From the “Out” Bin.

A collection of professional and personal thoughts and musings rattling in my brain these days.

Find time to read Shelly Blake-Plock’s post called “I Don’t Want More Professional Development”.  My favorite line?  “We need a development of human capacity, not an adherence to the rules of our established profession.”

Related:  I believe more than ever that the key to student performance (i.e. learning) are the relationships built between the teachers and their students.  Relationships are fundamental.  Content is secondary.

My father recently bought an iPad.  He has never owned a computer or been a consumer of the web before.  People have an inherent need to connect/belong to the world around them.  At 72, he’s realizing that he can make incredibly meaningful connections through the web.  Amazing.

I spent two days showing him how to use his iPad.  My favorite terms?  Interweb, as in, “How do I connect to the interweb?” and Facemail, as in, “Can you get me on facemail?”

Most amazing moment of those two days?  While warning my father that he may see interesting comments on his grandkids’ Facebook pages, he remarked, “Why would anyone write that?  It’s like their leaving a footprint.”  Remember, he had never been a user of the “interweb” before!

We have two new neighbors moving in next door.  It’s a good reminder of how unsettling change can be.

It’s troubling to read of the financial (and subsequent emotional) damage being done to my local school district.  (I’d pay for the link to the local paper, but it now requires online readers to pay.  I can’t support that.)

Another must read:  Will Richardson’s post on learning found here.

Do we realize that grades are simply a function of time – how much can a student learn (read:  produce) in given amount of time?  Remove time as a limiting factor and learning will be unlimited.  Most kids who fail simply don’t meet our arbitrary deadlines.  Why do we insist on putting a stopwatch on learning?

Recently, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach challenged me (and others here) to think of my dream school.  This has me thinking deeply about the blending of virtual, face-to-face, and experiential learning.

And I’m growing tired of all of the virtual school bashing that is taking place.  If it is done right, in partnership, not in competition with local schools, virtual schools can compliment and personalize local programming.

I’m very proud of the way my colleagues at VLACS and I are pushing the conversation around education in New Hamsphire, but I’m amazed at how difficult we as a profession make it to challenge the status quo.

A decade from now, there will be thousands of classrooms across the United States with dusty interactive white boards.  Not only will these tools be remembered like filmstrip and overhead projectors, we’ll collectively wonder why we didn’t invest millions of dollars on people instead of tools.

I’ve moved on to the second Harry Potter book.  I’m really enjoying reading these books with my son.

In a recent training I conducted for New England administrators, I incorporated Dean Shareski’s “So I Started this Google Doc” and accompanying video tribute to Alec’s 40th birthday as a way to show the power of connective technologies and the power of one’s network.  It will become a regular share of mine.

It’s still early folks, the Red Sox will recover and win the AL East.

I recently attended the variety show at my kids school.  Some kids shared a true talent (dancing, singing, guitar and piano playing) others shared their joy at putting together an act and performing on stage.  Regardless of the level of talent, it was amazing to see how the culture of the school (kids and adults alike) embraced individual expression.

We have a lot to learn from our kids.

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