A Touch of Patch

David Truss writes on  his blog “Pair-of-Dimes”:  “It seems odd to speak of lone wolves to you, a person that is so intricately… connected.  And yet, as you read on, you will relate to the loneliness that I describe, that I too have shared.  Sometimes it is surprisingly …” [ read more here ]

This summer I had the opportunity to watch the movie Patch Adams (1998) again.  It has been years since I originally watch the movie. I remembered the general story line, but this time I was stuck by the parallels between Patch’s journey and courageous journey that many educators are currently undertaking as David describes in his blog post.

Patch Adams

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patch_Adams#/media/File:080515patch.jpg

Themes that resonated with me include having the courage to experiment, innovate, being brave enough to step out of your comfort zone,  and a focus on making connections – the human connection to build relationships and influence perspectives.

Without risking spoiling the plot in case you have not viewed the movie, the closing 15 minutes contains such a powerful message about following your passion(s), making a difference and being willing to challenge the status quo in positive ways. I wonder if these phases will capture your interest:  the power of transference, win/lose vs win/win,  share your compassion,  the passion to serve others, and carry the flame like a brush fire.   This movie is well worth the watch (or re-watch) in my opinion.   Perhaps viewing this movie will influence your  next!

Related Material:

Wikipedia:  Patch Adams

The  Gesundheit Institute

Patch Adams, M.D. – Transform 2010 – Mayo Clinic

~Mark

Lessons from Disney

In my reading last week,  I came across an article from the Disney Institute titled “Leadership Lessons From Walt Disney: Perfecting The Customer Experience“.  As a connected learner and leader, I am always interested in ideas for improving improving service. The interesting part is taking time to consider how new ideas can be applied to another setting – K12 education in this case.

Consider these two quotes from the article:

At Disney Institute, we were recently reflecting on the phrase, “simple is the new smart,” and it reminded us of a leadership philosophy we share with our clients and training program attendeeskeep it simple so that everyone understands.”

Walt Disney was a master at this. One of the simplest, yet most powerful and timeless leadership lessons we have learned from Walt is: “You don’t build it for yourself. You know what the people want and you build it for them.”

EPCOT

     Photo by Stephanie Schmidt (my daughter)

If you consider education through the perspectives  of “simple” and “build it for them” (the students), what would be different in education?   My initial thoughts include:

  • increase in play based learning
  • more creating and making
  • increase in choice
  • more self directed
  • multiple paths to experience learning, and a
  • focus on making technology (and I mean the whole area – hardware, software, access, digital resources) easier to use

What would you add to the “K12 by Disney” list?  Please share your insights to this idea by leaving a comment or connecting on Twitter

Additional Resources: 
Read the full  Disney article: Perfecting the Customer Experience

~Mark

Resources for OASBO PIM course

Rozanski Hall

Rozanski Hall – personal photo

~Mark

Let Them Choose

During my ongoing curation of articles about learning, digital tools and social media, I recently came across this article exploring perspectives on  social media in the lecture theatres.  Although the article was primarily examining post secondary perspectives, I would argue the same discussions are relevant in K12. The discussion was centred around various viewpoints on whether or not students:

  • be allowed (by profs) to bring technology to class
  • are distracted by having access to social media  and
  • experience benefits?

Two interviewees interviewed commented that “… because the students are most likely taking notes. Many don’t use pen and paper, and rely on their devices. She says students are old enough to decide if they are to learn or not.” andMy view is they are old enough to choose and multitask (and choose to fail too),“. Meanwhile, others choose to dictate “no access”.

SM choices

Now, if I put a personal perspective on this and let you observe my learning mode,  this is what you would see. Typically I use 2 devices … taking notes on my iPad using notability – not just for notes – adding audio recording, and insert photos for context for a more complete package.  On the second device I organize lists, todos, ideas and share via social media, typically Twitter but this could easily be a Facebook group, G+ community, LinkedIn or open Google doc. I reiterate – this is MY style. This is how I learn best. Paper and pen doesn’t work for me.

device choice

Why not let students choose what works best for them – student voice. To me,  letting students choose what tools they use and how they organize shows a strength based approach to student learning. What benefit is there in forcing students to function in a way that may not be self directed and self optimized?

Weigh in:  Where do you stand?

~Mark

YEAR of {c0de} WR

Year of {c0de} Waterloo Region launched today the Kitchener City Hall.  The room was filled with energy and an amazing array of interesting demonstrations.

I had a great conversations with team members Susan Watt, Peter McAsh and campaign director Stephanie Rozek. I look forward to my meeting with her next week …. just think of the possibilities!

Here are a few of of the sights I enjoyed today.

Robot Video: 3683 in action!

checking out VR

VR

3683 up close

robot_close_up

programming ‘gizmos’

programming_gizmos

more robots

robot2

Additional Resources

Web:  Year of {c0de} Waterloo Region

Follow campaign director Stephanie Rozek on Twitter:  @srozek

Follow @yocwr

Follow the Twitter discussion at  #yocwr

~Mark

We Dared to Dream

Five years ago, we dared to dream – created our first teacher support role dedicated to focusing on in servicing and supporting elementary teachers to use educational technology in the most effective ways.   It seemed like the right approach, at the right time to forge a new path forward, create interest, synergy, and impact the future.  Susan Watt was the successful candidate for the position – and the journey began!

palmtrees

Standing now in 2015, and looking back,  what a journey it has been.  A new path was definitely forged.  I look back fondly on all of the annual “system tours” as they were affectionately known – professional learning for staff at each school — using a dual boot Mac, what can I do with an iPad, we have wifi hotspots – now what, wifi in the classroom, GAFE, chromebooks, dropbox and more.   Another important project was migrating our acceptable use procedure (AUP) to the responsible use procedure (RUP) where our initial thinking about staff as digital citizenship role models and use of social media for positive purposes was captured.  I could of course, list many more highlights, but you have the idea of system impact.

SWatt

In her retirement speech, Susan challenged her colleagues:  “ So, I have some advice for our retiree supporters tonight: go off script, listen and respond to your students’ spontaneous questions and observations. Understand that every moment is teachable. Don’t settle for the status quo. If it doesn’t feel good for kids, challenge it. If it’s being done a certain way just because it’s always been done that way – question that rationale. Follow your heart and intuition.  Explore new options. Take a risk. Embrace change.

Susan, it has been a privilege to work with you.  Thank you for your creativity, determination, enthusiasm, ability to see a big picture, having a huge positive impact, and, perhaps most of all,  daring to dream.

planewing

I look forward to staying connected and following along your life journey via your  new blog:  Watts Up Next. Thank YOU!

~Mark

Help us learn about one to one

In the fall,  we are initiating  a 1:1 chromebooks for all grade nine students project in 3 of our secondary schools.

Our planning team would be interested in learning from your experiences.   If you have a suggestion, tip or perhaps would have done something differently, please share via this  [google doc].

Thanks in advance for sharing your ideas and learning.

Connect, Learn, Reflect, Share: Make a Difference Today

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