Who Has Changed?

Posted: October 3, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

So, I’ve been thinking about my ideas about education and technology use in education.

I have been participating in professional development through PLP with my school for several years. For the first two years I was part of a school team and now this year I am working alongside another new team from my school but am also a Fellow for the program through ADVIS (Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools). As a Fellow, I am assigned to three school teams as their mentor or helpful-idea-person. PLP is run by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach (see her blog here). Will Richardson also works with PLP (see his blog here and book here). Each year at the first face-to-face meeting Sheryl and Will both speak. Will is usually the one who sends people over the edge.

The first year, I thought Will was on the fringe, at best. (I may have wanted to ban the word “passion” from all conversation.) The second year, I was amazed at how much he had mellowed. And this year, while I many not agree with everything he says, I certainly did not find him to be radical in any way.

But, I was sitting with an entire group of first-time participants this year. Some of them had a very different reaction than I did. Some thought he was radical and extreme. (He admits he’s trying to challenge folks.) So, that made me think about who has really changed in the past three years? Has Will changed? Or, have I?

The simple answer is yes.

Here’s how I have broken it down:

Ways Will has changed (I cannot claim to know the man at all. I am only talking about his keynote addresses.)

  • More careful to support teaching as a profession and teachers.
  • Goes a little slower and doesn’t bombard the audience with too many examples.
  • Admits to having slowed down on his tweeting and blogging

Ways I have changed.

  • I know the lingo now.
  • I have not only dipped my toes in the edtech pool, I’ve waded in.
  • I’ve joined several virtual education networks and have reasserted myself as a learner (it was tough there for a few years with babies at home and too little sleep).
  • I’ve realized that there is a lot of professional development to be had on my schedule (which means on the couch, after the kids are in bed, possibly while I am wearing pajamas and/or folding laundry).
  • I am continually updating and upgrading my definition and understanding of what a contemporary education can and should be.
  • I am actively looking for ways my students can develop a positive digital footprint rather than hide their feet altogether.
  • I am looking for ways my students can put themselves “out there” in appropriate ways and connect with other students, classes, teachers beyond our school.
  • I have gotten over the use of the word “passion,” although I still can’t quite use the word myself, I am looking for more ways to have students working engaging with their personal interests during school.
  • I have a PLN full of teachers, most of whom I have never met.

So, it seems like it might be more me.

Anyone else feel they have changed in the past few years?

  1. Maggie says:

    It is interesting to re-enter the ed-tech fray … I am helping my local independent school region potentially launch its own PLP…
    I am struck by how few things you are attributing to Will’s development and how many you are ascribing to your development.
    1) Is this the nature of learning vs. teaching? Does the learner always feel he/she has more ground to cover than the instructor?
    2) Is this a testament to the moving terra firma of ed tech? Does the sifting ground mean that we are never going to rest comfortably?
    3) I remember sitting in my first exposure to Will thinking, “My gosh, does this man never have to teach command of the multiplication facts? The state caps? Does he never have to teach the silent -e rule? The intricacies of and lessons learned from the origins of colonial government? And yet, of course, over time I have seen the power of his vision (and the power of being a learning community through it all). In other words: just because I know my 9X table doesn’t mean I can’t enter into it with my 3rd graders as a fellow learner – learning more about how they learn and adjusting my pedagogy — but NOT my expectations — accordingly.

    I hope at some point before too long you have the chance to talk directly to Will. I would be fascinated to know how HE has changes since your first exposure to him…

    If you have that conversation online or in person be sure to let us know.

  2. mseiteljorg says:

    Thanks for your comment. I too remember thinking about the times tables and the like during that first keynote. I guess I am also more confident in my own understanding of what I can do with the aid of technology so that I can more confidently respond to what I don’t buy 100%. I am able to listen to the big picture message and not get caught up in each detail.
    Plus, we didn’t hear much about elementary kids this time, which I think is probably better in terms of buy-in.
    As you mentioned, I did have more changes in my column than in Will’s. It may be that he would feel that he has changed a lot in the three years as well, probably not due to anything I have said or written. However, as I tell my students, “never assume. It makes as ass out of you and me.”

  3. Rosedb says:

    Wendy, thanks for such an honest rendering of the “journey”. White the trip of personal professional development is individual, not unlike the stages of grief there is a pattern to it that is common. Starting with Denial, “I am doing just fine. My students are doing just fine”, to Anger “This is really too much. How can anyone expect me to keep up with this?” we move towards Bargaining “OK, it’s interesting but I can’t get into it right now”. If we stick with it we might go through a Depression when we realize that our old ways of thinking and doing need to be left behind which might just develop into Acceptance of the fact that we MUST take this journey. Hopefully there is a lot more JOY involved with the process of becoming a 21st century educator! Sharing our stories as you did helps give us the will to continue developing and perfecting our craft.

  4. mseiteljorg says:

    Rose, what a good way to think about it! I can recognize myself, and others!, in a lot of what you said. It will be interesting to watch the teams I am working with as they move through various stages individually.

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