and more interesting to share in this format than big ones
  • If I do another one I think I’m going to be more creative with the time
  • People liked my pants as much or more than my talk.

Here’s the written transcript of my talk.

Last month my daughter came to me with a problem. “Dad, I can’t fit any more apps or songs on my phone it’s says it’s full” I grabbed her phone to find out the problem…. 985 selfies….bad selfies at that. Given I’ve been known on occasion to take a selfie and given my house is well staffed with selfie police officers, I couldn’t dismiss her problem.

You see, I’m a big fan of silly. Silly is good, silly is part of what makes us human. In some respects our world is now full of silly. Read the rest

A Culture of Joy: Part 1

Two places I spend a lot of time in are schools and airplanes. What I’ve noticed after the time spent in these places is that cultures are pretty easy to identify. In Canada, the two major airlines, Air Canada and Westjet have very distinct cultures. I mostly fly Air Canada for a number of reasons and must say I’ve had very good experiences. However, if you ask most Canadians about these two airlines, the general belief is that Westjet offers the better customer service. Air Canada is the more formal, serves the business traveller and Westjet has a more inclusive approach that’s focused on a great customer experience sprinkled with fun. Look through their Youtube channel to see what I mean. Air Canada does have a channel too but with a very different focus.

I’ve thought about this before but it struck me after I hopped on a plane after speaking at TEDxWestVancouver on the topic “Whatever Happened to Joy”. On the flight the attendant was so focused on the regulations and walked through the plane literally scolding several people for not taking out their earbuds and talking during the safety presentation. At that moment I recalled a flight on … Read the rest

Things That Suck

Cross posted at Discovery Canada.

One thing that is wonderful about my work with Discovery, and there are many, is that I get to try out a lot of stuff. I was invited to present at LearnEast in Fredericton, New Brunswick which is a free conference for educators put on by Bryan Facey and Jeff Whipple. These guys do a great job and offer a top notch day and a half for teachers. They asked me to Keynote and offer some sessions. When I asked what they wanted, they said, "whatever you like". Dangerous response. 

I'd seen the "Things that Suck" session a few times posted as part of a few EdCamp sessions and was able to see it in action previously under the direction of Carl Hooker. Carl did a great job of engaging folks to open a conference and using it to spark some great conversation about controversial topics. I think it sets a great tone for civil discourse and exploration and sharing of diverse opinions. I thought I'd use LearnEast to take it for a test drive. I think it was an enjoyable drive. 

I created 10 topics and supplemented them with links in Read the rest

The Importance and Seriousness of Silly

Saturday I was fortunate to be able to present at the Social Learning Summit for Classroom 2.0 and Discovery. it was a fantastic array of content which fortunately is all free and archived here. I've done plenty of virtual presentations before but this time I actually did it in front of 30+ teachers in New Brunswick

At any rate, this was a talk about an idea that I often allude to in my presentations but have never devoted an entire talk to it. Along with the help of some great friends, I shared some ideas about "silly". It's not the typical tool or how to session but there are some ideas here that I'm still working through and trying to fully understand. Like most of my work world, this is a sandbox presentation, playing with ideas and seeing if they resonate. You tell me. 

Blackboard Collaborate Presentation

Slide Deck:

 … Read the rest

Pursuing Intentional Serendipity

I think the phrase I'm looking for is intentional serendipity. I think it's Peter Skillen's term but there may be others using a similar concept.  In a world where play and wonder should really be considered essential dispositions, our education rarely values learning that isn't somehow tied to a chosen standard or outcome.

Unlike a classroom where a teacher controls the lecture, the organic communities that emerge through collectives produce meaningful learning because the inquiry that arises comes from the collective itself.


Integral to this idea is giving yourself opportunities to experience and facilitate serendipitous learning. Currently there really isn't a better way to make this happen than twitter.

Here's the story.

Yesterday I'm attending a full day workshop (workshop is a loose term, it was really a 5 hour lecture) with Dr. Larry Bendtro, researcher and founder of the Circle of Courage Institute which focuses on reclaiming at risk students. Dr. Bendtro is a good speaker and while a 5 hour lecture isn't an ideal way to learn, there were lots of nuggets of learning I took away.

Sitting in the auditorium made up of educators and community people, I did see several ipads out Read the rest