Day 7 (of 185) Watershed Moments of Learning via @shareski & @gcouros @chrkennedy @erringreg among others
Over the past week I’ve been doing some thinking about “watershed moments of learning” – a curiosity shared out by Dean Shareski via his blog: http://ideasandthoughts.org/2016/09/01/watershed-moments-of-learning/ and picked up by educators like @gcouros and @erringreg and made me want to consider what moments most influenced my journey….
Specifically “those occasions where the lightbulb came on or something profound was shared or understood”. With the framework of: PD/Conference (events most educators can relate to – the keynote or the food needs to be memorable for it to be a success…!); Presentation (of which I’ve seen some great formal and informal ones; Book (as a librarian….this is always a tough one to narrow down); Tool (I usually see these as ways to differentiate); and Person (this one may be the toughest….)….but here goes:
PD/Conference: In Kelowna, I go to go to an Interactive Innovations conference (because our assistant superintendent was one of the key organizers….) and while the day was filled with some amazing educators that pushed my thinking around generational poverty and change theory. But the best part had to be when local keynote Andy Hargreaves ended up sitting next to at lunch.
Presentation: Okay – a little weird approach to this one. I was presenting on technologization (blending technology with curriculum to differentiate and personalize learning in ways never before possible) when an educator came up and said he had to talk to me. @k_timms (Kyle) from Vancouver Island said something very intriguing to me: his school was going to do something crazy – try out a portfolio assessment/evaluation/reporting thing….with the knowledge of the ministry to “try it out and see if it works”. A week later and some amazingly timed phone calls, and there were two schools trying out eportfolios and seeing what might happen. Three years later and two eportfolio tools are welcome for use in our district (shoutout to @freshgrade and @quippedInc ). Out schools shared our successes struggles and strategies and we have happily stolen a lot of great thinking fro Kyle’s school district. The presentation wasn’t the important part, but what that sparked truly was!
Book: so many to choose from…..I know my submission of books to TedXWestVancouverEd included The End of Average by Todd Rose, Creative Schools by Sir Kin and I always recommend MindShift by Carol Dweck and Daniel Pink’s Drive along with Yong Zhou’s Whose Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon – all books that have influenced much of my thinking…..but “the” book that has been returning again and again to me as I’m answering questions about project based learning et al is Sugata Mitra’s Beyond the Hole in the Wall. That book – okay along with Will Richardson’s Why School – were quick reads that took hours to get through because of the thinking that they caused. Mitra’s Hole in the Wall showed the power of collaboration and good questions with positive and/or descriptive feedback. Richardson’s book posed so many questions about why we are doing what we are doing. But damn, Chapter Two of The End of Average captures how our schooling got started….and really why we shouldn’t be doing things the way we used to….
Tool: I am a tech fan (thus technolandy). Twitter has connected me to so many amazing educators who encourage/support/push me each day. Blogging (heavily influenced by @chrkennedy @shareski @pernilleripp @willrich45 ) has been as powerful of a reflection tool as I could hope for. Journaling each day didn’t work for me, but by focusing on the learning that occurs each and every day has given me great perspective on my educational journey. But…..I know that as a kid I had a dream as I was scrunched into the backseat of a car for either a 4 or an 8 hour journey to visit family monthly…..if only I had a device that I could listen to music too (and then I got a walkman….and not long after a discman), play games on (though the Tiger handheld games were…..okay…..when you have an “8 game device” that means you pull out the plastic screen that says “soccer” and put in “basketball” and they play the same…..well…..it was the 80s), maybe watch a movie (but I knew that VHSs were never going to be compact enough), or anything to distract me…..because family sing-a-longs are great….for a time…. And then one day while talking to a PAC about bringing in a couple of iPods to use as music devices for our music teacher and classrooms….the President pointed at the iPod touch and asked about that….I thought it was too much to ask for….and answered her questions about wifi connectivity and what might be possible….and told me to order three. I haven’t looked back since (with a highlights being a presentation to the board by two of the students using an iPod connected to a portable projector because I “embarrassingly forgot my laptop”) ….ps sadly that was 11 years ago and the boy is on the fast-track to the NHL….yep. 11. years. ago.
Person: I freely admit that the disruptive educator that my dad was greatly influenced me (his hand-slap for putting microwaves was similar to my 100′ ethernet cable down the hall, his introduction of computers mirrors my struggle to get mobility accepted….and we both use Personalized/Probject Bassed Learning Strategies). He passed away too early but his “we can always do better” mindset on how he approached individual learners…
Now I have way too many people to mention who influence me on a daily basis (and I have to try to control myself to not act like a total fan-boy when meeting them Face2Face, and that hasn’t always been easy!). Not surprisingly most of them are connected via twitter and social media and cross the multiple districts I have worked in and indeed cross the continent and stretching overseas. It’s an amazing time to be an educator….I think this is still the opening scene of a spectacular watershed moment(um) of Learning.