Archive for the ‘time’ category

Kitchen Conferences

February 25, 2008

So, I wanted to attend a few sessions held this weekend at Learning 2.0: A Colorado Conversation. Problem: I am at home with my two kids, activities, lunches, dishes… you know – the stuff that real life is made up of. Solution: UStream in the kitchen! I set up my laptop on the kitchen counter where I could view and participate in the sessions, and presto! The only problem was dirty or wet hands. They are not the keyboard’s best friend. And, even if I could not attend live, sessions and backchannel chats are archived.

But, I think that this type of professional development is so valuable in our busy lives. Many teachers can’t seem to find the time for professional development. Both asynchronous and in this case, synchronous (UStream, TalkShoe, Elluminate…), opportunities have really grown over the last few years. They have helped me out tremendously. However, so far, they have not really taken off in the more “scholarly” educational conference venus like SITE, AERA, NCTE, NCTM, CUE and the like. Granted, some do have a few webcast sessions, but little to no opportunity to “participate”. Of course, things like membership and dues play more of a role here, but how long are we these “fences” to professional development going to stay up in this web 2.0, connected, collaborative world? How much do such fences contribute to NOT attending?

alone.jpgFinally, those not involved in these current conversations are probably not even aware of these types of opportunities. After all, I only found out about them from reading a few select blog posts and from a few tweets that came in on folks that I follow. What about those folks who don’t have developing borderless 2.0 networks? All the more reason to hop on board, I’d say. Teachers NEED to know about these opportunities with such limitations on time, finances, and schedule.

And, just as I am writing this, Will Richardson tweeted a new post that fits like a glove here! My point exactly. No RSS? No Twitter? No Network? Then, you are most likely not to be in the “know”. Will writes:

“But I would still venture to guess that 75% (maybe more) of educators in this country still don’t know that they can have a network….The passionate learning network of which I am a part is an amazing and important part of my life. The fact that most teachers still have no idea that is possible is distressing on one hand, motivating on the other.”

I couldn’t agree more. Teachers need time to talk, share, network,… and that time is often not going to be during the school day when their students are there. But, sadly, I think, as Will writes, that most are not really aware other options. My graduate students are not aware of such options and are so excited to be learning about them in class… one class in their entire degree program. Hopefully I can get some of them to explore these “kitchen conferences” and realize that their professional world and lifeline is not contained in the walls of their school or classroom. 🙂


Need Information Anonymous?

February 12, 2008

squirrel2.jpgDo you ever feel like you just have to keep up with all of the information out there… and are drowning? I feel like that today after spending about 2 hours on things that were not a priority yet were calling to me.
The first step to admitting information addiction is to admit that you have a problem. Here are the first 2 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Steps a la 2.0!

1. We admitted we were powerless over the amount of information—that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

So, what is that power? How does one tame the beast in us that feels like we must be connected to a hundred zillion other folks using every possible tool out there – that we can’t miss one blog post, article, tweet, wiki update, ning contact, e-mail, IM, Skype call, UStream broadcast, slideshow, video…. for fear of being “left behind”… Alone. Uninformed. Ignorant. Does your RSS reader make you feel ashamed for not giving it the attention it deserves? Can you not look it in the eye and say “I love you.”?

Where is the time for deep reflection, peace, quiet,… Has your insatiable “need” for connectivity and information robbed you of something quite valuable? Are you unable or unwilling to unplug when necessary? Or, if you do unplug, do you feel the beast gnawing at you?

Do you dare silence the twittering birds? Or, is the tradeoff worth it. Has the world changed in such a way that we are required now to live this way?

Please share either your “Power” or your need to find that “Power”. Perhaps we can help each other here.

The Blame Game!

September 28, 2007


I can totally identify with Chris Lehman’s post last week on his blog, Practical Theory. At times I have been guilty of putting too much blame on individual teachers for failing to innovate their teaching pedagogies and adopt current cultural technology tools. (Check out for more great satirical posters like the one presented here!) I still feel that part of ‘being a teacher’ is being a learner and continually looking for ways to keep fresh and identify with his/her audience in powerful ways. There is certainly no excuse for avoiding personal and professional growth. However, Chris brings a great balanced perspective to this dilemma, as there are powerful systems in play that more than not discourage innovation and ‘outside-of-the-box’ thinking. In many cases, technology aside, we have been struggling to achieve basic reforms of pedagogy that have been laid down by the ‘greats’… Dewey, Vygostky, Bruner, Gardner to name a few. If is very hard to ‘buck the system’ in K-12 education. Teachers are overwhelmed with everything on their plates and have little time to think outside of the box. For those critics who always say that teachers are overpaid, work only 8 hr. days for only 180-200 days a year, have great benefits,.. well, live just a day in their shoes. Sure, there are some teachers out there who shouldn’t be in the classroom any more as they have lost their ‘fire’ for learning and teaching. But their are folks like that in every discipline and profession. Most teachers that I have known and worked with have been the most dedicated folks I have ever known.

I am not making excuses for failure to innovate, as many teachers continue to do just that in spite of the systems that they work under, or as a result of fantastic building principals and district administrators who have vision, are not afraid to take risks, who support teachers and create learning climates that encourage innovation,…

So, hats off to all of the terrific teachers out there who buck the system every day, who turn their classroom lights on every morning to try again, who seek to grow at every opportunity, who de-escalate volatile situations, humanize and bring dignity to every child who crosses their path (Hiam Ginot) – hats off to you! Start a blog to share your experiences with the world 🙂 Upload some photos to VoiceThread and continue the conversation, create motivating and inspiring montages with RockYou or MixerCast. Start a wiki with a colleague on some area of common professional interest. Find a classroom outside of your state, country, or continent to collaborate with using Epals. These are some fairly easy things to do to begin connecting with your students and colleagues in new ways.

See also:

Overfed on Blogs

August 13, 2007

I love… and hate… this cartoon by Dave Walker (he has so many really great ones). It represents what I have been feeling for some time now. It’s nobody’s fault… just the nature of the beast. I think the title “Overfed” is not quite accurate for me. It is more the “need” I feel to have to read so many blogs – or keep up with them. I don’t think that here is anything intrinsically harmful about reading too much. However, I find that it sometimes takes me away from other, more scholarly reading in journals and other places that I should be keeping up on. I think partly it is a little difficult keeping up with the conversational aspect of blogging. It is one thing to read them, but when you go in and want to maintain active discussions through commenting and then have to go back to all of your comments to see if anyone responded to them… well, it all takes time. I think I just need to pick the few that I want to participate in while having others that I just read. And, I’m not even bringing technologies like Twitter into the picture here. I don’t know…

How do you manage your time with the presence of the blogosphere in your own personal space?


Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.