Thanks for your support as I worked to understand the process of documenting and sharing my own learning. I believe strongly in the importance of owning my own space on the web, and that is why I have moved to my own domain here.
I hope you will continue to learn with me and challenge me as I try to make sense of what learning needs to look like in this exponentially changing world.
If we don’t have a common understanding of the facts, how do we have a national conversation about policy?
President Obama goes on to say that the filters on the information getting to the people are very challenging to overcome. News sources report untrue information that people believe. People don’t think critically about the information delivered to them through AM Talk Radio, Fox News, Facebook, “Reality” TV…
Confirmation bias has people making decisions then looking for the statements in any media to confirm their beliefs.
In Canada, what questions are we asking about our media?
During our last national election, some of our largest newspapers used their front pages for partisan politics to influence voters.
In Ontario schools, while we are concerned about the ability of our students to make up an article for traditional print media, how do we also ensure that they know how to critically examine media and ask questions to separate fact from belief?
If ever there was a time for educators to make digital literacies, including critical thinking, a priority, today is it.
Canada needs critical thinkers who make evidence-informed decisions. We need citizens who know how to keep their eyeballs, their heads, and their hearts on the truth, no matter what filters are on the media that they tune into.
We need citizens who stand up to the indoctrination of children and the perpetuation of false information.
Canada flag image shared by Brandon Grasley CC-BY-2.0
Featured image (Where’s my eyeball?) shared by Alan Levine CC BY 2.0
I’m not sure how to share this experience because it is new, intense and raw, and writing is the way I try to sort things out. So please bear with me.
How do we describe and define the intense feelings we experience when we see people we care about, colleagues in our profession, working their fingers to the bone at tasks that just don’t matter anymore?
Exponential change is our reality, yet many of our institutions continue to work hard to be exceptional at what mattered yesterday.
We can be so busy at irrelevant tasks that we completely fail to take notice of how quickly the world has abandoned any interest in what we are doing.
As we strive to understand and embrace exponential change, recognizing this commitment to irrelevance in others creates an intense intersection of sadness, defeat, frustration, isolation and the irresistible desire to escape.
It’s coming to terms with the fact that a compelling case for change may not exist for these dedicated educators – the realization that the past is too entrenched, that beliefs are not going to shift, and, sadly, that you are no longer part of this tribe.
As a teacher, I packaged content endlessly, provided feedback on everything, read tirelessy, reflected on everything. It consumed me. It consumes many. Balance, alignment, living a rich life away from school – all of these things can be hard when there are no “hours of work” or boundaries of work. There is always more that can be done.
Many of us work really hard – too hard perhaps. But the passion for what we do, for changing life trajectories, is hard for others to understand at times.
It takes intention to stop and rethink the effectiveness of the effort and the purpose in how we spend our most valuable resource – time.
Recently, two dear friends spoke at my husband’s retirement celebration. They shared a timeline of his outstanding career in protecting Ontario’s natural resources. Then they focused on what is left in the timeline, and how we need to be intentional about how that time is used.
Retired US Fish and Game Officer Leo Suazo spoke eloquently about the value of time, and how after retirement, we have the opportunity to choose how we will share our gift of time. What life trajectories will we impact? What changes will we enable?
How will we use our time to support those doing good in the world?
So then, how does this help us decide how to spend that precious time? Perhaps a recent commencement address by Harvard Graduate School of Education Dean James Ryan helps us think this through.
My claim is that if you regularly ask: wait, what, I wonder, couldn’t we at least, how can I help, and what really matters, when it comes time to ask yourself “And did you get what you wanted out of life, even so,” your answer will be “I did.”
How will you use your gift of time?
Featured image of Diane Corbett, Ian Anderson, Doug Hyde and Jim Fry (Ontario Provincial Peer Support Program) by Kira Fry, June 2016.
This post is dedicated to my father, Melville Charles Miller, who would have been 81 years old today, on this Fathers’ Day 2016.
His dedication to the natural resources of this province inspired many of the people who have continued that legacy.
How are we preparing our students for the digital economy that is not their future, but their present?
How do we create the compelling argument that this is important, that this should be a priority in our school system?
Walmart is mere months away from replacing their warehouse workers with drones and robots.
Automation is not new. We have had the “robots are taking over the world” narrative in our minds for decades.
Have we become desensitized to it?
Because now they really are.
The extent to which robots are able to do menial jobs has grown exponentially, and artificial intelligence is no longer science fiction – it’s commonplace.
But when robots can do standardized work, it creates new opportunities. New opportunities for creators, for coders, for those educated to take advantage of these new opportunities.
How are we embracing the opportunities robotics will bring to our economy? In Ontario alone, we will have a deficit of 76,300 digital economy jobs by 2019.
Or are we just going to continue to blame corporations for embracing the technology available to them?
If we create standardized students, they can easily be replaced.
If we create unique individuals with the skills and competencies to rise above the menial and embrace new opportunities, we will be enabling our communities to continue to grow and prosper in our changing world.
As a parent, do you ask your school how your child is being prepared to thrive in the digital economy?
It is a powerful message, and it’s one I have heard often throughout the last month.
Richard Wagamese, storyteller and Canada Reads Peoples’ Choice author, spoke to educators in Thunder Bay about the one person who rescued him from a desperate life path. It’s a remarkable story that began with a simple kindness to a homeless native teenager in southern Ontario.
It ended with Richard reminding us that we have the power to be the one person who makes a difference in the life of another. As educators, we have no idea where our influence and impact will end.
Recently, I have been studying the impact of childhood trauma on long term life outcomes, including school success. The CBC Ideas 3-part Podcast, All In the Family, examines the ACE Study – Adverse Childhood Events.
With traumatized kids, “executive function” becomes derailed. In other words, their control over their behaviour is damaged.
A “code of conduct” is about punishment for behaviour without addressing the root cause.
How does a Code of Conduct negatively impact our most vulnerable kids, and amplify their inability to cope?
“Traumatized kids have a “fragmented” executive function”.
“The single greatest predictor of academic success that exists is the emotional stability of the home, it’s not the classroom. And if you really wanted to do education reform, you would start with the home, darn it, you wouldn’t start with the classroom, because it is the greatest predictor.”