Friday, May 19, 2017

Social Media: Curating Our Lives Away

Confession: I love social media. I am probably an addict. Strike that...since I'm confessing...I know I am addicted. Have a "spare" couple of minutes? My immediate reaction is almost always to pull out my phone: "Hmmm...what's up on Twitter today...?"


And I'm an adult.

How is this for tweens and teens and young adults today?

A friend shared this article with me this morning: Instagram Worst Social Media App for Young People's Mental Health. It's worth a read, whether you are a parent, or an educator, or a social media user yourself. I hope you'll reflect on it, and perhaps see yourself here...


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Cell Phones: Tools for Learning? Or Weapons of Mass Distraction?

The other day I received an email from a recent graduate of our Teacher Preparation Program. He was helping out in a school at home, since Commencement is long past for us, but classes are still going in K-12 schools. He saw this sign hanging up at a high school teacher's door:

With thanks to my (anonymous) (former) student for allowing me to post this...

Knowing that I am fascinated by educational technology, and the way we often use consumer technologies as educational technologies in schools, this prompted a question from him:
Hmmm...I use my phone to find a lot of information, more than my computer even. Maybe though in study hall high school kids "waste" too much time on it? Or should study hall be their choice of time once in high school? Your time, use it as you want without disrupting the class? 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Climate and Culture

One of my interests in the realm of education--as noted in the tagline above--is school culture. I think about culture in education quite a bit: the culture of my classroom, the various institutions I've served, and American education broadly. I am interested in how culture takes shape, and how individuals can contribute to the development of a culture.

And then, every once in a while, I see something that sort of knocks my socks off, and causes me to rethink what I have believed about the culture of education. I had a good example of one of those moments the other day, when I saw this tweet from my Twitterfriend, Justin Tarte (whom you should definitely be following, if you are a tweeting teacher!)


This challenged me--in a positive way--because I think I had previously been conflating climate and culture, and seeing it painted this way helped me differentiate between the two in an obvious way.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Doing Hard Things

This past weekend I had a new experience: I participated in a triathlon.

I say "participated," because I wasn't really in it to "compete." That would have been a whole different experience, I suspect. I was part of a trio; we had a swimmer, a runner, and I was the biker for our team. We said from the outset that we were in it for the experience; we were sure we weren't going to win, but as I said to my friends, "I feel like I'm winning because I'm doing this!" (Cheesy? Yes. Trite? Definitely. True? Well...yeah, I think so.)

Team 3 Amigos! Go! Fight! Participate!

Team 3 Amigos: that was us. We were not out to compete, really. We were participating. We were trying something out, and learning by participating. And I definitely participated--I put myself out there to try something new that challenged me, and I learned a couple of important things through my participation, by getting in there and doing a hard thing.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Getting Better

I was recently reading the fifth chapter of the Gospel of John. There is a famous story in this passage of scripture; Jesus here heals a paralytic at the Pool of Bethesda.

In this story, Jesus is in Jerusalem for a religious celebration, and stops by the pool, where there is a crowd of people with a whole range of disabilities. My study Bible tells me that the tradition of the day held that an angel would stir up the water in the pool from time to time, and that the first person into the pool after the water was bubbling would be healed from whatever infirmity they suffered.

It's here that Jesus meets up with the man. He is paralyzed, or lame, or has some other problem that prevents him from easily getting up. Until Jesus, comes along, that is. Jesus commands, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." And, of course, the man is miraculously healed! He jumps up, takes his mat, and heads off.

There is more to the story as the chapter continues. Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath, and this brings up a whole exchange between the man, the religious leaders, and Jesus. But I want to go back to one small detail that I had always glossed over in this story.

When Jesus first meets the man, he asks him a question:

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Observation as Professional Development

I've had the opportunity to visit several colleagues' classes this semester. It was a privilege for me to sit in on a variety of different disciplines that are not my direct area of expertise across the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences.

I've volunteered to serve as a peer mentor, which means I sit in on another professor's class to help him or her think about the teaching and learning happening there. There are a small team of us who are doing this. We began by visiting each others' classes and practicing some techniques for providing feedback. We explored different things we can look for, such as tracking the level of questions being asked, mapping the interactions taking place, capturing student engagement (check out their body English--it speaks!), or even just the gestalt "what's-it-like-being-in-this-class?" from an outsider's perspective.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Back to Writing

It's been almost a month since my last post.

I've thought about writing something, and I've even started a few "pieces of string"--just capturing a few rough thoughts as a pre-write for a post--but I just haven't had it in me to write anything of any substance lately.

It just hit me: I think I had some writing fatigue.

Duh?

I've written so much over the past four years during my doctoral work, and especially this past nine months as I've been working on my dissertation, that maybe I just needed some time not-writing.