Sharing, Bragging, Selling and Self Promoting

When I published my first blog post over ten years ago, it was clear to me that the possibility to share and share online, had the potential for something special. This new-found ability to share at a global level has provided teachers access to content and ideas never before available and connected teachers to people who have helped to transform classrooms around the world.

I created this video five years ago that remains an important part of my philosophy and message.

Ever since I began teaching over 25 years ago, I’ve had many conversations with teachers about their reluctantly to share for fear they might be seen as braggarts. One of the benefits of sharing online was it allowed teachers working in toxic or distrustful environments to share and not worry what the colleague across the hall might think. In many ways, it was and remains a revolution that has reinvigorated many careers. Even teachers in good environments found a way to expand their networks and discover new ideas to improve learning. Online spaces like blogs and social media have been platforms for people to post ideas, lessons, tutorials and other successes.

So what’s the problem?

Maybe there isn’t one … Read the rest

Is Sharing Still a Moral Imperative?

The video I created in 2010 for the K-12 online called Sharing: The Moral Imperative remains a fairly widely used bit of content. I was proud of my efforts from a production, content and delivery perspective. Also if you want to see George Couros, before he was George Couros, have a look.


That was over six years ago. As I rewatched it, I had to ask if I feel the same today. What, if any changes would I make to this video if I were to update it?

Focusing solely on the content, I still value and believe sharing is integral to learning and our profession. My claims in the video focus mainly on efforts to share online. At the time, only a small number of educators were actively sharing content online. Blogs were beginning to take traction for some, but their value wasn’t anywhere near a universal belief. Twitter and social media opportunities were nowhere near where they are today. Twitter was seen much like Snapchat is perceived for many today.: wasteful and for posting of minutia.

My original message was to encourage and create a culture where teachers look to share their ideas, thoughts, lessons, resources … Read the rest

Kids First or Learning First?

As educators, we are aware that our job is about children and providing them with the very best learning experience possible. However, any organization or system has those people who forget this and at times even act in ways that impede this mission.  The recent shifts to focus on learning as opposed to teaching along with an increased emphasis on personal learning are welcome changes and are helping to do right by children.

However, like all good ideas and efforts, there are always subtle misuses of these sentiments and ideals. I seem to have a hyper-sensitive radar for language, and it often is no more evident than when I read pithy hashtags and quotes on Twitter. These catch phrases are often the ones most viral and need to be examined in some detail before we simply add them to the lexicon of school.

When I see something like this being shared, it concerns me.

I believe in developing a community of learners. By learners I mean everyone. Certainly, as adults and educators, our job is to provide for children.  But sometimes, these types of statements are used to ignore or minimize the well-being of adults.  It’s very hard to argue … Read the rest

The Good Old Days

It’s not my birthday. More on the photo in a bit.

Today I was introduced by Jennifer Cronk as someone who has been around the world of edtech for a while. She’s right. I started blogging 10 years ago, opened my twitter account 9 years ago. That’s like a 100 in normal people years. It’s odd to look back at the changes but today’s post by George Couros has me reminiscing.

I also liked this quote and have used it often.

People seem to get nostalgic about a lot of things they weren’t so crazy about the first time around. ~Author Unknown

In 2005 the world of blogging was a bit like being a pioneer. Few people were doing it and most people didn’t even know what it was. I was able to connect with people around the world, have people comment and interact on topics most people I knew weren’t that interested in discussing. In those days, spending time online made you a nerd. I blogged a lot because I was finding new things all the time. It was my way of documenting and sharing that really. As I become more confident, I tackled more challenging topics. In many … Read the rest

If I Ever Think of Myself as a Brand, Slap Me

I’m not sure what percentage, but likely half of my blog posts are borne out of anger or annoyance. Here’s another one.

About a year ago, I wrote this on the mixed message of digital citizenship. The whole “be awesome all the time”  and “only share the positive” is helpful advice, particularly to young people, but the danger lies in losing our humanity.

Brand management is defined this way:

a communication function that includes analysis and planning on how that brand is positioned in the market, which target public the brand is targeted at, and maintaining a desired reputation of the brand.

Whether explicitly stated or not, this is precisely what I see many folks advocating for with our students and educators alike. Telling kids to be careful and thoughtful in what they share is important. Telling them to be calculating and strategic is dangerous. It might be a good thing to consider if you’re selling soap but not if you’re a human being. I see people applying these principles being applied to the way they interact online. The things they share are strategic. They share content and ideas they know will get a lot of views/likes/retweets rather … Read the rest