Thursday, January 30, 2014

My Kryptonite Is....

Let’s get a couple of things out of the way first.
1. There is a definition for Kryptonite.  
It is
the one weakness of an otherwise invulnerable hero.
2. Here is the video for the song you are singing right now:. http://youtu.be/xPU8OAjjS4k

So why then is the Big Purple Hat blogging on Kryptonite? To be perfectly honest, it has a little to do with my own personal Kryptonite. That person/place/thing in your life that causes complete weakness… seems to be sitting right on the edge of my life again and I wonder how long it will stay this time? While I was mulling that over listening to my 3 Doors Down playlist, it occurred to me that EdTech often has its own Kryptonite.

We see one initiative after another roll out with great pomp and circumstance. The _____ (fill in the blank) is going to revolutionize education! It’s the long awaited hero. Then we watch it fail.  Why? Obviously, its Kryptonite. Something has found a weakness through its sleek exterior.

Weaknesses that I have personally witnessed take down an entire initiative?
  • Lack of planning
  • Inadequate network
  • Lack of buy-in
  • Holding on to yesteryear
  • And more!

But those can be “fixed” or “beat”! Everyone knows Kryptonite can’t be beat. It just has to be avoided. And that’s the point. We avoid planning for next year, a refresh, teacher PD, new lessons, authentically engaging students…. basically the mess that is learning. EdTech avoids its kryptonite at all costs. It’s high time that nonsense stops. Face the fear. You will find it is as fictitious as well… Kryptonite.

As for me and mine… I think I will choose to avoid my Kryptonite. Or maybe not  ;)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

#eduCon Pre-flight check

If you could have one honest, open “everything on the table” discussion with people about anything in the world, what would be the topic?

Today, I flew to Philadelphia, PA to attend EduCon at Science Leadership Academy. While hopping on a plane at 6:00 in the morning isn’t exactly my idea of fun, it really wasn’t all that bad. I took my window seat, a nice lady settled in beside me and I readied myself for a cozy nap. Sadly, it never materialized.

Two gentlemen in front of me began a lively little chat. They were strangers to one another; their paths crossed on this flight while one was heading home to Pittsburgh and the other to Columbus for work. Their topic of choice? Pro football. I enjoy a decent game of American football as much as the next person (though I honestly prefer NCAA, Geaux Tigers!) but It wasn’t the content of the conversation that held my attention. They talked about the recent playoffs, the upcoming Super Bowl, and a myriad of coaching jobs, options, and styles. Generally, I file that in my cabinet of #meh. Yet as the captain was announcing that we would soon be landing, it occurred to me this men had captivated me for more than 90 minutes. Why? Why did I give up my nap for a conversation that centered around content I have little interest in? Their passion.

The passion these two men shared for the sport carried the conversation through. They had a working knowledge of both its history, present state, and various options that could occur based on decisions to still be made. These men didn’t always agree, but their passion seemed to somehow broadcast these differences in a positive light. That got me thinking about a couple of things.

Do you teach with such passion that your students can’t wait to hear every word regardless of topic? How powerful would that be in today’s classrooms? What would the difference be if every child was that excited about learning? While everyone may not be as on fire as you are for a particular subject, it is difficult to ignore someone who is that passionate about something.

I envision that being the next few days of my life here at EduCon. Passionate people discussing openly and honestly their subjects of choice.