Flogging the Dead Horse of RSS

If you’re reading this and don’t know what RSS is you likely also don’t recall the term “Web 2.0“. Really Simple Syndication for me was the poster child technology for the era where the early internet began to shift from a place where only certain folks with technical skill and software could contribute to the web to a place where user-generated content was now dominant and more importantly, anyone could easily interact with that content. RSS allowed you to subscribe to specific content and people.

One of my early blog posts tried to articulate the power of this technology by using the metaphor of a “research team” Other educators curating, thinking and sharing ideas that were useful to me. All I had to do was click a subscribe button and whenever I had a moment could go to my aggregator Bloglines, Google Reader (which was still the best) and currently Feedly and see any updated or added content. While those of you who have never used RSS in this way, I can’t describe how magical and amazing this technology was. Suddenly I was being introduced to really smart folks doing really interesting work and they were … Read the rest

Still Amusing Ourselves To Death

As much as I love the ability to connect with current practitioners and other smart folks around innovative and interesting ideas in education, we have a wealth of knowledge that lives in the recent and more distant past that is often overlooked. The bombardment of “new” through current media offerings tends to overshadow the truths that have been shared, considered and proven over decades and centuries.

When it comes to understanding media and communications, there are no better thinkers out there than Neil Postman and Marshall McLuhan. If you’re reading this and have never heard of these men, I would highly encourage you to seek out their writings.

I just finished re-reading Amusing Ourselves to Death, Postman’s critique of the impact of television on our world.

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one.

I suppose some might not be able to see the connection between television and the Internet and while there certainly are differences, I found the parallels to be glaring. Without doing a full review here, I simply … Read the rest

Sandlots and Outdoor Rinks

I played a lot of sports as a kid growing up in southern Manitoba. Hockey in the winter, baseball in the spring, golf in the summer and football in the fall. In all cases, I played in leagues but I also played them without adult supervision or organization.

In Canada, outdoor neigbourhood rinks are as prevalent as sandlots and baseball fields. I remember being about 7 years old and taking my skates and stick to the local outdoor rink, tieing my skates in the heated shack and heading out on the ice. There were kids, teenagers, and adults. Everyone played. You tossed your sticks in the centre of the rink and divided them up. Then you played. If the teams seemed uneven, you’d make a quick adjustment but mostly you just played. You learned to play with kids who were way better than you and kids who were worse. Some kids certainly had the puck more than others but you just played. While you did keep score, it mattered little as the next day you showed up and totally different teams were formed and usually a slightly different crowd.

In the summer, a similar experience happened on baseball diamonds and … Read the rest

The #deanie Awards

Last year I started this on a whim.

I decided to make it the second annual #deanie award.

 

I stated much of what was behind these awards in that post from 2015. Let me add to that a tweet I made for David Truss as he develops a twitter guide for educators.

I likely won’t remember a link or idea you shared. What tends to remain for me is who you are as a person. It’s why when someone shares something a bit unusual or personal, it grabs my attention because I get a sense of who they are and it becomes the basis of a continued connection. The reason I post things about golf, naps or other goofiness is the hope that it might connect me to someone with the same interests, brighten someone’s day or just break the endless stream of edusharing. I’m not opposed to sharing links and ideas, but I don’t know we need more of that. I’m trying to fill a void and spend time focusing … Read the rest

Anyone Want To Have a Real Conversation?

This post was last updated on January 28th, 2016 at 12:41 pm

The reason I was drawn to blogs 10 years ago was the raw and natural tone they afforded. No longer publishing was relegated to perfectly edited prose but favored conversational, authentic voices. My recent foray into snapchat is largely about exploring the same thing but perhaps to a greater degree.

Arriving at ISTE for the 8th year in a row, it’s difficult at times not to become jaded. I’m not even talking about the overblown corporate presence but rather the way in which discussions and ideas are void of authenticity. What takes precedence at ISTE and most larger events are buzzwords and platitudes. Sessions that use words like “transform”, tweets that garner retweets because of their catchiness and conversations that lack depth.  Time after time, people will reference the hallway conversations, that for many who are experienced conference goers, mark the best learning. This is true in part because they’re more intimate and further are more authentic. People will speak more openly about struggles. They’ll talk about success and quandaries with humility. They aren’t putting on a show or trying to impress anyone. And yet so much of … Read the rest