Saturday, November 30, 2013

Are You Promoting Mathematical Thinking?

Before April jumps into our laps and we all become consumed by the need to show improvements on our test scores, it seems like a good time to step back and think about the numeracy that we really want for our children. Instead of celebrating statistically insignificant increases in your state test math scores (which I think is comical and proves the point of how we have reduced math to comparing two numbers with no context or true analysis), let's rethink the mathematical thinking that we want to fill the conversations of children and adults alike. I am purposeful about using the term mathematical thinking as opposed to math as the critical thinking and problem solving of math has been my true passion surrounding the subject for a long time. No one becomes a better mathematical thinker by doing more problems or becoming a computational speed champion, but the growth comes from conversations around patterns, seeing math in spaces not traditional to the topic, playing with the numbers, and molding data to become educative for others. The beauty of mathematical thinking gets squeezes out of the system as preparation for state tests, ACT, and AP Stats or Calculus accelerates over the top of the beauty of mathematical thinking. We need children and adults that are good consumers of numbers, see patterns for design, and know how to take the complexity of math to larger audiences through elegant explanations. This isn't easy with the testing industrial complex rooted in its primary sphere of influence, math, but I believe that our students deserve more courage in this area. Let the video below push your thinking.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Do You Really Get Connection?

We live in an open world where privacy as previously defined is gone forever. We are building digital footprints with each click of our devices each day. It is a time of digital mistakes that don't go away. It is a time when action precedes rational thought. It is a time when ideas and thoughts are on display well before they are in their final form, and we are in time when less and less context exists to the digital fragments that flow through the information firehouse. In this time and space, it is essential that we are grace filled in our actions with others by listening to explanations, accepting apologies for honest mistakes, and working through misunderstandings caused by the challenges of information curation. How are you building this capacity in your organization? Does your school or business have grace as a part of its culture? The video below launched me into this thinking as it explores the complexity of our connected world.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Make More: TEACH

I am always talking about how it is important for us to change the narrative in education in the community and beyond. This video and the rest of the videos from the Ad Council in this channel seem like they are a step in the right direction. How careful are you with your language when talking about school? Legacy language about schools is helping to maintain the current mental models about schools. A fresh language and a fresh narrative is essential to provides the space for innovation.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Secretary Duncan

Ok, this is a tad cheesy, but I got mentioned by Secretary Duncan. It made me smile. About ten minutes into the video, he answers a question from @ideaguy42. It is easy to be invisible in our work, and we don't do our work to be visible, but it is nice to be "noticed" every once in a while. Don't forget to notice the people that support your learning and your work to support the learning of kids. In addition, I have really appreciated Secretary Duncan leaning into connected learning recently, and it is worth listening to this video while hitting the reset button on your mental models about the secretary.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Again the Room Wins

We have all probably heard at this point that the smartest person in the room is the room, and this was very clear again over the past days as I spent time with some of the brightest folks in the country during the Bright Bytes Summit in San Francisco. From the moment that I entered the room, it was clear that I would be pushing the limits of my mental energy over the two days. It was fantastic to add incredible people into my personal learning network, meet folks that I had learn from and with for the first time, and spent time with some of the most brilliant educational thinkers on the planet. I’m attaching a couple of example of the quality of the thought leaders that were in this space. Thanks to @markgarrison and @vollmert805

Monday, November 18, 2013

Are you teaching kids to fail less and fail slower?

Kids are born to fail fast and fail often. Are you as a teacher sucking this out of them? Watch this video and consider how to open the doors to more "failure" into your learning space.

Unstuck | Fresh Perspectives - Are you afraid to fail? from Unstuck on Vimeo.

Friday, November 15, 2013


I had the pleasure to be with the incredible team from Bright Bytes over the last couple of days. In addition, sixty or so people from throughout the country were there to take part in a learning journey and deep dive into the innovation of what is possible. Bright Bytes has developed an incredible tool for gathering, analyzing and opening conversations surrounding the depth of technology integration in a learning space. Being the first school district in Missouri to use the tools that they provide has been incredible. It has brought us rich results, building blocks for the future, a dialogue of common language around technology in the district. Take a look at the short video at this LINK to learn more.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Learning by Eavesdropping

Eavesdropping seems like the wrong thing to do. It seems like we are lurching our way into other people’s space. It seems like we are breaking the unofficial privacy laws, but have you ever noticed the knowledge and wisdom that you pick up from those moments when you weren’t supposed to be listening. You walk through the teachers’ lounge to get your mail, and you hear something that brings things into perspective or you are at a conference listening to a speaker, and the wisest thing being said is in the conversation next to you. It seems like we should be able to contain our eyes and ears, but ultimately, they were made to listen, watch, and explore. It is important that we continue to eavesdrop on education and the learning happening all around us as it may be the space for big inspiration.