Moving from “What is the Matter?” to “What Matters to You?”

The education world is full of smart people. We are not short of innovative and creative thinkers. What I believe holds us back at times is finding a different lens.

When we think about the priorities of our schools and the priority of learning it is of course grounded in curriculum and the things that have been determined to be important. Top of that list is the basics, literacy, math, science and social studies. More recently global competencies or the 5Cs have represented a more updated lens of what matters. On top of that, we are shifting from a one size fits all to a more individualized approach to education.

All of those things address the questions of “What is the matter?” as well as “what matters?” Diagnostic tools and insights help teachers find out both what matters as well as what is the matter with them, or what things impede their learning. From there we work tirelessly to ensure these things that matter are offered, shared, delivered to students. I don’t want that sentence to read as negative because not only is that the core of the work of schools but it can and for the most part is … Read the rest

Good Intentions Are Not A Free Pass

If you don’t regularly think about this, you should:

There isn’t a person alive who doesn’t have to deal with this every day but I’m guessing most of us forget.

I started thinking about this more specifically after listening to the last episode of the Happiness lab and the episode on grading. In it, they talk about the way in which tracking and sharing fitness goals may have a negative effect on both yourself and others. In the sharing economy, sharing our achievements is pretty ubiquitous and as educators, we know and value sharing. I’ve spent a lot of my career advocating for it. But the discussion here suggests when you share your latest run, workout or steps, it may, in fact, impact someone in a negative way. They may feel less about themselves. They may become less motivated. But as the person sharing, that was never your intent. You likely are sharing to either encourage others (“if I can do it, so can you”) or for your own accountability. Yes, there may be some who share as a humble or not so humble brag and maybe it’s a combination of these reasons that you share. But I … Read the rest

I Don’t Think I’m an EdTech Guy Anymore

I have a Master’s Degree in Educational Technology. For 9 years I had the job title of Digital Learning Consultant. I held another job for a software/media company. I’ve taught post-secondary courses that focus on the role of technology in schools. I’ve spoken at dozens of technology conferences. And yet today I feel more removed from educational technology than ever.

Workshop Preparations
Workshop Prep circa 2006

My relationship with technology is like many people I know. With a limited computer background, I became interested in technology because of its increasing ability to connect us at a very human level. Beginning in the late 1990s, I became an early adopter. It was at this point I began to use computers and cameras, specifically in my classroom. This is when I began to see technology as magic. Doing things I was not previously able to do. At that time, interfaces were clunky, hardware was slow and unreliable and so it was only those that saw the magic and potential that preserved and learned. That enthusiasm allowed me opportunities to share and eventually take a leadership role in my district. An M.Ed and high ranking blog, utilization of Web 2.0 tools, conference presentations and invitations … Read the rest

Deep Learning and the Curriculum Disconnect

This post was last updated on December 1st, 2019 at 08:23 pm

Disclaimer: I write this knowing I may be off or am missing some perspectives. In other words, it’s why I blog. That’s why comments are open.

Tweeting is easy:

Backing up what you tweet is harder. But tossing out a statement like this I realized that was only right to clarify and expand the thought. The genesis of the tweet comes after seeing many tweets referencing deep learning or similar concepts, I immediately saw the disconnect between devotion to the curriculum and the actualization of deep learning.

The term “deep learning” is rooted in problem-solving, connected learning and personal relevance. I’m not sure if it was coined by Michael Fullan and Joanne Quinn but they are certainly the most prominent names around the term. The New Pedagogies for Deep Learning movement has been around for a few … Read the rest

What is Expertise Worth?

I’ve been exploring the changing nature of expertise for a while and my thinking continues to evolve.

I recently had two experiences with this that still has me working to better understand my relationship both with my expertise and how I value experts.

I went to see my lawyer to discuss a legal matter. I had done some research ahead of time and thought I knew what the right path was but wanted confirmation and perhaps some insight I hadn’t considered. In the end, I spent $150 for an hour of his time to be more or less reassured that my instincts and research were correct. He helped with clarifying some of the language and specifics but I more or less left with the same information and a little more confidence.

Today I saw a physio-therapist to look at my foot. I had been suffering with what I believed was plantar fasciitis for several months. It was at its height of pain about 6 weeks ago and after doing my research and implementing many of the treatments it was slowly getting better. I had a general physical yesterday and I mentioned my heel pain and he suggested an x-ray … Read the rest