About Sharing

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?

Published by dougpete

The content of this blog is generated by whatever strikes my fancy at any given point. It might be computers, weather, political, or something else in nature. I experiment and comment a lot on things so don't take anything here too seriously; I might change my mind a day later but what you read is my thought and opinion at the time I wrote it! My personal website is at: http://www.dougpeterson.ca Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dougpete I'm bookmarking things at: http://www.diigo.com/user/dougpete

4 thoughts on “About Sharing

  1. I’m new to the whole blogging/sharing/tell-the-world-what’s-happening-in-my-classroom idea, but I find it so rewarding on a number of levels. Not only does it force me to pause and reflect, but from the feedback or comments (or even just number of views) I know I’m not alone! We educators are all in this together – isn’t it a duty of sorts to share and help each other out? And as you mentioned, a great idea proposed in one direction can quickly turn into a fantastic idea for another’s classroom. I’m amazed at how much my teaching has changed after seeing what other teachers have shared… maybe I can also provide some inspiration for another teacher someday! Thanks for posting!


  2. You write, “I’ve yet to really register a strong opinion about MOOCs so won’t have hit his radar.” That’s a bit unfair. I read your feed regularly. I linked to two of your items over the year in OLDaily – http://www.downes.ca/author/Doug%20Peterson – which is roughly the same as the average over the previous five years or so – http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/page.cgi?journal=doug%20%E2%80%93%20off%20the%20record

    It’s true that I’ve cited you less frequently in recent years, bit this has nothing to do with MOOCs. Rather, over time, you have tended to do more posts consisting of lists of links to other sites – this post https://dougpete.wordpress.com/2014/01/04/otr-links-01042014/ is typical. These will never make OLDaily (though I look through them, just out of curiosity). I thought your post on time was pretty good – http://www.downes.ca/post/60090 but your Perltrees post http://www.downes.ca/post/59906 was more popular.


    1. Thanks for dropping by, Stephen. I’ll admit that my comment did have a little tongue in cheek with it but had no intention to disrespect. I’ll confess to devouring your OLDaily, particularly as I’m trying to wrap my mind around MOOCs. Just when I think I’ve got a handle on things, you’ll take me in a different direction. It’s been a great ride but, at least for me, there is no clear destination in sight.


  3. Oh, but there is a destination; it’s on my home page, the paragraphs beginning “I want and visualize and aspire toward a system of society and learning where each person is able to rise to his or her fullest potential …”


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