Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It Just Makes Sense

Saw the following on Twitter today and it struck a chord.


It's part of a larger post by TeachPaperless. I get dismayed with people being worried about what teachers will do with laptops or other technology at home, even if the equipment is provided by the employer. In my experience 98% of the time they are using it to learn. Take pictures with a digital camera at home, upload them, or edit them or whatever. Use a digital video camera to take video of their kids baseball game and edit into a movie for the grandparents. Use the web to find great interactive sites for their students, and on and on and on.

Now the teacher is ready to take the next step and do it with students in the classroom. Whatever the technology, the more they use it, the more they will be likely to use it with students. It opens up avenues of creativity for them and their charges.

Is there potential there for abuse, certainly there is, but you handle that on a case by case basis, as it happens, not expect it as the norm. Having worked with teachers directly for 9 years now, I am convinced that the above statement is utterly true and even in difficult financial times we need to work as hard as possible to create more opportunities for teachers to do this not less.

It just makes sense.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Bring It On!

Our district was featured in a small pullout (spadea) today in our local newspapers. It highlighted some district opening events and then had a section on What's New in the District? This section featured three district initiatives; the Dual-Immersion programs that will be starting this year in 4 of our elementary school's (one more started a couple of years ago), an Art Consortium that we will be involved in, and finally Educational Technology and Learning. This section reads as follows...

Canyons is ramping up technology education and support to create cutting-edge learning experiences for students and teachers alike. The service side will be adequately staffed, including one technical support professional in every high school. Well-maintained equipment will free up education technology professionals to provide a more relevant educational experience to the Internet generation. Education technology staff will be working in the schools, partly teaching students, partly teaching teachers how to integrate technology, including new social media, into their lessons, from Spanish to special education.

So there is our charge. Bring it on!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Since I can't seem to get to doing my own podcast, I'll at least link to this presentation. This is from PodCampSLC held on March 27, 2009. It was great rubbing elbows with other podcasters from the area. Whoa, there I go calling myself a podcaster again. If I am going to keep doing that I should probably start doing it again. My thanks to Thom Allen for inviting me to participate at PodCampSLC.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Change = Growth

I have had several discussions over the past few weeks both online and face to face about change. So the topic has been on my mind a lot lately.

“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.” – Karen Kaiser Clark

Sometimes we choose change, sometimes change is thrust upon us. Sometimes we resist change, yet it still comes. Sometimes change happens and we don't recognize it for awhile.

In the past 7 months there has been a lot of change in my life. I gained a new daughter-in-law that I wasn't expecting. That was a good change. In January my mother passed away unexpectedly. That was not a good change. In March I chose to make a job change. That was a great change. Also in March I found out that I will become a grandfather again, twice. That will be a great change, twice.

As I think about the changes that have come about in my life over these past months, I ponder about the growth that has come about because of the changes. Have I grown and will I grow through these changes?

With respect to my family, my mother's death has brought me closer to my siblings. We certainly were not estranged, but 3 of the 4 of us live within a 3 mile radius and we seldom saw each other. I can truly say I am grateful for the time we have spent together as we have grieved my mother, and worked together to take care of her affairs. I have often heard tales of siblings being ripped apart during these times because of greed or jealousy. It has helped our family to grow closer.

Gaining a new daughter-in-law has been a delightful experience as well. I am so grateful that my son found someone to love and who reciprocates that love. Now they will bring a child into this world and share that love with him/her (we'll find out in about 3 weeks). I don't think I have mentioned it in these writings, but I love being a grandpa. My oldest daughter will have her 3rd son early in September. She and her husband are such good parents. My grandsons are the funnest. When my 1st grandson was born I wasn't ready for that change. However, the moment he was placed in my arms, my heart grew. I worried that I could never love another grandchild as much as him. But as my granddaughter and two more grandsons have joined the family my heart expanded plenty enough to love them as well.

What does this have to do with education or educational technology? Well I think it has a lot to do with it. If you dislike, loathe, or despise change, then education is probably not the best field for you. Getting involved with educational technology or technology in general with make change loathers cringe. For me though, my involvement in education has caused me to grow tremendously.

When I changed jobs recently, many people questioned why. It seemed to them a lateral move. What I saw in the change though was a new opportunity for growth. The Canyons District is providing and will provide a great deal of change to allow growth among all of the stakeholders. At this point I would like to focus my thoughts on the teachers in this new district. Right now they are finishing the school year as employees of Jordan School District, an entity that has been around for over 100 years. On July 1st they will change and become employees of Canyons School District. Some will feel that it is an opportunity for growth, others will feel that it is just change that has been thrust upon them. For those that resist change, the changes may be very difficult.

I don't know that teachers in general, are any more or less resistant to change than people in other professions, but it feels like it to me. I often wonder if it is true, why that is. I have seen up close the past few weeks great resistance to change on the part of some. It seems to me that without change, growth is actually stunted. That doesn't mean that everything has to change, but we have to be willing to accept needed changes and use them as opportunities for growth.

I am excited for the teachers that will be a part of Canyons School District because I see such opportunities for growth. I will work this year on helping them to see those opportunities and that in turn will help me to continue to grow. I love working with the people that I am working with as they are willing to change and grow. I am so looking forward to the next few weeks as more people will join us. In fact, about 3,000 of them. For those who welcome the change it may be easy, for those who the change has been thrust upon them it may not, but through the change for all, growth will come, that I am sure of.

It is exciting to be a part of change and to have the opportunity to grow, personally, socially, and professionally. In the end that is why I made the change.