Sandlots and Outdoor Rinks

I played a lot of sports as a kid growing up in southern Manitoba. Hockey in the winter, baseball in the spring, golf in the summer and football in the fall. In all cases, I played in leagues but I also played them without adult supervision or organization.

In Canada, outdoor neigbourhood rinks are as prevalent as sandlots and baseball fields. I remember being about 7 years old and taking my skates and stick to the local outdoor rink, tieing my skates in the heated shack and heading out on the ice. There were kids, teenagers, and adults. Everyone played. You tossed your sticks in the centre of the rink and divided them up. Then you played. If the teams seemed uneven, you’d make a quick adjustment but mostly you just played. You learned to play with kids who were way better than you and kids who were worse. Some kids certainly had the puck more than others but you just played. While you did keep score, it mattered little as the next day you showed up and totally different teams were formed and usually a slightly different crowd.

In the summer, a similar experience happened on baseball diamonds and … Read the rest

The #deanie Awards

Last year I started this on a whim.

I decided to make it the second annual #deanie award.

 

I stated much of what was behind these awards in that post from 2015. Let me add to that a tweet I made for David Truss as he develops a twitter guide for educators.

I likely won’t remember a link or idea you shared. What tends to remain for me is who you are as a person. It’s why when someone shares something a bit unusual or personal, it grabs my attention because I get a sense of who they are and it becomes the basis of a continued connection. The reason I post things about golf, naps or other goofiness is the hope that it might connect me to someone with the same interests, brighten someone’s day or just break the endless stream of edusharing. I’m not opposed to sharing links and ideas, but I don’t know we need more of that. I’m trying to fill a void and spend time focusing … Read the rest

Anyone Want To Have a Real Conversation?

The reason I was drawn to blogs 10 years ago was the raw and natural tone they afforded. No longer publishing was relegated to perfectly edited prose but favored conversational, authentic voices. My recent foray into snapchat is largely about exploring the same thing but perhaps to a greater degree.

Arriving at ISTE for the 8th year in a row, it’s difficult at times not to become jaded. I’m not even talking about the overblown corporate presence but rather the way in which discussions and ideas are void of authenticity. What takes precedence at ISTE and most larger events are buzzwords and platitudes. Sessions that use words like “transform”, tweets that garner retweets because of their catchiness and conversations that lack depth.  Time after time, people will reference the hallway conversations, that for many who are experienced conference goers, mark the best learning. This is true in part because they’re more intimate and further are more authentic. People will speak more openly about struggles. They’ll talk about success and quandaries with humility. They aren’t putting on a show or trying to impress anyone. And yet so much of the online interactions lack any nuance, questioning or depth of thought. The … Read the rest

My Community Story

Cross posted on the DEN blogs

If we consider life a journey, it’s important and fun to look back at how we ended in the place we are today. For the past 10 years or so I’ve been on a journey and many of you have been on one similar to mine. Some have started at different points but the idea that we’re a community of learners looking to leverage technology to create better and transformative learning experiences is what keeps us together. That and the vibrant and diverse nature of our relationships.
Let me go back 10 years. While the DEN was just birthing, so was my own community experience. On Feb 6, 2005 I started a blog. Without knowing what it was but had heard that it was free and easier to publish than using Dreamweaver or Frontpage, I thought I would try it. To say it transformed my professional life would be an understatement.  Specifically the first comment I received which came from a special needs educator from Texas had my mind spinning. Why was he commenting? How did he find me? What did I know that might help a special needs educator? As I reflected … Read the rest

#Socks4Dean

It was a big one. 50. 50 years old. To celebrate I planned a week of golf with buddies. Sandwiched in between was a couple of speaking gigs. I left 5 days before the big day. The day before I left I received a package in the may from Phillip Cummings. In it was a pair of Memphis Grizzlies socks. What a lovely gift. I left town and didn’t think much more about it other than to thank him for his thoughtfulness. A few days later, my wife began posting pictures of packages that were arriving at the house. In a strange twist, these packages were not for her. Each day more were added to the pile. By the time I arrived home 9 days after my birthday, there were 52 packages for me from people all over the world.

 

 

Looking over this pile I was completely overwhelmed at the thought that so many people would think of me. I didn’t want to open them, I saw the cumulative as a an unbelievable gesture of care and community. Many of the people are people I’ve known for many years but others I’ve never met. As I … Read the rest