Sunday, January 25, 2009

Heretical Party ?

In Tribes, Seth Godin says, "Heretics are engaged, passionate, and more powerful and happier than everyone else. And they have a tribe that they support (and that supports them in turn)." (Godin, p. 49)
Assuming (which I do) that many people at Educon (including me) could be described as heretics who challenge the educational status quo, I wonder are those very people engaged, passionate, and happier. I know I am. Do we consider ourselves powerful. I don't. Do I belong to a tribe? Yes, the tribe has gathered in Philly and I am among them. We support each other. Without this support from this tribe, I would be stark, raving mad.
We mostly agree we are bucking the system, that the system is not getting the job done for preparing kids for their future. Great. But where do we go next?
No one yet has been able to delineate an action plan to me. Why are we gathered here to say to each other what we said last year. Now don't get me wrong, I simply love seeing you all, and I would not have willingly gone through my Friday to get here if I didn't think it was crucial. But I am dissatisfied. Have we moved forward?
I asked Jeff Han yesterday why he was here. I didn't think he would return much less stay all Saturday. He spoke of something we were saying resonating with him and clearing his schedule to be here. We are reaching the uninitiated.
But have we as a tribe moved forward? I think the answer is no. We are engaged. We are passionate. We are heretical. But have we effected change where we work? And how do we do that en masse?

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Reference: Godin, S (2008). Tribes. New York, NY: Penguin Group.
Photo courtesy of ff137 available at covered under an Attribution 2.0 Creative Commons license.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Educon 2.1

Tomorrow so many of us descend upon Philadelphia to meet f2f for Educon2.1
This fantastic conference evidently started as a joke, and yes the joke involved ijohn (who else?).
But what happens at Educon is far from a joke. Last year, so many of us saw our network come alive as we met person after person from our online communities. It was surreal that many people we recognised immediately although we had never met. I remember meeting Kidd last year and recognising him immediately. I had a great deal of fun as I realised he did not know me. I also recognising Jen Wagner, saying hello, and having her walk right past me. These things make life so enjoyable!
The Friday night panel includes Jeff Han, of whom you might have heard. There are so many great names in the conference Saturday and Sunday!
If you can't make it to the city of Brotherly Love, tune into the Mogulus channels, run in each session by SLA students. Check the wiki out or ask on twitter for the channel sites.

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Photo courtesy of SLA & Educon2.1 wikipages at

Monday, January 19, 2009


I saw this on coolcatteacher's blog: (from the side of a Starbuck's cup)
"The Way I See It #130

It will do us little good to wire the world if we short-circuit our souls.
There is not delete button for racism, poverty or sectarian violence.
No keystroke can ever clear the air, save a river, preserve a forest.
This transformational new technology must be an extension of our hearts as well as of our minds.
The old rules still apply..."

Tom Brokaw, American Journalist"

Transformational it is. This new technology connects people in ways that no one ever dreamed possible. The vast globe shrinks in technological terms. I am so connected to other global educators and learners. Yet sometimes I feel disconnected. Someone observed a few days ago, "...[you] suffer from the loneliness that comes from being so far out in front that you don't see anyone running with you." Every time I read that comment I start to cry. It is too true.
So what do these two things have to do with each other? Me. I need to remember not to short circuit my soul but to use the technology to connect to others who run ahead of me. If I don't, I risk ineffectiveness and despair.
I was reminded by a dear friend, who does run ahead, that I am to emulate Paul in 2 Timothy 4:7 by running the race. I may not see anyone running with me, but He is. He probably is carrying me most if not all of the way too.

Photo courtesy of Thomas Hawk taken on October 26, 2006 available at and covered under an Attribution-Share Alike Creative Commons 2.0 license.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Meeting of the Minds Meme

I was tagged first by Lisa Thumann and I did my best to ignore it. Then Beth Knittle got me. I cannot ignore the task any longer. This meme was started by Ryan Bretag.

What 10 people would you want President Obama and Secratary of Education Arnie Duncan to engage with in a Meeting of the Minds focusing on the state of education, a vision for education and education reform?

  1. Stephen Heppell
  2. Clay Christensen
  3. James Paul Gee
  4. Ken Robinson
  5. Michael Wesch
  6. Sharon Peters
  7. Geetha Narayanan
  8. Sheryl Nussbaum Beach
  9. Barbara Dieu
  10. Sarah Robbins
First thing one notices is that not all of those named are Americans. That is entirely the point. Certainly sitting at the ready would be Alfie Kohn, Seymour Papert, Cyndi Danner-Kuhn, Idit Harel, Grainne Conol, and George Siemens. A good team has equally good players sitting on the bench to run into the game at a moment's notice.
I've tried to include in the ten names those with expertise in varying fields, although ten is rather limiting. Forces likely to shape future education include virtual games, socialnetworks and connections of all sorts. In this fast-paced environment, it is crucial to remember to learn slowly and deeply as Geetha reminds us.

I tag the following 5 people for this meme (and I hope you didn't already do it):
  1. Paul Wood
  2. Porter Palmer
  3. Chris Prout
  4. Gabriela Sellart
  5. mrmayo

Photo courtesy of jonas_K taken on November 3, 2007 available at and covered under an Attribution -Noncommercial-Share Alike Creative Commons 2.0 license.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What do educators do on Saturday nights?

I visited ISTE headquarters in SL this evening. I was witness to a remarkable event. The picture to your right shows several well-known educators skipping. Yes, skipping, for no better reason than they could. Yes, I did finally try it myself.

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Sunday, January 4, 2009

Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education

Anyone else remember the great time we had at this conference? They're doing it again! This conference will be hosted by Rockcliffe University Consortium and information thus far is posted at SLBPE09 .
This year's conference is March 27th to March 29th in the virtual world of Second Life. Last time it was crowded! I'm excited already - what shall I wear.....

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