Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


20160729-073320.jpgI only, sometimes, maybe, mostly do not offer my opinion in meetings.

In the past I have recklessly dove into professional convos offering my views, many times bashing down moments without warrant and care.

Once in a while a deeper state of collab was achieved by me throttling and shaking the tree other times my thoughtful/less thoughts were graciously discounted as either rogue or dangerous.

Truthfully, I am okay with existing at the fringes- rogue and dangerous are not how I would identify my intention, but at times, getting attention and holding attention can stem from open disagreement with the establishment.
Tactically, I have changed my delivery and pursuit so that I can remain viable and approachable...but I still disagree, a lot.

Having and presenting and defending an opinion is one of the most underdeveloped and misunderstood tools in a teacher's kit. I often find myself in ad hoc convos after a meeting where a colleague, after the fact, agrees with the position I held in the meeting. I ask why they did not engage... some reply:
  • Why bother? Nothing is going to change.
  • I do not want to cause conflict.
  • I have lots of [stuff] to do, no time for this.
To these I often ask:
  • What part have you played in this conversation before? 
  • What [ideas, evidence, reflections] are you holding back? 
  • How do you hold decision-makers and stakeholders accountable to outcomes?
  • Who do you trust in this group? 
  • Who do you trust, that should be a part of this group? 
  • Who do you accept professional criticism from? 
  • What have you lost as a result of not jumping in?
Of course it is also critical to consider:
  • What is the...
    • best time to hold this meeting?
    • best length of time for the meeting?
    • best person to chair the meeting?
    • best environment to hold the meeting?
    • best method for moving resources before / during / after meeting?
    • best method to account for deliverables?
Colleagues rarely say that they are not interested in participation, we know that meetings are a part of our work and that the big picture can make our time in meetings feel diffuse.
I choose to exist on the fringe until I am certain that I have an angle of trajectory and a full enough understanding of the topic so that I can better engage with the table. 

I feel that challenging the issues at hand, especially when they seem dogmatic in nature, can feel a little like a free fall. And like a free fall the thrill can be a bit frightening. Consider that the next time you agree, even slightly, with an opposing view.
Ask yourself:
  • How would my support help to expand this idea?
  • What could my support look like?
  • Could my support now, lead to them supporting me later?

Monday, August 01, 2016

flow 1.0

when my great grand kids 'go to school' they better have more choice than the bricks and mortar we got now


I skimmed through my Twitter feed this morning catching up on the big news of the day... Where in the world is  @alicekeeler presenting?  What is @gcouros posting about leadership? Has @willrich45 toppled another dogmatic truth?

I accidentally clicked on my Likes tab and found an old tweet from @joe_bower .Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 12.48.01 PM
Joe entered my teaching world several years ago, through a reference at a conference, and changed my teaching philosophy 180ยบ.

He sparked a deep and powerful engine in me that to this day would not have been tuned through my everyday interactions in my school, my region, and at the time my province.

To date, I pay tribute to Joe's philosophy of education by asking questions and activating resources that support both student learning and well being.

I too share the view that marks can get in the way of learning. And that the motivation to learn can be hamstrung by standardized assessment tools.

For a millisecond I wondered whether Joe was out playing ball or stepping up to some part of the system, creating hard conversations...then I came across this article and the bottom fell out of my heart.

To his family and friends I sympathize with your loss. My deepest condolences go out to you.

If you happen upon this post I encourage you to read Joe's blog http://www.joebower.org/
I assure you that I will return to his posts as long as the site remains and to his teachings throughout my career.

Thank-you Joe.

next gen

21st century skills are necessary, just not necessarily new.

I cringe, just a little, each time I hear/read about 21st Century learning / student / teaching skills. I think its the celebratory / revelatory / declarative nature that gets to me. 21st century school skills are current skills and are slightly blind in nature to future education trends. So since the future education systems are just out of focus, over a fence, or even unimagined... I cast my professional reflections there all the time. 

To me, observing the current needs of our students is neither awesome nor groundbreaking- just necessary.
Metal Gear Solid - 1998
comparative chart of 20th VS 21st century skills only serves to spark my interest in the next iteration of education and impels me to dream. I do believe that the mystery of the 22nd is where our analytical trajectory should lie. And of course we have no clue what that could look like. That is the conversation that I would love to be a part of.

Gamification is one of the current dialects for 21st century learning. When I think about video game development, back in the late 1940's and early 50's, developers could never have seen the future use of their tech. It was not until almost 30 years later that home use was reasonably possible with the arrival of the Atari 2600 and its brethren.

The first Playstation, now known as PSOne arrived in the mid 90's and represented a leap into a lineage that would become jargon-ed as a 'Next Gen' console. By 2016, the PS4 tech continues to push the boundaries of expectation, but does not possess the big bang of discovery that occurred over 60 years earlier. The PS4 experience has remained relatively unchanged for over 20 years and few current gamers would be able to outline its lineage beyond several years back. Yet the market looks forward to a PS[something] that does not exist yet.
Metal Gear Solid - The Phantom Pain - 2016
What seeds are forming in the wild right now that will inevitably become a part of education? What fringes or frontier discoveries might become essential elements of pedagogy 20 years from now? And in the wild possibilities of future learning, could we begin to map 22nd century needs?
What would the current discussion look like, if we made no reference to 21st century skills and leaped wholly into the future?