Dean’s not sure what he’s doing

A Graphic a Day #3 of 30 -‘Im not sure what I’m doing’

There are some people who just come out with posts that reflect the collective thoughts of so many. I love reading Dean Shareski’s blog. I met Dean at NECC, he was so down to earth and insightful. In this post he is talking about the idea that the power of all of us is greater than one of us – a phrase often used by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach. Andrew Church highlighted an interview with her from Ulearn in New Zealand this week which is well worth a listen. I had to appologise to Sheryl, as I dropped her a Skype message about the NECC proposal we’ve put in – she was presenting at the time. So even when presenting, she’s still connected.

He is also talking about the power of a networked learner. I had discussed digital story telling ideas with other educators via Skype, and the collegue at my school I worked with yesterday, Lucy Gresser and I had spent time on Skype talking about it this week.

I did some visual exploring with Jo Kay, had several conversations with people in Twitter, talked to Annabel about up coming History teacher events amongst other things. I finally met Bron, who’s supported my students via Ning and Skype, and provided my staff – and now will provide even more staff professional development in Quest Atlantis and presented with in Unconferences. I read a pile of blogs updates from people like Sue Waters, (who does so much for so many all the time – and is the anti-yeah but) while sitting in traffic on the great Sydney mobile car parking system that continues to fail everyone daily.

I’m at the point now where I think that the very idea of ‘collegues’ and ‘my network’ is a storming idea for me. Collegues are those that inspire, support and celebrate with you. Judy O’Connell and I are about to write two books in a series for an educational publisher –  and our office will be Skype, Second Life and Google Docs. The people you turn to to learn, ask questions. I noticed a Twitter post this week from Digialmaverick in the UK (another person like Dean that I seen to identify with) where he said he now asks his ‘network’ questions, not Google.

Im not sure about my colleagues

That really hit it home as I ended, what I have to say was a disappointing week in the geographical sense. Having ‘colleagues’ who organise online without any power/pay requirement balances out so much of the day to day – and I really think that tools like Twitter, Skype and Second Life are recharge stations for those who get what 21C should look like. I’m sick of people thinking that things I believe in, and believe have to happen if schools do not turn into museums (trapping my own kids inside) is in someway extraordinary, abnomal and not applicable to them.

A student said to me this week, after the project I did recently for a Commerce co-hort –” are you going to do more that that? I got 18/20, the best mark I ever got.” The sad reality is that I’m not and his teacher  won’t. His ‘yeah but’ teacher maybe lacks the time (yeah but #14). Maybe that teacher could do better studying his students needs and asking question in more appropriate places.

The student had the same teacher, the same content, but the context changed and the relevance changed. I learned that context and content from my colleagues online and like Dean, just pass it on. But I know why I do that. That makes me and Dean smart.

Building the capacity to change a school first requires the people in it understand how technology changes their capacity to change.

So I guess I don’t want to use the term PLN or Personal Learning Network – it makes people sound like some component of a ‘device’, and the people I know (online) are anything other than divisive.

So to get comfortable with the irony of that … I’ve decided that they are all colleagues and that is how I shall refer to them from now on, just to avoid any confusion for the ‘yeah buts’.

And the best part! It really does’nt matter when I go or they do – they will still be the same – just getting smarter as Dean so well talked about in his post. I think that 21C students will also be like that as they leave high school and start college and University. The effort and cost is so low.

4 thoughts on “Dean’s not sure what he’s doing

  1. Besides loving the post I really like the photo. You create it? I’m so over the Yeah-buts which is why I put most of my effort into those that connect with me online. They’ve already bought into the idea and want to learn more. No excuses they are there to learn and want to!

    Every presentation and workshop I’m involved with I give an open invitation to participants to connect with me and I will help them. Shame to say very few ever do but maybe because it is a slow journey of change.

  2. Love what you write. Particularly this line: “Building the capacity to change a school first requires the people in it understand how technology changes their capacity to change.” It’s something I’m really going to have to get my head around in my new role as College ICT Coach next year. My school, like most I suppose, is full of yeah-buts.

  3. Really great post. I’ve written about it somewhere else (so many places…) – the fact that I feel more comfortable when I read this resistance to change is somehow common. I’ve been in charge of the ICT Department where I teach since October 2008 and it’s been difficult to convince people of the importance of opening horizons and make good use of technology/Web 2.0 to enhance their teaching and most importantly students’ learning.
    Regards from Franca-SP-Brazil

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