Bookmarked Learning Hasn’t Changed – Ideas and Thoughts

Some children and adults too perhaps, have not yet been able to take ownership of their learning. But even that statement can probably be argued. Whether your 5, 15 or 55, you probably have used the internet in some way shape or form to drive your own learning. That’s online learning at its best.

Dean Shareski adds to the discussion about what constitutes online learning. He suggests that learning itself has not changed, what has evolved has been the act of teaching.
Bookmarked This Is The Time – Ideas and Thoughts

School systems are looking for ways to replicate the simplest and most basic level of education that is centred around sheer content delivery. I don’t intend to chastise anyone for this approach, but it reflects a rather a limited view of both technology and education; it’s a futile attempt to uphold pre-existing structures of teaching and learning. Online learning, while in existence for decades, is a brand new practice for the majority of classroom teachers. I would venture to guess that far fewer than half of all teachers have dabbled in creating any kind of online or even blended learning environment. There are many unique affordances with learning online but indeed we will recognize the downsides.

Dean Shareski suggests that with the current crisis providing an opportunity to change how we do school, it is time to:

  • Explore the advantages and disadvantages of learning online
  • Understand the power of technology
  • Foster community
  • Explore joyful learning
  • Begin to address issues of equity.
  • Give up control and embrace personal learning
  • Rethink assessment
  • Extend Grace
  • Prioritise well-being above all else

This is a similar sentiment put forward by Gary Stager:

So, there is reason to celebrate (briefly), but then you must act! Use this time to remake schooling in a way that’s more humane, creative, meaningful, and learner-centered. This is your moment!

In the absence of compelling models of what’s possible, the forces of darkness will fill the void. Each of us needs to create models of possibility.

Whatever model is proposed, Mal Lee suggests that we need to assume that students will attend a physical space at regular times.

Work on the reality that society will expect the kids to go school, and return home at a set time each day, five days a week, for X days of the year, and break for holidays in the same weeks each year.

Replied to I Don’t Think I’m an EdTech Guy Anymore – Ideas and Thoughts

My interest has shifted to talking about learning more broadly, stripping away the specifics and focusing on what matters most whether or not it includes a specific technology or not. I noticed recently that many of my talks rarely include much of a reference to technology. The other part of the change for me is that much of what constituted technology in my early years has been either adopted or embedded into learning. Using digital media to create and consume, expanding classrooms to connect with experts and other learners, connecting assessment to technology, effectively using mobile devices as well as exploring the growing interest in digital citizenship were all topics and areas I spent time teaching and supporting. Today those topics, while still of interest do not have the same “newness” that we associate when with think of technology.

Dean, it is interesting reading Audrey Watters’ list of edtech debacles and thinking about where I stand and how that has changed over time. Although I am heavily involved with technology, I find the work that really needs to be done is in regards to change management. It feels like ten years ago the focus was on what was possible in regards to ‘transforming’ education, however as you touch upon, maybe the focus is now needed in other areas, such as learning and possibly policy.
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Personally, I think that we need to create structured spaces for students to learn to be in such spaces together, This is a better answer IMHO than running away from them. Plus, I think that social media can be positive, it is not all negative, right?
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Interesting provocation Dean. This reminds me of something that @PeterSkillen wrote a few years back

Are blogs really that different though?

Replied to Maintaining Innovation – Ideas and Thoughts

When I look around, the vast majority of people are maintaining. How wonderful to know that someone is working to keep the lights on. Congratulations if you’ve “innovated” and changed your mindset and practice. That’s great. But if the change you made is so great, I’m guessing you’re working on how you maintain it. If not, then perhaps your just seeking the rush of “new” and are forgetting the value of “old”. So I wonder what we can do to celebrate and honor the maintainers? How do we continue the conversation and shift to empowerment that still values maintaining and sustaining many of the existing constructs of life? If you’re a high school student does your school suggest you find a job that maintains? While we may have continued work to do, I would be thrilled if more schools would take pride in the innovations they’ve achieved and now spend more time and energy in maintaining.

Another thought provoking post Dean.

To be honest, I have been struggling with the idea of ‘maintaining’ of late (although I had never actually thought of it like that.) My current role started life as a ‘transformation coach’. I was going to work with school leaders to identify learning opportunities associated with our technological solution and support them with implementing this. Based on where the project has ebbed and flowed, I have now ended up supporting timetabling and reporting.

A lot of things that I read would say that I should leave, go find something that drives me or something like that. The problem with this is that so much of the ‘innovation’ that occurs in the system that I am in depends on certain foundations around things like timetabling and attendance being in place. It is not the most exciting work, but it is still ‘real’ work. As I recently pondered:

The work that I do has many focuses. Sometimes it is about supporting simple transactions, other times it is about everyday efficiencies. Sometimes it is about helping schools reflect upon particular workflows to ease their workload, other times it is about improving a process, such as the creation of timetables. All of this though is real work that has some sort of impact on student learning in the end.

I am reminded of your questions about ‘revolutions‘ from a few years ago and the belief that sometimes we need to focus on strengths. I sometimes think that the notion of innovation haunts like spectre and that sometimes the best thing we can do is support and encourage each other.

Also on: Read Write Collect

Replied to Something Weird is Happening on Twitter Right Now by Bill Ferriter (Tempered Radical)

What if instead of using social spaces to simply share content, we made a New Year’s Resolution to engage in more conversations with one another? What if we made a commitment to ask more provocative questions or to play the Devil’s Advocate more often?

Even better Bill is if we had such conversations from the comfort of our own backyard using bridgy and webmenbtions, rather than someone else’s playground?
Replied to Digital Citizenship: Where Are We Now? by Dean Shareski

Let me share a few ideas about how we might think about digital citizenship moving forward.

Continue to think of it as citizenship and not digital.
Spend time reflecting on what it means to be a good citizen.
Cite examples of positive and negative use of technology and social media
Get very comfortable with the nuances and reserve judgment. Let kids decide what and if social media has value and where its problematic
Talk about mental health and technology
Explore the research on the brain and stress
Engage in experiments of restraints and disconnection
Include the adults. This is not exclusively an issue for kids but an issue for everyone
Think carefully about any policies you enact
Don’t make it punitive. Even if you conclude you think mobile phones are a distraction, focus on the benefits for students. Allow them to recognize it as a distraction. This isn’t about control but it should be about informed choices.
Be okay with teachers having different policies. Not every discipline warrants the use of technology. If a teacher doesn’t see value, don’t force them to use it. Conversely if a teacher does see value don’t restrict them.

I find it a difficult conversation to flip from talking about the constructive use of technology to being more critical. I feel that the first challenge is being informed, while the next step is to develop better habits.

In regards to your balanced approach you maybe interested in Ian Guest’s work exploring Twitter to support professional development. It provides some novel insights and questions.

Knowing that you don’t read my blog, in am intrigued what your collection of ideas looks like in a world without social media? Maybe that is a good place to start?

Bookmarked Are All Voices Equal? – Ideas and Thoughts (

I’m grateful for the advent of the web and social media by providing me with a voice. I’ve been able to publish many ideas over that last 12 years that previously would have only lived in my head. Through that publishing, I’ve been able to think through some things and had the benefit of others to add their thoughts as well. However, as much as this has democratized knowledge, it has also diluted the importance of expertise. The barriers of the previous publishing world lacked the ability to include all voices but it did help identify expertise. As adults and educators, I think we have to work harder to identify the smart people and allow their ideas to be heard over the din of social media. Expertise is not found in followers but on the quality and evidence of ideas that have proven the test of time.

Dean Shareski reflects on the place of voice in education. Whether it be students in the classroom or educators online, he argues that there are times when some voices are more important than others. This continues the argument that Thomas Guskey recently made about merely searching the web. I wonder where this leaves participatory culture, comments and blogging? Is it a reminder that such acts are first and fore-mostly selfish?
Liked Technology as Distraction – Ideas and Thoughts by Dean Shareski (

Schools have not traditionally been asked to care for student’s health beyond a mandatory few classes. This isn’t as exciting as helping kids become entrepreneurs, creating an app, getting a scholarship or even just helping them graduate. Talking about the power and potential of technology is exciting and very palatable. I should know, I’ve done this and continue to get invited to share messages that promote technology as a powerful tool for learning. I’m not going to stop but I have and will continue to embed hard truths and realities about focusing on what really matters.

Replied to Still Amusing Ourselves To Death – Ideas and Thoughts by Dean Shareski (

Trying to be a truly informed citizen today is almost impossible. As an educator, this is where we have an enormous challenge. My work and presentations have me dabbling at this and yet being frustrated by the cultural tsunami of trite, bias and untruths bites that flood our feeds.

There is something uncanny about reading historical texts. I recently read a critique of MOOCs, only to then discover that it was five years old.

In your reflections I was taken by your current stance to:

  • Talk less.
  • Question everything.
  • Utilize the right spaces for the right purposes.

This is similar to my own recent reflection to:

  • Critically Reflect and Ask Questions
  • Learn from and through others
  • Engage in new challenges.

Social spaces have changed. They are not what they once were. However, it is disconcerting when we were warned so long ago.

I am off to find a copy of Amusing Ourselves to Death and dig into the past a little bit more.