Kids First or Learning First?

As educators, we are aware that our job is about children and providing them with the very best learning experience possible. However, any organization or system has those people who forget this and at times even act in ways that impede this mission.  The recent shifts to focus on learning as opposed to teaching along with an increased emphasis on personal learning are welcome changes and are helping to do right by children.

However, like all good ideas and efforts, there are always subtle misuses of these sentiments and ideals. I seem to have a hyper-sensitive radar for language, and it often is no more evident than when I read pithy hashtags and quotes on Twitter. These catch phrases are often the ones most viral and need to be examined in some detail before we simply add them to the lexicon of school.

When I see something like this being shared, it concerns me.

I believe in developing a community of learners. By learners I mean everyone. Certainly, as adults and educators, our job is to provide for children.  But sometimes, these types of statements are used to ignore or minimize the well-being of adults.  It’s very hard to argue … Read the rest

The Good Old Days

It’s not my birthday. More on the photo in a bit.

Today I was introduced by Jennifer Cronk as someone who has been around the world of edtech for a while. She’s right. I started blogging 10 years ago, opened my twitter account 9 years ago. That’s like a 100 in normal people years. It’s odd to look back at the changes but today’s post by George Couros has me reminiscing.

I also liked this quote and have used it often.

People seem to get nostalgic about a lot of things they weren’t so crazy about the first time around. ~Author Unknown

In 2005 the world of blogging was a bit like being a pioneer. Few people were doing it and most people didn’t even know what it was. I was able to connect with people around the world, have people comment and interact on topics most people I knew weren’t that interested in discussing. In those days, spending time online made you a nerd. I blogged a lot because I was finding new things all the time. It was my way of documenting and sharing that really. As I become more confident, I tackled more challenging topics. In many … Read the rest

If I Ever Think of Myself as a Brand, Slap Me

I’m not sure what percentage, but likely half of my blog posts are borne out of anger or annoyance. Here’s another one.

About a year ago, I wrote this on the mixed message of digital citizenship. The whole “be awesome all the time”  and “only share the positive” is helpful advice, particularly to young people, but the danger lies in losing our humanity.

Brand management is defined this way:

a communication function that includes analysis and planning on how that brand is positioned in the market, which target public the brand is targeted at, and maintaining a desired reputation of the brand.

Whether explicitly stated or not, this is precisely what I see many folks advocating for with our students and educators alike. Telling kids to be careful and thoughtful in what they share is important. Telling them to be calculating and strategic is dangerous. It might be a good thing to consider if you’re selling soap but not if you’re a human being. I see people applying these principles being applied to the way they interact online. The things they share are strategic. They share content and ideas they know will get a lot of views/likes/retweets rather … Read the rest

Who has the hardest job?

Every once in a while I tweet something only to realize it lacks context and nuance that makes for horrible conversation and goes against many of the things I think makes Twitter a poor place for deep conversation. Like this one:

These are the tweets that get retweeted and favorited but also create some questions and reactions that are difficult to explore in 140. So here I am.

This tweet was borne out of mostly living with a teacher and being one too. I know I never worked harder than when I was in the classroom. I work long hours now, perhaps more than when I taught but  I still remember the biggest thing I gained when I left the classroom was autonomy of my time. Being able to go the bathroom when I wanted was a luxury I didn’t have for the 14 years I taught grades 1-8. Being able to take 10 minutes to walk across the office to chat with a co-worker about a … Read the rest

Sometimes You Should Take A Little….

“Don’t take crap from anyone”

Photo Credit: dawgfanjeff via Compfight cc

This is a pretty popular sentiment today in a world that’s focused on self-preservation and social justice. Certainly, there are times when this is the proper approach. We need to teach children and adults to stand up for truth and injustice, particularly when it’s being done to those who perhaps can’t speak or defend themselves.

But making this your life’s motto or suggesting it be an absolute is dangerous and I think misguided.

A friend of mine told me a story about his son who was in middle school at the time. A group of kids were on the playground and were picking on a particular boy. The whole group got hauled into the principal’s office to tell their story. My friend’s son, let’s call him Rob, explained that he was trying to prevent the bullying. The principal decided that all the boys write a 500-word essay on bullying. Rob went home and told his Dad about the injustice. Dad believed Rob and wanted to be sure he had an opportunity to state his case, which he had. At this point, my friend had a few choices to make. … Read the rest