When Sharing Goes Bad, Pithy Quote Fetish and Kids These Days

I left a comment on Wes’ blog after this rather unfortunate event happened. I decided to repost here with a few additional thoughts and modifications.



I think there are three issues that come to mind for me:

1. It’s important we understand and accept the trade offs with technology. Too often we in the ed tech community have to oversell technology in order to make in roads. We’re not naive, I don’t think we ignore the downsides, but perhaps if we prepare folks for deeper understanding, these kinds of things won’t be seen as a reason to discontinue. 99.99% of my experience in sharing has been overwhelmingly positive. I have to think that for most people who have made sharing a part of ¬†what they do, it’s similar. But I’m afraid if you’ve not made this your default, it might make you gun shy. That’s unfortunate. Yes, occasionally sharing goes bad. But in the same way that being kind can backfire, I hope it wouldn’t stop you from continuing to be kind. Understand this comes with the territory. Some might suggest Wes shouldn’t post pictures of his kids. I disagree. Many of his images have been used for … Read the rest

Don’t Ask People What They Want

Cross posted at the Huffington Post.

Steve Jobs never believed in focus groups. Guy Kawasaki, who worked for Apple and Steve Jobs said, "Apple Market research is an oxymoron. If you ask people what they want they'll tell you "Better, faster and cheaper"- that is better sameness, not revolutionary change. Many other innovators have echoed similar sentiments. This flies in the face of the idea that the customer is always right. Jobs also said "people don't know what they want until you show it to them" No doubt he was a brash visionary that designed some very innovative products that many people adore. 

In education I hear this sentiment a lot lately: "Involve and engage all stakeholders". That sounds lovely. Why wouldn't we want input for parents and the community? All stakeholders in this case probably means every parent and taxpayer. That's a lot of people with a lot of ideas about what school should look like.  There's a desire to be transparent and be collaborative. These are words I use with great frequency to describe learning. But I'm beginning to question these ideas when it comes to making bold moves in education. 

I think of … Read the rest

The Dangers of Personalization

Watch this. 

Okay, so that makes should make you think.

Here's what I'm thinking. I wrote this piece for the Huffington Post last year and so you don't' have to read the whole thing here's where that post relates to the video above.

Our current system and structure fights personalized learning with nearly every new policy and protocol it can generate. The system craves standardization while we desperately need customization. These competing ideals butt heads constantly and for those teachers who do believe in personalizing learning, they live in perpetual frustration……While I'm busy advocating for changes that might support an education that fuels and fosters students' passions, I worry that we lose sight of what a liberal education is all about. They don't know what they don't know. Providing students with broad experiences that invites them to develop a variety of skills, understand and appreciate diverse perspectives and potentially uncover hidden talents and interests speaks to a fairly well accepted purpose of school.

Just like google and facebook, progressive education seeks to find what students are interested in and facilitate learning that acknowledges their passion. I don't think Google or Facebook has nefarious intentions other than to make your experience … Read the rest

Coaches and Mentors


Watching a recent interview with golf legend Tom Watson, David Feherty asked him what he thought  about the trend in the game today for players to use coaches. He commented on how the range at a PGA tour event is full of entourages for each player that includes swing coaches, mental coaches, fitness coaches and more. Watson, now in his 60's recalled how he is now one of the few players who doesn't bring a coach with him to tour events. He talked about the advice he was given as a young aspiring golfer: "Go find the best players, watch them and play with them". He said he found mentors, not coaches who helped him become the great player that he was. 

Of course this got me thinking about the two terms and they way not only Watson viewed them but how they relate to educators and more specifically the work I'm doing with Lani Ritter-Hall and PLP. Lani and I and our team of coaches have had many conversations about defining and redefining our roles. It's tough work. particularly dealing with adults who are professionals. 

I liked that Watson didn't revert to "the good old days" tone but 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