I am reading Todd Rose’s book, The End of Average, where he posits that when we develop assumptions or generate conclusions based on what is considered average, and that all outside assumptions and conditions are variants of the average, we are ruling out everything individual or different. The average boils down to ONE measurement, not a range of measurements. In study after study, Rose explains that when we compare anything to the average, it is an inaccurate and false comparison. Individuality is ignored and left only to be acknowledged as an understatement. Folks have focused so much on the average that individuality became less and less important. Remember when teachers, myself included, in the classroom would say they were “color blind” for cultural inclusion and that everyone was important? Perceived by some, this idea meant that the students were “melted” together and no individuality existed. We were blind to see anything other than that. However, someone made the statement that if you are blind, you do not even notice or recognize differences in your classroom. If you are blind, you are basing this blindness off of some average that exists in your mind in which you have to compartmentalize differences because they are anything but average. This begs the question: when did average become the new norm? If we are blind to our students individual differences, are we also blind to their learning differences?
From the time I was a youth, I believed that there was a special approach, or prescriptive formula, or only one way to do things. I believed that the right way was always going to be more difficult because it took energy, time, blood, sweat, and maybe even tears. For so many years, I believed I never had what it took to do something the “right” way as perceived by others. But, one day, I asked myself, what really is the right way anyway? The answer is, there really is no right way to do anything unless it is something that follows a script. The right way goes back to what you believe and why you believe the way you do. I used to think that my own energy level would help me sort of “pass” through the more difficult times when I felt nervous or uninspired. However, I learned that there is a very distinct difference between energy and charisma. Energy is motivating but charisma actually inspires (Sinek, 2009). I am in the process of finding the balance between both characteristics. When working with my digital learning and leading students, energy motivates them in the first course or two, but my charisma will hopefully inspire them to build their own meaningful connections and map their learning journey throughout the program. When it comes down to it, I might be motivated to come to work for a paycheck and therefore, I have to allow energy depart from my body but that is not the same thing. What inspires me to go to work is the ability to help and inspire others to be change agents and discover learning in new ways that is ultimately for themselves. I have learned that learning is an emotional process and must appeal to the heart. The head won’t go where the heart hasn’t been (Harapnuik, 2015). For this reason, I encourage students to find their why that will set the stage for what they are truly passionate about. Passion cannot be bought, measured, or obtained, it must be something that occurs within our heart. This leads me to Angela Duckworth’s video on GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, as she describes the very core of where humans develop passion for life and its circumstances.
World class education for everyone is a prerequisite for prosperity.
Sal Khan – In personalized learning, we can use what’s already there but change the methodology.
Content should be reflected in the energy and voice in deliverer, we shouldn’t have to have a rap song to get excited about it.
What do we need to do differently?
We need a win in the education industry – but how do we keep this sense of urgency? Little successes kill urgency!
We need to arm our children with armor against doctrine.
“What is disruptive? Moving from consumption to creation….this is where the magic happens. When students create and tackle real things, they get engaged. Kids are hungry to create. They are looking for new ways to do it….stay up all night to write songs. They need access and the environment. We need to build more tools and let go of constraints to let them create.”There is a lot of fear in doing something new. Involve them in the process. Pair their talents to the talents of their teachers – using their expertise.
Help students solve real-world problems….match resources to problems that exist in their neighborhoods.
Kids are hackers now…they can build websites! Pair those skills to real-world problems. Ask a crowd what’s wrong? They will tell you.
Be ready to adapt. Be ready for disruption. Build that shared experience with students.
Amazing possibilities when you work with students to solve real-world problems, try something new, experiment wherever you’re at. Use crowds of individuals to solve problems.
Take a step forward. Don’t live by someone else’s vision for how the system is supposed to work. Challenge the system and try new things and we will all learn together as part of that experience.
“The innovation immune system is how an organisation deals with new ideas and can include strategies that kill innovation.” – Graham Brown Martin
When you are in the position to implement change, are you working with an infected culture of innovation? When disruptive innovations are first introduced, they can easily be considered a “disease.” How can you influence others and attract others that believe like you do? Consider these questions and others that can impact your ability to be an education change catalyst. Take a quick gander into the ideas and thinking of Graham Brown-Martin as he discusses an aspect of business that nobody really sees until AFTER they are infected.
Watch Sugata Mitra as he addresses these important questions: What is the future of learning? Where does learning come from? “Could it be…..that we don’t need to go to school at all?, the point of time you need to know something you can find out in 2 minutes?, could it be where knowing is obsolete?”
The Power of WHY
Let me tell you my story. In January 2015, I had my second child, Micah. I had gained almost 50lbs. I decided that it was time to start running to lose some weight. After many miles of running and my focus on the weight loss, the pounds just did come off. Day after day, I stepped on the weight scale and nothing happened. I couldn’t figure out why? I was left with the question of “why?” Why am I running? Why am I trying to lose weight. I realized it was time to find my “why.” I started to focus on distance, endurance, and strength. I found that running with a goal of distance and endurance should be my focal point, not the day to day weight loss regiment. I decided I was going to run a 5k this year! Before I knew it, people started asking me, “Have you lost weight?” Weight loss became a bi-product of my new goal, my new “why.” How transformative!! I encourage you to spend the next 18 minutes to watch Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle “Why.” It could challenge your thinking in many ways where you just might be inspired to do something more than you thought you could.
Read this article to discover why failure is a great way to turn a challenge into an opportunity!
Sinek’s- Art Before Science
Is data in the cloud protected? It sits on a physical server somewhere. Every password is breakable!
- The best way to combat ignorance is through curiosity!
- If we don’t understand where we are, we limit where we can go.
- Technical literacy allows us to keep up, and it can’t wait.
Use this interactive padlet to post one sentence about what technology literacy in the digital learning age means to you. Consider outside resources, look at the literature, investigate research reports to make your assumption.
Read edutopia’s School Leaders: Guiding Teachers into the Digital Age
“Curiosity comes first, not the other way around.”
Questions and curiosity are like magnets that draw us to our teachers.
If we place technologies before inquiry, we could be robbing ourselves of our greatest tools as teachers- our students’ questions.
Embrace the mess of learning
Flipped learning should not be the focus – it’s the same dehumanizing chatter wrapped up in fancy clothing.
Confuse/perplex students through questions to tailor robust and informed methods of blended instruction.
Life threatening situation: student questions are the seeds for real learning, not scripted curriculum.
No more disseminators of content; cultivators of curiosity of inquiry, meaning and spark learning!
Allow student questions to cultivate curiosity, embrace the mess of learning, and reflect on what was impactful and relevant.
3 Rules to Spark Learning
Curiosity comes first, not the other way around
Embrace the mess.
Practice reflection – reflection deserves our care and revision as if one day we will save lives.