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Archive for September, 2010

The Power of One (Tweet)

Here is something that I never would have said event 18 months ago, it is amazing the power one tweet can have.  Alec Couros, an education professor, prolific tweeter and father went to his grade 1 daughter’s “Meet the Teacher Night” and shared this photo:

His next tweet was “There’s so much wrong here.”

With this one photo, he sparked a conversation that started on Twitter, quickly spread over the internet and then continued at least in West Vancouver, over e-mail and in the parking lot.

The photo and the conversation that followed speaks to several different issues.  The first is the urgency for change so many of us feel for what school looks like.  In many ways school continues to look very similar to how it has looked for 100 years.  While we can talk about what it could be, or should be, many of us are not only educators, but parents – for us it is not just professional, it is personal.  Just how do those in the system help bring about change when it comes to their own kids?

Some of the comments that followed on Twitter and then on blogs by Will RichardsonLee KolbertGary Stager and others were fascinating.  There is a community of educators, who believe passionately in public education, are serious about wanting to look at doing things differently who are parents in the system right now, and don’t quite know what to do.   Also, while there is some agreement that school should look different, exactly what this different would be is very much up for debate.

It is also amazing to think of the power of a photo taken in a grade 1 classroom in Saskatchewan and how that ripples out around the world.  Social media avenues like Twitter combined with instant access to the internet is incredibly powerful.  How different would this have been even 5 years ago?  What might have been a dinner table conversation in one house has now gone global.

Hopefully I will find issues that can generate the thoughtful debate and discussion that Alec was able to do with one photo.

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Time To Do As I Say

Welcome to my new blog and my effort to find new ways to connect with others who share my passion for teaching, learning and public education.  I am just about to embark on a new position – Superintendent of Schools for the West Vancouver School District, so this seemed a good time to try something new. 

I have spoken and written about the power of a variety of social tools over the last five years and particularly found that Twitter has changed the way I learn.  Hopefully this blog will be similarly as powerful.

As for the title, I had the chance at our Opening Day last week in West Vancouver to speak to all staff about the notion of a “Culture of Yes”.

It is the “culture of yes”, we have and will continue to foster – one that embraces new ideas, and new ways to look at learning and organize learning, a “culture of yes” that supports innovation and creativity for both learners and teachers knowing this is how we will continue to evolve.  A “culture of yes” that touches on the passions we entered the profession with that may have sometimes been lost along the way.

It is an exciting time in education.  I feel like we are in the middle of a dramatic shift in what “school” looks like.  We will look back on this time as a pivotal point of change.  I look forward to sharing ideas, and connecting with those inside and outside our system as we work our way through it.

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