Wednesday, February 13, 2013

One Word Equity

Have you ever had a moment when you read or saw something that you just KNEW you had thoughts on immediately? I just had one of those. 

Daniel Pink (@DanielPink) tweeted out this link from his blog. It is a quick piece about selling "your product, your idea or yourself". Sure, I have 4 minutes to watch this while I scarf down a sandwich. In a nutshell, the four minute video is this:

     **There are six successors to the Elevator Pitch
    • The Pixar Pitch - a short narrative to tell a quick story (I immediately thought of Darren Kuropatwa @dkuropatwa - but more on that later)
    • Email - Utilize the power of the subject line
    • Rhyming - Rhymes increase "processing fluency"
    • Questions - Questions force you to think and act
    • Tweeting - People "dig" information
    • One-Word - associate exactly one word with you (one-word equity)
Before the video finished I already started thinking of all the people I know and the words I associate with them. 

  • Story - Darren Kuropatwa (@dkuropatwa) is immediately associated. The very first time I experienced someone use the power of storytelling well was Darren in White Oak, TX. I refer back to his site and sources frequently. Never mind the YEARS of "Once upon a time..." Nope. Story = Darren. Forever and always that's what I associate with him (and sopapillas, just not as prominently). 
  • Hooker - Carl Hooker (@mrhooker) has forever replaced a "lady of the night" when I hear the word Hooker. Now obviously he is SO much more than the last name he happened to get on his birth certificate. But he embraced it. It's a bit of a joke and he makes it work. Kind of funny how he has completely replaced the entire word for me. How I wish all students had the same PG vocabulary associations. 
  • Canada - Dean Shareski (@shareski). Sure I know other Canadians (including Darren) but Dean took that word first. Canada is synonymous with Dean in my mind. Certainly I admire his keynotes and humor (pants anyone?) but somehow the association is tied to Canada. 
  • Scholar - Scott Floyd (@woscholar). His Twitter forever changed the meaning and image of that word for me. The dictionary definition is something about someone who is highly educated (which Scott is), but the word for  me = Scott Floyd. 
  • Wordle - Jen Wagner (@jwagner). I have known Projects by Jen "Wordle a Day" before I knew many other tools for the classroom. EVERY time I suggest Wordle to a teacher, I think of Jen.  
  • Fried - Amy Mayer (@friEdTechnology). This is more what Daniel Pink was referencing. Amy has done an AMAZING job of branding and associating her name with one word. She is Fried (technology). When you work in the South, you can't ask for better free marketing! We fry EVERYTHING. And EVERY time I hear that word, guess who I think about?
Certainly, interesting. Daniel Pink, in case you are reading, I associate you with Drive. 

I'm sitting here thinking of so very many classroom activities. For cyberbullying or digital citizenship awareness, what would a class created "dictionary" of people look like? If Twitter became a dictionary of people, what definitions would it include? 

Do you use these "pitches" as hooks in your teaching? Why not? How much more memorable and powerful would lessons be if they were told as stories? Reference Darren if you need help.  Think of the difference in stating something and asking a question about the same. Is there really a teacher who doesn't want their students to think instead of just "get"? We've known for YEARS that rhyming helps in so very many ways. Why do we drop it when we leave elementary? What is the subject of your lesson? Is it going to grab attention and entice them to WANT to know more? These "pitches" can be used to sell your lessons to students!

The deeper question though... what word do your students (or peers or colleagues or family) associate with you? If you asked your students to use exactly one word to replace your name, what would it be? Maybe a better question, what do you want it to be?

For the record, I think I'm torn between purple and hat!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Day 1 - #tcea13

In case you somehow missed it, I LOVE ed-tech conferences. I'm a self-admitted conference junkie. Today was the first day of TCEA 2013 at the Austin Convention Center. Excusing the fact that I had to be there for an 8:00 AM three hour workshop (forced grin), the day was a total joy. After the workshop (which went beautifully by the way), I wandered over to the Digital Square that was still being set up. A small handful of people had gathered as the workers continued about their business. If you haven't been, check out some of the new furniture over there. Power and USB built in. 

As the day tarried and friends came and left as their schedules allowed, I looked up at one point in total awe about the people I have the privilege to call friends. Around me at that moment were Scott Floyd (@woscholar) who I first met in an online Tec-Sig meeting; Lisa Johnson (@TechChef4U) who I met on Twitter; Jon Samuelson (@ipadsammy) who I met on Twitter; Carl Hooker (@mrhooker) who I very first met on Twitter; Randy Rogers (@rrodgers) who I met on Twitter; Greg Garner (@classroom_tech) who I met on Twitter (though I think he may be too young to have an account). All of these AMAZING colleagues and friends, I MET ON TWITTER! 

I easily remember where I met them; I couldn't even begin to number the things I have learned from them. Through the use of Twitter, I have met people who have changed my life dramatically. I feel connected in the crazy chaotic world in which we live and work. This one tool has engaged me and "grown" me in a way no Masters course could. I laugh at my Twitter stream in pure delight when I realize this one tool has provided me opportunities to talk privately and personally with amazing leaders in my field.... Beth Still (@BethStill), Jen Wager (@JenWager), Will Chamberlain (@wmchamberlain), Steve Dembo (@Teach42), Dean Shareski (@shareski) and SO VERY MANY MORE! Tomorrow, I will have the pleasure of seeing friends I haven't spent time with in a while (@PaulrWood) and finally meeting people (@dlaufenberg) I have only known through (wait for it)... Twitter!  They have encouraged me when I was down. They have shared countless ideas and inspirational tweets, projects, and blogs. For every single person mentioned above, my success by many accounts pales in comparison to their careers and accomplishments. I may not have as many years experience. I certainly don't have as many followers or tweets or airline miles. Still, they took me in. They raised me up. They are my PLN. 

At this point, it is hard for me to remember my career before Twitter. I can tell you I have grown more in the 2.5 half years I have been "on" Twitter than the 8 years I spent obtaining an undergraduate or graduate degree. I can also tell you, if you aren't on Twitter, you may want to join!