I hate reading blog posts today. I get bamboozled every time. #gullible
I hate reading blog posts today. I get bamboozled every time. #gullible
Today I want to talk about a connection to someone I don’t know– author Patti Digh. I bought her book Life is a Verb about four years ago, and it resonated immediately. I started following her blog and then on twitter, also purchasing her book What I Wish for You. I haven’t taken her Verb Tribe class, yet, but that’s on my list, too.
You know how a stranger often feels like they could be a good friend? That’s what happened to me with Patti.
So when I read recently that her husband had been diagnosed with cancer and there was a fundraising drive on to help with expenses, I immediately clicked over and donated.
Helping to save a life. This becomes the best, most profound way our networks serve us.
She includes a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye on her blog today, one that will carry me for a long time.
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.
-Naomi Shihab Nye
Today’s CEO is not social, says Forrester Research’s CEO George Colony–in a study reported today on the Mashable site. I pulled one of the quotes that made me think about administrators in our schools:
Colony has concluded that, “None of the CEOs of Fortune Magazine’s top 100 global corporations have a social profile.”
Wow. None. But should we be surprised? Very few school principals, Heads of Schools, or even high-level administrators have a social profile. George Couros, whose fairly recent jump into social media has propelled him as a leader in this area, started Connected Principals to share those that do. But until the past few months, I saw few administrators willing to take the perceived risk of being “out there.”
I find social media fascinating. I can’t imagine not sharing and learning online. But it seems people either get it or don’t.
Educators are no different in that regard. But those administrators who have jumped report great satisfaction in their transparency with parents and families. Check out Larry Fliegelman’s latest post about connecting with his parents. Josie Holford, head of Poughkeepsie Day School, keeps her families up to date through her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.
So as I read the post on Mashable, I wondered….how different will our “school world” be when administrators around the world will feel as LIVESTRONG CEO Doug Ulman does. In the post he says, “perceptions around social media being too risky for CEOs are beginning to change.”
“I would predict that more and more executives will see this as an opportunity rather than a risk,” he says.
I hope more school administrators will soon discover the possibilities.
I once told Sheryl Nussbaum Beach I didn’t feel moved to change the world.
We were chatting about all things education–and how some folks are comfortable presenting to large crowds (I’m not), and some feel compelled to change the world of schooling (I wasn’t).
At the time, I felt that my personal line in the sand, which I drew in the sandbox of a classroom, was enough. I could individualize instruction, buy netbooks for my kids, create an inviting atmosphere, offer a variety of ways to assess children, and focus on what worked.
I became comfortable in my own small, corner of the world.
And then last spring, I found myself taking over conversations in department meetings, dinner parties, and family gatherings. Whenever the chats turned to school (and specifically social media), I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. My frustration with how we “do” schools bubbled over. During our last week of vacation, my uncle turned to me mid-rant and said, “Ok then, how do we fix it? How do we make schools better?”
I didn’t have all the answers, but I found myself listing everything that matters to me: giving students voice; empowering teachers to work together and reflect upon their practice; offering choice in curriculum and ways to learn; allowing charter schools (with proper direction and guidance) to flourish; changing the way we sort and rank students.
Ok, so I care. Changing the system seems overwhelming at times, but it’s worth it. Our kids deserve more from us.
These are the folks I’m following these days, watching and learning from them:
Not perfect, perhaps. But at least they are doing the work and not just talking about it. Who else should be highlighted?
The Zotero group started by Wendy Drexler is often where I look for research regarding issues that interest me. Today, I had a focused discussion with a friend on whether teachers’ personalities made them embrace or more resistant to change, especially related to using technology to enhance student learning.
(As an aside, I should say I support student-centered, inquiry-based teaching and believe the use of social media offers opportunity for collaborative, global learning. If classrooms are teacher-centered and the discussions are focused on gadgets and not pedagogy, then technology is often a waste of time and money.)
After I left her office, I wondered if there was any research supporting our discussion. Sure enough, I found this (unfortunately in a PDF), a study from 2004. Here are some highlights (my emphasis):
Research has found that the personal beliefs and dispositions of teachers may relate to or predict successful technology integration. Honey and Moeller (1990) assert that teacher philosophy (student-centered versus teacher-centered) affected one’s ability to effectively use technology in the classroom, in that student-centered teachers were more successful. MacArthur and Malouf (1991) determined in their case study that teacher beliefs and attitudes greatly influenced how computers were used in the classroom. Other personal variables, such as self-competence and willingness to change, have also been shown to be closely related to computer use among teachers (Marcinkiewicz, 1994). Albion (1999) states that teachers’ beliefs, specifically self-efficacy beliefs, “are an important, and measurable, component of the beliefs that influence technology integration” (p. 2).
…this study suggests that the teacher attributes of time commitment
to teaching and openness to change combine with the amount of technology
training to best predict classroom technology use. The process of learning
to use technology requires time—time spent in training, but also time spent
playing with and exploring technology. This willingness to commit time to the
technology learning process may be represented by one’s willingness and commitment
to spend time beyond the typical work week to prepare instructional
activities. As such, this result suggests that time is essential in becoming a technology
using teacher, but also that technology use may predict time commitment
As a result, a teacher who approaches technology professional development with an attitude that is open to change and is committed to spending time outside of training to further explore technology may be more likely to use technology in the classroom than one who attends training with ambivalence and a lack of time.
Now I realize that one study isn’t necessarily the answer. But all of this makes sense as we determine how to best help teachers develop their own professional development online through social media and in “unconferences” where the onus is on the individual to contribute and learn. For those waiting to be spoonfed or who are unwilling to change, the effort may not be worth the trouble.Teacher Dispositions as Predictors of Classroom Technology Use