Learning While Not Shopping

OK, so it’s December.  It’s the month that I grudgingly agree to go to the mall.

I don’t mind shopping but my technique is different from my wife’s.  I know, in advance, what I’m going to buy, park at the entrance nearest the store,  then go in and buy whatever I need and leave.  I’m not big into visiting every store, walking every aisle, and touching everything.  I think I do OK and I don’t recall anyone ever asking for the receipt so that they can take the gift back…

I can tell you – I’m not the only one.  There used to be a time when those of us of a like mind would sit on the little benches people watching.  Nowadays, we’ve upped our game.  We’ve become even more anti-social and spend the time on our smartphones.

There I was a couple of weeks ago biding my time by watching my Twitter feed go by…  A Twitter message appears announcing a new post on the The Edublogger Blog “A Must See Video: What Will Revolutionize Education?”  As a rule (mine, anyway), things on the Edublogger Blog are worthwhile reading.  In this case, it was a post from Ronnie Burt talking about a video that he’d watched that day.

Ever the cheapskate, I didn’t want to rack up a big data bill by watching the video using my phone’s data plan so I just retweeted it.  As I’ve mentioned many times, that does a  number of things.

  • it shares the link with others;
  • it gets bookmarked to my Diigo account via the Packrati.us utility so that I can check it later;
  • I get powerful feedback from those of you with whom I’m connected.

All three are great reasons for doing it.  I value them all, especially the last one where I get feedback from you.

Then, it was time to go to another store.  Time for me to move to a new bench.

Within a minute or two, I get a notification on my phone that someone had interacted with me.

This time it was from Will Richardson.

Oh, this should be good.  He’s recorded a video in response?  That was quick.

When I clicked the YouTube link, it was to the same video from Ronnie’s original post.  HuH?

Clarification was forthcoming….

Ah, it was in a response.  D’oh!  How many times had I given the advice “Scroll down, you dummy”.  Now it was my turn.


How’s that for a nice shaggy dog story?

It didn’t seem to be earth shattering at the time.  Just a question asked and answered between two people that I greatly respect for their thoughts and opinions.  It happens daily.  I wouldn’t normally have been that open except that I was out and about and too cheap to pay for data.

In the big picture, it just reinforces the concept of being connected with wonderful people with great thoughts.

I can’t imagine a world where this sort of learning isn’t respected and valued.  After all, universally we all want to learn, grow, and be better at what we do, don’t we?

Reality came crashing in over the weekend.  One of the folks I interact with online had responded to another resource that I had shared about using Twitter in the classroom.  This person works in a school district just up the 401 and he noted that Twitter is still blocked from access at the school.  Really?

I’m sure that the logic is still coming from some monolith who cutely says “We don’t want to know what you had for breakfast”.  In the process, you’re denying a world of connections and learning for students and teachers.  It just floored me.  This isn’t some new emerging technology that you’re taking a gamble with.  It’s a proven technology that connects educators, students, ideas, and learning.

Wow.  Just wow.


In case you’re interested, here’s the video that started this entire rant.

(and, please scroll down to read the comments after you enjoy the video)

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