It's ISTE 2018 time. Here's my #NotAtISTE18 Keynote. This episode was born out of an idea I had in December 2017 and I proudly present my first keynote!
Feedback, Shoutouts, and Links
- Foster continued excitement and enthusiasm for effective and relevant education technology integration in classrooms and schools.
- In 2017, Education Week reported that public schools were spending over $3 billion per year on digital education content. That is certainly an un-Godly amount of money and the money spent on education will certainly continue to rise.
- In the Spring of 2008, I signed my first teaching contract. I was hired as a long-term replacement social studies teacher in a middle school. At this point in my life, I was newly married and I had just finished my student teaching experience in the Fall of 2007 and I achieved my long-time dream of becoming a social studies teacher.
- Back in 2008, I was so excited to have my 8th-grade students sign up for Gmail accounts and integrate Google Docs into my classroom. Parents were thrilled that their sons and daughters didn’t need USB drives or disks to take work back and forth between school and home. Group projects didn’t mean having to coordinate who can get to someone’s house or all meeting at the library on a Saturday. Tools like Glogster were king for my students and I recall explaining to 8th graders that Twitter was not for old people and that it would be a powerful social platform. Life was good. My enthusiasm for education technology and my now defunct, History: the Nesi Way, blog were supercharged and ready to change the lives of students.
- The heart of my classroom has always been, though I didn’t know it then, was creativity. And coming in a close 2nd, and they might even be 1a and 1b, are collaboration and communication.
- Let’s talk about collaboration and communication.
- You don’t need me to tell you that communication is important. We know this, let’s consider it a fact or a given.
- Why do so many people struggle with basic communication? I think fear is a big part of why we struggle with communication. Think of how excited you are when you have to call home about a student with news or an update that isn’t great. Or when your principal calls you to their office with little more than the sentence, “Come to my office.” We’re not excited at all for either of those conversations. Your initial thought is, “This parent is going to berate me and I won’t have their support.” or “The principal wants to see ME?” and then you start to playback the last few days or week in your mind to think of something you could have done to be in trouble for.
- So there are certain fears we have when it comes to communicating. We’re afraid of being rejected if we put ourselves out there or being confronted or called out for what we believe and then having to defend ourselves.
- Our students feel all of these emotions as well. But there’s a difference and we don’t quite know how to describe it other than using a phrase like, “Kids today..” or “When I was a kid or student…” We believe that the current generation always has it easier than we did when we were young.
- I know there are teachers who are trying to strengthen our students’ communication skills. But what are you doing? I can only speak for myself and what I try to instill in my students. I want my students to know they have a voice and I want them to be more effective communicators who aren’t afraid to speak up for themselves.
- Let me share a quick story about my own son who is 6 and getting ready to enter 1st grade.
- Let me first say that he’s never quiet. From the moment he wakes up until he passes out at bedtime he’s the epitome of a 6 y/o. He never stops moving and never stops talking. And he’s always been this way.
- As in pre-K, he would occasionally take the bus home from his school. The bus was for pre-K students only. Well twice, he wasn’t dropped off at his stop and he proceeded to get a tour of the town. The first time, the driver and bus aide realized he was still on the bus and got him back to the bus stop within 5-10 minutes. The second time, they went on a whole other bus run with children from a different district school and didn’t realize he was on the bus until they were at the last school.
- My wife and didn’t know where he was for almost an hour. I don’t need to explain our emotions at that point.
- To tie this in, when we asked our son why he didn’t speak up he said he didn’t want to be rude and interrupt the driver and aide who were talking with each other.
- We were beside ourselves. Here is our little motormouth choosing the wrong time to show good manners. Since that time we’ve made a conscious effort to make sure, our 6 y/o and also our 3 y/o begin to understand advocating for themselves and empower them as children.
- How are your students learning to advocate for themselves and to be better communicators?
- Technology is such a huge part of our lives but I think we need to go back the other way a little bit.
- We’ve got adults and a generation of people who can’t sustain a lengthy face to face conversation.
- Faces buried in screens. Ears clogged with earbuds. Social media that has altered the fabric of our social lives.
- Encourage your students to engage in F2F conversation. Give them time to simply talk to each other. Perhaps provide a topic of discussion or better yet, let them figure it out.
- Teach them to advocate for themselves and positively confront adverse situations. How many of your students leave your classroom unable to navigate a disagreement with another human being?
- How are we modeling effective communication and collaboration for students?
- We’ve all seen articles and read things that talk about how we only share the best parts of our lives and if you share the negative you risk being called out for it or worse.
- Social media for us as teachers is so powerful but it’s always positive. I’ve seen more and more people try to share more authentic truths and the “experts” respond with the need to keep the space positive. Well, I’m sorry, not sorry, but life and this profession isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. I’m seeing more and more Twitter chats recycling the same old topics. How many times do we need to define project-based learning or figure out what being a connects educator means?
- Where and when can we participate in the #teachingishard chat?
- More authentic conversation will lead to more authentic teaching. How can we grow the number of teachers who are sharing and connecting?
- I don’t have the answers, though I wish I did.
- Better communication will lead to more effective collaboration.
- Great, we have got this tool and that Google fill-in-the-blank to chat in and type in, but so many students and adults don’t come close to harnessing the power of true collaboration.
- I’m not saying I’m perfect at by any stretch, but I do understand what it means to be a team player.
- It’s the little things. And I will borrow from Simon Sinek, and this can be applied to anyone, anywhere. Sinek talks about the need to care for the people around us and that if you ask someone how they are doing, you better be prepared to actually engage them on the topic and be ready to listen.
- In education, this would go a long way to eliminate, and not simply blur, the line that still exists between teachers and administrators.
- How many of you have ever written an email to a colleague and your just send a message into the abyss and never received a response or an acknowledgment?
- We’ve all done this too many times. And I will admit that I ignore emails from time to time. Sorry if I’ve ignored something you’ve sent me.
- If we can get back to the basics of communication and respect for others we can continue to grow as collaborators and sharers of ideas and knowledge.
- I intentionally saved creation for the end because if you take anything away from what I’m saying let me start with this…
- You are creative.
- So all you naysayers who claim to not have a creative bone in your body. Knock it off. Everybody is creative to some degree. Just open yourself up to letting creativity flow. Now I know I’m not someone who should be talking about exercise, but I feel confident in saying the creativity is something we can get better at. You can grow creatively.
- We know this is true because we see students grow as creators and thinkers. They’re human and SURPRISE…so are we. So why can’t 27, 37, 47, 57, 67 y/o people continue to get creative as time goes on?
- You would think it would come more naturally as we live our lives and have different experiences we would be able to harness these things and creativity would continue to blossom and bloom.
- People talk about being outside the box thinkers and as per the norm, talk is cheap.
- You’re afraid.
- We all have a little George McFly in us just waiting to realize that, “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”
- Think of the most creative person in your life. How often do you speak to them? Have you ever found yourself feeling jealous about what they can do? Have you ever tried to emulate them? Have you truly tried to learn from them? If you have and you’re still not successful, you tried. If you’ve never taken the initiative and tried, you’re doing yourself a great disservice.
- We all know that student's level of creativity is reduced as they get to move through school.
- Does it have to be this way?
- Why aren’t we promoting creativity in K-12 education? Why do we sit back and allow art to become less ‘cool’ and why do we take recess away? Why does a school become more like work starting in about 7th grade?
- Why do we as teachers seem to become less endearing and caring around the same time?
- In the words of the Joker, “Why so serious?”
- DYK that Technology doesn’t lead to creativity?
- iPADs and Chromebooks don’t make our students more creative.
- We do.
- Your favorite app could be contributing but it is not the be-all and end all for promoting and growing creativity.
- How can we use tech to enhance and foster creativity?
- I don’t have the answer but I do have some advice!
- If you’ve listened to the podcast before this will be familiar.
- Using technology isn’t difficult. Just give it a try.
- Let’s apply this to creativity and technology.
- Being creative isn’t difficult. You just have to keep trying.
- Nailed it.
- This whole time I’ve managed to not recommend anyone tool or one way of doing things. This was intentional because I want you to take this same thought process in your schools and classrooms.
- You want your children and students to fly? You gotta give them room to spread their wings.
- You’re a good parent and a good teacher.
- I would like to leave you with 2 final thoughts of encouragement.
- Because you’ve come to expect me to talk about technology and it’s ISTE time:
- Choose one tool you’re proficient with and teach it to someone who is not and show them the value and power of how they can use the tool to improve their teaching practice.
- Take some time to daydream. Because at the very least, you’ll wind up taking a nap and like my own children, only good things can from after we take a little rest.
House of #EdTech VIP
DADS OF EDTECH – Thank You Dad! – Poem by Damian Murphy – PoemHunter.com
Thank you Dad for everything you have done,
your hard work and sacrifice for everyone.
Thanks for everything you continue to do,
but most of all thank you just for being you.
Thank you Dad for taking the time to care,
we really appreciate you always being there
at those times when we feel we really need you;
you never leave us wanting, always come through.
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