Remember the first time you used PowerPoint? Being able to take some written content and magically have it include images (likely clipart), have it spin around and transition to the next slide with glitter or swivel? Admit it. The very first time you thought it was pretty cool. You may have even had your class do a report with the tool and had kids stand up in the front of the class as their presentation was displayed on a projector screen. I will timidly raise my hand and admit I did it. There was a moment when I thought these presentations by my students represented quality work. However, soon after the shininess of the tool wore off, it was clear that their actual work wasn’t any different. Adding an animated flag of Canada to a slide telling me its population was 37 million didn’t represent anything more than a student’s ability to copy and paste and insert. What surprised me was how long this facade of quality work lasted. Many teachers, years later still had students creating presentations that underscored a lack of depth and creativity but were disguised, and by this time, not so cleverly with copyrighted images and … Read the rest
The Delight Project
My journey as an educator and human has always been centred around joy, even when I didn’t realize it. The more I reflect, the easier it becomes to see. Admittedly in my early years of teaching, I didn’t seem to have the time to reflect both and articulate that I was always seeking joy. Joy was somewhat of the antithesis to the prevailing narrative of education which was and perhaps still is focused on achievement and results. Joy is an afterthought in many instances.
So I wrote a book. I shared those ideas in presentations and talks. Occasionally I think, “Well, you’ve exhausted that topic, maybe focus on something else.” But then I remember it’s not a trend, it’s a life long pursuit that requires our attention and effort. It’s also one of those things I have to practice daily. I appreciate that I can’t avoid thinking about and working towards joy. I look at the things I read and notice that in some form or another they support that pursuit.
One such book is Ross Gay’s Book of Delights. It’s one man’s quest to document daily moments of delight.
Delight is to joy as a microscope is … Read the rest
Is Sharing Still a Moral Imperative?
The video I created in 2010 for the K-12 online called Sharing: The Moral Imperative remains a fairly widely used bit of content. I was proud of my efforts from a production, content and delivery perspective. Also if you want to see George Couros, before he was George Couros, have a look.
That was over six years ago. As I rewatched it, I had to ask if I feel the same today. What, if any changes would I make to this video if I were to update it?
Focusing solely on the content, I still value and believe sharing is integral to learning and our profession. My claims in the video focus mainly on efforts to share online. At the time, only a small number of educators were actively sharing content online. Blogs were beginning to take traction for some, but their value wasn’t anywhere near a universal belief. Twitter and social media opportunities were nowhere near where they are today. Twitter was seen much like Snapchat is perceived for many today.: wasteful and for posting of minutia.
My original message was to encourage and create a culture where teachers look to share their ideas, thoughts, lessons, resources … Read the rest
This Isn’t Really About Travel
As someone who travels a lot, I spend lots of time observing how people react in airports. I experience my share of flight delays and other travel issues an
d almost all the time, it’s no one’s fault. Many people who don’t travel much are pretty uptight and nervous and the slightest problem can upset them. You can see it on their faces and occasionally some make a scene. Waiting in security lines or around gates you hear snark comments and lots of people questioning why things are being done “to them”. “I’m never flying <insert any airline you wish> again.” is a phrase I hear pretty regularly. When I look around at the workers, they’re almost all reasonable people. Some are very kind and caring, some fairly neutral and once in a while you met someone who doesn’t understand customer service. These people are rare. I usually feel like I’m treated well and I think most everyone is trying their best. I don’t find travel stressful but accept that stuff happens and they really are trying to make things safe. I appreciate that.
While I do travel a lot and have a decent understanding of how things work, I … Read the rest
Podcast 56: Why You Can’t Click Publish Part 2
I wasn’t completely happy with my last post. No, not because some people told me I pretty much was a loser because I was too lazy to fix my spelling, but because I don’t think I clearly articulated the difference between how publishing is different today. Here’s a hint at the analogy I tried.