Whatâ€™s working well?
I try to get people excited about new technologies and digital literacies, and when I am successful, it looks something like this.
– Give people a general overview of the new innovations in education, what is changing, how it is changing and present dynamic sessions which appeal to many disciplines.
– Shortly after the sessions, contact attendees casually (e.g., in the hallways, at coffee, at the photocopier) and engage in conversations specific to their context. Ask questions like, “Of the things you experienced, what might be relevant to your work and context? What little things can we get started on?
– Support people independently in the ways they need. Encourage, connect (to others and to resources) and follow-up.
– Get out of the way. I think this is the most important. You’ve started the process, but you can’t (and shouldn’t) control the overall process. Get out of the way, and you may learn something yourself.
What brings you great pride and joy?
– Seeing people become better instructors/teachers through critical reflection and better understanding of digital literacies, web 2.0 and other related technologies. I love to hear stories of my preservice teachers becoming leaders in their respective schools, not only in relation to ICT, but as excellent teachers and role models.
How have you made a difference for good in the lives of those you serve?
– This is a tough question. I’ve always felt that as a teacher, you may not see the results of your achievements until years after. If you are lucky, glimpses of success may come a bit sooner. In my very first job, at a very tough school, I was given the “bad kids”. At first, “bad” didn’t even close to describing it. In my first 3 weeks of teaching, I had all of my tires slashed, a knife pulled on me and several other threats of physical violence. Yet, less than three months later, I had a row of apples left on my desk (one from each student). Basically, I had made it past their probationary period. Today, 14 years later, I still speak to these students. I have continued to watch these students live, and grow, and learn. They are still part of my social network, both physical and virtual. I often hear from them that I was a positive influence in their lives, and how I made them feel that they could succeed.
What brings you quiet satisfaction?
– Seeing people wake up with the realization of the great influence that proprietary software and commercialism has on education, and then do their best to release themselves, their peers and their institutions from this grip. It’s a joy to watch students and colleagues gain a critical understanding of the world in respect to embedded power and influence.
What have you learned over the last few months?
– Being proactive is still an important activity. Here’s how I once again came to this important realization. I saw the Julie Amero story on Alternet back in January. I couldn’t believe it, what an incredible state of affairs for the American justice system. I contemplated blogging the story, but ironically I self-filtered. See, I’m a big opponent of web/information filtering of any kind in schools. If kids can go home and see the “bad stuff” on the Internet unsupervised, how will they ever be able to learn how to self-filter themselves. I think schools are vitally important in helping students become critical consumers of information, and where issues like Internet pornography and other related topics, should be discussed. In a sense, highlighting the story in my local circle may have given way to a type of FUD. “See, this is why we need school filtering. Things like this will happen.” Bottom line: things like this shouldn’t have happened, the justice system is technically incompetent in dealing with such a case and if anyone is to blame, it’s not Julie Amero.
Yet, I should have blogged this story stating some of these points. I didn’t have the time, so I chose to ignore it.
How can you use this information (above) to move your organization forward
– Blogging, in this case, is reflection. Better understanding one’s successes and failures cannot assure future success, but it is certainly a good place to start.