As we approach the start of a new year, this fireworks photo from Unsplash seemed appropriate.
Leadership is, after all, almost everyone’s job in a school. Whether you are leading the entire school, the Board, a department, a committee, a classroom, or a club, you can perform that duty with intention, with a growing number of tools, with a certain attitude, and with a certain mindset.
To say it has been a mild winter in the northeastern United States would be an understatement. On December 25th I was playing baseball (well, wiffle ball) with my nieces and nephews outside. I made a quick Explain Everything animation inspired by the activity. Don't worry, no windows were broken though one ball did hit the house.
Here is the project file so you can see how I storyboarded the idea. I first was going to try and make the glass shatter but then decided just to use a comic book-style text effect instead (the text box is on slide 3).
The holiday season often brings families together and brings back memories. However, two memories I wasn't expecting to come back were triggered in totally different ways. First, my kids and their cousins, aunts, and uncles visited a train exhibit in a local museum. I hadn't thought about it in years, but when seeing the displays I remembered the HO Gauge train set that me, my brother, and my cousin used to spend hours on - building the model houses, rearranging the tracks, and trying to see how complicated of a setup we could make with multiple trains going at once on shared and crossing tracks.
That was a more traditional memory trigger. I saw something in front of me and could immediately and vividly recall moments, objects, and people.
The less traditional one occurred while waitoing parked in front of a CVS pharmacy. Next to the store was the office of a tax accounting firm where one of the partners had the last name 'Magnifico.' I don't know why it happened, but it made me think about a commercial from the 1980's where some kids walked into a pizza shop and were saying italian-like phrases such as 'Bellissimo' and "Magnifique.' I couldn't remember what the commercial was so I googled 'pizza commercial bellissimo magnifique' and sure enough, the first result was a blog post about a 'Polly-O String Cheese' commercial. The exact one I was remembering. I don't know why of all commercials this one would have remnants lingering somewhere on my mind. I think my siblings and cousins used to reenact it. Or maybe it was friends in schools. I think I was the guy with glasses.
If you had to educate a rock, what would you need to do? This may seem like a ridiculous question, but as I continue to try and best define beliefs and practices — and eventually purposes — this simple frame is helpful for getting at the most foundational questions of what human beings do. It removes all contexts (i.e., empathy) by which you can compare what you (as a human) can relate to when trying to consider the perspective of a rock.
How do you define education? Is it the activities that take place in traditional school environments? Perhaps we need to define schools first. I define a traditional school environment as a system where humans are grouped according to the number of years they have existed (i.e. age) and levels of cognitive and physical development with a large margin for error with how the groupings take place according to this criteria.
Within this system then, focus is generally placed on academic development (what one learns). This can be either (or both) acquisition or building of knowledge. Academic development is also something that gets defined according to one's own epistemoligical belief structure, Schools also play a part in cognitive development (how one learns), physical development (the muscular-skeletal system via exercise, nutrition), social development (how one interacts with and understands other human beings), and emotional development (how one knows and negotiates his or her own personal feelings).
Going back to defining "education"... if education is the development of academic, cognitive, physical, social, and emotional properties of human beings, are these types of development only taking place (or only possible to take place) in traditional schools? Or are they developments that take place at all times but perhaps with a different level of intention within an organized structure (i.e., school)?
For the purposes of this blog post series, education is defined as the guidance of academic, cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development in human beings that can take place anywhere and at anytime. The word "development" is used to describe the overall process. When defining education, it is then important to define the word "learning." Also for the purposes of this blog post series, "learning" is used to describe the process taking place within a human being within his or her development.
The next question then, is "why?" Why educate? For what purpose should a rock be guided in its development?
The question that follows that is: in what way?
I took my daughter to see the Nutcracker ballet last weekend the music of which was composed by Tchaikovsky. It reminded me of the first piano piece I had to perform (at age 20!) when I first took piano lessons in order to fulfill a 'keyboard proficiency' exam as part of my undergraduate Music major. It is called 'Morning Prayer' and it's a short and sweet piano piece. This is a riff on the opening progression (which I started in a post I shared on Tuesday).
From our conclusion:
Here is the thing we must not miss: networkedness and onlineness make it impossible to be ignorant to the way others are living, make it impossible to avoid opportunities for empathy and understanding, without making a deliberate choice.
Here's a movie made with Explain Everything with some fancy tricks used to make the paint brush sync perfectly with the drawing. More on that soon. Happy holidays!
In MS Word you can use the Format -> Change Case... option to properly convert sentences into "Title Case." I find myself more frequently double checking this. There is also a website where you can copy/paste or write text in real-time into it and it will convert it immediately.
It already feels like ages ago, but last Monday I was still in Minneapolis at the #TiES15 conference. I used my iPad Pro to sketch note Sylvia Martinez' opening keynote. Below are the results.
I didn't get to record anything yesterday so today I enlisted the help of my son (who is 2) to put together something quick. He played all the notes on about 6 different keyboard tracks and then I added a drummer track using Garageband's drummer feature.
While on the surface my research and other academic work focuses on mobile devices, formative assessment, and design, the underlying investigations are really about the relationship between human beings' beliefs and practices. I use schools and technology and teaching as lenses to better understand that reflection and to reveal new dimensions of the relationship.
So as I begin this new theme in my weekly format, it's important to start with this core foundation. Much of what humans do - consciously or subconsciously - is rooted deeply in a belief system that is shaped by experience and context. The rest? It's rooted in science - biology, chemistry, and physics.
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TEDxNYED: About Assessment