“I Couldn’t Agree More” is Meh.

First off, if you rarely read the comments in a blog, you ignore the fact that some of the best learning comes from those who respond and contribute additional ideas, perspectives and insights. Grant it, many spaces, like news sites and youtube are often places where civil discourse is difficult to find. But many blogs, particularly educational blogs offer some of the best places for conversation. Blogs are by nature conversational. Posts are meant to be reviewed, discusses and challenged in the same spaces.

via GIPHY

Yet, perhaps it’s the overly kind nature of many educators or a fear to engage in meaningful debate, it’s amazing how often I read a blog with some interesting ideas and the comments are filled with replies beginning with “I couldn’t agree more.” Now certainly there are many times when that’s exactly how you feel and so you post with enthusiasm the joy of finding a kindred spirit, I’m not here to criticize you if you’ve ever began a comment like that. Well, maybe a little criticism. 😉

I’m here to suggest that if you only leave those kind of comments then maybe you aren’t putting yourself in a position to think critically or … Read the rest

We’re all in Grade 4

Ever since I saw John say this I've been using it in pretty much ever talk I've given since then:

 

There's a humility in this statement that resonates me. It often seems like folks are looking for answers or solutions in this messiness we're currently in. I'd suggest we've always lived in messiness but it's simply more exposed. To that end we're seeing all kinds of experimentation and exploration to find some semblance of peace and stability in a world seemily void of that. And while some thrive in the messiness and uncertainity, others push back looking for a simpler, more satisfying existence. I watch with fascination sometimes at both of these approaches. 

The New York Times published an article recently about a school in Vermont cutting themselves off from technology. People often assume that I would reject an idea like this and that you have to choose sides in this debat.e. I think that's a false dichotomy. In fact, this article offers a couple of ideas that really stand out. 

True to its mission of encouraging “collaborative learning and shared work,” the school asked its students and alumni to develop a technology policy that will determine whether

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Being Regular is Good

Being regular is good. In many ways. 😉

But in this case being regular is about trying to be consistent and persistent in sharing ideas and content. I realize one of the beautiful things about a blog or any online space is the freedom to publish whenever. Even though most of us don't publish as our primary jobs, we all understand the power and value of sharing. I've talked about that once or twice myself. 

Like spending enough time with good friends, I have this need to read and listen to my favorite people who happen to also be great thinkers and sharers. These people who have taken the time to set up shop and blog provide me with wonderful insights and ideas to mull over and pass along to others. I depend on their desire to share. And when they don't, I miss it. 

Being someone who is 7+ years into blogging and and even longer reader, I began to think of many of the early bloggers and podcasters who have either slowed down dramatically or quit altogether. For the majority I have no idea why but presume life got in the way and that's understandable. For others I Read the rest

Beyond the Textbook

My brain is tired.

That's what you get for spending a day and a half talking about really big issues with really smart people. 

The Background:

Photo: by Wes Fryer http://www.flickr.com/photos/wfryer/6997202637/

Discovery Education, for whom I'm now employed has been involved with digital spaces and for lack of a better word, a textbook, although we call it a techbook. We all agree, the term fails to recognize that we're trying to offer something different but it's the term for now and I suppose it has a recognizable feel that invites a larger group of educators to consider what it might do for learning. They've launched it in several states and wrapped it in loads of quality professional learning designed to help all teachers, no matter their configuration and access to use technology combined with excellent pedagogy to transform learning. That's the goal. We've had some success and feel good about what's been accomplished but recognize we need to get even better and with that invited 18 folks from across North America who are known leaders and thinkers and are willing to be critical for the purposes of making education better.  We spent the evening and a day exploring the … Read the rest