So I’m sharing it with you.
Not sure if it’ll translate without the visuals – so the slides are below if you’re curious.
So I’m sharing it with you.
Not sure if it’ll translate without the visuals – so the slides are below if you’re curious.
The number of people who believe that education is simply pouring facts into children, whether those children like it or not, is astounding to me.
We won’t serve children better by buying better funnels for those facts, or better shovels for those facts, or better containers for those facts once we get them into the children.
Admiring the hoses, shovels, and funnels is certainly not a productive way to improve learning for children, nor do fancy shovels make the process any better for the children involved. Fancy tools used for terrible pursuits are a tremendous waste of resources.
We won’t serve society((Or the children.)) better by making sure the students sit more quietly, obediently, or patiently while we shovel, pour, or toss those facts, either.1
That is not what education is, should be, or could be.
Not even close.
Two things from today that intersected in a useful way:
Early this morning, a teammate noticed another group at the library had a big pile of work on their hands. She asked my permission to help them. Because the person who used to sit in my seat at the library valued keeping teams separate. Their work is their work. Ours is different. That was the old message.
My teammate’s desire, when she saw a need, was to help fill it. She wanted to make sure I was okay with that.
Boy, was I.
I encouraged her to always help someone on our big team, the entire library team, when she saw somewhere she could contribute.1
Also earlier today, Zac wrote a bit about what it means to be someone’s teacher after they finish your class. Here’s the important piece:
That’s a world I want to live in, and it’s what I want to model. I want my students to know I’ll be here. I want them to see that as a way of caring for those around them.
As I grow into my new role as a manager of the work of others, that’s what I want, too – not to direct too much, or dictatorially, but to be someone who walks a walk that suggests that it matters more that we’re helpful, kind and considerate, rather than we’re the best team of the teams.
I don’t much care how many email hacks you know, or what browser extensions you’ve mastered, so long as you’re trying every day to be a kind and compassionate person.
Tech is simple compared to that.
Today, I started an email migration project, moving from one platform to another. It’s going pretty well. But the work I’m proudest of this week is when my teammate knew that I’d be okay with helping, and that I’d give her permission to care.
Earlier today, I enjoyed reading Barry Joseph’s piece at DML about a digital pen that’s changing the experience at one metro museum. But what really struck me was how he framed the difference between a museum and a library, and what that framing said about what a library is. In talking about his experience, he wrote:
As I walked through the exhibit, I found that I was experiencing a museum in a totally new way. When I visit a museum, I am often collecting information or inspiration. I know I won’t remember the details, but the feeling will linger in my bones. But now, with the Pen, the museum has also turned into a library or sorts. I am collecting information and inspiration I can explore later, at home.
You should read the whole piece, but think with me here for a minute: Is what makes a library a library is that you can take stuff away, if at least for a little while? Is the definition of a library a place where you can collect “information and inspiration (you) can explore later, at home”?
I like that idea very much.
I’d never really thought about it, but I didn’t realize until a couple of weeks ago, when Alan Levine said that he’d be in the area and we should meet up, that he and I had never been in the same place at the same time.
We know plenty of the same people, we play on intersecting online spaces. He’s been a teacher and occasional collaborator of mine for nearly ten years. But we’d never been in the same physical space in a similar time window.
So yesterday we got to spend a few short minutes together. Overdue.
He reminded me while we were talking about one of the things he found so great about writing. He said1 that he enjoyed writing, that it was important for him to write, because as he sat down to write what he thought he wanted to say, he ended up discovering something better – that what he wanted to say wasn’t what he thought it would be. For Alan, part of creating is discovering what he wants to say.
Love that. Needed the reminder2.
I don’t know what the word is for being in the middle of a long digital conversation punctuated by short moments of physical interaction. But it happens frequently enough in my work and world and life, that I really wish I had that word. It’s pretty great.
Come back soon, Alan. In the meantime, let’s keep barking.
We’re starting to revamp some of our technology help here at the library. And we are expanding our maker-y programming, too. To move us forward in both areas, we’re going to launch a nightly “Ask a _____” booth, where our technical team will be on the floor to demo things they’re experimenting with, as well as help people with drop in computer, ereader, and other technical assistance. We’ll be leaning into and demonstrating our learning in a public way at the library.
But we’re having trouble with the name. We want to own our passion for learning and exploring technology – and to label ourselves in a way that says we are really, really into the thoughtful application of this stuff.
So, does that make us nerds, geeks, or something else? When you come to the library would you rather:
Inquiring minds want to know. We launch the new program pretty much as soon as we know what to call it1.
This post is a bit dated – found it in the drafts folder, dusted it off, and am sharing it now.. The request hasn’t left my mind since offered a couple of months ago.
I ended up have an unexpected visit with a mentor of mine yesterday. It’d been a while since we’d talked and the visit was unexpected. At the end of our visit, I asked him if he had any words of wisdom to share.
No, that’s not right. What I actually said was, “Is there anything I can do for you?” His answer wasn’t expected, but has been on my mind ever since.
What’d he say? Three words:
Be less hesitant.
For the last couple of years here and online in other spaces, I’ve been holding back a bit. I don’t know exactly why, but certainly there are multiple reasons why I’m not as forthcoming online as I once was.
After almost ten years of blogging, it’s still hard, on a very regular basis, to push the publish button. The what ifs always, ALWAYS, run through my head:
They go on. And on. And on. And on.
We all need a good kick in the rear sometimes to be reminded that the struggle is the value in the thing. Especially this thing of writing and sharing about our practice in order to be be better teachers, better learners. Better people.
And I’ve always claimed that it’s the job of a writer to write things, not necessarily to decide if they’re the right things1.
Pushback sharpens arguments. It clarifies positions. Sometimes, even on the Internet, it can change minds. And, in the case of the questions up above, maybe I need to be pushing back on me a little bit more. The friction is a good thing.
So I’m trying very hard to get back to being less afraid to push publish, to silence the editors in my head that work so hard to silence me. I’m trying to be less hesitant.
At the library, I’m working with a team of really smart folks who want to offer the best opportunities for our patrons1.
One of the reasons I wanted to work with the Clearview Library District was the intensity with which they run programs and events. They – now we – are always hosting active, hands-on maker-y events. We were doing maker programming before it was cool, and we want to scale it up.
One of the biggest constraints on the library at present is the lack of physical space for all the events and activities we do. And as we want to expand our active, hands-on programming, that’s a problem. Taking down. Setting up. Rinse. Repeat. And more activities and events than we have spaces to put them in.
We want a permanent makerspace of some kind. Two questions:
1. What do we want?
2. Where in the world will we put it?
This morning, at the #COMakerEd event, we decided for a few minutes to ignore the second question, and focus on the first, working through a quick ideation cycle to brainstorm as a team what we’d like to see. Because we support making of many types at the library – crafting, painting, gaming, robotics, cooking, etc – and we want to include more – the team realized that we need to build some spaces that privilege the types. But the genius idea2 below is the idea to build a workspace in the middle that’s common to all interests.
One of the greatest assets of the library, the public library, is the public. We have such a wide variety of people with varying interests, passions and expertise. And at the library, they can mingle and intersect. The best projects, I suspect, will emerge from and within the diffusion of interests that can occur in a common work area. Different folks and different passions. Mixing it up.
We’ve got to solve the second question, and we’re working on it. But I’m so pumped to work in a place that wants to build and support spaces like these.
When I left my last job, and the team of great people I got to call friends and colleagues, I left behind a note for them as the best possible way I could say some of what I wanted to end our professional relationship with. Much of that note was for them, and has no place online, but some of the letter, a bit of “last advice,” was as much for me moving into my new position as it was for them staying on to do what I used to. And I don’t want to forget what I said. It was, for me, a challenge to myself.
Transitions are special moments, moments where we seem to be granted a bit of pause, a bit less to do, and the opportunity to think deeply about what’s happened, and what’s yet to be. The yet to be bit here is important. Transitions are also special because there’s no set way to do the new things that are to come. Habits don’t yet exist. So I wanted some words by which to guide the new habit formation I’ve been doing for the last three weeks now, and hope to be fiddling with for the next several months. Here’s what I suggested they remember to do and be, and here’s what I hoped for myself as I moved forward, too:
What follows is a little bit directed at you, but it’s also a reminder for me as I head into my next thing.
Consider this my last request – if a departing colleague gets one. It’s pretty simple, and it’s somebody else’s line, but it’s this:
Be excellent to each other. In all you do.
By “excellent” I mean kind. Fair. Honest. Open. Patient. Gentle. Firm. Hold each other to high standards. Be brave. Take turns being brave. Help each other be brave when you can’t be yourselves. Be tenacious. When something matters, make sure it matters. And when it doesn’t, please let it go, gracefully. Serve one another, in big things and little things. Especially little things – they’re practice for the big ones.
By “each other” I mean, well, each other. But I also mean everyone you come into contact with. Especially the folks we serve. I am guilty of being too quick to judge sometimes. Some ideas won’t have merit. Some products aren’t good for children. But be big enough to be excellent to anyone who offers something your way.
Basically, be the amazing teachers I know you to be. To all people and in all situations. That’s what I wanted from this team when it was just me. And then two. Then three. Now six. And we’ve done pretty good so far. I’ve stumbled. We’ve all stumbled. There are stumbles ahead. But when we’re at our best, we’re excellent to each other. If I’ve such a thing as a legacy here, I’d want it to be that.
Earlier this week, I had the honor of giving a talk in the CSU Literacies of Contemporary Civic Life speaker series. With my time, shared below, I talked about some of our work around professional learning and agency, as well as some of my thinking on the essential actions/literacies/habits that should be in our schools. I probably tried to cram too much into a fast talk, but I think it got some thinking going, which was my goal in the first place1. Below is a Google Hangout video of the talk, and below that is the slide deck from the talk, which is rather hard to see in the video.
I’d love to hear your response to these ideas and where and when you’re fitting in make/hack/play in your teaching and learning.
The talk starts at nine minutes into the recording.