Category Archives: Just pondering

Leadership Journey

In her blog post  Not All Who Wander are Lost, a Lesson in Leadership,  Tina Zita writes

… “It’s hard to give yourself that permission to wander, the permission to not take the standard path set out. Education seems to have a pretty clear pathway for leadership: step 1 leads to step 2 leads to step 3, the quicker the better. Like the city walls, they become a constant reminder of a common path I haven’t chosen to take yet. Sometimes wandering feels uncomfortable.” …

This analogy of clearing one’s mind, taking time to simply be and explore the non traditional path really resonates with me.

Personal growth is an individualized journey. I do not believe the journey is simply a long sequence of pre-planned, must follow steps – arguably, hoops to jump through.  Perhaps our professional learning looks (or should like) more like the diagram on the right  which is often used to describe student learning.

learning_is_messy

Taking time to clear your mind,  unclutter thinking, unlearn, explore options, different paths and new viewpoints IS the journey.

As  Donna Miller Fry  recently tweeted,

Take time to wander!  What will your personal professional learning journey look like?

~Mark
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Read Tina’s blog

‘messy image from  http://www.conferencesthatwork.com/index.php/learning/2012/04/learning-is-messy/

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The power of one word

Through out this school year I have noted two phrases used in various ed-tech presentations and discussions: technology enriched learning and technology enabled learning.  I believe there is a significant difference between these phrases.  I know which one I would choose and why.

I am interested to know which one you think is the best phrase.  Which side of the fence are you on?

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Care to vote? 

~Mark
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Resources:

View the original creative commons photo

Handing Down Knowledge

I happened to catch a rebroadcast of the December 27th 2015 Cross Country Canada radio show and was intrigued by the topic – “Has the wisdom of older people become sidelined in the age of Google and YouTube?”

I found the commentary from the various participants very insightful and wide ranging.  Some users talked about relationships, comparing face to face ( F2F) to phone, F2F to video call (skype, facetime, GHO etc.), F2F to email – well, you get the picture.  Other comments focused more on the knowledge transfer aspect of the discussion.

One could easily argue that with all of the fantastic audio and video recording tools available now, online storage and search capabilities we have the best opportunity ever in history to capture and publish  and share knowledge, perspectives and stories  from generation to generation.  Perhaps we simply need to be more thoughtful about going about this process of handing down knowledge.

Hands Across Time

I couldn’t help but wonder about  making some more intentional connections to school systems here. What role might students play in making connections with the senior members of society, building relationships and capturing their knowledge and stories for future generations to explore?

Listen to the fascinating CBC podcast  [here].

Note: Image credit Bill Gracey via Flickr creative commons license  (flickr link)

~Mark
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Do the Numbers Hinder Progress?

Over the fall I have enjoyed many conversations with educators across the province through my work at WRDSB and connections through  OSAPAC,  OSSEMOOC and ECCO.  I note the themes in these conversations,  which  have led me to a personal wondering.

On one hand we have Dr. Fullan’s research backed and detailed go forward comments in A Rich Seam and other recent publications.  We hear messaging about changing practice,  improving student learning and  quality assessment strategies.  Digging a little  deeper leads to  technology enabled learning,  innovation and innovative projects,  student voice/choice, student generated content/learning artifacts, reflective practice, sharing of learning (blogging etc.) … even highlighting innovations and change of practice on special provincial days to highlight the importance of change.

Hold  that  thought!!!

In other conversations centred on student voice/choice, the topic of gathering student data floated into the discussion.  Generally speaking,  it seems that  data collection appears to be  anchored in very traditional practices that don’t really allow for voice, choice, leveraging technology,  differentiation,  collaboration, creating, … you get the picture.

From this vantage point,  it would seem to me that there are competing interests:  student voice/choice, innovation, change of practice  VS  standard traditional data collection strategies.

numbers in the way

I can’t help but wonder:   If changing personal practice and innovation are truly critical shifts to be achieved in education … is it time to remove the competing juggernaut and actually focus on changing practice as a first priority?

~Mark

CATC Camp – digging in deeper

Once again our annual summer computer camp,  CATC By the Water,  was a great learning experience. You can check out some of the learning and innovating thinking at: CATC Camp learning and sharing or CATC innovators.

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One of my favourite conversations this year happened when I took the time to sit down with George Couros and Donna Fry to  revisit a conversation from a year ago, where we debated why educators look to one well known lead or theory to follow rather than leveraging the room – the educators who are learning, changing, innovating and sharing publicly.  After all,  the smartest person in the room, is the room!

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                 Personal photo

Digging deeper into the conversation this year we talked about another angle that I believe is important in this discussion.  Perhaps the most important element is not if fact “the one” vs “the room”,  but each of us recognizing which one of these causes the personal disruption needed to learn, change, grow and share.  After all, we each have a responsibility for owning our professional learning journey. Perhaps a good term for this would be “differentiated disruption“.

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                 Personal photo

Where do you stand: the one, or the room?  What does it take to shake up or clarify your  practice?

~Mark

 

What Do You See?

After enjoying a wonderful conversation with  Jamie Weir  today,  I thought I would post this image as a point of pondering since part of our discussion explored the power of images.

What do you see?   How does this image relate to possibilities?

Toronto ON
Toronto ON

I was thinking about the possibilities of personal learning … choice, many entry points, differently routes and choice of pace.  Where will your journey lead you?

I invite you to share what you see.  Please share your insights.

~Mark

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
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdCrPBqQALc]

~Mark