Tag Archives: reflection

Come on in, the water’s fine

cc licensed flickr photo shared by gothick_matt

Exploring web-based technology challenges today’s educators to remain students themselves. Recently I presented a workshop on digital identity and social media to a group of receptive teacher-librarians. Despite their willingness to learn, question, and explore it became apparent that there was no avoiding the overwhelming flood of information. With so much to consider and so many technical skills needed it’s akin to being information soaked by a fire hose. These topics and tools are complexly interrelated and have their own language and expectations. And even though I was the guide for this particular session – I realized I related to how they felt. I have experienced the dazzle and thrill of classes taught by Dr. Alec Couros, and know firsthand what it is like to wonder if I could possibly keep up. It was a colleague of his, Dean Shareski, that I remember telling me to go slowly and give myself time.

The web opens up endless possibilities for educators. Its constant state of flux means the only thing we can truly master is our ability to learn. I was honoured to work with the teacher-librarians that attended the workshop because their passion for learning was palpable, and they were committed to working through complex ideas and technology. For myself, I continue to proceed at my own pace, and savour every opportunity. While I’m pretty decent at technology, I’m no tech superstar. Luckily, I know many technical experts through my PLN and don’t hesitate to tweet for help when necessary.

So I’m going wading, and if the water is too cold I may have to acclimatize for a bit before venturing deeper. And that’s ok. Because I am going swimming and I’m planning on getting my hair wet.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by joebart


On the Road to Oz

cc licensed flickr photo shared by erin garrison studio

What are your thoughts and beliefs about curriculum? How do educators determine what students should learn?

I was asked to consider these question as part of a graduate course on curriculum I took last year. Throughout the course we discussed different perspectives, and, more importantly, we were asked to reflect on and uncover our own views and assumptions regarding curriculum. We explored learning theories (no connectivism, yet!), the hidden curriculum, the null curriculum, and the overt (written) curriculum to name just a few. (A good starting place to read about these concepts is Leslie Owen Wilson’s Curriculum Index.) As I was asked to reflect on these ideas – on my ideas, I realized that I had come to view many aspects of the curriculum as confining and was frustrated by the lack of flexibility I perceived.  So much so that most of what I teach at my high school is outside of the core curriculum. In fact I have invented and cobbled together the bulk of what I teach myself, and I admit I enjoy this process very much.

At the end of the course my professor challenged us to create a representation of our learning. As I sat and thought and struggled I realized I felt a little like Dorothy in Oz – exploring the world of classroom demands and the world of my curriculum ideals. I decided to step way, w-a-y  outside of my comfort zone and write and perform a spoken word (or slam) poem. I had never done anything like this before, and wish to thank my creative writing students who provided moral support and valuable criticism as I created and recreated “On the Road to Oz”. When we had our final Poetry Slam of the year (Quench Your Verse) it was obvious that I had to step up and be willing to publicly take the journey alongside my students. And so I did.

Here’s my poem (recorded at the lunchtime slam)  – a discovery of my own thoughts and feelings about curriculum. What are yours?