The other day, I was really curious to read in Stephen Downes OLDaily. He was handing out his annual Downes Prize and I was curious to see who won it. Could this be my year? Nah, I’ve yet to really register a strong opinion about MOOCs so won’t have hit his radar. It turns out that Tony Bates won it – congratulations – and it was an interesting read to determine how Stephen calculated the winner. The methodology would make any statistician proud.
Anyway, in reading the article and following links, somehow I ended up on this article “Planning to Share versus Just Sharing” by Scott Leslie that goes back to 2008. It’s a really good article and I highly recommend reading and pondering it. If you don’t have the time, the article starts with a summary:
(This is a long post, born out of years of frustration with ineffective institutional collaborations. If you only want the highlights, here they are: grow your network by sharing, not planning to share or deciding who to share with; the tech doesn’t determine the sharing – if you want to share, you will; weave your network by sharing what you can, and they will share what they can – people won’t share [without a lot of added incentives] stuff that’s not easy or compelling for them to share. Create virtuous cycles that amplify network effects. Given the right ‘set,’ simple tech is all they need to get started.)
For me, what the article does is just makes me feel so humble and so appreciative of those who inspire me on a daily basis. We’re such an agile subset of the big teaching set. We shoot from the hip, as it happens, as opposed to what Leslie identifies as the typical top-down dispersion of “the word”. I love this quote:
We share with people, they share with “Institutions”
How true is that? The agile among us share without concern for the immediate negative feedback that education is so good at dishing out. The message hasn’t been cleared for appropriateness or alignment to whatever standards – it’s just what seems good and appropriate at the time. More times than not, the reaction from the subset helps to shape the thinking.
I think also of the selection process of presenters and speakers at a truly teacher-driving professional learning event. Speakers are chosen because of innovation. That’s what’s of value – nothing else – just doing innovating things that are good for kids and for education. Working in the social realm builds the cred that is so sought after.
I ran into a perfect example of that today with @TeacherHann …
… followed by …
Now, when I wrote the original post, it was my way to talk about the newest offering from Vizify. My immediate reaction to the product was a tie in to statistics. David has taken another approach and is focused on a data management slant for his class.
Back to the original article by Leslie…you’d never find what David is about to do in a current mathematics textbook. It’s certainly not on a best practice list somewhere.
It’s just him being agile with a discussion, with a concept, and now makes it his own and his students will benefit.
What a great way to put something contemporary into action! Could you imagine how long it would take for an idea like that to trickle down from the top?