Many people are sharing some of their favourite posts of 2012 from their own blog, but I thought that it would be more beneficial to share some of the great reads I have found out throughout the year. The one thing that I dislike about the “blogosphere”, is that some of the best posts tend to disappear way too quick. This is my chance to bring them back for others to read.
The first one though I wanted to share though is very selfish though, yet it was probably one of my favourite days of the year. This post from Alyssa Lamshed, who I have connected with through her dad and blog, showed me the power of connecting online to create incredible connections offline. It was just a really cool experience to meet Alyssa in Adelaide and it reminded me why I do, what I do.
Here are some great reads from my year (in no particular order):
Digital dualism is the belief that the on and offline are largely separate and distinct realities. Digital dualists view digital content as part of a “virtual” world separate from a “real” world found in physical space.
Dean has some great thoughts on our world today:
My struggle remains in helping people understand that our world now includes digital connections not simply as supplements to relationships but embedded and at times equal to or at least different from traditional non-mediated relationships. Like our computers today, we feel a need to label this and distinguish them as “technology” if only to understand their “newness”. Perhaps someday we’ll not point out these differences and see online connections as less meaningful. For now, I don’t know how to help folks get over that idea without them experiencing it for themselves. I also don’t want this conversation to be about making people feel like “I get this and you don’t”. That’s when the discussion becomes more polarized.
2. Blogging is the New Persuasive Essay – I could easily share all of Shelly Wright’s posts here, but this one stands out as a favourite. She makes a very simple yet compelling case on how you could include blogging as a component in your classroom:
I’m not proposing that you need to do things radically different. Teach whatever you teach for Language Arts, or other subjects, but include a blog component. So if you’re teaching sentence structure, teach your students to create complete sentences while blogging. Blogs, like traditional writing, need great structure. If you’re focusing on capitalization or punctuation, transfer this skill to blog writing as well.
Another one of my favourite Shelly Wright posts is “I Used To Think“. If you are ever looking for a speaker to show how much better it is to transform your teaching to focus on powerful student learning, Shelly is a solid choice. She has such a compelling story that resonates with many.
3. Everything you know about curriculum may be wrong. Really. – This is just a really powerful post by Grant Wiggins, that uses some simple analogies to talk about how curriculum (and learning experiences) should be designed:
In athletics this is very clear: the game is the curriculum; the game is the teacher. And each game is different (even as helpful patterns emerge). Knowledge about the game is secondary, an offshoot of learning to play the game well. As I learn to play, knowledge – about rules, strategy, and technique – accrues, but it is not the point.
So, it would be very foolish to learn soccer (or child-rearing or music or how to cook) in lectures. This reverses cause and effect, and loses sight of purpose. Could it be the same for history, math, and science learning? Only blind habit keeps us from exploring this obvious logic. The point is to do new things with content, not simply know what others know – in any field.
4. What it might be: Authentic Student Blogging - I have been watching what Jabiz Raisdana has been doing with student blogging this year, and I have just been amazed at how he has empowered student voice. As we embark on digital portfolios in Parkland School Division, I have been greatly influenced by what Jabiz has written on student blogging and love his advice:
If you want your students to blog effectively, give them the freedom to experiment and write about what interests them. Stay away from portfolios and forced reflections on their learning, at least until they get the hang of it. Wait until they find a voice, find an audience, and become involved in the conversations around ideas, before you push your agenda of meta-cognition and reflective learning.
5. What Leading With Vision Really Means - This is not an education piece, but its implications for educational leadership are obvious. As we have more access to information from different sectors, educators should be looking outside of the field to see what works for people and business, and then try to make the connection to what we do in schools. Visionary leadership is needed in our schools/districts so we (as a whole system) can do what is best for kids:
People also want to see that the leader’s farsightedness is based on a deep sense of what’s necessary, right, and good for the business and the team rather than what’s simply expeditious, popular, or self-serving. We want to feel that our leaders’ “far-sight” is focused on the greater good, that their vision promotes the group and not just their own selfish interests. A truly farsighted leader envisions a possible future that responds to and resonates with people’s aspirations for their individual and collective success. When employees or potential employees hear about the good leader’s vision, their visceral response is, “Yes, I want to go there too.”
In my travels, it is so apparent that schools/districts are a huge reflection of leadership and their success. With that understanding, schools/districts need to put more effort into developing the innovative leadership our schools need, not simply running the same programs with the same objectives of the past.
Here are some other posts I really liked as well:
Hopefully I have provided a range of great reading to start off your New Year! If you want more, please feel free to check out my Diigo Bookmarks. Also, the Edublog nominees for “Most Influential Education Blog Post of 2012” is another great place to look for some great reads.
I am constantly inspired by so many people and could share 100’s of posts so thank you to all that inspire me daily!
Have a great 2013!