I couldn’t stop laughing. My son was running all around the basketball court. Behind the coach, behind the player with the ball, under the hoop, out of bounds, into the backcourt, all over. And his defender was annoyed. I would have been embarrassed, but it was too funny to consider that option.
I’m not sure where I found this video – at some point I put it into my YouTube Watch Later playlist – but when I sat down with my lunch one day and watched it, I was blown away by how spot on it was.
After researching a bit, I discovered that this video is from Green Acres School in Maryland. The gentleman in the center with the beard is Neal Brown, who appears to be their Head of School. To his right, with the dark hair, is Dan Frank from the Francis W. Parker School. To Brown’s left is Robert Shirley from Charleston Collegiate School. There is a series of videos from this event that I intend to watch in the future – probably over a turkey sandwich, bowl of cottage cheese and some Doritos – but for now I’d like to reflect on my favorite parts of this one.
In the first episode of The Chromebook Classroom podcast, John Sowash interviews Cyrus Mistry, Group Product Manager, Android & Chromebooks for Education. The episode is full of interesting nuggets about the history and future of Chromebooks, but my favorite part was something that Cyrus said about education in this information age. It happens at about the 20 minute mark:
A teacher that used to have a section on learning the 50 capitals of the U.S., steps back and says “You know what? having all of these kids already have that answer makes me want to give them a different type of skill: maybe more problem solving, maybe more critical thinking, maybe less memorization, maybe . . . ” Maybe it reminds them, that when the kid leaves or when they graduate, they’re all going to have Google in their pocket and the answer to every question. So what they won’t have, though, is that ability to critically think and to analyze . . . We see [the teachers] moving to higher order learning.”
I think this is a really powerful point. Educational technology is not an opportunity for substitution. It is not an opportunity for augmentation. Nor is it an opportunity for modification.It is an opportunity for redefinition. (SAMR Model)
Check out the full episode below and follow John Sowash at @jrSowash.
One of the most difficult things to do as a creator of content – lessons, activities, blog posts, videos, art . . . anything that has an audience – is to be honest with yourself when you’ve created something not worthy of your audience’s time or attention.
Tonight I spent 10 minutes recording a video and 45 minutes editing it before I realized . . . my intended audience doesn’t want this. It was longer than necessary and “clunkier” than I should accept.
So, what did I do?
I clicked delete. I was honest with myself.
Have high standards. Self-assess. Give yourself real feedback. Evaluate things honestly. Judge them based on quality and value, not the amount of time you put into them. I could’ve said “it’s not my best work, but deleting it would mean that I just wasted an hour.” First off – if we see it as an opportunity for growth, that time wasn’t wasted. And second – if it’s not your best, go back to the drawing board. Make it your best. Be honest with yourself.
Presenter: What brought you to this professional development session? Attendee #1: I needed contact hours for my IPDP. Attendee #2: This is something that I wanted to learn more about. Attendee #3: My administrator said I had to come here. Attendee #4: I want to be a better educator. Attendee #5: I needed the credit hours. Attendee #6: There were no other sessions that I was interested in and I had to choose something.
I was thinking about PD for educators recently and realized . . . we’re just like our students. We have varying levels of interest and, therefore, varying levels of motivation. It reminded me of Schlechty’s 5 Levels of Student Engagement. And then it hit me . . . these are also the 5 Levels of PROFESSIONAL Learner Engagement.
Authentic Engagement—the educator is engaged and sees the PD as valuable, applicable, and exciting. They want to learn this. They can’t wait to apply it in their classroom.
Strategic Compliance—the educator needs credits or contact hours in order to receive a benefit, likely in the form of a step up on the pay scale or recognition from their peers or administrators for taking the initiative to participate.
Ritual Compliance—the educator needs credits or contact hours in order to keep their license and/or job.
Retreatism—the educator attends the meeting but does not pay attention or engage in the content.
Rebellion—the educator checks their email (or performs another task without hiding it), refuses to participate and/or complains.
Now, it may seem like I’m bad-mouthing the educators, but I’m not. I’ve probably been at each of those levels at least once myself. We all probably have. So, what does that mean? It means that I’m bad-mouthing the PD. Who can blame them for not being “authentically engaged” in professional development? Authentic engagement is not a choice. Either the activity engages them authentically or it does not.
So . . . what do we do?
We give these professionals a say in what they learn. We give them time to explore the possibilities. We give them an opportunity to investigate what may be useful for them. We give them Dan Pink’s 3 factors of motivation: autonomy, mastery & purpose.
Because it’s what’s best for the kids. And that’s all that matters.
Learn more about the work of the late Phil Schlecthy at schlechtycenter.org.
Learn more about Daniel Pink’s phenomenal book Drive and his other work at danpink.com.
Original Post from February 2016. GIF updated in April 2020 to include my logo in the corner.
I am a believer in the power of Growth Mindset. While there are other characteristics that lead to success, I think that it is one of the biggest predictors of success, if not the single biggest predictor.
Anyhow, when a colleague of mine at Brady Middle School invited teachers to record messages to her students about our experiences with and beliefs about Growth Mindset, I jumped at the opportunity to share.
My goal was 1-2 minutes, but sometimes, when something is important to you, you have more to say. Here’s the video that I shared with them:
I am a huge spreadsheets nerd and a huge advocate of the use of spreadsheets in mathematics instruction. If you keep an eye on my site (or Twitter feed or YouTube Channel) you’ll see plenty of my reasons why I feel this way. Here’s one:
Spreadsheets are a great tool for proving mathematical algorithms and formulas. In this post . . . how we can use a Google Sheet to prove the formula for the mean (which, in spreadsheet land, is known as the average).
Check out this post about finding and exploring all 3 measures of central tendency with Google Sheets.