Currently I am attending the #ISTE12 conference in San Diego, CA, and I would have to admit that this is probably one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. Well, at least the parts I have seen so far 🙂
Connecting and sharing with so many here, I continuously hear the theme of how our schools need to change, etc. I always go back to the Will Richardson post “No Quick Fix”, where he states the following:
Meaningful change ain’t gonna happen for our kids if we’re not willing to invest in it for ourselves first. At the heart, it’s not about schools…it’s about us.
If the change is going to happen that we are wanting in our schools, we have to “know the way, go the way, show the way.” I know that I am extremely skeptical of any companies trying to sell the next “big thing” in education when I know we already have amazing people in schools that have access to the biggest library of resources and people in the world. Teachers need to be learners first and any “program” that I can open and pull out of box is not going to help our kids long term. We need to listen, talk, and care about all of those in our schools and that program is totally free.
And with that little rant, I want to share some articles that read this last week which I thought were great reads.
1. The 7 Pillars of Connecting with Absolutely Anyone – Although this article is not written from the viewpoint of an educator, education is ALL ABOUT connection. Now although this is written from a business standpoint, I do believe there is some great points that educators should think about:
- Be genuine. The only connections that work will be the ones that you truly care about; the world will see through anything short of that. If you don’t have a genuine interest in the person with whom you’re trying to connect, then stop trying.
- Provide massive help. Even the biggest and most powerful people in the world have something they’d like help with. Too many people never reach out to those above them due to the fear that they wouldn’t be able to offer anything in return. But you have more to offer than you realize: write an article or blog post about them, share their project with your community, offer to spread their message through a video interview with them. Give real thought to who you could connect them with to benefit their goals. If it turns out you can’t be thathelpful, the gesture alone will stand out.
The truth is lately I’ve come to question the point of much of this. Does the average person, once they leave school, spend a lot of time composing academic essays? Is this the best way for our students to show their learning? In some places, the academic 5 paragraph essay is hailed as the Holy Grail of non-fiction writing achievement. Yet even if a student can become a great persuasive essay writer, they’re still only semi-literate, at least according to the definition of 21st Century Literacies.
As an educator, when is the last time you have written an essay? Our kids are more likely to write a blog after they leave school then an essay. Seriously, read the whole article.
3. Students can change the world when we get out of the way – This great blog post talks to something that I knew, but I heard reiterated in a conversation yesterday. We are at a point in history where everyone can have a voice or audience. This might not be considered a good thing by some, but it should be considered a reality by all. As one student started writing about the food in her cafeteria, it is amazing the shock waves that it sent all over, and the attention that she received. This is not just about publicity though but about making a change as Ewan McIntosh shares:
Martha shows every facet of great learning: real world change, making the environment around her better, sharing her thinking with the world, having a conscious for the world beyond her immediate horizons, and robustness in the face of incredible media and social media pressure. She is another ‘Caine‘, with a supportive parent and facilitating adults around her. She’ll go far.
A great story that shows how kids can really change our world now, not just the future.
This video of Carly Rae Jepsen, Jimmy Fallon, and the Roots doing “Call Me Maybe” using instruments from an elementary music classroom just makes me happy:
Have a great week!