Reaching Their Potential

Reaching Their Potential

On Monday the MLB (Baseball) draft started and one of the Mariner Bloggers that I follow Jeff Sullivan had this to say about the draft: This afternoon or evening, the names of several future disappointments will be announced. Zero or one or two or three of the players will develop fully. Many more will develop partially, and the rest will develop not at all. It sounds so grim and makes it all seem like a complete waste of time, but the math isn’t really different in other professional fields. Most of us are destined to disappoint. High baseball draft picks just get more publicity than most of us do. That sounds down right depressing but it is so accurate and I think you could apply it to hiring anyone for any company, organization or school. You hire on potential, hopes and dreams. Much like companies baseball teams take risks on young potential players hoping they will work out. Some do, others don’t, while still some who are drafted at the very end of the day make the biggest impact for a team or company.  I think about education and students. We don’t get to hand pick our students, we’re given a class list in August/September and we’re told to develop them and help them reach their full potential. We’re not allowed half way through the season to say “Look kid you’re not cutting it here, we’re going to send you back down for more work in the minors.” We’re told to help the student reach their full potential no matter what.  I think of coaches who know they don’t have the best team, but they do the best with what they have. Helping everyone develop, staying positive, and providing support where needed. They dream of days when they’ll have that ultimate state winning team. But until then they battle through the hard years doing what they can to develop players.  Baseball General Managers get paid a lot of money to pick potential players……and fail most of the time.  Educators get paid much less are given a bunch of players and are successful most of the time.    Not sure if any of this makes sense…but that paragraph has been running through my head since I read it a couple days ago and I needed to write some of these random thoughts...

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Teaching Social Networks

Teaching Social Networks

Some rights reserved by Brice Reul  In two weeks time I have to give a presentation to our high school student body. I always struggle the most with what to talk to them about…..them being kids in general. I’ve got about 15 minutes to inspire them to use technology in ways that really matter.  Thanks to the Kony 2012 campaign I have a starting point to talk about this new world that they are going to create. I believe this generation could be the greatest generation since the great WWI generation years ago. They have the ability to connect and communicate in a virtual way that can bring real impact to the world. We are already seeing it happen: The 2008 Presidential U.S. elections, Arab Spring, London Riots, Occupy Wall Street, Stop SOPA, and now Kony 2012 just to name a few of the larger movements where social networking has had a direct impact on world changing events.  ….and the great news is….this generation is just getting started.  They have older generations running scared. From Iran to Syria, China, Thailand and most of the western world, governments and generations are fearing what is to come when this generation decides they have had enough, can connect, communicate, and bring about change in the blink of an eye.  I read a new term the other day: Slacktivism: The word is usually considered a pejorative term that describes “feel-good” measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it feel satisfaction. The acts tend to require minimal personal effort from the slacktivist. The underlying assumption being promoted by the term is that these low cost efforts substitute for more substantive actions rather than supplementing them, although this assumption has not been borne out by research. I am still feeling my way around this new term and not sure I totally agree with its ideals. The cases I stated above are all cases where the rally cries within social networks saw real change in the world. Retweeting or reposting the Kony 2012 video is good for spreading the message, but what are you and I going to do in the real world that really matters? That’s what this will come down to. 100 million views on YouTube mean nothing if nothing changes for the better out here. And then there is our generations, any of...

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Autonomy, Purpose, Mastery

  I’ve been reflecting a lot on Dan Pink’s new book Drive and thinking about how this applies to education and the work we ask students to do. My wife recently took 10 Middle School students on an Operation Smile trip into the mountains of Thailand near the Burma boarder. The Middle Schoolers spent their time playing the kids who came there to get surgery done. It’s a moving experience…the kind that shapes you as a person. When the students get back they are given one assignment…..reflect on your experience. Autonomy: Take as long as you need, and use the media that you want. Purpose: Share your experience with others. Mastery: You can reflect anyway you want: Essay, blog post, video, presentation, etc. One student decided to write an essay that I hope she decides to publish on her blog….it will bring a tear to any eye. And then there is Brian. The lone 8th grader on the trip who decided to express his emotions and reflection using video. I get asked by teachers how do you have students use media and make it a reflection not just a retelling of what happened? The answer, I believe, is in giving students a purpose. A meaningful purpose to reflect that is bigger than a grade, or an individual assignment. Yes…I’m going to make you go to Brian’s Blog to view the video in hopes that you too will be so moved by his creativity and message that you leave him a comment or pass along the message of Operation Smile to others....

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The Social You vs The Professional You

The last couple of working days and the rest of this week I’ve been talking with high school students about why we (ISB) have given them a blog to start building their ‘Professional You‘. When I put it in terms of Facebook is the ‘Social You’…the you with your friends, and the you while hanging out. Then your blog is and should become the ‘Professional You’. The place you mold who you are, what you are interested in, and where you want to go. The you you want colleges and universities to know about, that you want your employers to know about. The you that is preparing for life after school. I get a lot of head nods when I explain it this way. They also appreciate that the blog is theirs. They have full admin rights, they control it, design it, layout it out, organize it. They are building their professional self…..and they get it. They get how important it is, they get that it’s something they need to be doing, and they’re excited to get started. Of course the Professional You can and sometimes overlaps with the Social You, and that’s OK. Your goodreads.com account can post both to your blog and to your Facebook account. You can create a Facebook Fan Page to show a more professional you to colleges and universities. I also hope that some of the things you learn in social groups transfers to your professional reflections. There’s a blurry middle where content overlaps and on the extreme left and right you have your Facebook profile and your professional profile. But that blurry part…that’s the tough part. That’s where decisions have to be made. Where students at the age of 13 need to start making decisions that we never had to make. We never had a professional side at 13….we didn’t need one. But if you are going to have a social side on the Internet then you better also start building your professional side. We’re starting in 4th grade with student blogging, starting to build their professional you. What we’re hoping is we’ll get ahead of the curve of the Social You. That students understand that when they start a Social You that there’s this other part that people see, read, and respect and that side is just as important, if not more, than the Social You. Making decisions in that blurry...

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At the speed of a click

(Scribefire, my blogging platform finally updated to work with Firefox Beta 4 so now I’m back!) I had the most incredible experience today. First of all I’m loving working with the high school kids. They just ‘get it’. I don’t have to explain things at a very deep level and we can just fly through the technology stuff and get down to business. And when I mean fly….I mean…..at the speed of a click. Today in a 45 minute session with eighteen 9th graders we: Logged into or created a new blog Had a refresher on how to blog and all the blog options Logged into Google Docs for the first time Searched for a Google Doc, made our copy, shared it with the classroom teacher, and linked it to our blog as a page Created an account at goodreads.com, talked quickly about how the site works (Facebook for books) and then connected our goodreads.com account to our blog so that when we write a review of a book on goodreads.com it automatically posts that to our blog as a blog post. Discussed why we want every high school student to have a blog and talked about the “Social You” of Facebook and the “Professional You” of the blog/efolio they are creating here. Now….even for me that’s a lot of stuff to do, and a lot of clicks to get it all done in. I did two classes of 18 students each in 45 minutes. In fact, I could not have talked or clicked any faster. Not one kid could not keep up, in fact I had two students who followed along, completed everything while still reading a book. Are you kidding me? Follow all those directions, and read a book? Yes…this generation has just grown up clicking! INSANE! The best part was in 45 minutes we got the students ready to start tracking their independent reading using all the above mentioned tools (see next post for the layout). Now that they are all set up, we can get down to business of reading, reflecting, and tracking what and how much reading we’re...

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