Not Just a Teacher

binge thinking on technology and education

Not Just a Teacher

Education & the Celebrity Keynotes

February 7th, 2014 · 1 Comment · General

For a long time now, I have questioned the worth of a celebrity keynote. I have been to education conferences in many places intended for audiences from different sectors, groups, etc and have begun to think about the value of a well-known, respected voice in a particular field or fields of education is to the experience of the attendees. In more crude terms, I am asking the question:

Has this person been booked to speak at this event because without their name on the bill people would not come (big name demand) or is their attendance a vital component of the experience, something that without them being there, the conference would be worse, not as informative, educational or focused?

In a recent post on the importance of the ‘local connects’ I argued for connected educators not to ignore their local networks. I would also add to this that there are ‘celebrities’ in your locale, in your school and/or schools around you. These will be celebrities in that they put into practice quality education techniques day in day out, that so-called celebrity keynotes get paid considerable sums to talk about.  Teachmeets clearly show this to be the case as do the blogs and other resources that I come across every day. Furthermore, years of experience in many fields of education continually offers me opportunities to stumble across, often during conversations, these amazing people doing amazing things in their classroom.

So, if there are local celebrities, why pay for the celebrity keynote? Surely, it must be down to the big name demand mentioned above. Well, perhaps not. There may be more to it than that. It could be that the celebrity keynote is a really good speaker, an entertainer, a good orator. Maybe it could be down to their presentation being based on research and/or experience that is far wider and/or in-depth than the local alternative. Or it could be a combination of these. However, the important point must be to consider whether they have added value to the conference and if that value is significant enough to have merited their appearance.  To my mind, that, and the crude question written earlier, can only be answered if we consider the long term effects of attending the conference.

I am proposing the following:

  • Educational institutes have to take a proper, long hard look at why they allow or send staff to conferences. What are the long term benefits of that attendance for the institution they return to or the communities they work within? In other words, there have to be transparent, clear, lasting, maybe even measurable outcomes from attendance or at least evidence that shows some ideas have been considered for implementation. This isn’t exactly a new idea to most people but should this then apply to the keynote and indeed should the keynote be hired on the basis that he/she is providing these?
  • Keynotes should be offering not just a speech and not just ideas that can be followed up but actually provides opportunities, communication channels (Twitter chats, webinars, hangouts) before and/or after the event where their audience can dig deeper into the concepts presented, gain the information and confidence they require to implement ideas into their institutes
  • Keynotes should not be done in isolation i.e. they should be followed up by workshops on the day of the conference where practical implementation and examples are provided to assist interpretation of ideas presented

To my mind, when these proposals become the norm then my crude question will no longer be worth asking.

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A Week Disconnected

January 25th, 2014 · No Comments · General

by mcfcrandall (Flickr)

by mcfcrandall

As is an annual ritual for me, I recently disconnected. I have done this for up to 6 weeks in the past and usually when going on holiday somewhere that I want to totally switch off my brain, my fingers and my devices from communicating and information. However, this time I only had a week.

What do I mean by disconnect?

To me, this is simply a matter of turning off all devices and not using any means to connect with anyone electronically. In other words, not only do I not answer any tweets, emails, posts, etc but I dont even turn on any of the hardware of software that these run on to see if there are any. I go to this extreme because I know how long I can spend just reading, accessing juicy bits of commentary or looking closely at something that someone has pointed me at.

Why do I disconnect?

Firstly, I feel that this allows me to re-assess habits I may have got into, directions and paths I may be following and overall, how I am functioning digitally. Yet, at the same time, it also allows me the chance to focus more on the aspects of life that at times using technology can get in the way of (this can be anything from watching the sunset instead of photographing it and sharing it on social media, to read a biography on Johnny Cash I was bought for Xmas).

This year’s surprise

Unfortunately, this year I felt that I suffered in some respects because of my approach to disconnecting. I was able to achieve the things I talked about above including breaking out of some habits I really didn’t need and reading the lyrics to Fulsom Prison Blues that mostly come from Crescent City Blues written much earlier. I digitally refreshed myself in many, much needed ways yet the surprise came in the way I felt I suffered due to lack of mobile access. Not having a phone in my pocket meant I was not able to connect to information that I needed or be contactable when required at certain times. I realised how much my life has moved on to rely on technology to find out simple bits of information (the weather, what’s on at the cinema, the tides to go snorkelling, indeed the time of that day’s sunset). And the expectancies from those around you that you can be contacted (even if only to find out where you are and if you have both of the children with you when in a shopping centre). These may seem like trivial things and, in a way, I don’t disagree but that in itself was something of a surprise.

In my mind, disconnecting equals simplification in so many ways, but I found that removing myself from mobile communication and not being able access to basic information hindered my enjoyment of the week. There are of course, other ways to get the information I needed such as buying a newspaper but I didn’t really plan to start new habits temporarily. Likewise, I and everybody else were able to function before the existence of mobile phones but we have changed in so many ways that the alternatives, the ease of which we can communicate and channels to find out everyday information have lessened to the degree where we have to make a genuine effort to change the way we live to be happy fully disconnected.

Conclusion

If anything, this has shown me two things: Number one is that I am even more determined to drive education to integrate technology, promote education practices where there is an understanding of how connected most of the students are that we teach and that they have a reliance on technology for both information and communication. Number two is that from now on I will not fully disconnect. I will have basic communication and information channels open and discipline myself to use them without venturing into the fully connected world I live in.

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11 Questions

January 22nd, 2014 · No Comments · General

Having seen a few versions of the 11 questions idea floating about, I have had the pleasure of a brief insight into people beyond their tweets and their bio, so when Mr Woodman (www.andrewwoodman.com), put me on the spot I thought why not. Here are the questions he set me and my attempt at honest answers. I hope you find them as interesting a read as I have with others:

11 Answers to 11 Questions

1. What moment in your life has shaped you as an educator more than any other?

This is a tough question, arguably the toughest I could be asked as there have been many defining moments in my development as an educator thus far and to pick one seems at the expense of so many more. Yet, in true desert island disc style, I will make a choice:

Standing at the side of the stage in a London hotel where later in the day we were to be live in front of royalty, politicians and educational leaders reflecting on the work we had done, I saw the beauty and power of what Digital Leaders can produce. I was there with young people who felt empowered, passionate, responsible, young people who showed maturity beyond their years, who stepped up to the plate, who showed the true essence of what authentic education experiences can bring to young peoples’ lives. And I was able to briefly step back, admire what I was seeing and how far we had come as a group of Digital Leaders. This was such a special moment because I realised a burning passion I have had since I was a youth worker, to empower young people. This was a way to realise that passion as a teacher.

2. What are you most looking forward to in 2014 and why?

As I start a new position back in secondary school, I am really looking forward to making an impact in my new school to affect pedagogy and tech integration to improve the education of students in the school. On a wider level, I am really looking forward to connecting, being involved with and promoting the high quality work going on with some real high quality educators I know in SA and in the rest of Australia. I want Digital Leaders to come out into the open in Australia and tell everyone what they have been doing, connect and share through www.ozdls.com. I am hoping to see an extensive, thriving Digital Leaders community show itself in 2014. Lastly, I am looking forward to making a larger dent in the PhD I started.

3. Is the idea of a four day working week for all educators and students a pipe-dream or a real possibility? Why?

It is not a pipe dream but we have consider some fundamental issues around the working day for both teachers and students. We have to look at such areas as the idea of what ‘lessons’ or ‘learning sessions’, should they be uniform in length?Are they in effect a way to divide up learning efficiently or indeed are they the best way to efficiently use time in schools? We also to have consider what we are offering in terms of education. Is sitting in largely separate and specialist, independent ‘subject’ disciplines a good way for effective teaching and learning to happen. Only if we first address these fundamentals principles can we consider a system which will ultimately mean more cramming of teaching and learning into a shorter or more condensed block of time which, in turn, puts pressure on concentration, focus, etc.

4. What are some of your favourite pastimes?

I like to think that I have a quite diverse range of pastimes and have always been aware of a tendency to addictive behaviours which I see as being stuck in a rut.

To me, watching TV night after night is the epitome of this and while I enjoy the odd night or two of vegging out this way, I try to avoid doing it too much. So, what do I do instead? I range from playing games (phone games such as Words to Fifa footy on a console), to reading (all sorts of fiction, biographies), to catching up with social media connections, reading blog posts and commentary on educational developments.

On the weekend and days off, I like to spend time on the beach, walking with my bare feet in the sea, swimming in the sea, eating and a wee drop of good plonk but I will regularly take the family on adventures, to different places such as a national park. I love to surprise people close to me and I crave adventure.

What have I missed off?…I love to listen to music (anything from 90′s indie bands to Johnny Cash to old skool hip-hop to early 90′s house music); I like eating (Or should I say I really like eating :) ); I have always been into sport, like to play squash and football badly and will always love Leeds Utd even if most of the time, that hurts.

5. What are two things on your bucket list?

Two things…….!!…. for an adventurer, there are two thousand!!

Take my kids travelling round India when they are old enough and drive around in a classic VW Beetle everyday.

6. What is your favourite film and why?

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (original). Gene Wilder is epic as Willy Wonka and I would say it is one of the only times that a film and book stand side-by-side as brilliant pieces of work. Oh and it features lots of chocolate. That’s got to be good hasn’t it?

7. Favourite place and why?

That’s impossible to answer. It’s about time and place, purpose and company, never about just place.

Amazing places to me have been a quiet spot in Angkor Wat sat on the temple stones watching sunset or sunrise with my wife, stood on the balcony of my house watching the sunset over the sea or the fork lightning crashing around, sat around anywhere but with friends and loved ones just chewing the fat and laughing til the wee hours.

However, there is one place that always has a massive place in my heart (apart from Elland Road), stood on top of Cow and Calf just outside Ilkley when the cold wind is blowing.

8. Do you view Australia as the best country in the world? Why or why not?

I have traveled to many countries and have been asked which is my favourite many times. I refuse to commit to that. Again, its about time and place, purpose and company. For me, Australia offers much of what I want out of like as I bring up a young family and try to balance work and play for all of us. Where I live just outside Adelaide is beautiful and offers me a great lifestyle which I never dreamed I could have. Whether that is the same for someone else is not for me to say. Australia as a country has some really great things to be proud of but also has issues like anywhere else. It all depends on what you see as important in your life.

9. If you could pass on one piece of wisdom to every learner in the world, what would it be?

Find the things that interest you, that you feel a passion to do to death and when you do, dive deep into them, uncover what they are really about and why they excite you. Do not be afraid of the avenues they send you down including the dead ends. Unpack everything you find. Ask why and why again.

10. If you could pass on one piece of wisdom to every educator in the world, what would it be?

You’re in the business of teaching AND learning. Don’t ever forget the learning part of the business you’re in.

11. If you could pass on one piece of wisdom to everyone in the world, what would it be?

Try and open as many doors as possible in your life. Some you will find already wide open, others you will have to turn the handle and some you will have kick-in.

 

So, in the spirit of this, now that I have given my all to the questions set, here are my 11 questions I would like to ask:

  1. Why are you a teacher?
  2. How do you/would you answer people when they ask to prove that much of education needs to change?
  3. If you had the power to make one rule in your school that every teacher would follow, what would you your rule be and why?
  4. What is the important thing you do as a teacher with your students and why is it important?
  5. If you could set up a dream team of people in charge of education in your state, country, district, etc, who would they be?
  6. What do you think the value of ‘celebrity’ keynote speakers at educational conference is?
  7. What do you think should we taught to young people to make them digitally literate?
  8. What do you think would happen if students in your school were given power over technology integration in your school for the next five years with only advice from adults and a budget to work with?
  9. Do you think young people have changed since you were a child?
  10. How best can we address the disconnect between different levels of education (primary to secondary, secondary to university)
  11. What is the most influential book/article/post you have ever read on education?

And I will be asking the following peeps to answer these:

@IaninSheffield

@SteveBrophy3

@LiamDunphy

@AlUpton

@DanHaesler

@CaroJohnstone

@jlamshed

@BloodOnTheMoon_

@teknoteacher

@bobthiele13

@EthanJRedmond

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What is stopping the Education Revolution?

August 30th, 2013 · No Comments · General

There are lots of amazing people out there doing the most amazing things to bring about the education revolution every day. I am not going to name names simply because I will offend those I miss out. But there are lots of educators trying to push education beyond the archaic models of desks in rows, lecture theatres, computer suites,  worksheets, recall assessment, stand-alone subjects, using technology to mimic what was done with a paper and pen, etc etc etc………. And I am a firm believer that the guerrilla movement must never stop trying to bring about change.

Yet, let’s face it, despite there being lots of educators pushing the boundaries and trying to make fundamental changes to the way education is provided at all levels, for the most part we are a minority and the impact we have had so far is minimal. So, I am asking the question that many are shying away from (and attempting to provide an answer)  - What is stopping the Education Revolution?

I think the answer comes from 3 areas and can be represented like this:

edrevolutionsqueeze

 

Senior Leaders in schools, Assessment requirements and Teacher Training are all preventing the Education Revolution. Admittedly, not all Senior Leaders are included in this. There are some shining lights who break the mould with creative learning spaces, empowerment of students, etc. Likewise there are some courses where assessment requirements that do not hinder the education revolution as they allow the assessment to be integrated as part of the work, reflection/self/peer assessment to be a significant aspect. And there are pockets of teacher training that equips the new generation of teachers with the right mentality and approach to join the guerrilla movement.

On the whole though, leaders in schools are rarely willing to address the complex and long term issues around making wholesale changes within their institutions that will bring about the education revolution to their students. Perhaps in some ways the confines of assessment requirements prevents them from doing so as does a lack of trained teachers who can work with C21 pedagogies.

Two main arguments I hear to my views are that it is curriculum and not assessment that is the issue, the other being that Governments need to make the changes. On the first point, I would say that assessment ultimately drives curriculum. Students and teachers to some extent look to how certain grades can be achieved. Poor assessment methods that focus on mental recall, facts and figures, separate tests after learning has happened do little to promote forward thinking approaches to teaching and learning. Secondly, arguing that it is at a higher level than this, where Governments are actually the ones preventing the Education Revolution is comparable to waiting for them to act on climate change. Political parties will not win votes by proposing radical changes that cost a lot of money in the short term for long term gains when they are likely to be replaced in a few years. Hence, the guerrilla movement has to continue but the key is to step into these 3 key areas in order to make a significant impact on the lack of Education Revolution that has happened so far.

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The conference experience

July 19th, 2013 · 1 Comment · General

This week I attended the CEGSA State Conference and had the privilege of being one of the keynote speakers and leading a workshop.

I don’t know about anybody else but I find conferences tiring, actually I find them exhausting if they are good. I reckon this is because I have to listen and think really hard for prolonged periods of time, reflect and consider my stance, my opinions, what has been said and challenge my own ideas.  In other words, I find them mentally exhausting perhaps even a little emotionally draining. Then when I work at the conference, particularly presenting a keynote, I get physically tired as well . I think this must be the tension, the adrenalin that makes this so.

So, why do it? Why go to conferences and why present at them?

This is a question I have asked myself a number of times. You see a lot of the times, I ask myself how much do conferences provide for educators and indeed for me? How much do they actually affect practice? In essence, what difference do they make in the long term to teachers who will back in the classroom soon after teaching a class of……….? And, I think these questions are healthy. I think they are vital both to organisers, presenters, attendees and to schools who allow/pay/support their staff to attend. If these questions are not constantly asked of everything that goes on at conferences then it will simply be about the quality of the coffee and the lunch. (Btw - If anyone thinks the desire to present is for egotistical or monetary reasons then I am sorry, you are a bit wide of the mark)

Now, in terms of the CEGSA State Conference and the same can be said of the IWB K-12 MasterClass I recently attended, I have to say that my Australian experience so far has been so very positive. Those in attendance and presenting have provided me not only with deep thinking, challenges to my views, (particularly in workshop environments) but direct feedback. I love this. In respect of the keynotes I have done, attendees have sought me out and wanted to get involved, ask me questions and tell me their views. I also love this.

On top of all this, I have got to spend time with educators I have known for ages on Twitter. Cement friendships face to face. (I wouldnt want to name anyone for fear of missing someone out here!) I have gained new contacts, people to add to my network such as Erin Gallagher @ezka29. This networking is important to me.

But above all else, I honestly believe that through being involved in these conferences, I have had the chance to really spark Digital Leaders and www.ozdls.com in Australia. Watch this space…..

And thanks to everyone I have come into contact with during my conference stints. Keep communicating with me.

 

 

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Publishing Research & What Journal Editors Want

July 18th, 2013 · No Comments · General

Having attended a very thorough workshop on this area and failing in previous efforts to understand the ins and outs of this, I thought this was well worth sharing:

Mindmap of the key points

18-07-2013 10-06-13 PM

Storify of tweets and images of notes from the day

 

[View the story "Publishing Research & What Journal Editors Want" on Storify]

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Where have all the B-Sides gone?

July 14th, 2013 · 1 Comment · General

If you were born any time before approximately 1990, then buying a vinyl record will have been something you have probably done while growing up. And for those who are not familiar with the concept of vinyl or those with really dodgy memories, they usually came with B-sides (I say ‘usually’ because you may recall the Double-A- Sides offered from time to time).

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fd/Vinyl_singles_various_formats.jpg/1024px-Vinyl_singles_various_formats.jpg

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fd/Vinyl_singles_various_formats.jpg/1024px-Vinyl_singles_various_formats.jpg

B-sides were the other song(s) on the single. They were not the song that sent the song or the artist to number one in nearly all cases but you got them with song that you bought, the A-Side.

Yet, times have moved on. The way that music is bought and listened to, the way charts are made up, the marketing, production, packaging and even the medium for the most part are completely different. We have gone from vinyl to CD, CD to downloads. Some mourn the death of vinyl and there are regular indicators of it’s resurgence. Despite still having fans, though, vinyl records will never again be the most popular means by which we buy or listen to music. Times have changed. Times have moved on. And where have all the B-Sides gone? Well, they have become something else, maybe album ‘fillers’ or free bonus downloads. Some would argue that they just no longer exist?

Is the demise of the B-Side a good thing or bad thing? To be honest, I would say it depends on the way you look at it and which band(s) you’re talking about. What is important though, is that it has gone and consumers, music listeners no longer demand (if they ever did) this as part of their music purchase.

Now, when I look at education in the same way as I have music, ‘vinyl’ is still the medium for the most part, the B-sides are still there. Some would argue that we are still listening to music on 78s in fact! There has been little advancement that reflects what has happened in music purchasing, marketing, production, packaging (although there is a valid argument that packaging has seen the most advancement in respect of education systems and schools (re)packaging what they have to make it look like they have ‘moved with the times’ when in reality ‘the desks are still in rows’ with the teacher lecturing from the front for most of the time and offering worksheets for the rest).

Yet, the bizarre thing, to my mind, is that the consumer, the customer, the recipients of education are mostly those who have never seen vinyl, do not demand B-sides or long for the crackles and pops that those 7 and 12 inches provided. They want something different from music and something different from education. I suppose there is a very relevant question left to ask: When will education listen?

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They hear voices

July 4th, 2013 · No Comments · General

Being a parent is hard work a lot of the time, so incredibly rewarding but undeniably hard work.  Being a parent when you are trying to teach your children something is really hard work, though, I find. And I know in conversations I have that I am far from the only one with this view. Trying to teach kids how to ride bikes, tell the time, tie laces and so on, all challenging milestones myself and many around me are struggling to help our offspring reach. But many times, another person has far quicker and/or greater impact with our children. Whether it is a spouse, Grandma or Grandad, family friend, sibling or peer, they hear voices that have an impact on learning.

Being a teacher is hard work a lot of the time, so incredibly rewarding but undeniably hard work. Trying to teach children how to… [fill in the gap] … are all challenging milestones all teachers struggle to help students reach.

At that point, I don’t think I can really go on with the comparison of parenting to teaching in this sense. Why? Because, much of education in school systems does not recognise the fact that another person (other than a teacher) can have far quicker and/or greater impact with young people.

Approaches to really involving parents in the learning process, peer learning and the fundamental concept of empowered learners educating in community pods are archaic and simplistic if they exist at all. It is time to involve and embrace all the voices and move the profession of teaching to education, REAL education.

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When is a Jam not a Jam?

June 1st, 2013 · 2 Comments · General

If you didn’t pick up on my tweets this week then you may have missed the #unijam I was involved in at University of South Australia where I work. Here is a definition of a jam in this context:

A jam is an online brainstorming event and ideas generator. It allows for thousands of participants to have a conversation on a range of issues in real time from wherever they are located. (http://w3.unisa.edu.au/unijam/)

This was facilitated:

using IBM’s Collaborative Innovation platform. Globally, over 80 businesses, not-for-profits and government bodies have successfully used this technology for organisational conversations. However, this will be the first time that any university in the world has done so. (http://w3.unisa.edu.au/unijam/)

It went over 38 hours (including through the night) and was open to everyone past and present connected with the university including students, staff alumni and some invited guests.

So, given my involvement in such a unique event for education, I thought I would give a little reflection on what I saw and experienced.

The new VC and President of the uni took over in January and in a university with over 35000 students (http://www.unisa.edu.au/About-UniSA/University-profile/), I really cant think of a better way to make an impact than #unijam. Yes, it had massive promotion all over the campus and was a huge no doubt marketing exercise, but before it had even begun it gave him the opportunity to get all over the UniSA campuses, meet students and staff with a real social, non-threatening feel.

However, I urge anyone reading this not to get caught up in thinking that this was only a PR exercise. It was far more than that. The jam allowed anyone and everyone connected with the university to have a voice, to moan, suggest ideas, share experiences, insight, put their twopenneth in the way that they saw fit. It brought together students, academic and professional staff, alumni and some well respected guests in fields of particular expertise, eg Major Bolden a NASA Administrator and Professor Andrew Ng from Stanford, developer of their MOOCs (see http://w3.unisa.edu.au/unijam/guests.htm for full list). And the medium of forums allowed a level playing field where discussions could take place openly without regard for status or position.

For me, I have to admit that I went through a roller coaster of emotions during the two days. The first day, I started a few threads and got hardly any response to them. In a gamified sense, I wanted to level up and I felt a little disappointed by what I saw as a lack of regard for my views. Yet, I was still enjoying discussing and posting in other peoples’ threads. I found it hard to concentrate on working at the same time. All in all, the day was a good experience. It showcased the strength in quality online tools as the IBM interface handled the traffic seamlessly and when one got used to it, how easy it was to have multiple updates/events happening all one one screen very frequently. A real bonus to the jam itself though, was the presence of the VC himself in social media, tweeting and directly communicating with students and staff. His manner was well suited to the event and highlighted how senior management in organisations can still be part of the ‘common people‘. Although, it was clearly only a small percentage of the thousands participating in the #unijam who were tweeting about it, his timely tweets encouraged this extra voice had the hashtag trending.

The second day was a different story for me. At times the discussions were such that I was overloaded. One of my threads in particular went a little wild. But, this was not tweeting with limited characters that I am used to. It was well-thought out, reasoned arguments that were needed for whatever you brought to the table and that was not only time consuming, it was mentally draining. The moaning mentioned above was even well reasoned for the most part :) and the forum really did bring out such a level of discussion and debate I doubt has ever happened at an educational institute at one time.

By the late afternoon, I was exhausted and was glad to have a respite as I went off to soccer training a bunch of under 6′s then a game of squash. When I came back to the jam at about 9pm, I really wanted to round things off but to be honest, I didn’t have the heart to really trawl the discussions and bring together what I thought were the main issues for me. I had made my points, read and responded to so many posts and threads, racked my brains about so many different areas of education, that I wanted no more.

And that’s a key point for me in my experiences here. It was the discussion and the debates that were the most important part of all of this. The ability to communicate and what comes out of that which is so valuable. This is where the best ideas come from for me. I really hope the software mines this properly and brings out the best ideas that appeared in posts not just headliner threads. So, UniSA can act on them.

So, if you are still reading this and involved in education, I urge you to follow the example set here and try something like this wherever you work. Invite all involved to an open session. If it is just a primary or secondary school for instance, there are plenty of free platforms that would allow contributions and open conversation (eg, a Facebook group). Don’t be afraid of what it might bring but celebrate the fact that people get a say and their ideas can then be considered and actioned, if they are considered useful to the development of your organisation. Everything about it is a winner. You get so many ideas and views, you get the gripes out in the open, you allow people to converse and debate, discuss plans. Everyone sees what is happening and no-one is excluded. It is a community pushing itself forward and that is exactly what online communication should be used on this level for.

I will leave you with a bit of Seth Godin genius:

If no one says “go”, the project languishes. If no one insists, pushes, creates, cajoles, and launches, then there’s nothing; it’s all wasted (Poke the Box)

 

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We all love Ken

May 26th, 2013 · 3 Comments · General

Before I get into this post, let’s make one thing really clear… I really like Sir Ken Robinson. I really like listening to his talks. As a speaker and the messages he gives are, on the whole, quite brilliant. But, am I the only person beginning to think what’s the point? Where is being a Ken fan really getting us?

Now, try and hold on to your simmering rage here. Of course we all love Ken and despite the fact that I have moved to the other side of the world, that feeling seems just as strong here. In a conversation the other day with a primary school senior manager, she began telling me how much she loved the RSA Animated – Changing Paradigm and how she had watched it numerous times. This sort of comment has been said to me many times by all manner of educators from student teachers to principals, Education Authority decision makers to educational consultants. Added to this, I see tweet upon retweet of Ken’s latest offering – How to Escape Education’s Death Valley suggested to all who will watch and listen. So, all in all, I am of the mind that considering his “three talks have been viewed an astounding 21.5 million time” (TED blog), Sir Ken Robinson and his message are near enough ubiquitous in the education community.

But what I am getting at here, is how much is actually been done about it? Who can honestly say that their school have or they know a school that has put some or all of Sir Ken’s suggestions into practice?

Or has it all become like some adverts (commercials) on TV, entertaining and visually stunning but seen too many times for them to make an impact?

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