20% Time PD

20% Time PD

I have been fascinating with a the idea of giving both students and educators 20% time based on the writings of Dan Pink and the book Drive (a must read for all educators in my opinion). There has been some momentum growing in education around this idea and this past year I followed a few teachers who implemented “Genius Hour” in their classroom. A great name for this idea of getting out of the students way and allowing them to do great work. I haven’t had a lot of time to implement 20% time into my consulting work. One hour workshops just don’t lend themselves to this kind of deep learning. That is why the three day Learning Institute I did in June in London had me so excited. Excited to get out of educators way and allow them to do great work. I started off by learning something new myself. I set up a Tumblr account to run the three day institute. You can see all the learning here: http://litechaslondon.tumblr.com/ I had a Tumblr account but hadn’t used it that much and was looking for a place that not only could I set the outline for the three days of learning, but also find a place for participants to reflect easily without having to create an account. So I took my own 20% time before the institute started and watching a bunch of YouTube videos….mostly made by Middle School girls…..I taught myself how to set up a Tumblr site and how to allow others to submit reflections to it without needing an account. Honestly I didn’t know how the participants would react when I told them at the beginning of the first day that each day I was going to give them 1 1/2 hours to do a project. Their project could be on anything they wanted. Play a song, write a poem, bake something, or do work based on what they were learning over the three days of the institute. The only catch was they had to have something to share the last hour of the last day of the institute. You can read the reflections on the blog, but it was a pretty powerful experience for all of us. The really interesting thing was this institute was held at the end of the school year. Students had finished school just two days prior and all logical thought pointed...

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A Year As A Consultant

A Year As A Consultant

People often ask me how much I travel and how I like this life style of being a consultant so seeing that I have just passed the one year mark of trying to make a living at presenting and consulting with schools, I thought I’d reflect on the past year and what’s yet to come. First the rough numbers from June 17, 2012 – June 26, 2013: I traveled and presented roughly 122 days last year. Including 3 trips to London and 4 trips to Seoul.  I roughly traveled about 212,000 miles by plane.  It wasn’t all work though I also vacationed 31 days including Ireland, Switzerland, Stone Henge (England) and a cruise to Alaska.  Overall looking back I can’t believe how busy I was in my first year doing this full time. I remember handing in our resignation letters in Bangkok and my wife and I looking at each other and thinking we were really going to do this. I remember that lump in my throat thinking what was I thinking leaving a perfectly great job at a great school to do this. If you would have told me then that I would travel 122 days and be making booking into 2015 in my second year I would have laughed and said in my wildest dreams. But that is the reality. It has been an incredible year and one that I owe to all of you who read this blog, retweet things and help me spread the message. In September of 2005 when I created this blog I never thought it would lead to this. That eight years later I would be doing what I’m doing, I would have laughed you out of the room. It’s crazy to look back and know this all started with this blog and with you pushing my own thinking and learning in the process. So I owe all of this to you….the community that is the Internet. Lessons I learned: We all need down time I love my wife and miss her a ton when I’m away. There is no way I could have survived this pass year without her constant support and encouragement. Last October a trip lined up that I would fly around the world and be away for 4 weeks straight. At the time I was excited, pumped to be doing an around the world consulting trip. About two...

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You Can’t Drive Using Your Rearview Mirror

2013 is upon us and even though we are 26 days into the new year, I have made very little time to reflect openly here on the blog about the past and what the future might hold. When we moved to Saudi Arabia in 2002 and bought a car, I learned quickly that you can not drive looking in your rearview mirror. Driving in Saudi has one rule…your job is to look where you are going not to watch what is going on behind you. In fact the rearview mirror becomes more of a distraction than a safety device. I have been thinking about that a lot lately as I look back over this past year. It is great to look back and reflect on what you have done, what has worked and what has failed, however if we try to drive by looking behind us we will not be very successful. Reflecting is a good thing and it can help us understand where we have come from but if we try to drive by using our rear view mirror by only reflecting and not looking forward, we will crash. The “good ole days” are behind us and what “might be” stands in front of us. We cannot go back in time (yet) so we must reflect on the past and then focus on the future. This past year was an incredible journey as I made the transition in June from full time educator to full time consultant. A scary but exciting jump; one that has allowed me to do what I feel in my heart is what I am supposed to be doing at this moment in time. Looking in the rear view mirror: Failures of 2012: Reach Version 2: The goal was to have the second version of Reach out in August. I thought I would have all this time after moving back to Seattle to spend updating the book. Somehow I forgot just how much time and energy goes into moving….you would think doing it every three to four years I would remember! Honestly it has only been since about November that we have felt settled into our new lives here in the States. So the second version of Reach never happened and at this point might never happen. Another Book: I had dreams of not only finishing a second version of Reach but of publishing...

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Lecture As Content Delivery Is Dead

Lecture As Content Delivery Is Dead

I continue to think about how lectures are changing in our new connected world. My last blog post primed my thinking and thanks to the comments and a great run yesterday. I have been able to push my own thinking to what it is I was trying to get at and the changes to the lecture that we’re seeing today.  Lectures For Content Delivery Are Dead This is what I am coming to understand. That the lecture use to be the way we delivered content to students. The PowerPoint made this easier on us as it allowed us to make some quick bullet points of what we wanted to cover and then go about “covering the material”. When content is free, open, and accessible to all then we need to rethink what lectures should be used for and delivering content or knowledge is not a good use. Let kids go find the content….what we need to use the lecture for is to inspire them to go learn the content, create understanding, and apply that new knowledge to other areas.  Lectures should be used to inspire, tell stories, and push ideas Before every keynote or lecture I give I start by giving the audience a page like this that allows them to get involved with what I am talking about or to be off task. I constantly tell my audience that if they are going to be off task then here are some links, some ways to be off task. If I can’t hold their attention that’s my fault as a teacher not their fault as a learner. Is that right? We are quick to blame students for not paying attention but to be fair if I’m in a boring lecture I don’t care how old I am I’m not paying attention. Is that my fault as a student or the teacher’s fault? I believe that’s my fault as a teacher. You might disagree but I’ll own it that if my class is boring that’s on me. So what should a lecture be used for if it is not to deliver content? Inspire: I love inspiring lectures. The ones that make you stand up at the end. The ones that make you feel like going out and making a difference, the onces that you can’t wait to share with others, that you retweet, or reshare in some way. They inspire you to take action, to try something...

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Learning, Processing, Reflecting

The end of BLC means the end of my summer is right around the corner. A couple days before I step on a plane to head back to Bangkok, and my thoughts return to all the educators I’ve been able to interact with this summer. No matter the conference, the session, the keynote, educators seem to quickly get overwhelmed with information and possibilities. Not that I blame them…there’s a lot of sessions on a load of different tools, ideas, theories, and just plain cool stuff! Add on top of that all the resources for all the sessions and anyone would quickly become overwhelemed.  The problem is once overwhelemed the brain stops processing information, you stop learning, and things go down hill from there.  Part of it is the schedule of conferences. Funny how we continue to talk about schools changing yet most conferences continue to look very much the same as they did __ years ago (I’ll let you fill in the date). We know we need time to process information and we tell ourselves during the conference that we’ll take time to reflect once the conference is over, but the reality is very few people actually do. You get on your plane, you get back to life and the notes from the sessions, the resources, are left for “another day”. What if we started building time into conferences to reflect? What if…..much like we talk about in schools….we cut back on the content….and up the learning…the depth, the idea generation. What if instead of 10 sessions there were 5?  What if we cut half the sessions and then added “Reflection, Unconference, Conversation” sessions throughout the conference to build in the time to process, reflect, and go deep in new learning during the conference itself? What if we made conversations the focus not the content (My EQ for my session: How do we make the most of our time face to face when content is free and avalible to all?).  This has always been the focus of the Learning 2.00x conference that I helped to start in Shanghai and continues. Each year the best feedback we get is “don’t stop the conversations”. We educators need to feel OK with taking time to stop, reflect, and allow our brians to be silent. Allow our brains to process the information. On Thursday at BLC I started feeling the anxiouty catching up...

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