From Despair to Hope

No matter who you are or where you’re from, this pandemic has done some damage. It’s by no means the same for all of us and I count myself as one of the fortunate ones in so many respects. Yet even as fortunate as I am, every once in a while I find myself going down the rabbit hole of despair. Whether it’s the implications of the pandemic, political unrest, the rise of conspiracy theories, racial injustices, climate change and the list goes on. Then there are the stories of friends and connections who have been hit hard by these things and it becomes more personal. Some days any of these issues weigh heavy and depending on who you are listening to, reading or watching, it can make these seem insurmountable. You can certainly make the case that these issues are unresolvable and over time that mindset and consumption of fear and dread can lead anyone into some level of depression.

It’s partly due to our extra time to linger and wade in murky waters of sadness and negativity and partly due to the endless stream of voices more than willing to feed your fears, it’s at times difficult to … Read the rest

On A New Team

Team sports have always been appealing to me. Playing hockey, baseball, football and basketball, I relished in what can be accomplished together but also being part of something outside of the competition. As a hockey and basketball player, I took as much pleasure in making a great pass as I did n scoring. Finishing is fun and scoring usually garners more praise and attention and I enjoyed that part but they beauty of two or more people acheiving success is special. Even as a spectator, individual performances are great but when you see people working together that’s beautiful.

Having spent nearly 8 years working around North America and beyond with Discovery Education, I had the privilege of working together with so many great people. I had a great deal of autonomy and did a lot on my own but always felt part of a team working towards a bigger goal. I supported many different people and many people supported me.

When I left Discovery Education in the fall of 2019, I had some decisions to make. I had a number of colleagues who were working as independent consultants and speakers. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that but also … Read the rest

The Future of Professional Learning Part 2

You may want to read part 1 but I think this post does stand alone.

In general, I think professional offerings will be expanded and diversified moving forward. More than ever, teachers are more comfortable with webinars, chats and courses. Since there is currently little to no face-to-face opportunities, it seems participants are more accepting and less critical of offerings because there is no alternative. That said, I believe there is an opportunity for districts to be more intentional and focused on their online offerings as well as rethinking what face to face learning should be.

Professional Learning (PL) covers a broad spectrum of experiences and formats. In 2020, PL has leveraged video conferencing tools more than ever. Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Team are the preferred platforms and the vast majority of PL has been synchronous. Most of the asynchronous offerings have been through recordings of these same synchronous sessions. The more effective sessions have included opportunities for participants to chat and interact via breakout rooms or chat. These strategies are not new but seemed to be embraced and standardized more than ever. Personally, I’ve offered sessions that spanned anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. The longer sessions … Read the rest

Delight 15: The #Deanie Awards

Starting in 2015, I decided to take time at the end of the year to celebrate my network. The randomness that I’ve always loved about Twitter is the chance encounters I’ve had both in-person and online but often stemming from a conversation on Twitter or just something that made me smile.

I have no real formula or criteria for doling these out. This year I tried to favourite tweets that caught my attention and used many of these in my celebrations. You’ll see some are very thoughtful and serious while others are pure frivolity and that’s kind of the point. I recall one of the reasons I started this was some conversation about the value of awards and how often it left people feeling left out or that it was some type of popularity contest. I’m not sure how much this award tries to be the antithesis of that but for me, it is about the delight I find in small interactions or gestures of others. When I think about these people, some of whom I know very well and others I’ve never met, I smile. They bring me delight.

I know these awards mean absolutely nothing. I still worry … Read the rest

The Future of Professional Learning Part 1

This post was last updated on 4 months ago at 4 months ago

While the pandemic is raising lots of questions about the future of schools and education and rightfully so, there isn’t much talk about the future of professional learning.

While virtual conferences and webinars have been around for a while, they only reached a small percentage of educators. Much like the early days of using technology in schools, the idea of virtual conferences and webinars was seen as pretty innovative. I recall presenting for Discovery Education’s Virtcon back in 2010 before I even worked for them. One of my personal watershed moments was listening to a keynote from David Weinberger back in 2005 and I recall thinking how wonderful it was that I was experiencing the same learning thousands of miles away as those sitting in the convention center in Philadephia. Today these events are commonplace. The beginning of the pandemic saw a deluge of online events and conferences as many scrambled to either replace scheduled in-person events or take advantage of people working remotely to offer learning directly related to remote teaching and learning.

9 months in and remote learning for students is still being met with … Read the rest