The Future of Professional Learning Part 1

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 mixed reviews and mostly leaning to the negative. No doubt this speaks to … Read the rest

Delight 14: Learning to Love Winter

As a kid growing up in Canada, winter was never seen as something negative. Probably a little nostalgia I’m sure but winter as a kid was all about snowball fights and hockey. For me mostly hockey. While I played organized hockey since I was 8, some of my greatest memories were skating in my backyard rink and playing pickup games with the kids from the neighbourhood.

I stopped playing hockey when I was 35. That was about the same time I began to travel in the winter for work. For the past 20 or so years, I’ve been able to go south for a least a week. More recently I probably spend at least 6 weeks escaping winter much of that with my Dad who wintered in Florida. I developed a theory that your tolerance for cold coincided with your age. For example when your 50, you get cold with any temperature under 50 F. My Dad who is now 88, keeps his apartment at that temperature. Once happy to be outside in winter, I now would regularly vocalize my distain for the season.

There are many things I don’t like about this pandemic but we are pretty blessed. I … Read the rest

Why Am I Still Using Social Media?

This post was last updated on 2 weeks ago at 2 weeks ago

Since the inception of social media which emerged in and around 2005-07, it has gone from something as silly and useless to essential and powerful to dangerous and divisive. Perhaps all of those elements remain in some respects but certainly, the danger and divisiveness is the dominant narrative. If you’ve watched The Social Dilemma or done any other extensive reading, you’re quite aware of the harm it has and continues to cause our society. There isn’t a current issue that isn’t ripe for controversy, misinformation and vitriol. We’re overheating everywhere.

When I joined Twitter in 2007, it was definitely a silly and seemingly useless space. There were no such thing as followers, hashtags or mentions. As someone interested in the power of connectivity and networking, I found it to be a fantastic way to find interesting people. While some were already using it as a space to share serious and useful content, I just wanted to get to know others. As an educator is was a virtual staff room. A place where educators would come together to try and get away from the challenges of teaching but … Read the rest

Delight 13: Press Record

This post was last updated on 2 months ago at 2 months ago

This post is part of a series of posts I’m writing on delight.

I’m big PVR/DVR guy. I record sports, news, shows, you name it. I realize in an age of streaming, the PVR has become somewhat antiquated but it’s still a useful tool for me. Specifically for sports. Given the amount of sports I like to consume, without it, it would be both impossible given many events are on at the same time as well as incredibly time-consuming given the length of these games and events.

For example, I’ve developed some strategies that get me through an NFL game very quickly. My remote has a 30 second advance button. Given there are 40 seconds between plays, a quick press will have me with the teams at the line of scrimmage ready to execute the next play. Fast forwarding over all the commercials and I can see every play in just over an hour. I also watch a lot of golf. If I’m following a particular player, I’ll fast forward to see all their shots and if it’s a close tournament, may watch the last couple … Read the rest

Delight 12: Older Kids Playing with Younger Kids

I’m so grateful to be able to watch my granddaughter Harriet develop. I’ll freely admit that as a father of four, my recollection of my own kids’ childhood is fuzzy. Partly due to the passage of time and partly because all parents are focused on protection and providing that they can be less attentive to the joys of growing up.

We live in a neighbourhood with lots of young kids. Unlike many kids their age, they play outside and it seems to be a bit of a throwback to my Wonder Years. Not only that but they are kind and caring. So when Harriet comes to visit, we often walk around to see if any are playing outside. She’s watched them play before and had small interactions but today they invited her to play with them.

They let her tell them a story, played The Three Little Pigs, tag and taught her London Bridge. I stayed well back and watched. It was a delight. Not just how Harriet loved the attention but how the kids showed patience and creativity as they played.

One of my beliefs is that children should not be confined to learning and experiencing the world … Read the rest