In education (and in life), we love to typecast…. I think some people think it makes things easier, but what really happens is that it limits potential. For instance, I am sure you have heard typecasting comments in your organization:
- I am a ________ (insert subject, grade, etc) teacher
- That person is only good at __________
- She can only work in a lower-socioeconomic area
- They will never be able to ___________
- We need someone with specific __________ experience
- I’m not a technology person
Until we break the typecasting roles, we are going to struggle. As the 21st Century becomes a reality, how will you resist the temptation to put yourself, or others into the typecast?
I recently attended a meeting to discuss an initiative. It is not important what initiative was, but more so the epiphany someone had during the meeting…. Here is a paraphrase of what they said….. When I came to this meeting, I was sure how I was going to vote. Then, I listened to the data that was presented, and now I have changed my mind! Whoa, I thought …. This person actually let the data inform them….
It was really amazing because most people get stuck in their thinking. We all do at some point, but there are times when we allow our minds to be open…. I know that in education, the terms”data,” “data-based decisions,” and “data informed,” are difficult for some people to understand…. In this case, I was encouraged by the epiphany and how one person allowed the data to inform their decision…
As technologies emerge, it has become very easy for people to overlook and acknowledge their sources. Some people even take “pride” in stealing. You may hear them say that they just add their name to a power point, picture, or even the written word. As an educator, I take offense to this thinking. In fact, it runs contrary to what has made our profession so unique and powerful.
When I blog, I always give credit to the content, pictures or videos I place in this blog. I am trying to model digital citizenship and true 21st century learning. As an online adjunct professor, even in a discussion board, I challenge the students to acknowledge or “ground” their sources. As a Principal, I require my faculty to use the data or resources to support a claim or a new initiative.
Here are a few tips to maintain good Digital Citizenship that could help you become a trusted source of information in the 21st Century:
- When you share information, be sure to give credit – This is easy to do and can be accomplished by a link, footnote, traditional APA or MLA citation, or simply stating “source”
- When in doubt, leave it out – If you feel you need to get permission and either don’t have the time, or can’t contact the originator, just leave it out and mention it
- Encourage people to help you – It is OK to ask on Social Media about the origins of a particular source, or to even seek out sources to use in your blog
- Be honest – If you have no idea where you got something, as long as you don’t portray that you made it, you will be fine
- Sign up in communities such as Flickr for photographs or Reddit for art
If we want our students to cite the text, and make inferences, we should too! Check out this video about citing text for students from the Teaching Channel
Blogging can be intimidating. There is always the question… what am I going to write? Who is going to read it? These are fair questions, and honestly, no matter who you talk with, each blogger has gone through these stages… Here are my 7 tips on writing your own way:
- Just write – Whether it is an idea, a comment or a suggestion… just write
- Ask for other (trusted) people to read – Let them look at it from the the “reader perspective”
- Set a time to write – For me, I write every day – Maybe for starting out you decided to try once a week – Set a time and stick to it!
- Publish – It is so easy to start your own blog – Most blogs are equipped with design that makes you look professional
- Length does matter – Through my statistics on my blog, most people are on this site for 1:22 seconds – That’s not a lot of time and my posts reflect this insight
- Give credit to your sources – Make sure to give credit for videos, pictures or quotes
- Read, Read, Read – You need to read other blog posts
On Sunday, April 27, 2014 at 9:30 EST on www.teachercast.tv the Principalcast crew interviews Todd Nesloney aka @techninjatodd. The purpose of the interview is to focus on Todd’s new position as an administrator.
For those of you who do not know Todd, he is a celebrated teacher, blogger, flipped classroom expert, and overall awesome dude. His website includes information on technology tools, and a focus on his class blog. Todd is a resource to everyone on twitter. According to his website, in 2013 Todd was selected as a White House Champion of Change, Center for Digital Education’s “Top Innovators in Education” and a “20 to Watch” by the National School Board Association. He also work with Remind101, Sophia, Classroom Champions and several other organizations and has recently authored two books Spruce & Lucy and Flipped 2.0.
Make sure to visit www.teachercast.tv on Sunday, April 27 at 9:30 EST to learn more from Todd. Be sure to engage with the Principalcast crew in the chat room so you can ask Todd questions!
Our school recently participated in the annual Earth Day celebration…. Our Art teacher, with the help of many other people in the building, assisted the students with an awareness of exactly why we need to celebrate the Earth. Throughout the days, students of all ages learned the importance of recycling….
I think the day was focused on all the right activities. Students made recycled paper, and were encouraged to “plant” it because it contained seeds. They made art out of recycled materials, and participated in the design of the art. The students also began to grow their own plants through a station that taught them about seeds and the planting process…
Students in grades 3 – 5 went to see the movie Bears. During the weeks leading up they researched the movie and even did a compare/contrast upon returning from the movie. Some students took time to watch live streaming Bear cams that featured live Bears looking for food.
What I liked most about the day was that it was good old messy learning. It required students and teachers to get out of their comfort zones and appreciate all that our existence on Earth provides…..
I teach a graduate course in School Finance. The culminating project for the class is for students to work collaboratively to design their own school. The sky is literally the limit… The caveat is…they must be able to apply their learning from the class on budgeting to their new school. I was so impressed with their school presentations. I defiantly saw their learning from the course as they discussed the nuts and bolts of a school…
After each presentation, I asked them to reflect on the experience and discuss any hurdles they encountered during the process. Almost everyone mentioned that the budgeting process was the most difficult. In addition, they reported that it was equally challenging to justify financing their ideas…. The lesson in this experience, for me, is that we are faced with the same task everyday. Granted, we do not have an unlimited budget in most school districts, but sometimes an unlimited budget is not really what it appears…
What do you think? If you could design your own school, how would you explain your budgeting process? This makes me think of the Cosby Show from the 1980’s when Cliff had to show Theo the importance of a budget, costs, and….. life…
Every school has a story to tell, and as Eric Sheninger has said, “If you don’t tell your story, someone else will.” Our school is currently going through a systemic process to “brand” our selves. Our good friends Tony Sinanis and Joe Sanfelippo have been great resources because they are currently the experts in the area of school branding. The host a podcast on BAM Network, have a twitter account for branding, and they often blog about branding on their sites. I am looking forward to their book about branding scheduled to be released in the fall of 2014 through Corwin Press!
As we embark on the branding process, we are critiquing everything we do, our mission/vision/values/goals all in an effort to promote ourselves. This process has involved the key stakeholders, and at each step we celebrate the process. For instance, we have a lot of content on Social Media, but we never did a video about our school. So, over the past 3 weeks we embarked on this journey and made it happen. I think this video is a great visual representation of RM Bacon. We are very fortunate to have had Alicia Mackall film, edit, and produce this video!
Here is our story!
What’s your school’s story? Please share 🙂
I am currently reading Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku. I actually purchased the book quite some time ago and was looking for something to read during Spring Break. There it was, and I thought…. I never did read that book, yet. Although I am only part way through the book, I wanted to share some of my insights on how Kaku warns us not to limit the future with our present thinking.
In the first chapter, Kaku discusses how we have predicted the future for hundreds of years. He gives examples of how some of the great authors, musicians and other creatives have attempted to chart a course of the future. I learned about Leonardo DaVinci who spent a great deal of time thinking of the future, and even designing objects that would look commonplace today.
In terms of limiting the future, Kaku shares stories of those people who completely underestimated the future. As I read through these stories, I felt a connection to what some people do to ideas today. There are those who shoot down ideas in meetings, or during brainstorming sessions. Maybe it is the glass half full perspective, but I think if we learn from those who were on the other side of history, we can learn how to not limit the future:
- Charles Duell, in 1899, said, “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” Charles was the commissioner of the US Office of Patents.
- Harry Warner, in 1927, said, “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” Harry was one of the founders of Warner Brothers.
- Thomas Watson, in 1943, said, ” I think there is a world market for maybe 5 computers.” Thomas was chairman of IBM.
The lesson here is that it is very dangerous to bet against the future ~ Kaku
What are you inspired by? How do you want to change? What do you need to get to the next level? If you are like me and are always thinking about these things, then you are not alone! What I am fascinated by is the challenge. We all have a challenge that is facing us. It is either in the mirror, at work, in the gym, in our house, or even in our mind. Exactly how we get to our challenge is different for everyone.
I believe that challenges bring out the best in us. For instance, this Blog 365 challenge has been an area for my to write everyday. There have only been a few days where I was even close to not posting. 111 days into it and it has become part of what I do (and I have learned that it is now part of what a few others are doing as well). Well, I am currently working on my next challenge. This challenge similar to the Blog 365 but I will say it has nothing to do with blogging (although I know that I will certainly be blogging about it)! Until then, I have more work to do as I make a SMART goal and plan my challenge. As always, thanks for the support!