Sometimes a seed. . .

Sometimes it just takes the seed of an idea to inspire others. Last night I was checking in on Twitter, feeling a little discouraged, and fellow librarian Jenny Luca just happened to tweet that her students’ live Project Global Cooling concert was just starting their broadcast from Australia. This was a concert they organized for free, donated their time to on a weekend, and broadcast around the world for free via Ustream. If you’re not familiar, Project Global Cooling was the seed of an idea […]

Learning because you want to

When I wrote my previous post, I didn’t know I’d soon have a perfect illustration of what learning looks like for younger students who have a natural joy for learning. In The Passionate Learner, Robert L. Fried points out that in preschool or kindergarten learners:  “Curiosity is everywhere.  Questions abound.  Pride and delight in learning are everyday occurrences.  The children draw and paint seemingly without inhibition. . . . They wonder constantly about why things are the way they are.” I had the opportunity to […]

Do our systems support our goals?

In their book Innovation, Curtis Carlson and William Wilmot talk about the difficulty many organizations have with adapting to change. They point out, “A fundamental reason for this failure…to keep up is that they are, by definition, built to fight the last war. . . . They have well-defined organizations and processes designed to achieve those earlier objectives, but these very organizations and processes now resist the changes needed to exploit the new opportunities.” (p. 36) One of the important components for innovation that they define is the […]

Who do we serve?

“You gotta serve somebody….”  Bob Dylan Who do we actually serve in our schools and who should we be serving?   What changes in our thinking when we apply the notion of customer service to the school environment? In their book Innovation:  Five Disciplines for Creating What Customers Want, Curtis Carlson and Wililam Wilmot raise three central questions about customer service that guides their innovation model:  “Who is your customer?  What is the customer value you provide and how do you measure it? What innovation best practices do […]

Son of Flubber

How do we support innovation in our schools? In 1963, Fred MacMurray, in the film Son of Flubber tells us in a dramatic courtroom speech what we should do.   He tells us that we are living in a time of fear….fear of smog, fear of bombs, fear of bugs, fear of falling hair.    When asked by the prosecutor if he would continue to encourage his students to experiment, he tells the courtroom that his students may not be studious, but that they were unafraid.  And that because they […]

Making sense uncommon

Sometimes in education, if you are innovating it feels like you are fighting an uphill battle. You understand why libraries are important, or why websites should be unfiltered, but those with the power to make those decisions may not agree. How do we develop elevator messages or ideas that stick, as Chip Heath and Dan Heath write about in their book Made to Stick? I’ve been rereading a section of the book where the Heaths talk about  common sense as the ”enemy of sticky messages.”  “When […]

On hope

“It’s too easy to criticize hope.   And in the end, cynicism is a lousy strategy.”   Seth Godin. Best blog post I’ve read in awhile.   While it was most likely referring to recent politics, Godin’s words could be applied equally to technology decisions in schools. Many of us who work with students on web 2.0 tools have a sense of hope and optimism about our students and about the future.  We trust in our own ability to use these tools effectively and wisely and in the […]

Seeing is believing, part two

   No one who watched the ads on the Superbowl doubts the impact of a well-designed visual.   But in schools, we often neglect that power.   It is  harder to make a striking visual, because it takes more time to make a well-designed handout—or a powerpoint that is thought-provoking—or a digital video that has impact—or even a well designed sign for the hallways. And it takes longer for our students to be ‘producers’ of content rather than ‘recipients’ of content, as Marco Torres puts it.  It also […]

To the presidential candidates

In a moving and passionate post, Wes Fryer forcefully challenges the “fear-driven politics” of NCLB.   Like Wes, I rarely write about this issue. But as legislators gather to once again discuss renewing the bill, I wonder first of all, if viewpoints of educators like many of us are being included in the picture.   It seems too often our views as educators are disregarded–it’s assumed we are just being defensive, shirking our responsibilities as schools, or hiding our heads in the sand if we criticize the policy or its implementation.   We’re […]

From the ground up

Fascinating interview with Alvin Toffler in Edutopia which dovetails with my post a couple of days ago about Sir Ken Robinson’s approach to rethinking education. While I don’t agree with everything that Toeffler says, I do think it’s refreshing to see someone approach this complex problem with some understanding of the complexity and particularly the understanding that what we do should be more integrated across the curriculum, no matter what it looks like. Well worth a read.  Thanks to Stephanie Sandifer on Twitter for the […]