Sun, 27 April 2008
Are you "learning to learn"?
This is a question that evolves from the basic phrase "learning to learn" that several leading experts in education are pitching around right now. This concept bears some attention: it calls upon us to evaluate what we truly believe about learning.
A foundational construct for our discussion is that we agree that leaders are learners. After all, if a leader were not learning, what would become of that person, over time? Would you like to work for a leader who had decided to stop learning? Would you enjoy being around a leader who found no joy in learning? So, we can agree that great leaders are eager learners.
Will Richardson purports that leaders who are learning not only create situations in which learning is facilitated, but that aggressive, effective leaders will ensure that all in the organization are provided means and mechanisms for connectivity. The real power in the learning comes largely from the power of the learner's network.
Consequently, one of the premier avenues for connected learners is via social networks. No doubt, all readers of this treatise are familiar with the banter about social networks. If you work in a school, you probably have heard the network administrator dictate that no social networking at all will be allowed on the school network. This mandate is reality, even in the face of voluminous documentation that social networking, employed meaningfully and effectively, then monitored by personnel in charge, yields amazing, positive achievement results. In addition, the quality of student work is much greater, as a result of collaborations via social networks. The question becomes, "Why would a network administrator, classroom teacher, or school leader deny student learners the opportunity to expand their education via social networks?"
Perhaps, a surface-level answer could be, "They have stopped learning how to learn." Thus, the students are the ones whose minds are held captive in the lockdown-mentality schools.
So, what are these students--and their teachers--to do, especially when they know the power of social networks and media? The only recourse they have is to conduct their meaningful education activities when they leave the school. Ludicrous, isn't it?
Well, in defense of the school network police, they are often cautioned by superiors to ensure that students are kept safe from dangers that come from being left "open" to the wiles of the Internet. Predators are alive and well--and prey on innocent children. Nasty, filthy content proliferates online. Hate-promoting and race-supremacy web sites can be found quite easily. So, with all the responsibilities of a school technology coordinator, s/he finds it easiest to just clamp down the network and let only the minimum of information through the filter. Sometimes, these coordinators don't like having to block ninety-percent of content available online any more than the students and teachers. However, they perceive that a lawsuit is, metaphorically speaking, lurking around the corner if they allow a single student to be ensnared in some kind of techno-trap.
What do we do about all this? Wring our hands? Disconnect school computers from the Internet, totally? Fret? Fuss? Blame each other? Nurture an environment of suspicion?
That brings us back to the topic of this posting: learning to learn.
In research conducted by the National Center for Technology Planning, the findings revealed that social networks are disallowed from schools based, predominantly, from ignorance by decision makers! Decisions are made, often, as a result of overhearing a conversation about the bad stuff online--or how terrible Facebook is, since it's a breeding ground for teenagers to gang up on other teenagers and engage in cyberbullying.
The effective leader will engage in study of the social media opportunities available to the people in the organization. This process is not merely learning for learning's sake. Rather, this is an advanced process: we must begin, afresh, a process of learning to learn. This takes more time, focus, and critical analysis. Flippant decisions are off-limits. Casual attitudes are cancerous. Devout learning is the vitamin of success.
Join me in a fresh commitment as we learn to learn!
Please leave comments here so others may profit--may learn--from your writings.
Alternatively, please call our hotline (206.984.3136) and leave an audio comment that we can use in a forthcoming podcast.
Category:text blogs -- posted at: 8:10am CDT
Sat, 21 April 2007
Recently, I conducted a brief survey of technology coordinators and leaders in 3 states. My purpose was to ask them these questions:
1. Do you block iTunes in your school? (followed by, if so, why not?)
2. Do you allow students to bring iPods to school?
There were a couple more related questions, but the main focus of the survey was to determine to what extent iTunes and iPods are a part of the planned school learning environment.
I'll bet you can predict the responses.
So....what do you think they said? Let me hear from you. You can either shoot me an audio file (MP3 would be great), a voice mail or fax to my hotline number (206/984-3136), or email me.
After you send me some feedback, I will respond with the results. I am open to suggestions from you on how I can expand this survey to more states and/or countries, as well.
Until next time.....be safe!
Category:text blogs -- posted at: 10:25pm CDT
Thu, 21 December 2006
New episodes coming -- be patient!
As you will notice, I have not published a fresh episode in approximately two months. However, I have three (3) episodes currently in the stage of post-processing and will have them up and ready to go within the next week or so.
Another episode on hand is an interview I conducted with Mr. Jim Johnson, Sheriff of Lee County, MS. Sheriff Johnson talked about leadership in the public service arena, including some quite moving stories about how leadership has played a key role in the lives of individuals touched by the work of law enforcement officers.
So, as you see, I have some excellent programs coming soon for your consumption. Thanks for staying subscribed so you won't miss a single episode.
Please feel free to send your input, suggestions, or questions.
Category:text blogs -- posted at: 10:28pm CDT
Thu, 27 April 2006
Perhaps you have listened to the interview I conducted with three students involved in the Conexiones Project that is being operated at Arizona State University. These students are high schoolers who are classified as migrant students. They were so charming, eager, and creative.
However, one of the fun things that occurred at the annual Microcomputers in Education 2006 Conference (MEC) at Arizona State was when these students, functioning as student reporters for the conference, asked if they could interview me. What a thrill for me!
The interviewer is rather hard to hear in the audio; however, I believe you will enjoy listening to this interview. Also, when you navigate to the students' web page, feel free to look around and check out th other things they are doing! Please send them feedback, too, in the form of encouraging words. They worked extremely hard to post this material and could use a hearty pat on the back.
Category:text blogs -- posted at: 10:10pm CDT
Wed, 15 March 2006
As I prepare content for future podcast episodes, I am looking to you for input.
Much has been written, spoken, and conjectured about the topic of leadership. Often, however, those individuals offering their opinions about leadership come from differing vantage points -- having differing definitions of leadership. So, as they talk about being an effective leader, their words are associated with a definition that might not be universal.
So, what is your definition?
What is leadership?
Please leave a comment here, email me, or leave a voice mail at the Think Like A Leader hotline at 206-984-3136.
Stay tuned for another episode coming in a few days.
Category:text blogs -- posted at: 6:00pm CDT
Mon, 13 March 2006
Until I get a better way of posting this voting mechanism, please consider using the one below. I am experimenting with some ways to vote for this podcast. I appreciate your helping me with the experiment. Here we go....
Category:text blogs -- posted at: 6:43pm CDT
Sun, 5 March 2006
I am almost overwhelmed! In less than 48 hours, you have responded so wonderfully to my first episode on this podcast. This tells me several things:
1. You are a dynamic group of professionals
Thanks for your suggestions. Thanks for your support. Thanks for sticking in with me, as a loyal subscriber, until I get a collection of episodes that demonstrate to you what a valuable resource this podcast can be.
Category:text blogs -- posted at: 6:00pm CDT