6 Comments

  1. Vince

    “Changing experiences to shit the focus on the learner…”

    Those poor, poor learners – what did they do to deserve such foul treatment? :)

    Seriously though – great stuff, typo and all!

  2. I agree with what you are saying. All learning, including adult learning, needs to surface and highlight strengths so that we can not only learn from one another, but we also need to reflect on what is working and powerful so that we KEEP doing that ‘good stuff’. This prevents cycling through the same initiatives, as we won’t have stopped doing good things just because a system told us to do something different.

  3. I agree that changing professional learning is so vital. When I was a teacher some years ago, there was the professional development that fueled and informed my whole practice… and then there was the professional development I just showed up for. Even sessions that could have been valuable sometimes felt like I was going through the motions because I knew that when I was back in the classroom day-to-day, momentum would not be maintained. I’m fascinated by just how many tools we now have (Twitter, digital portfolios, edcamps, etc.) to keep PD meaningful and led by the teacher. Thanks for the great post!

  4. Just a few comments:
    1) Using roundtables, which I assume is an example of “embedded collaboration time”, as well as teaching a class together, can certainly be effective. Of course, if one teacher is domineering (say, perhaps, because that teacher is the “senior” and, thus, “knows it all” and the “junior” has to be “edumasticated”), pairing up may not work with every pair. Every method has pluses and minuses, which brings me to the use of the Internet.

    This is a wonderful idea, except for some glaringly obvious (to me, living in a developing nation) facts that people in the developed world may or may not be aware of (except, of course, those that fall into the very gap I am going to mention).

    Not everyone has a computer with Internet access, or even a tablet or smart phone with Internet access or, necessarily, access of ANY kind through ANY venue to the Internet – not even at the local library – not everyone has those.

    Some people live “in the sticks” where such conveniences as “Internet cafes” don’t exist, where there is no signal, where there is no reasonably priced coverage because the ISP(s) [Internet Service Providers] that MIGHT cover that area look at it as a net loss due to the scarcity of consumers in the area (such as, say, most of the interior of Australia) instead of balancing it out against the social and educational benefits to those areas along with the net gains they get in densely populated areas.

    Not every teacher has the financial resources to spend on the “luxury” of Internet access, or a computer, a smart phone, or even a regular mobile phone, if there are such things in their area. I’m pretty sure there are still some places where technology isn’t really available, or the average people are so desperate to survive, the idea of buying something like that is like getting a golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory – it just isn’t within the realm of possibility.

    Not every teacher has the time to devote to such activities because, aside from the load they shoulder as educators, they also work a second job tutoring, selling toys, vending food, or spend time doing charitable work, or something else.

    I live in Indonesia where all these factors play a part, as well as other factors (teachers who don’t care, who are coasting to retirement, who are just about to retire, who hate their jobs, etc.). However, I suspect you can find some or all of these factors throughout much of the world.

    But let’s set aside all the barriers to this really wonderful idea of sharing experiences, ideas and questions via technology. Because, all said and done, it IS a great idea…bar one small challenge.

    If an average school contains, let’s say, 30 teachers, and each teacher posts a message that takes 1 minute to read, that means that every teacher must spend 30 minutes (or more) to read that collection of messages on the hashtag (assuming no one else also posts there).

    If we take the same situation, but reduce the size of each message so that each can be read in only 10 seconds, then each comment becomes a “sound bite” with most holding a limited amount of value. That assumes that each teacher can restrain themselves from being more verbose! As you can see, I have a hard time being concise! 😉

    Let’s change the situation a bit. Let’s assume the school is a bit larger – say 60 teachers but, if we average it out, only 50 work each day (ie: there are several part-timers or those who have less ‘face time’). That means each comment must be read and comprehended in only 6 seconds.

    You see where this is leading, right? I’m not saying the idea is a bad one – it isn’t, unless it’s not strategically implemented. Say, for example, every day only a certain number of teachers get to post a message. We can choose in many different ways who will get to post each day – those who submit the best comments (meaning there will have to be judges, and that means politics will muck it up); randomly; taking turns equally; taking turns based on the number of hours worked; others or a combination of factors.

    BTW – I don’t know the words to “Gangnam Style” (nor have I understood it on the rare occasions I’ve heard it). :) Of course, though, I have heard of it. I’ve also heard Queen’s “We Are the Champions” and Devo’s “Whip It!” which went “viral” before the Internet was a public facility, and I understand them both…Well, maybe not “Whip It!” 😉

    2. Thumbs up! :)

    I would add to that the way we score is backwards. Instead of saying “You start with 100, and every time you screw up, I lower your score,” you should say: “You start with 0, and every time you do something right, you earn points…just like a video game!” THAT will change mindsets and motivation!

    3. Another thumbs up! :)

    I would say that this is very critical because, although I understand education pretty well now, having been researching my upcoming book “Education Can Save the World” for parents for the last several years, jumping the gap from understanding to actually doing is one I find difficult to make, having went through the classical education system of the US in the ’70s & ’80s. I’d love to get some training, so I could more effectively train others! :)

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