Monday, April 29, 2013

Being a Change Agent aka The Status Quo Sucks

photo by Blackwood
Today was the last lecture for our Educational Technology and Design class. Our carefully chosen lecture topic was "Being a Change Agent in Your School". All too often we hear from our students that we are the only ones who are not only preaching but also modeling the use of technology in teaching and learning. All too often our students who graduate with heads and hearts full of great innovative ideas meet the wall of problems created by stubborn teachers AND technology coordinators in their new workplaces. Ronald Regan once said “Status quo, you know, that is Latin for ''the mess we're in."

How many of our students will stand up against the status quo? How many will be changed by the old cadre? The changes are upon us. Cedar Falls is adopting the one-to-one model. Waterloo... Well, that area needs some time and some creative teachers that will find a way to bring 21st century tools on a budget. Will they thrive and become valuable assets to their schools? Only time will show.

We pulled them today during our regular backchannel discussion via the coveritlive! The results are promising:

Morning lecture:

The afternoon lecture was more cautious:

George Bernard Shaw once said:
Some men see things as they are and ask “Why?”
I dream things that never were and ask “Why Not?

Good luck guys! You are a smart bunch. Just don't lose the enthusiasm, dream big, and never stop learning! As my friend, Martajek, says: "Those who don't keep marching perish"

Good advice:  give up on trying to always be the best! Let your students teach you the newest!
Let them be the technology leaders, let them come up with the new ideas. That would empower them and give you the opportunity to learn from them. You will deliver the content, your students will implement it via technology. Win- win! :-)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Suli Breaks - "Why I hate School but love the Education"

"Because the purpose of why I hate school but love the education was not to initiate the world wide debate, but to let them know that whether 72 or 88, 44 or 68 we will  not let exam results decide our fate"  Suli Breaks 
Are the exams imperative to ones future success? The debate is actually going on. This morning it came across Suli's video on my Facebook account. It makes you think. How society changed over the last two decades. Who determines the curriculum, the educational canon? Or, most importantly, who is responsible for revising it and making sure it is still relevant to our lives and needs?

So is the education important?  I enjoyed every minute of mine... as long as it was not related to math,  physics or chemistry ;-)

Here is Suli's opinion:

“If education is the key, then school is the lock. Because it rarely ever develops your mind to the point where it can perceive red as green and continue to go when someone else says ‘stop.’ Because as long as you follow the rules and pass the exams, you’re cool. But are you aware that examiners have a checklist? And if your answer is something outside of the box, the automatic response is a cross. And then they claim that school expands your horizons and your visions.” 

Yes, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg or Oprah are uneducated and rich . But they are geniuses to begin with! It is a sad true that most of the  high schools and even universities would not be able to serve their needs and help them support their visions, and outside of the box thinking :-(

While I agree that the grade in high school may not be imperative to ones success, they may help in a today's competitive world.  No, I don't think "A" grade is an indication of ones great mind. Often it is a proof that one is able to  follow the instructions, stay on task, does the homework. It is training for future life. If  no one pressured you to stay on task until it is done, to be resilient,  to take pride of own success then how you can expect to do that in adult life when you also need to worry about family, bills and all the drama of everyday living?

Yes, if you are an entrepreneur, visionary, genius mind, risk taker, and on top of that have family and financial support - go for it!  But as most things in a world, there is a bell curve in human potential.  The World is full of great, good, interesting...but average minds.  To be able to name the best or the worst you need to have mass of average to compare against...

Monday, April 15, 2013

Who is a professor that made a difference

Cool, both Robin and I made it to the board at the UNI  Rod Library as a professors who made a difference :-)  Sharon Smaldino is also there - she along with Joe Marchesani made the biggest difference in my career as a student in the US. Ana Donaldson was the one who trusted me to teach her classes in my teaching career.  Thank you!

Image posted on Rod Library Facebook page on April 12