School’s out Friday

Peter Maggs shared this video today at the DEECD Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century event. He made the point that we probably all needed to ‘be more dog‘ by getting out there and taking on challenges that take us out of our comfort zones. It was very apt given that many of the people who have volunteered to be involved in the DEECD program are new to online spaces and the idea of sharing their ideas publicly.

I was honoured to be the Keynote speaker today. I was asked to share my story with the participants – how I became a networked teacher. I got some wonderful feedback from people who were there who said they found my presentation inspiring. I took as much from the experience as they seemed to. Doing something like that is validating. Sometimes you can get bogged down in the day to day challenge of trying to move people with their use of technology in classrooms and you can forget just how far you’ve come. Today was confirming for me and helped seal my resolve that the thinking I have is on track and that I need to continue sharing my learning and supporting others with theirs. I need to try to find the time to write, to unpack where I’m at and help others come to an understanding of developments taking place. Let’s see if that pans out and I find opportunities to write more than the weekly School’s out Friday post!

More on the thinking inspired by the video above. I’ve always identified with cats. I love that cats are aloof. I love that they choose the people they like and set their own timetables. I love their independent nature that doesn’t require validation from others. If I equate cats with the job I have, then it’s clear to me that those characteristics I so admire are not the best fit. You can’t work in Educational Technology and be aloof, choose the people you like and set your own timetables. You definitely can’t have an independent nature that shies away from collaboration.

No, to work in Educational Technology means you need to be more dog. And when I think dog, I’m thinking of the gorgeous black labrador cross, Bella, who shares our lives. Bella is ebullient, she greets everyone with a smile and she loves mixing with a crowd. She’s tenacious – if there’s food in the offing, she’s there, eager to snaffle the prize. She’s persistent, always seeking out the extra cuddle with a nudge from her sometimes cold nose. Yep, to work in Educational Technology you definitely need to be more dog. You need to be excited by what you’re doing and where it’s heading. You need to be friendly and warm and enjoy working collaboratively with your peers. You need to be seeking out those who are interested and you need to nudge them along to help you move others.

So, be more dog. Especially if you’re working in the Ed Tech field. Sure, you can be more cat sometimes, but choose that time wisely. You might like to leave it for the weekend.

I’ll be being more cat over this weekend. I intend to set my own timetable for the morning, and that means no alarm clock going off at 6.30am and a decent sleep for a change. I hope you’re able to do the same. Enjoy. 🙂


Lurker or Contributor, or maybe Innovator?

I didn’t get to the DEECD‘s Innovation showcase on Friday. I’d sent in a proposal for a session but it was knocked back. The fact that I teach in the Independent system and not the Public system may have had something to do with that, but that’s probably just sour grapes from me!!

Thanks to the very obliging John Pearce, who is truly one genuinely nice guy, I’ve been able to partake in some of the experience by reading through his Cover it Live embeds on his blog. Cover it Live is an application that allows you to ‘live blog’ your observations as you watch someone present. John has embeds on his blog from presentations delievered by Jason Smith, co-founder of TeacherTube and Martin Westwell, Director of the Flinders Centre for Science Education in the 21st Century.

John recounts something Jason referred to that has me intrigued; 

the 99:1 rule 

  • 90% of people in online communities are visitors, (lurkers)
  • 9% are early adopters who add to the commentary and/or content but can’t really be depended on
  • 1% are the givers who continue to maintain the innovation

I don’t know where he got those figures from, but if they’re right, they have implications for the use of social networks in schools. I know that the Ning we are using for Yr 9 has some regular contributors, but it also has a spread across the year level. I know it’s artificial to some extent because we ask the students to make contributions because it relates to curriculum, but I am heartened by the fact that forum topics are being created by students. Of the 34 forum topics posted, 15 have been initiated by the students. That’s a pretty good number posted by a spread of students across the year level.

There’s no denying also, that there are students for whom this forum is just not their thing. And that’s OK; you can never guarantee that any teaching method you employ is going to hit the mark for every kid you teach. But maybe they’re lurking?? It’s something I hadn’t really considered. I think what I need to do is set up a Survey Monkey for the end of this term to attempt to get some feedback and derive some statistics from which I can draw some conclusions.

Lurking is something that I find very interesting. By nature, I’m a participant and not a lurker, so I find it a little hard to understand why some wouldn’t want to enter the conversations. But then again, I’m the ‘E’ personality type who’d prefer to go the party rather than sit by the fire with a book. I think that translates to my online life as well. But those figures Jason referred to are mind boggling for me. I suppose if there are 90% of people out there lurking (a word I really don’t like – the connotations are sinister I think) then that accounts for the small number of comments in proportion to the number of hits on this blog. 

And as for the 1% of innovators, well I guess I can see that in the networks I operate in. When I first started reading educational blogs I had this perception that the base  was huge; I now know that is not the case.  I suppose that translates to our teaching communities as well; if you think about schools you’ve worked in, who is innovative and who sits back and lets others come up with new ideas? What proportion of your school community does this relate to and do the figures translate to the 99:1 rule?

Mmmmnn….interesting things to consider. Thanks John for providing me with a PD experience on my weekend. 

*Update – read this post re research on the 99:1 rule. Makes for interesting reading.

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