21st Century, Coetail

Connect, Connect, Connect

This post was previously published on my COETAIL blog as part of a five courseCertificate of Educational Technology and Information Literacy.

pluggedin

In The Connected Educator , Nussbaum-Beach and Hall write of the emergence of a new culture of teaching in which “conversations turn to topics of practice rather than staffroom complaints.” They go on to describe the evolution of the teacher as a process in which there is “a shift from seeing education as a series of things we do to students and instead as a dynamic learning environment in which learners take ownership for their own growth and pursue it passionately.”

I am so inspired when I sit with a colleague at lunch (as happened recently) and they recommend the ideas and passions of their former colleagues and it turns out they and I have long been connected, virtually.  I have stopped expecting someone else to take care of my professional development and I am dedicated to ‘passionately pursuing’ my own growth.

From links to articles, to ideas on lesson plans, my Personal Learning Network is a real time professional development network of educators that I rely on to help me do my job as an educator. –Jeff Utecht REACH, p 10.

I agree with Jeff wholeheartedly although I would go so far as to define ‘educators’.  I was intentional in the way I set up my Facebook and my Twitter accounts (although the lines in Facebook are becoming more blurred as educational organizations like Edutopia,Mind/Shift, Making Thinking Visible, and various PYP groups are pushing a more visible presence on Facebook). My intention was to keep Facebook for keeping up with friends and family and Twitter for education and educators.  And authors.  And humanitarians, poets, activists, innovators, ruckus-makers, and disruptors.  I made a conscious decision to not follow friends who tweeted about their coffee/dinner/workouts. I love these friends but Twitter was my sacred ground for teaching and learning.

I started my blogging life with a blog that was a little bit of everything – personal, professional, cooking, crafting, photographing.  Then I found myself leaning more toward the education side of things, buoyed by comments from friends and parents of children I was teaching or had taught. This blog evolved from there. I wasn’t sure if I had anything to say but I blogged anyway.

When Jeff talks of the time it takes to develop a PLN he is spot on.  There have been times over the course of the past two years when I have felt like quitting the blog.  Who would miss me amongst the excess of 200 million blogs already in existence? So I eased off and then I stopped (and had a baby) and then I got going again because I missed not being connected.

Recently my dad sent me a message on Facebook.  It read:

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Dads are great, right? But he touches on the same issue that Jeff mentions: blogging when no one is looking (or reading).  My stats indicate that I have a lot of ‘lurkers’ and I would confess that I too, am a lurker at times.  But when I get out there and post and comment and respond, that is when the learning happens.

A quote that has stayed with me since I first read it in his book, Creating Innovators is as follows:

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Who are you plugged in to?  How do you connect with other educators?

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21st Century, Creativity, Design, Innovation

Innovation 101: How to Create an Innovative Student

 

Are people born innovators, or can they learn to become that way? An interesting new book, “Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World,” by Tony Wagner, a member of Harvard’s Technology and Entrepreneurship Center, explores this question in detail.  The book will be released on April 17th – I can’t wait!  In the book, Wagner does some pretty cool things.

He uses over 60 QR codes within the book to link to video footage of many of the interviews he undertook for the research into this book.

He outlines what he sees as the four main characteristics of an innovator – which, not surprisingly, are very similar to the 4 C’s of 21st century education:

  • Curiosity, the habit of asking good questions and a desire to understand things more deeply
  • Collaboration, which begins with listening to and learning from others who have distinct perspectives and expertise
  • Associative or integrative thinking
  • A bias toward action and experimentation

 

He talks to loads of really interesting people who share really interesting ideas with him from their perspective, on innovation:

 

How important is innovation?  How important is oxygen to life?  Dean Kamen, Segway Inventor

 

Raising someone with the intention that they’ll be an innovator is actually different to raising a child that you want to behave all the time and be quite compliant.  Annemarie Neal, CISCO Vice President

 

Knowledge is a commodity.  You can get this on Google.  It’s about asking the right questions.  It’s about having the right insights and perceptions.  Richard Miller, Olin College

 

Let them fail. Because they are going to learn more from that than we could ever teach them directly. Unknown

 

 

Here is the book trailer that I can almost guarantee will leave you wanting more.  The reviews thus far indicate that this is ‘must have’ for those looking to move themselves or their students or children forward as innovators in the 21st Century – and beyond!