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0iiginally hosteu at:
Which changeu to:
Befoie I moveu peimanently to:

1 2008 9
1.1 March . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Hello world! ’Pair-a-Dimes for Your Thoughts’ finds a new home! (2008-03-24 08:24) . . 9
The purpose of a system is what it does. (2008-03-26 00:16) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
crisis = danger + opportunity (2008-03-26 22:11) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Application of Constructivist Principles to the Practice of Instructional Technology
(2008-03-27 21:57) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Pizzas and Paperclips (2008-03-27 23:12) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Stone Soup (2008-03-29 18:38) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Christopher D. Sessums’ ”Competing Paradigms and Educational Reform”
(2008-03-30 15:39) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Three Quotes- Servant Leadership, Creative Tension & Vision, Knowledge Sharing in
Schools (2008-03-31 02:52) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Candy Cultures - Reflections on a leadership activity (2008-03-31 20:32) . . . . . . . . . 22
1.2 April . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Alan November and Authentic Audience (2008-04-02 02:08) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Enthusiasm (2008-04-02 22:14) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
A Story About A Tree (2008-04-03 00:00) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
David Warlick’s K12 Online Conference Keynote 2006 (2008-04-03 01:22) . . . . . . . . 29
Square Peg, Round Hole (2008-04-04 01:14) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
”the use of blogs to learn not just to teach” (2008-04-05 05:28) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Synthesize and Add Meaning (2008-04-05 07:15) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Tribute (2008-04-05 08:19) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Blog Rules - Respect, Inclusion, Learning and Safety (2008-04-05 10:18) . . . . . . . . . 47
The digital native, the digital naive, and the digital divide. (2008-04-05 14:12) . . . . . 49
Acceptance of Mediocrity, Web 2-point-oh-oh! (2008-04-06 00:05) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
Sharing and Engaging: Web 2-point-0h-Yeah! (2008-04-07 23:15) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Numeracy & Problem Solving: Process Producibles (2008-04-08 01:01) . . . . . . . . . . 61
Articulate Your Thinking... (an e-mail correspondence) (2008-04-08 01:46) . . . . . . . . 66
Learning Conversations (2008-04-08 21:58) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
School 2.0 Participant’s Manifesto (2008-04-09 07:52) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
Online Connectivism Conference: Healthy Discord (2008-04-09 21:30) . . . . . . . . . . 80
”The Power (and Peril) of Praising Your Kids” (2008-04-10 02:32) . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
ASK [for help] and Ye Shall Receive, SEEK [the right questions] and Ye Shall Find [the
right answers]. (2008-04-11 20:29) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
Promoting a Spirit of Inquiry (2008-04-12 16:46) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90
A Whole New Book Club (2008-04-13 10:10) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
Portal Needed to Connect Classrooms to the World: Global Citizens can Share Talents
and Skills with Students (2008-04-13 13:22) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97
Kidnapped! (2008-04-13 23:26) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100
SUPER TAGS and TAG WEEDERS: It’s time for blog tags to grow up! (2008-04-13 23:57) 106
Licensed To Pill: We live in an over-prescribed (and over-labelled) society.
(2008-04-14 00:35) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108
Marking What Counts and Reporting on Report Cards (2008-04-14 01:52) . . . . . . . . 109
it brought tears to my eyes (2008-04-14 02:26) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
The Web2.0 Prophecy: An Adventure (2008-04-14 23:48) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
SUCCESS(full) Presentation (2008-04-15 21:23) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
Reflections: Visit Counts, Technorati, Comments and Ego: A Good, Bad, and (almost)
Indifferent Post (2008-04-16 02:37) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
Assessment & Rote Learning: Math Conundrums (2008-04-17 22:14) . . . . . . . . . . . 132
Vandals, Vulgarity and Victims (2008-04-18 01:21) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140
on being a blogger... (2008-04-18 22:58) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144
WOW: Bringing Science Alive! (wiki) (2008-04-19 10:31) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148
”I’m a mop not a sponge”: Metaphors all the way down (2008-04-19 20:36) . . . . . . . 152
Phosphorescent Posts: metaphor surfing for bright ideas (2008-04-22 03:10) . . . . . . . 155
”Some Assembly Required” (2008-04-23 05:57) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
A Giant Teaches Me About SUCCESS: a “what are your secrets to a successful life” meme
(2008-04-24 00:25) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166
Start Your Own Blog (2008-04-24 22:01) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171
”Who Have You Helped Today?” - Developing Empathy (2008-04-25 00:10) . . . . . . . 174
$3,881.65 for one night’s work (2008-04-26 11:22) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178
School 2.0h no, not yet... (2008-04-26 14:16) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 181
More than one face to Cyberbullying in the classroom (2008-04-26 16:41) . . . . . . . . 187
Wikis in the classroom: a reflection. (2008-04-30 01:47) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 193
1.3 May . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201
Blogging with students requires biting your [digital] tongue (2008-05-01 00:26) . . . . . 201
Statement of Educational Philosophy (2008-05-02 02:13) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211
How to Prevent Another Leonardo da Vinci (2008-05-02 21:56) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213
bRinging tools to class (2008-05-03 23:49) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217
The Capacity to Lead (2008-05-04 10:26) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219
Reflections: Stirring in the crock pot (2008-05-05 01:09) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223
Transitions, Transformations, and Transgressions (2008-05-06 01:32) . . . . . . . . . . . 227
Presentation Week (2008-05-07 02:15) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229
Start with Innovative Schools... (2008-05-09 01:19) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 232
Digital immigrants or digital natives? A discussion of digital competence... A spectrum,
not a dichotomy! (2008-05-11 02:53) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 236
K12 Online Conference 2007: Playing with Boundaries- (at your leisure) (2008-05-14 01:54) 241
FieldFindr: Using Ning to Connect Teachers to Volunteers (2008-05-15 00:24) . . . . . . 243
Opportunities, Access & Obstacles (2008-05-16 02:26) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 244
INDEXED - a ’graph’ is worth a thousand words (2008-05-17 15:09) . . . . . . . . . . . 249
Two ’stuck’ posts, a borrowed post with an added rant, and a few questions.
(2008-05-18 00:28) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
“Release the Hounds” by Chris Harbeck (2008-05-18 13:12) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 255
Employability Skills 2000+ or 2000-? (2008-05-18 15:40) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 257
Halloween Scavenger Hunt on Ning (2008-05-19 02:19) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259
The Flickering (Never)Mind (2008-05-22 21:27) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 262
The Lowest Common Denominator (No, this isn’t about Math) (2008-05-24 15:44) . . . 265
Making a Difference (2008-05-25 02:00) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 276
November Podcast Highlights: Pink & Resnick Interviews (2008-05-27 00:28) . . . . . . 279
November Learning (2008-05-27 23:46) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 283
Most Influential (2008-05-31 04:02) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 286
1.4 June . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 289
Evaluating a Journey (2008-06-02 19:59) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 289
”I speak digital” :: Digital Exposure (2008-06-03 05:20) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 291
”You can’t go back now, can you?” (2008-06-03 22:35) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 294
What did I do B.G. - Before Google? (2008-06-07 15:38) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 297
Instantaneous (2008-06-07 17:17) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 299
And finally, I will leave you with this: (2008-06-07 18:22) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Do not go quietly into your classroom (2008-06-07 22:29) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 303
Ripples and Tidal Waves (2008-06-08 01:19) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 306
Harnessing our advantage (2008-06-08 11:50) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 309
Something from Nothing (2008-06-16 06:42) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 311
What comes around (2008-06-17 06:44) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 314
Edupunk or Educational Leader? (2008-06-19 01:24) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315
Inaction is action (2008-06-20 07:04) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319
Kids say the darndest things (2008-06-25 03:44) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 320
THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMMMMM… (2008-06-27 03:58) . . . . . . . . . . 322
1.5 July . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 329
Presenting... (2008-07-03 03:38) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 329
Overloaded and Unplugged (2008-07-05 16:53) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 331
Alan November’s BLC08 pre-conference (2008-07-15 13:55) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 332
This, my blog has taught me - Presentation 1, BLC08 (2008-07-16 08:28) . . . . . . . . 334
Learning Conversations -Presentation 2, BLC08 (2008-07-17 05:51) . . . . . . . . . . . . 335
Canadians... this is scary! (2008-07-20 10:38) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 336
defragging my brain after BLC08 (2008-07-22 22:29) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 338
1.6 August . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 340
hidden pain (2008-08-09 19:45) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 340
Are You a Catalyst for Change? (2008-08-14 04:39) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 342
beg for foregiveness (2008-08-16 22:26) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 346
Great Expectations (2008-08-29 07:59) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 347
Lessons from 100 Weddings (2008-08-31 02:07) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 348
1.7 September . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 354
By Design: Please keep the toilet seat in the upright position! (2008-09-02 05:23) . . . . 354
1-to-1 presentation (2008-09-12 03:54) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 358
A Brave New World-Wide-Web! (The video version) (2008-09-14 09:50) . . . . . . . . . 359
Who are the people in your neighbourhood? (2008-09-16 03:02) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 362
What ’we’ want for ’our’ children (2008-09-19 07:28) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 366
Connectivism, Relationships and Balance (2008-09-25 01:56) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 367
TLITE Presentations (2008-09-30 06:38) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 371
1.8 October . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 372
Facing Facebook (2008-10-05 12:50) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 372
VOTE! (2008-10-13 23:46) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 380
Get Off Your Butt (2008-10-19 02:19) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 381
POD’s (2008-10-21 02:26) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 383
Hargreaves and the 4th Way (2008-10-27 01:55) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 384
Let’s Talk About Sex (2008-10-30 03:22) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 387
1.9 November . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 389
Interviewed on Seedlings (2008-11-07 08:07) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 389
Two Wolves (2008-11-11 05:16) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 390
1.10 December . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 397
YouTube Generation (2008-12-01 03:08) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 397
Edublog Awards Nomination (2008-12-03 03:40) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 399
The Pedagogy of Play (2008-12-11 08:10) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 402
Girl Power (2008-12-17 04:42) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 404
Unintentional Bias (2008-12-19 04:01) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 409
2 2009 417
2.1 January . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 417
7 things, 3 tags and 1 confession (2009-01-04 04:08) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 417
The Rant, I Can’t, The Elephant and the Ant (2009-01-13 04:03) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 419
Digital Teachers (2009-01-23 22:18) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 424
An Open Letter to the Fraser Institute (2009-01-29 02:59) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 427
2.2 February . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 432
Students, Information and Schools (2009-02-06 08:05) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 432
Best Practice is still Practice (2009-02-12 01:57) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 438
Pfffffft! The Pitfalls of Presenting at Pro-D (2009-02-21 13:16) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 441
Share your Gr8Tweets for the month of March (2009-02-25 16:59) . . . . . . . . . . . . 447
2.3 March . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 449
Students Today (2009-03-16 02:22) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 449
Is the tool an obstacle or an opportunity? (2009-03-24 01:47) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 450
My blog is my PhD (2009-03-30 07:13) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 452
2.4 April . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 455
A Gr8Tweet-ing Experience (2009-04-03 03:42) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 455
Black and White Education (2009-04-16 02:42) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 458
Hargreaves and the 4th Way [Part 2] (2009-04-28 07:27) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 463
2.5 May . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 466
The Road Less Traveled (2009-05-13 08:22) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 466
Collaboration, Contributors and a Comment on Classroom2.0 (2009-05-16 11:48) . . . . 470
”Chasing the A” (2009-05-29 06:57) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 472
2.6 June . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 476
Learning in Louisiana (2009-06-09 03:13) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 476
2.7 July . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 479
The Rant, I Can’t, The Elephant and the Ant- On SlideShare (2009-07-20 22:40) . . . . 479
2.8 August . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 481
The POD’s are Coming! BLC09 (2009-08-03 12:28) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 481
A letter to friends (2009-08-15 13:59) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 485
Destinations and Dispositions (2009-08-18 02:52) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 488
Variable Flow (2009-08-23 05:03) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 490
2.9 September . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 496
Bubble Wrap (2009-09-21 12:19) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 496
Blogs as Learning Spaces (2009-09-24 16:00) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 501
2.10 October . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 503
Openness and Acceptance, Mr Deng and his Allegories of Windows, Flies and Coloured
Cats (2009-10-05 15:24) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 503
Facebook Revisited (2009-10-11 02:40) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 505
Caring across the curriculum (2009-10-14 15:49) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 512
2.11 November . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 515
Cassie and Katie have blogs! (2009-11-01 00:47) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 515
moments (2009-11-16 02:41) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 517
My 2009 Edublog Awards Nominations (2009-11-27 16:36) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 517
Convergence, Cofino and a Connected World (2009-11-30 11:31) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 522
2.12 December . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 524
Shifting Education (2009-12-06 06:36) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 524
Nominations, Appreciation and Inquiry (2009-12-13 12:27) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 527
Holiday-Christmas-Concert (2009-12-25 05:35) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 537
T’was two nights after Christmas... A story of lost innocence. (2009-12-28 10:55) . . . . 538
3 2010 543
3.1 January . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 543
Broken Presentations and Broken Photocopiers (2010-01-14 12:50) . . . . . . . . . . . . 543
Augmented Identity (2010-01-15 22:31) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 545
3.2 February . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 547
Olympic and Blogging Fever (2010-02-06 10:13) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 547
The Trap (2010-02-07 09:11) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 549
Google Buzz and George Costanza - Worlds Collide (2010-02-21 20:38) . . . . . . . . . . 551
3.3 March . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 555
Warning! We Filter Websites at School (2010-03-06 01:03) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 555
Teachers as Lead Learners (2010-03-11 05:39) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 558
Product You (2010-03-13 03:30) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 559
The Role of a Principal (2010-03-17 22:39) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 562
Shifting Learning (2010-03-27 16:50) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 564
My 4th blogiversary - Reflections and Appreciation (2010-03-29 05:00) . . . . . . . . . . 570
3.4 April . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 579
iPads are for iConsumers (2010-04-05 06:37) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 579
Great things in the classroom (2010-04-07 19:34) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 581
A Culture of Caring (2010-04-10 16:59) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 582
Choose Your Battle (2010-04-20 01:26) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 583
Shifting Attitudes (2010-04-24 06:16) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 586
3.5 May . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 590
Math can be beautiful! (2010-05-05 21:35) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 590
Photosynthesis and Learning: a learning metaphor (2010-05-08 08:24) . . . . . . . . . . 592
Bring Your Own Laptop to School (2010-05-20 23:15) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 595
Chapter 1
1.1 March
Hello world! ’Pair-a-Dimes for Your Thoughts’ finds a new home! (2008-03-24 08:24)
A few years ago, a friend sent me an invitation to join him on a social network and start something called
a blog. I signed up and my first post, ”The purpose of a system is what is does” set the metaphoric tone
for my ideas and thoughts that will fill this space. Essentially, I think many students are square pegs
that we try to put into round holes (my personal schooling experience included). I think we have a lot
still to learn about education and learning, and I also think that technology might provide some bridges
to help make effective pedagogy come faster, and easier.
With this in mind I now move ’pair-a-dimes’ to it’s new and final home. It started at elgg.net which was
confusing to some since elgg is an [2]open source software [3]platform as well as an open source blogging
platform. So the name was changed to Eduspaces.net. Now Eduspaces will be managed by [4]Taking it
Global - and we were told the address would change again. Today I checked to confirm the new address
and low-and-behold, [5]Eduspaces is being kept in tact... too little, too late to keep me there! On the
bright side, my old links will stay live.
So here I am, making the move out on my own. I am using a [6]WordPress publishing platform hosted by
[7]BlueHost. I’ve had some issues with transferring my blog and so now I will move my blog post-by-post
over to this site. I’m taking advantage of this ’problem’ by reading, reflecting, (and fixing old links) as I
Once again, I bring you my thoughts and reflections on education, technology & learning. I invite
you to join in the conversation and add your ’couple of dimes worth’. Or, challenge yourself to use tech-
nology in a transformative way in your classroom. Or, ask yourself why we are stuck in a paradigm that
suggests changes to education need to be slow and progressive? Be part of the conversation, be part of
the solution, be an active learner who shares ideas with others. Do so, and I thank you for contributing
to my learning!
Think Good Thoughts,
Say Good Words,
Do Good Deeds.
1. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/pair-a-dimes1.jpg
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source
3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elgg_(software)
4. http://www.takingitglobal.org/home.html
5. http://eduspaces.net/dtruss/weblog/
6. http://wordpress.org/
7. http://bluehost.com/
gabriela sellart (2008-03-24 15:43:53)
Dave, the new home of ”pair a dimes” looks so elegant! The old one meant a lot to me last year. I read posts which
were really enlightening, which broadened my mind making me think on new possibilities I had never thought
about. I agree with you when you say that schools try to fit students into a matrix. Too often they just won’t fit
and they are regarded as a failure. This needs to change. I still don’t know to what extent technology will play
its part in this change. What I know is that it certainly gives students more possibilities than the limited ones
they had before, when we, teachers, could build a wall around their access to knowledge. I also know that when
we start to use technology we start to question ourselves about our practice in general, and that’s the beginning
of a change. And certainly our global network is providing new perspectives. But educational institutions tend
to be conservative. Institutional changes will surely be slow. However, that shouldn’t prevent us from changing.
We’ll always find gaps. Best of luck in your new home. Is there a ritual for blog lauching? Like breaking a bottle
of champagne against the screen? no, I don’t think that would be a good idea.
Dave Truss (2008-03-28 02:07:51)
Thank you Gabriela! I obviously need to work out a few kinks yet... like setting up alerts to let me know that I
have a comment:-) The only blog launching ritual I can think of is celebrating my first comment! A blog is only an
online journal until there is interaction and engagement between writer and reader, as participants in a ’learning
conversation’. You have been someone I owe thanks to, for both following my blog, and being my teacher as well.
There is a still-unwritten post on ’Netiquette’ that you have inspired me to write. But first, I have some reading,
reflecting, and posting to do in order to bring my current, and hopefully final, blog location up to date. Thanks
again for contributing the first comment on my new blog! Dave
The purpose of a system is what it does. (2008-03-26 00:16)
Stafford Beer coined the term [1]Cybernetics.
He was a brilliant man who, among other things, wrote a novel about a very wise but forgetful wizard.
This excerpt tells you what he thinks of our education system. The title alone- referring to the Education
Minister- should give you a hint of what is to come.
Excerpt from: [2]Chronicles of Wizard Prang by Stafford Beer
From Chapter Two: A Pompous Man
The pompous man lowered himself into the visitor’s armchair.
”I have the honour to be the Chairman of the Education Committee in our little town,” he said.
”As you know, education is the hope for mankind.”
Wizard Prang raised an eyebrow, but waited politely for his visitor to continue.
”It has come to my attention,” the pompous man said, ”that you are the possessor of some very
advanced knowledge. Our Committee has therefore passed a resolution Inviting you to give the School
Prizes away on Speech Day this year and to give us a little address telling us all about it.”
…The wizard cleared his throat.
”In a hundred years or so, everyone now alive in the whole earth will be dead - is this not so?”
The pompous man was relieved. He could follow that. He nodded sagely.
”It would therefore be possible for the human race to run its affairs quite differently, in a wise
and benevolent fashion, in a relatively short time.”
This way of looking at things appealed to the Chairman of the Education Committee. It had an
optimistic ring, so different from the doom-laden pronouncements of most so-called clever people.
He leaned forward. ”And so?” he asked encouragingly.
”The purpose of education,” said Wizard Prang, ”is to make sure this doesn’t happen.”
The pompous man was thunderstruck.
”Look here, Sir,” he said, ”please remember who I am. Not only do I have civic responsibilities -
I am also a Pompous Man. You can’t say things like that, you know.”
The wizard was under the Impression that he just had said it, and looked around anxiously to
see If anything was wrong. But things looked much as usual.
”Young people today are lazy and good-for-nothing,” declared the pompous man. He resounded.
He was on familiar ground. ”They sit around listening to pop music and taking drugs. What they have
to do is learn more things, apply themselves.”
”No, that’s not correct,” the wizard explained, ”they have to unlearn things.”
”How can that possibly be?” The pompous man was lost.
”Well,” said Wizard Prang, ”we can teach only what we know. Now what we know is how to
devastate the planet, kill its inhabitants, and starve two thirds of the rest. Seems a bit silly to teach
people to do all that.”
”Ridiculous!” shouted the pompous man. ”That is not the intention at all, and you know it.”
The wizard looked reflective. ”The purpose of a system is what it does.”
Originally posted: March 29th, 2006
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
It seems fitting to me that this was my first ever blog post. If I
were given a magic wand and provided with an opportunity to change
just one thing about institutional learning, I would wish for a
dynamic system that charged forth, innovatively leading the way with
new ideas and attitudes towards what it means to be an intentional
learner. I wouldn’t worry about ’What has been done in the past,’ or
’How we always do things around here’. However I am not going to go
off on a diatribe... this is about a new beginning.
This first post set a tone for my blog. It was a metaphorical
opening of a window, allowing a breath of fresh air into my teaching
and into my experience as a lifelong learner. As I approach the two
year mark since first blogging this, I can honestly say that becoming
a blogger has been absolutely transformative! I feel like I’ve learned
more in the past 2 years than I have in 22 years of one kind of
institutional learning or another.
We are embarking on a new era for schools. Technological tools and
the world of Web2.0 are helping teachers and students leave Clay
Burell’s [3]Schooliness behind. But it won’t be an easy ride! Many
people treat the technological tools as a means to do ’[4]old things
in new ways’.
What I think makes this new transformation more meaningful is that
we can no longer ’hold students back’. Dave Sands, a friend and
mentor, told me years ago, "Do you know what will change education?
Students will!" They will indeed, as the metaphorical window is open
for them too. They can, and will, lead the way and we need to decide
if we want to help guide their learning path beyond the walls of our
schools, or if we want to hold them back... have them fill in a
multiple choice answer here, and a fill-in-the-blank question there?
’The purpose of a system is what it does.’ What do we want our
schools to do?
1. http://www.cybsoc.org/contacts/people-Beer.htm
2. http://www.chroniclesofwizardprang.com/contents.htm
3. http://beyond-school.org/2008/03/04/what-is-schooliness-overview-and-open-thread/
4. http://www.edutopia.org/adopt-and-adapt
Andreas Auwaerter (2008-03-26 14:27:00)
Hi Dave, so it seems to be moving time all over! ;-) I had to switch the url - from www to userpages - seems to
be a little change, but finally its more like a ’digital suicide’ - because of all the subscribers! ;-) So great to hear
from you again and have fun @ your now ’self hosted’ blog. Andreas
crisis = danger + opportunity (2008-03-26 22:11)
The first time I read that the Chinese word for ’crisis’ included components or elements of the words
’danger’ and ’opportunity’ was in [1]James Lovelock’s ’Gaia- A New Look at Life on Earth’ over 20 years
ago, (see the wiki for [2]Gaia Theory or a review of [3]The Ages of Gaia). I have heard this reference
literally hundreds of times since, and I have also perpetuated this idea countless times.
Well, chalk this one up as a fallacy or urban legend!
According to [4]Victor H. Mair, Professor of Chinese Language and Literature, Department of East
Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania ...”crisis” (w?ij?) consists of two syllables
that are written with two separate characters, w?i and j?.
The j? of w?ij?, in fact, means something like ”incipient moment; crucial point (when something be-
gins or changes).” Thus, a w?ij? is indeed a genuine crisis, a dangerous moment, a time when things
start to go awry. A w?ij? indicates a perilous situation when one should be especially wary. It is not a
juncture when one goes looking for advantages and benefits.
But j? is mistakenly believed to signify opportunity because j? added to huì (”occasion”) creates the
Mandarin word for ’opportunity’ (j?huì). However by itself j? does not mean ’opportunity’. If j? can be
interpreted as ”incipient moment” or ”crucial point”, then the j? in ’opportunity’ can also be a crucial
point. So in both j?huì and w?ij? there are crucial points, but there is no ’opportunity’ found in the
Chinese word ’crisis’.
The problem here is that despite the fallacy, I think that this is such a powerful metaphor to live by!
On the other hand, Mair thinks that this muddled thinking, ”is a danger to society, for it lulls people
into welcoming crises as unstable situations from which they can benefit. Adopting a feel-good attitude
toward adversity may not be the most rational, realistic approach to its solution.”
Although I agree that ’looking for’ or ’seeking out’ a crisis in order to find an opportunity is not healthy,
(I think here of hostile takeovers as an example), there is an inherent element of ’good’ in looking for
hidden opportunities when you find yourself in a crisis.
”When life feeds you lemons, make (and then sell) lemonade!”
Originally posted: April 2nd, 2006
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
I spend a lot of time examining and using metaphors in this blog. I
think storytelling and the use of metaphors are grossly underused in
teaching. The ’Truth’ behind a story or a metaphor is far less
important than the meaning that we can get out of a well-timed
example, a colourful description, or an off-the-wall comparison that
brings a teachable moment alive. I think it is healthy to see the
silver lining in a gray cloud or to look for the opportunities a
crisis may present.
1. http://www.ecolo.org/lovelock/lovebioen.htm
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_theory_%28science%29
3. http://gaianation.net/gaia.html
4. http://www.pinyin.info/chinese/crisis.html
Application of Constructivist Principles to the Practice of Instructional Technology
(2008-03-27 21:57)
[1]Application of Constructivist Principles to the Practice of Instructional Technology By [2]Bonnie
I found this while procrastinating on finishing my masters paper.
Disgusted with how this has transformed from a labour of interest and love to one of ’hoop jumping’ that
is just what I Googled... along with ’education’. This is just what I was looking for:
Instructional Strategy Development
• Distinguish between instructional goals and learners’ goals; support learners in pursuing
their own goals. Ng and Bereiter (1991) distinguish between (1) task-completion goals
or hoop jumping,” (2) instructional goals set by the system, and (3) personal knowledge-
building goals set by the student. The three do not always converge. A student motivated
by task-completion goals doesn’t even consider learning, yet many students’ behavior in
schools is driven by performance requirements. Constructivist instruction would nour-
ish and encourage pursuit of personal knowledge-building goals, while still supporting
instructional goals. As Mark Twain put it: ”I have never let my schooling interfere with
my education.”
...no they do not converge and no I do not feel nourished... and I should really listen to Mr. Twain!
So can technology come to the rescue?
• Allow for multiple goals for different learners. ID often includes the implicit assump-
tion that instructional goals will be identical for all learners. This is sometimes necessary,
but not always. Hypermedia learning environments almost by definition are designed to
accommodate multiple learning goals. Even within traditional classrooms, technologies
exist today for managing multiple learning goals (Collins, 1991).
• Appreciate the interdependency of content and method. Traditional design theory treats
content and the method for teaching that content as orthogonally independent factors.
Postmodern ID says you can’t entirely separate the two. When you use a Socratic
method, you are teaching something quite different than when you use worksheets and
a posttest. Teaching concepts via a rule definition results in something different than
teaching the concept via rich cases. Just as McLuhan discerned the confounding of
”media” and ”message,” so designers must see how learning goals are not uniformly met
by interchangeable instructional strategies (see Wilson & Cole, in preparation).
So we should be spending our time ’designing’ learning environments... I need to look up ’hypermedia
learning environments’.
I like the focus in this next section:
• Think in terms of designing learning environments rather than selecting instructional
strategies. Metaphors are important. Does the designer ”select” a strategy or ”design” a
learning experience? Grabinger, Dunlap, and Heath (1993) provide design guidelines for
what they call realistic environments for active learning (REAL); these guidelines reflect
a constructivist orientation:
– Extend students’ responsibility for their own learning.
– -Allow students to determine what they need to learn.
– -Enable students to manage their own learning activities.
– -Enable students to contribute to each other’s learning.
– -Create a non-threatening setting for learning.
– -Help students develop metacognitive awareness.
– Make learning meaningful.
– -Make maximum use of existing knowledge.
– -Anchor instruction in realistic settings.
– -Provide multiple ways to learn content.
– Promote active knowledge construction.
– -Use activities to promote higher level thinking.
– -Encourage the review of multiple perspectives.
– -Encourage creative and flexible problem solving.
– -Provide a mechanism for students to present their learning.
• Think of instruction as providing tools that teachers and students can use for learning;
make these tools user-friendly. This frame of mind is virtually the opposite of ”teacher-
proofing” instructional materials to assure uniform adherence to designers’ use expecta-
tions. Instead, teachers and students are encouraged to make creative and intelligent use
of instructional tools and resources.
There is so much room for creativity, the use of metaphors, and problem solving... meeting multiple goals
for individual learners... as long as we invest time in making the learning meaningfully relevant, and in
designing flexible learning environments.
The hardest bone to swallow here, the one that sticks in my throat as I sit here gnawing on the sparse
backbone of higher learning, is that this freedom is what I desire for my own learning, but how much of
it do I offer to my own students in my classroom?
How many of them are jumping through my hoops?
Originally posted: March 29th, 2006
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
It was wonderful reading this again! It shows what I was looking for,
as both a student and a teacher, 6 months before fully jumping into
the world of web2.0.
These key guidelines make me think of [3]Chris Harbeck’s
[4]Unprojects: Extend students’ responsibility for their own
learning. Make learning meaningful. Promote active knowledge
construction. They also remind me of my inspiration for creating my
[5]Brave New World-Wide-Web slidshow that I put together for a
presentation to student teachers. I’ll leave the last word on this
post to my friend Gary Kern. Gary invited me to start blogging and
left me my first comment. His words are always thought provoking!
Metaphor change - we are constantly looking for the "right tool"
for the job. Once we find it, every kid has to use it! Technology
"liberates" us from the world of tools and provides for us an
"environment" where students can use ANY type of tool they require.
They can pick the tool that matches their learning goals, or their
learning style, or whatever they want. The learning outcome is the
purpose and whether a kid makes a movie, powerpoint, podcast, blog
entry or makes a diarama doesn’t matter! I don’t care how you show
me you deserve your masters - just that you show me you deserve
your masters! Now get back to work!
1. http://www.usask.ca/education/coursework/802papers/Skaalid/application.html
2. http://www.usask.ca/education/coursework/802papers/Skaalid/index.html
3. http://makeitinteresting.blogspot.com/
4. http://www.slideshare.net/charbeck1/unprojects-125206
5. http://www.slideshare.net/datruss/brave-new-www
Alec Couros (2008-03-27 22:08:23)
I remember reading Bonnie’s paper and thinking something similar. I can’t remember which hoop I was on at
the time, but I can tell you this, even after you thought you’ve been through your last hoop, there’s another one
around the corner. Let’s stop this together ... no more hoops!
chris Harbeck (2008-04-16 19:10:09)
When students are set loose and allowed to be ”creative” they set their limits almost all achieve higher results. Be
those results academic or personal. When I start unprojects I set few guidelines and set them free. All students
from the weak to the strong do better because of choice. Thanks for the mention Chris
Pizzas and Paperclips (2008-03-27 23:12)
I am combining two short posts here:
Ordering a pizza in in the near future.
Turn your speakers on for this one... a little dark humour about living in a wired world. [1]Ordering
from Pizza Palace.
Originally posted April 6th, 2006
One Red Paperclip
We live in a wired world where a man with a blog, and a little PR, can turn [2]One Red Paperclip into
some Real Estate.
Originally posted April 17th, 2006
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
Pizza: The Big Brother potential is highlighted by this spoof. In a
later post I show just how much Google already knows about me... the
potential is both scary and exciting!
Paperclip: My first hints at the power of the web, and of networks.
A group of friends couldn’t make this happen but a network could. This
is a great feel-good story:-)
1. http://aclu.org/pizza/images/screen.swf
2. http://oneredpaperclip.blogspot.com/2005/07/one-red-paperclip.html
Stone Soup (2008-03-29 18:38)
From the introduction of:
[1]The Teaching Moment:a learning metaphor by Mia Lobel, Michael Neubauer, Randy Swedburg
The Internet is saturated with distance education claims about learning environments, ef-
fective pedagogies, teaching modules, skill training techniques and community building mod-
els. Typing into Google: “online teaching training distance education” nets one 265,000 hits.
Typically, efforts to deliver educational content and to construct knowledge online seem to be
asynchronous. The synchronous teaching ‘engagements’, either attempt to incorporate high
tech features like sound and/or video into their delivery method, while others seem to use
Java based synchronous chat modules which only allow interacting in simple ASCII text. In
general, one presumes that at least some portion of the teaching effectiveness claimed by this
vast community of practitioners is predicated on long-term preparation, research, and expe-
rience. However, what this preparation may involve, on what specific data the opinions are
based, or what the actual teaching really looks like, remains largely unclear.
“The Stone Soup” is an Eastern European folk tale. At the end of the war, a group of
bedraggled soldiers come upon a devastated village. The inhabitants, having hidden the little
bit of food they still had left, watched as one soldier made a fire, another fetched water in a
cauldron, while another removed an ordinary looking stone from his pouch and placed it into
the boiling water. Having accomplished this task, the soldiers settled around their campsite
and began talking enthusiastically about their anticipated meal. The first soldier said: “Yes,
stone soup is my favorite, but once I had it with cabbage, and that was delicious!” Hearing
this, the bravest of the villagers, approached the cauldron and threw in his cabbage. The
second soldier said: ”Ah, yes, but when you add a bit of beef, well…” Next, it was the village
butcher who added a piece of meat he has been hoarding to the soup. Eventually, everyone
sat down together to partake of the best soup the villagers have ever had. Before they left,
the soldiers gave the magic stone to the villagers, reminding them that the stone’s power is
actually in their cooperation.
Like in the children’s folk tale “The Stone Soup,” there seems to be a famine of empirical
information about how learning actually takes place in the synchronous distance education
village. Everyone seems to agree that knowledge is being delivered and the practitioners have
found the delivery methods that serve them. The content of the knowledge being delivered
is largely known, and often, grounded in theory. What seems to be missing is twofold: what
are participants saying and how are they saying it? How is the learning task accomplished,
and how are the group’s dynamics facilitated to allow the learning to unfold? This paper
is an attempt to make transparent the process of experientially constructing knowledge in a
real-time eClassroom, which has been described in Lobel, Neubauer, & Swedburg (2002).
The following account may be viewed as offering that which is invited: namely, other prac-
titioners with whom to dialogue, and share the ingredients involved in creating the content
and process of facilitating online real-time learning. The particular ‘teaching moment’ offered
here seems apt in several ways. It demonstrates how people with different points of view,
sharing their perspectives, can and do create a common pool of knowledge, where the lowest
common denominator is raised to the highest one. The learning segment presented in this
paper includes and makes visible the elements sought above: namely, the preparation, the
research and the experience used to design, deliver and process a learning sequence. Like in
the story, the Instructor provides a “stone” by posting a pictographic ambiguous image. As
each villager brings her own unique contribution to the interaction, the resulting synergy-rich
“soup” belongs to everyone. Could not any community, including one of teachers and learners,
dialoguing in this manner produce the same result?
Essentially, teaching begins with the belief that “The way of the teacher is a practice in
trust” (Arrien, 1998). The trust involved in this case study is supported by decades of observ-
ing the learning process, and is anchored by theories of learning and of group development to
active practice and risky experimentation. “Trust the process” and “Be open to outcome,”
accurately describe the value-base of the primary Instructor’s teaching approach. In keep-
ing with “the Stone Soup” metaphor, the teacher brings the cauldron, builds the fire, puts
the “magic” stone into the boiling water and trusts that eventually the audience will engage
enough to bring their own hidden ingredients to the process.”
- - -
This really makes me think about [2]The Tao of Leadership because of the feminine, nurturing way
that the soldiers show their leadership. This book is my ’Leadership Bible’ that I go to time and again for
inspiration and guidance. It really is ’process’ oriented and focused on fostering leadership from within.
This Stone Soup metaphor fits well with my thinking around having students develop the curriculum
around their interests, or more aptly, their tastes. Students as leaders and creators of content for learn-
ing, as opposed to just being passive receivers.
Originally posted: April 22nd, 2006
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting: In a way this blog has
evolved into its’ own kind of Stone Soup! It is put together not only
with what I have come up with, but more importantly the ideas of so
many others. The ingredients come from outside sources, and people,
that add to the richness of this blog. It is my ingestion of (and
reflection on) the ’ingredients’ others have shared that make it the
primary source of nourishment that I feed off of (as someone engaged
in my own learning). The very nature of the many social networks we
find online are about what we share with others rather than what we
hoard and keep to ourselves. I guess what I’m really talking about are
the principles of [3]Wikinomics: : Being Open, Peering, Sharing, and
Acting Globally. These principles are key to preparing our students
for the future. Things are moving and changing too quickly to be using
stale ingredients (textbooks) and hand-me-down recipes (photocopied
resources). We need to be connected to the tastes and ingredients the
world has to offer. It is exciting to see Educators participating and
creating their own Stone Soup!
1. http://www.usdla.org/html/journal/NOV02_Issue/article01.html
2. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0893340790?ie=UTF8&tag=davidtrcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=
3. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1591841380?ie=UTF8&tag=davidtrcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=
Christopher D. Sessums’ ”Competing Paradigms and Educational Reform”
(2008-03-30 15:39)
A great article:[1] Competing Paradigms and Educational Reform that asks,
What has this dominant paradigm actually done for public education except manufacture
a crisis?
Not only does it list initiatives and consequences of this paradigm (read the post!), it also suggests a
paradigm shift with the following perspective:
• Human freedom and empowerment are more critical than accountability and punish-
• Life is about relationships, not acquisition.
• School is a democratic experience.
• Caring and trust for each person is the center of any truly professional activity.
• Schools are to improve society as a whole, not providing competitive advantage to the elite.
• Curriculum is best derived from the needs and interests of the learners.
• Developmental appropriateness should supersede national assessment.
• School failure is the result of a variety of political and economic causes.
”Supporters of this alternate perspective maintain that education is a process based on trust,
not doubt and suspicion (Bryk & Schneider 2002). The crucial elements that will sustain
school improvement is not high-stakes testing, standards, or reactionary accountability pro-
grams – “it is simple human trust… that rests on four supports: respect, competency, integrity,
and personal regard for others” (George 2006).
”Real education is built on meaningful relationships. We do not learn things in isolation
from each other. The core components of education are based on learner-centered values, a
respect for diversity and complexity, tolerance, and empowerment. The developmental needs
for learners are widespread and cannot be easily or meaningfully reduced to a pencil-based
This fits so well with where my thinking has been of late. To add to Christopher’s idea that the shift
will come from the grassroots/bottom up, I am reminded of Dave Sands comment that, ”Students will
change education.”
Originally posted: May 1st, 2006
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
Sessums was a great influence to my writing when I started blogging.
He was the first blogger that I followed... before knowing anything
about RSS feeds. After somehow finding this post, I added him as a
friend on elgg and I would periodically check the ’friend’s blogs’ tab
that the blogging software offered.
Standardized tests do NOT measure a school’s success. As Wesley
Fryer says, [2]Reject Rigor: Embrace Differentiation, Flexibility, and
High Expectations. How do you reduce success to a percentage, when in
your classrooms a ’B’ can be an utter embarrassment for one student
and a glorious success for another?
In our district, we put special needs students on IEP’s - Individual
Education Plans. Doesn’t every student deserve an individual plan?
Gary Kern, when he was my Vice Principal, asked me, "Why is it that we
teach in groups and manage behavior of individuals, when behavior is a
group thing and learning is an individual thing?" Something worth
thinking about!
1. http://elgg.net/csessums/weblog/8200.html
2. http://www.speedofcreativity.org/2006/08/31/
Three Quotes- Servant Leadership, Creative Tension & Vision, Knowledge Sharing
in Schools (2008-03-31 02:52)
This one is on [1]Servant Leadership - providing students with capacities and competencies...
“Through their programs schools can provide the opportunity for the development of capacities and
competencies, that enable young people to get started on the path of acting with a sense of civic re-
sponsibility. Through programs of community and “service” learning, student leadership programs, peer
mediation and coaching, mentoring programs, and student decision-making groups, schools can provide
the opportunity to students to develop a sense of commitment to others and a sense of service to further
the interests of all groups in society.”
Page 431 Quote from International Handbook on Lifelong Learning, Chapman & D. Aspin , Edited by
David N Aspin, Judith Chapman, Michael Hatton, Yukiko Sawano, (2001) Hingham, MA: Kluwer Aca-
(I look at [2]Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness by
[3]Robert K. Greenleaf starting on pg. 15 of [4]My Master’s Paper. Here are some [5]Student Leadership
Lessons, and some wonderful [6]Teaching Metaphors.)
- - - - -
[7]Peter Senge writes on Creative Tension and moving from Reality to Vision.
Leadership in a learning organization starts with the principle of creative tension. Creative tension
comes from seeing clearly where we want to be, our ”vision,” and telling the truth about where we are,
our ”current reality.” The gap between the two generates a natural tension. Creative tension can be
resolved in two basic ways: by raising current reality toward the vision, or by lowering the vision toward
current reality. Individuals, groups, and organizations who learn how to work with creative tension learn
how to use the energy it generates to move reality more reliably toward their visions.
Peter M. Senge, [8]The Leader’s New Work: Building Learning Organizations , Sloan Review, Fall
1990. p. 9.
- - - - -
[9]Michael Fullan on Knowledge Sharing - we have a ways to go in Education.
It is ironic that schools systems are late to the game of knowledge building both for their students
and for their teachers. Most schools are not good at knowledge sharing within their own walls...”
M. Fullan (2001), [10]Leading in a Culture of Change .San Francisco John Wiley & Sons. (p. 104).
Originally posted: May 7th, 2006
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
Until my blog address changed from elgg to eduspaces, this was the
most Google-searched link on my blog. The idea of Servant Leadership
is an incredible way to get students involved in their school, in
their community, and with the greater world at large. The selfless
nature of this kind of leadership is something we should all aspire to
pass on to our students. Recently teachers in our district have
started using [11]Kiva, and I have worked with [12]Free the Children.
It is wonderful when we can get students to show compassion on a
global scale!
- - - - -
The idea of creative tension is interesting when looking at technology
integration. I think there are shifts in the tide between the current
reality of what can be done using the resources and technology
available, and the vision of where things need to go. Waves of
[13]elation and [14]frustration flow through the blogosphere.
- - - - -
Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration! Whether it is within the
walls of our schools or not is unimportant. What is important is that
we don’t waste valuable time and energy reinventing things that are
easily shared. Teachers are not islands! Why is it that I have a more
intimate understanding of what some teachers around the world do in
their classes, (thanks to their blogs), than I know about the teaching
practice of someone I taught across the hall from for 6 years?
Trustees, Superintendents, Administrators, Teachers... make more time
available for collaboration
1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Servant_leadership
2. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0809105543?ie=UTF8&tag=davidtrcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=
3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_K._Greenleaf
4. http://www.davidtruss.com/leadership_paper.htm
5. http://davidtruss.com/leadership_lessons.htm
6. http://davidtruss.com/teachingmetaphors.htm
7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Senge
8. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000MZVAF2?ie=UTF8&tag=davidtrcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=
9. http://www.michaelfullan.ca/biography.htm
10. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0787987662?ie=UTF8&tag=davidtrcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=
11. http://www.kiva.org/
12. http://www.freethechildren.com/index.php
13. http://horizonproject.wikispaces.com/
14. http://aquaculturepda.wikispaces.com/Al+Upton
Candy Cultures - Reflections on a leadership activity (2008-03-31 20:32)
For a number of years I have used [1]The Candy Cultures Activity, first as a multiculturalism activity,
then as a leadership activity. I had a chance to experience it on two other levels recently. First, I ran the
activity at our Pro-D with staff a week ago. I also shared it with the Student Leadership Council (SLC)
Executive and, this week, they ran the activity at their first meeting with about 60 students participating.
In the activity members of a specific culture greet and chat with members of other cultures. One culture
consists of ’close talkers’ who like to make physical contact when talking, others like their personal space.
Some cultures feel subservient and/or superior to other cultures. Participants mingle and a funny social
’dance’ begins.
With the staff: After running this activity with students for so many years it was wonderful to run
it with adults. I was impressed with the involvement of my peers, they really engaged in the activity.
What I enjoyed most was listening to the meta-analysis of the activity during the debrief. I didn’t have
to lead the conversation anywhere, it simply flowed from why we did it as a staff, to why to do the
activity with students, to how it relates to our school beliefs...etc. I ended the debrief talking about how
sometimes in a meeting we might all have the schools’ best interest in mind, but yet because of a defensive
tone, or because of someone taking a different approach, we end up seeing each other in adversarial roles.
We misinterpret ’delivery’ with ’intent’. I then pointed out that in 9 years at the school this is the first
time we have almost all of the staff back. We know each other, and don’t need to do the ’cultural dance’
we do with new people, so we really have the potential to have a great year.
With the SLC, (student leaders representing each Middle and High School in the district): I have never
had the opportunity to casually observe this activity without being involved in some way. The approach
taken was very good, and what I really liked was the debrief questions they came up with.
• 1. Describe your frustrations/challenges.
• 2. How do you improve communication?
• 3. Relate the experience to school.
Question one is about the experience students went through. Question two asks students to look inward
and improve their own experience. Question three asks students to look outward at their school experi-
ence. The discussion went very well and it was great to see students pulling this off so eloquently with
their peers.
Originally posted: October 1st, 2006
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
I didn’t add a blog post for 6 months before this, and quite
honestly would never have considered myself a blogger at the time of
writing this post. It would be another 2 months before that
metamorphosis occurred.
Empowering students is something I get great pleasure out of as my
[2]Master’s Paper and [3]Student Leadership Resources demonstrate. It
was only after I saw how technology could liberate students as
learners that I delved into the world of web2.0 that I am so deeply
entrenched in now. What I wasn’t expecting was how much it transformed
me as a learner.
1. http://www.scribd.com/doc/2413465/Candy-Cultures
2. http://www.davidtruss.com/leadership_paper.htm
3. http://www.davidtruss.com/leadership_lessons.htm
tgidinski (2008-05-04 16:11:20)
Thanks for this idea, Dave! Another teacher and I used this activity with our 6/7 classes to start our Holocaust
unit. As we’re going through the [1]activity (from the Shoah Foundation) and discuss how the Jewish people were
treated differently in Europe, we refer back to the different relationships between the candy cultures and discuss
how quickly they decided which cultures they were able to communicate with easily and which ones they thought
were, in their words, ”weird.”
1. http://college.usc.edu/vhi/pyramidofhate/vhfmain.htm
1.2 April
Alan November and Authentic Audience (2008-04-02 02:08)
I heard [1]Alan November speak tonight and although there were many great ideas, one key idea hit a
cord with me.
”Students will work harder for an authentic audience than for a grade”...”Students will do more if they
leave a legacy beyond a grade.”
The technology is there! I remember for a couple weeks after my On-line [2]Renassance Fair
Davinci Project, students were coming up to me saying they still went home and checked the site to
see if anyone posted something new. When Alan told us about his course that ended months ago and
students are still blogging, I had to wonder, Why didn’t I keep mine going? The students had a voice...
and an audience.
Think of how you would change what you do when your audience changes:
Making dinner for yourself vs making dinner for a new friend.
Thanking someone personally vs thanking them in front of 100 people.
Teaching a class vs teaching peers at a Pro-D.
...Our audience matters, wouldn’t it make sense that this is true for our students too?
And the audience is out there on the web... from experts to parents to peers to billions of inter-
net users.
On a fun side note, think about the boy sitting in his basement lip sync-ing [3]Numa Numa -
hundreds of versions are on the net, millions have seen it! More people have seen this than some
Multi-Million dollar movie productions. Furthermore his fans have now copied this guy, here is a version:
[4]Lego Numa Numa (Over 250,000 views for this copy alone!).
I’ve seen some really bad, poorly made video clips on google video and YouTube that have had
over 15,000 people see it... there is an audience out there, and if that helps motivate students, if it gives
them a legacy or a global voice as Alan suggests, well, what are we waiting for?
- - - - - - -
I added a [5]clustrmap to this blog on Nov. 23/06. What a great tool show kids that they have
a global audience!
Cheryl Oakes posted [6]How Many Hits Has Your Refrigerator Had? on TechLEARNING.com-
have kids post their work on a ”worldwide refrigerator”, rather than the one at home.
Originally posted: October 20th, 2006
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
I’ve said it time and again, "Audience Matters". One thing that I have
been very poor at has been ’leaving a legacy’. Other than my
[7]Science Alive project most of my students’ work has been on private
networks. That said, even an audience of the whole class changes
things from handing something in just for the teacher. This post picks
up on a theme that I keep coming back to... if it works for me as a
learner, shouldn’t I offer my students the same opportunities?
On that note, seeing the comment about the clustrmap, I dug up the
My first clustr map archive.
I’d be lying if I said this didn’t change my writing in some way!
1. http://www.anovember.com/
2. http://eduspaces.net/davet/weblog/14829.html
3. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6377855743675143177&q=numa+numa
4. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7898868502605770693&q=numa+numa
5. http://clustrmaps.com/
6. http://www.techlearning.com/blog/2006/12/how_many_hits_has_your_refrige.php
7. http://sciencealive.wikispaces.com/
Enthusiasm (2008-04-02 22:14)
It costs nothing to be enthusiastic...
2 Questions to think about:
1. How much enthusiasm do I show at the front of the room?
2. How much enthusiasm do I inspire and/or expect from my students
[1]The unlimited power of enthusiasm
[2]Seth Godin, Nov 01, 2006 20:18:54 GMT
Normally, people just show up. They show up at work, or at a conference. They show up on vacation or
even sometimes they show up at home.
They aren’t doing anything special, they’re just doing.
Well, I spent the day with several hundred enthusiastic people.
This group, led by Jennifer Young, didn’t just show up. They arrived. They were purposeful and positive
and prepared and in a hurry... but in a good way.
It didn’t cost anything. It didn’t take any more effort (in fact, it probably ended up being less of an
effort.) They got more out of me, more out of each other, more out of the day.
Enthusiasm has a lot to be said for it
Originally posted: November 4th, 2006
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
"So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will
find; knock, and it will be opened to you." We hold so much power with
our attitude towards who we are, what we do, and what we are capable
1. http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2006/11/the_unlimited_p.html
2. http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/
A Story About A Tree (2008-04-03 00:00)
Not long ago, if a group of ’gamers’ got together for Dungeons and Dragons, people saw it as strange.
Teenagers bonding by getting together and creating alter egos, or characters and living out a fantasy.
Role Playing Gamers were sometimes perceived as a ’fringe’ group of lost souls that lack a full grip on
To me, Raph Koster’s ”[1]A Story About A Tree” is about how the gamers of the past are find-
ing refuge on-line. But what used to be a ’fringe’ activity is now mainstream. Communities are growing
on-line with a multitude of interests, well beyond gaming. Pick an interest and you can find like-minded
individuals seeking a group to belong to. And now role playing is something we all do to some extent.
How many alter ego’s do you have on the net? (e-mail names, e-bay, pogo, Flickr, elgg, blogs) How many
’conversations’ have you had with someone in another country or half-way around the world, having
never met them, or even known their given name? How many conversations will you have with them
before you call them a friend... care for them... plant a tree in their memory?
Benefits to this: A chance to find a community that you feel you ’belong’ to regardless of age,
sex, race, looks, nationality, disability, obesity, personality... Someone alone without anyone to love,
or be loved by can connect, create friendships, relate, orate, pontificate, debate, find a date... and
subsequently mate. Escape.
Costs: Human touch, a real smile :-) , a disconnect with the ’real’ world, even a dissatisfaction
with life. Other potential costs can include a group of acquaintances rather than friends, a child being
preyed on, or hate groups making connections and recruiting. More directly, a lack of exercise, apathy,
obesity, complacency, indecency. Escape.
Long gone is the era of Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, neighbourhood barbecues, family picnics, going
to church, or even helping thy neighbour. We still have sports teams, but what about the unathletic,
uncoordinated, and uninterested? What do we have for them now?
What we have is a [2]Second Life where you can watch [3]virtual ’reality tv’ ! In this virtual life
you can fly, look better, find friends, share time... even talk, (or rather type). Who would pass up such
an opportunity when the alternative is an unresponsive television or the realization that ”I have nothing
else to do”.
This started out as a story about a tree, and it will end with the planting of some seeds...
How will we use the community building aspects of the internet to foster learning in schools?
How do we make schools into ’modern day’ learning communities?
How do we get students to engage rather than escape?
- - - - - -
Useful links:
[4]High Tech, Forget the High Touch
-read this as well as the two contrasting editorials it links to.
[5]Passively Multiplayer Online Games for Schools?
-Learning as a game -watch the video, monitoring your web-life and ’measuring’ it like you would
measure skill sets in Warcraft and other multiplayer games - ”myware” not spyware.
[6]Second Life by Bethany aka Old Man Dragonfly (doesn’t that fit well with my alter ego comment)
-Good summary of many ideas (including mine:-) A lot of links I should explore!
[7]Second to None by Jonathan Dunn notes that on-line friends are becoming as meaningful to people
as their real-world friend. It has links to research as well as to this BBC article [8]Virtual pals ’soar in
Originally posted: November 9th, 2006
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
I used a little poetic license with my choice of words on this post!
A lot is still relevant here. Some things have changed, such as how
many places most of us can be found online... feels to be nearing
countless for me! Also, I can’t imagine what I would have thought of
[9]Twitter back then? And probably would have laughed at you if you
told me I would be contributing to it 2 years after posting this. The
power to meaningfully connect is incredible... We truly are a global
village now!
Do read Raph Koster’s "[10]A Story About A Tree"! Here is a great
In the end, the social bonds of the people in a virtual environment
make it more than just a game. They make it Real. Sometimes it takes a
moment of grief to make people realize it, and sometimes people just
come to an awareness over time, but the fundamental fact remains: when
we make a friend, hurt someone’s feelings, suffer a loss, or
accomplish something in an online world, it’s real. It’s not "just a
I think one of the biggest issues today is the power of our online
words and actions to hurt others: I’ve been the victim, I’ve even been
the invoker (unintentionally, and apologetically). I’ll comment on
this more in future posts, but will make my view clear here:
If we (educators and parents) don’t participate with students online,
then we run the risk of having misguided or inexperienced friends, or
worse yet bullies, becoming greater influences than us in their lives.
Gordon Neufeld calls it ’peer orientation’ in his book: [11]Hold On to
Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers . This does not
mean that we get ’chummy’ with our students online... we are simply a
significant adult presence, modeling appropriate behavior, and
connecting with them in a meaningful, respectful way. The internet is
no place for an unsupervised playground!
1. http://www.raphkoster.com/gaming/essay1.shtml
2. http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/11/13/second.life.university/index.html
3. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/6122140.stm
4. http://ubiquitousthoughts.wordpress.com/2006/11/01/high-tech-forget-the-high-touch/
5. http://elearning-global.blogspot.com/2006/11/passively-multiplayer-online-games-for.html
6. http://oldmandragonfly.blogspot.com/2006/11/second-life.html
7. http://marcomedy.wordpress.com/2006/12/03/second-to-none/
8. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6158935.stm
9. http://Twitter.com/
10. http://www.raphkoster.com/gaming/essay1.shtml
11. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0375760288?ie=UTF8&tag=davidtrcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=
David Warlick’s K12 Online Conference Keynote 2006 (2008-04-03 01:22)
Here is the gem I took from David Warlick’s Keynote ”[1]Derailing Education”. Warlick is referring to
[2]Friedman’s ’Experts’ and ’Adaptable People’... from [3]The World Is Flat.
”These are the kinds of people that need to be coming out of our classrooms, people who know how to
make themselves an expert and people who can learn, and unlearn, and relearn very easily.
”This is why the foundation of education systems today should not be the rails, but it should be the side
trips. It should not be the central standard curriculum, but it should be those directions that students,
that learners, both teachers and students, can navigate to on their own. We have the ability to do that
I really like what Warlick says here, and as a classroom teacher I know how much fun those ’side trips’
can be. A great metaphor here, on the theme of learners navigating on their own, is the teacher as the
compass. We point in a direction, (not necessarily the direction that the student is going), and we are
a reference point or guide to the learning. As students sail (rather than ride the rails) they must choose
their destination, (what they want to learn), and tack and adjust their path as they go... using the
teacher as a compass that keeps them on their ’learning’ course.
• Students and teachers need to know how to sail- they need to be literate in these new ways of
learning and communicating. They must be adaptable, willing to course-correct as they go.
• Students and teachers need to seek out other sailors- communities of learners, online this too could
be considered a literacy issue . (Note [4]my last blog.)
• Students must bring their own sails- and not all sails are created equally, the metaphor can work
with sails being competency (skills), motivation, handicaps (the ability to function physically, emo-
tionally, intellectually (not everyone has the same sized sail), and technically (the ’new’ literacy
issue again)).
• Teachers need to let students steer- it will take a while for many teachers to give up the steering
wheel and become the compass.
• Teachers need to be ’useful’ compasses- ”Don’t confuse the pointing finger with the Moon” comes
to mind here... also think of using technology for learning rather than using technology to teach. If
students steer themselves, they will take us into uncharted water, and we need to be able to point
the way even when we may not know the best course of action. (It isn’t about ’right’ answers, it
is about the journey- this goes back to Warlick’s [or rather [5]Toffler’s] idea that learners (students
and teachers) need to learn, unlearn and relearn all the time.
• Schools provide the boats, (and some have holes!)- resources, technology, and structure. You can
also think of the boats as the curriculum, the (way too big) frame used to support (or should I say
slow down) the learning.
OK, so I may have gone a little too far with the metaphor. However it makes the point that there are a
lot of challenges to providing a meaningful education in this day and age. Having said that, I am keenly
aware that it is my practice, my willingness to be a lifelong learner, and my knowledge of how and where
to ’point’ that limits what can happen in my classroom.
Consider this: Ten years ago I could only type using the ’hunt and peck’ approach. Six years
ago I had an Apple Macintosh, with turtle-slow internet access, in my classroom. Less than a year ago I
had never built a web page. I still struggle with a lot of the terminology at sites like [6]Techcrunch, and
it still takes me over an hour of tinkering to do something any ’techie’ could do in 20 minutes.
The learning curve is huge, and the gap of what I know and what I need to know is growing ex-
ponentially. The fact is, teachers are no longer capable of being the ’keepers’ and ’distributors’ of
knowledge. In fact, our generation of teachers are less equipped than students to keep up. I come from
the Batman era, adding items to my [7]utility belt while students today are the [8]Borg from Star Trek,
assimilating technology into their lives.
In late March of this year I started on this website with a blog titled [9]The purpose of a system
is what it does. But our current system is currriculum driven, and it can be difficult to take side trips,
(in fact it is outright impossible in some of the advanced classes with Provincial Exams). However, if we
really want our students to be the future Experts and Adaptable ’sailors’ of the world, then not only do
we need to stay abreast of the ’new literacy’ but the structures in our classrooms, and our schools need
to change.
- - - - -
On a related topic, Warlick’s ideas about Geography changing is also good. [10]Marcie T. Hull
does a succinct summary of Geography becoming more like time.
- - - - -
A well said rant on the problems with rote learning and why we need creative thinkers:
[11]Why Malaysia needs creative thinkers
by: [12]Suresh Gnasegarah
- - - - -
Jan. 17th, ’07 - I found a wonderful post by Subbaraman Iyer:
[13]The education and learning approaches
The Education paradigm emphasizes acquiring a body of knowledge, “right” information, once
and for all.
The Learning paradigm emphasizes on learning how to learn, how to ask good questions, pay at-
tention to the right things, be open to evaluating new concepts and having access to information. It
emphasizes the importance of context.
The Education approach is to treat learning as a product, a destination; and the learning ap-
proach is to treat learning as a process or a journey
The Education approach consists of a relatively rigid structure and a standard curriculum and a
prescribed approach to teach, whereas the learning approach consists of a relatively flexible curriculum
and belief that there are many different was to teach a given subject.
(I want to quote the whole post!)...[14]Read the rest of this at his site!
Originally posted: November 11th, 2006
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
I’ll add just one more aspect to my sailing metaphor: Standardized
testing is the anchor we are dragging behind us!
It was for this post that I created the quote: "I come from the Batman
era, adding items to my [15]utility belt while students today are the
[16]Borg from Star Trek, assimilating technology into their lives."
I’ve used it, dissected it, rejected it, and come back to it since.
1. http://k12online.wm.edu/k12online2006_optz.mp4
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Friedman
3. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0312425074?ie=UTF8&tag=davidtrcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=
4. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/a-story-about-a-tree/
5. http://quotes.zaadz.com/1906/the_illiterate_of_the_21st_cen/by_alvin_toffler
6. http://www.techcrunch.com/
7. http://www.dialbforblog.com/archives/282/
8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borg_%28Star_Trek%29
9. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/the-purpose-of-a-system-is-what-it-does/
10. http://ecram3.blogspot.com/2006/10/david-warlicks-keynote-k12online-2006.html
11. http://gnasegarah.com/2006/12/10/why-malaysia-needs-creative-thinkers/
12. http://heartz.wordpress.com/
13. http://subbaiyer.wordpress.com/2007/01/14/the-education-and-learning-approaches/
14. http://subbaiyer.wordpress.com/2007/01/14/the-education-and-learning-approaches/
15. http://www.dialbforblog.com/archives/282/
16. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borg_%28Star_Trek%29
Digital Magic #15 « ‘Practic-All’ (2008-10-19 16:53:43)
[...] (after it was over) in 2006. That’s when I watched David Warlick’s Keynote and wrote a blog post about it
(when I was just starting blogging). I hope that you will find something here that you think is [...]
David Truss :: Pair-a-dimes for Your Thoughts » Shifting Learning (2010-05-01 23:21:22)
[...] the teacher, and into the hands and the minds of the learner. But I’ve written time & again & again about
that. Worthy of mentioning as well is Subbaraman Iyer’s post that looks at [...]
Square Peg, Round Hole (2008-04-04 01:14)
A composition of other people’s thoughts and ideas... with a theme.
[1]How to Bring our Schools Out of the 20th Century by Claudia Wallis, Sonja Steptoe, Time Mag-
azine cover story Dec. 18, 2006
”For the past five years, the national conversation on education has focused on reading scores, math tests
and closing the ”achievement gap” between social classes. This is not a story about that conversation.
This is a story about the big public conversation the nation is not having about education, the one that
will ultimately determine not merely whether some fraction of our children get ”left behind” but also
whether an entire generation of kids will fail to make the grade in the global economy because they can’t
think their way through abstract problems, work in teams, distinguish good information from bad or
speak a language other than English.”
- - - - -
[2]An Alien in an Alien[3] World by David Warlick,
”I wonder how many natural mathematicians, engineers, artists, composers, story tellers and innovators
we are wasting, when we measure our schools almost exclusively on their ability to produce good test
How many natural born leaders are we squandering as we teach them to listen, watch, follow direction,
regurgitate facts, to sit down and shut up. How many leaders are we losing when we teach them to be
taught — in stead of teaching them to teach.
How alien are our classrooms?”
- - - - -
[4]Do schools today kill creativity?
Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining (and profoundly moving) case for creating an education system
that nurtures creativity, rather than undermining it.
”Truthfully what happens is that, as children grow up, we start to educate them progressively from the
waste up. And then we focus on their heads, and slightly to one side...”
“My contention is that all kids have tremendous talents and we squander them, pretty ruthlessly.”
- - - - -
[6]The eternal question... Why? by Kris, a 15 year old I had the pleasure of teaching.
Here it is from a student who will be a lifelong learner, dare I say... despite her schooling. She is
the one that sent me the time article above, which got me thinking about compiling this post.
”To the adult readers out there: this is how public education is contributing to your child’s success. We
list the qualities we have in one column, the qualities we don’t in another, and write about how the qual-
ities we have will make us nice, successful white collar workers someday, coupled with a post-secondary
education and a Graduation Portfolio with bureacratically-documented evidence (signed in triplicate) of
us kissing the toes of their shiny black shoes.
Of course, like every student who hopes of one day becoming a successful, white collar worker, the answer
I intend to put down is a lot less sarcastic and a lot more Ministry-friendly. There is satisfaction in
lashing out at public education on a blog, and there is self-preservation in doing exactly what they tell
you on the work you hand in. I have a hunch the Ministry won’t like it, but I still wonder, as I hope
others will: “Why?”
- - - - -
[7]Adopt and Adept by Marc Prensky
”...technology adoption... It’s typically a four-step process:
1. Dabbling.
2. Doing old things in old ways.
3. Doing old things in new ways.
4. Doing new things in new ways.
...Some people will no doubt worry that, with all this experimentation, our children’s education will be
hurt. ”When will we have time for the curriculum,” they will ask, ”and for all the standardized test-
ing being mandated?” If we really offered our children some great future-oriented content (such as, for
example, that they could learn about nanotechnology, bioethics, genetic medicine, and neuroscience in
neat interactive ways from real experts), and they could develop their skills in programming, knowledge
filtering, using their connectivity, and maximizing their hardware, and that they could do so with cutting-
edge, powerful, miniaturized, customizable, and one-to-one technology, I bet they would complete the
”standard” curriculum in half the time it now takes, with high test scores all around. To get everyone to
the good stuff, the faster kids would work with and pull up the ones who were behind.
In other words, if we truly offer our kids an Edutopia worth having, I believe our students will work as
hard as they can to get there.
So, let’s not just adopt technology into our schools. Let’s adapt it, push it, pull it, iterate with it, exper-
iment with it, test it, and redo it, until we reach the point where we and our kids truly feel we’ve done
our very best. Then, let’s push it and pull it some more. And let’s do it quickly, so the twenty-second
century doesn’t catch us by surprise with too much of our work undone.
A big effort? Absolutely. But our kids deserve no less.”
- - - - -
[8]Animal School- by R.Z. Greenwald... Curriculum: Running, Flying, Climbing, and Swimming
(Click this button in the link provided to view this movie/slideshow)
Schools do not make accommodations for individual talents and learning styles. A slide show of a story
I read a long time ago... still priceless!
- - - - -
[10]Creativity Killer: Discouraging creativity in children, © Leslie Owen Wilson, 1997, 2004
”It is perhaps ironic that within our culture we insist that we place such value on creativity and then
blatantly try to steal it away from children in the contexts of their educational experiences and their
upbringing. As a culture we need to finally decide what we really want for our children and then carefully
design and monitor experiences which provide those things we value.”
This has links to 3 versions of [11]The Little Boy by Helen Buckley.
- - - - -
[12]Why does engineering/math/science education in the US suck? by Kathy Sierra
- - - - -
Where do we go from here? We can keep looking at [13]Kathy Sierra for the answer!
- - - - -
I started this blog with a post titled, [14]The purpose of a system is what it does, and I started this
post with a ’Time’ (or perhaps ’Timeless’) article that states in the second paragraph,
”American schools aren’t exactly frozen in time, but considering the pace of change in other areas of life,
our public schools tend to feel like throwbacks. Kids spend much of the day as their great-grandparents
once did: sitting in rows, listening to teachers lecture, scribbling notes by hand, reading from textbooks
that are out of date by the time they are printed. A yawning chasm (with an emphasis on yawning)
separates the world inside the schoolhouse from the world outside.”
Incremental changes will not take us where we need to be. Standardized testing, outdated curriculum
and unwired classrooms won’t get us there. Teachers using a white Smart Board to simply replace the
green chalk board, which replaced the blackboard, won’t get us there.
What profound change is needed? I don’t think one teacher at a time can do it. What is going to
get us over the Big Frickin’ Wall?
Note my ”[15]Articulate Thinkers” post, Jan. 29/07, based on an e-mail ’conversation’ I had almost
three years ago...
- - - - -
Dec. 18. It has been a while since [16]I looked at Christopher D. [17]Sessums’ Weblog. He just added
me to his friends list here on eduspaces and I visited his blog again. I found [18]his post with this apple
commercial... which pays tribute to the misfits/the crazies/ the ’Round Pegs in the Square Holes’.
It reminded me of the main reason I wrote this post, which I alluded to, but didn’t really mention.
Many of the Square/Round Peg Students (that don’t fit into our other-shaped schools) are the future
thinkers/dreamers/innovators that are going to meaningfully change our world. We need to recognize
their future value... We have an obligation to nurture them, and to develop their enthusiasm for learning.
It isn’t just about not stifling creativity or not making schools so alien... it is about creating an environ-
ment where every child can thrive... Not making the misfits fit, but rather helping them create a space
that fits them. [I think that the technology is now available to make this easier!]
Jan. 8th. [19]Kris directs me to this [20]Story from the Front-Lines. (A teacher’s frustration with
pegs and holes.)
And I’m demoralized, as I’m now having to tell kids, ”A paragraph is an idea – unless your teacher tells
you it’s five to seven sentences, and then that’s what it is.”
Jan. 16th. I found this in the inaugural post of [21]madamespider, yet another example of a student’s
”Let me just say this: I hate school with a passion. You’ll never find someone who loves education
more than I do, don’t get me wrong, but as far as I’m concerned, school is not education. I believe one
should learn because they want to and understand the value of knowledge, not have it shoved down their
throats by the school board or government or whoever.”
...and [22]here again, in reaction to this post, is madamespider,
”Looking back on the talks and ’specialists’ they tried to send me to within the school, I now realize
that they were treating me as if I had a behavior problem or learning disability. Like I needed their
support to do better. That’s not what I needed. I needed something to make it matter to me. That’s
what I still need.”
- - - - -
Feb. 3rd, 07 Here is a quote from Bruce Springsteen,
”I wasn’t quite suited for the educational system. One problem with the way the educational system
is set up is that it only recognizes a certain type of intelligence, and it’s incredibly restrictive – very, very
restrictive. There’s so many types of intelligence, and people who would be at their best outside of that
structure [get lost]. Most of the schools, they’re aiming to build you up and get you into the machine.”
I found this on ’[23]The Genius in All of Us’ blog by David Shenk... this is an interesting blog to
explore further!
Originally posted: December 10th, 2006
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
Here are a couple of the comments from the original post:
1. I really appreciate the feedback, and I’ve responded to all this
on my blog. It’s rather lengthy, but it’s basically my perspective
on the whole matter of my schooling. Hopefully it will yield
something worth thinking about, though it’s rather disorganized.
I’ll certainly revisit the subject, I’ve got a lot to say =)
[24]madamespider on Wednesday, 17 January 2007, 02:21
2. Great work Dave. It’s going to take me a week to get through all
these links! Maybe you could wiki this for those of us who only
have snippets of time to look at things. Awesome dude (quote from
a 15 year old as we watched a student video creation. Thought that
line was dead!)
[25]Kelly Christopherson on Friday, 25 May 2007, 08:23
- - -
This post was very instrumental to my thinking and it was inspired
by a former student, Kris. Later, I helped inspire one of her
posts and it got a little bit of attention: [26]How to Prevent
Another Leonardo da Vinci was a finalist in the 2007 Edublog
Awards in the [27]Most Influential category. Now I am helping her
by hosting her blog, and she is helping me with some tech
support... the teacher/student lines are blurred. It is no longer
about established roles, but rather it is about learners helping
each other... hubs in a learning network.
Many times I thought I would create a sequel to this post, or take
Kelly’s advice and start a wiki. However now it seems so obviously
pessimistic to do so. This post says it all... I don’t need to
wallow in yet [28]more examples of how schools don’t fit students.
As I said above, "it is about creating an environment where every
child can thrive." For that to happen we need differentiated
instruction, we need a flexible curriculum, and we need teachers
that are the same life-long learners we hope our students become.
Visible links 1. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1568480,00.html
2. http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/archives/792
3. http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/archives/792
4. http://ted.com/tedtalks/tedtalksplayer.cfm?key=ken_robinson
5. http://ted.com/tedtalks/tedtalksplayer.cfm?key=ken_robinson
6. http://wanderingink.net/?p=10
7. http://www.edutopia.org/adopt-and-adapt
8. http://www.raisingsmallsouls.com/
9. http://www.raisingsmallsouls.com/
10. http://www.uwsp.edu/education/lwilson/creativ/killers.htm
11. http://home.bresnan.net/%7Ecabreras/theboyo.htm
12. http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/2006/11/why_does_engine.html
13. http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/2006/01/death_by_riskav.html
14. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/the-purpose-of-a-system-is-what-it-does/
15. http://eduspaces.net/dtruss/weblog/150329.html
16. http://eduspaces.net/dtruss/weblog/13200.html
17. http://eduspaces.net/csessums/weblog/8200.html
18. http://eduspaces.net/csessums/weblog/143771.html
19. http://wanderingink.net/
20. http://www.pobronson.com/blog/2007/01/tutoring-story-from-front-lines-of-kids.html
21. http://madamespider.wordpress.com/2007/01/16/10/
22. http://madamespider.wordpress.com/2007/01/16/more-educational-ranting-aka-what-happened-to-my-brain/
23. http://geniusblog.davidshenk.com/2007/01/springsteen_wei.html
24. http://madamespider.wordpress.com/2007/01/16/10/
25. http://kwhobbes.wordpress.com/
26. http://wanderingink.net/?p=49
27. http://edublogawards.com/2007/most-influential-blog-post-2007/
28. http://del.icio.us/dtruss/squarepeg
Doralisa (2008-09-16 21:15:57)
I never knew where the quote came from, and had never seen it (in all my 31 years)until I saw it covering a wall at
the entrance of my son’s school. I felt as if both of us had come home. Let’s not forget that these ”misfits” grow
up and are forced to conform to other ideas/values. They are persecuted and misunderstood in every profession
including teaching. How can we expect to teach children to appreciate and respect the differences in others if we
don’t appreciate, respect, and, at least, try to understand those differences amongst ourselves. Different is not a
threat or a lack of intelligence...it is, put quite simply, difference. It is what makes the world what it is, and how
we learn from each other. The thinkers are often stifled in the workplace in an attempt to force them to conform
and ”break’ them. There are some horses, like people who cannot be broken, because, if they are, so is their spirit.
Dave Truss (2008-09-16 21:29:20)
Thank you for this very insightful comment Doralisa... wisdom beyond your years:-) I especially like this line: How
can we expect to teach children to appreciate and respect the differences in others if we don’t appreciate, respect,
and, at least, try to understand those differences amongst ourselves. That’s one of the reasons why I like what
technology can do in education... it allows students to differentiate the learning for themselves, it lets students
take charge of their own learning, and it gives students the power to extend their learning into interests
beyond the classroom. I tried to share this idea in my video that I just blogged about, [1]Who are the people in
you neighbourhood? Thanks again for this thoughtful comment!
1. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/who-are-the-people-in-your-neighbourhood/
Jan Smith (2008-09-17 05:23:16)
Hi Dave, I am sending this on to my favourite administrator, whose main job at the board office is looking at
graduation rates, or, in less bean-counterish language ”improving the life-chances of every child.” This puts the
discussion on one plate. Thanks.
I was thinking… - Learning to be me. (2008-10-11 12:42:10)
[...] “It’s about creating an environment where every child can thrive.” (David Truss from
http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/square- peg-round-hole/) [...]
“Chasing the A” | David Truss :: Pair-a-dimes for Your Thoughts (2009-05-29 06:58:23)
[...] But why to ‘WE’, educators and students, put so much weight on ‘the grade’ in the first place? How much do
they matter? On his blog, “A Boundless World: Connecting Humanity Unleashing Potential”, Bud answers that
question on behalf of himself and many of his graduating friends of the class of ‘09: Why Our Current Education
System Is Failing [...]
Big Paradigm Shifts | Reflections of the TZSTeacher (2010-02-07 08:36:32)
[...] visual from Kathy Sierra that I found from reading Pair-aDimes for Your Thoughts from David [...]
”the use of blogs to learn not just to teach” (2008-04-05 05:28)
Will Richardson’s post [1]Teacher Bloggers Not Blogging (Says Me) looks at the [2]David Warlick article
in EDTECH titled [3]Blog Rules. Yet another reference I have found recently to Principal Dr. Tim Tyson
and [4]Mabry Middle.
Will says:
”Blogs are powerful communication tools. Blogs are powerful publishing tools. But blogging (the verb)
is still much more than that to me. Blogging, as in reading and thinking and reflecting and then writing,
is connecting and learning, neither of which are discussed in the article. (And maybe they weren’t meant
to be, I know) I’m not knocking what Tim or his teachers are doing, I think it’s great. But I’m just
asking the question: how are his teachers modeling the use of blogs to learn not just to teach?”
I have been looking beyond just blogs and considering the use of technology ’to learn not just to teach’
quite a bit recently. Is it a natural progression to use technology to teach first then to learn, as we
integrate new technology? Or is this just a lack of training and professional development? I’ve heard
more than a few people call the new Smart Boards nothing more than glorified blackboards recently, (I
have yet to actually even see one of these, much less know how teachers/students are using them, so I
am really just making note of what others have told me). The fact is that technology such as this needs
the user to be trained. How can we implement [5]new things in new ways if we lack the knowledge or
training to do so? Also, I think teachers must model what they expect, or at least find appropriate
models for students to follow. A blog that replaces a daily diary may be useful, but does it expose a
student to the potential a blog has as a reflective, synthesizing, learning space?
On the topic of blogs, I have been thinking about what this blog means to me. I write it as if I
have an audience, but I write it for me, not the audience. It is sort of a cathartic expression of my
thoughts on education; A place to synthesize ideas and reflect on new areas of exploration. I am
surprised just how often I look back at my entries, reread them and follow the links. It has also been an
experimental playground where I have learned a bit about html, and figured out how to add tools, such
as the meebo messenger, the ClustrMap, as well as the flikr and bubbleshare photo windows. This blog
isn’t about my practice as an educator but it certainly affects my practice. It is a learning tool.
I am developing some ideas about using wikis and blogs in my Science class next month. As I
develop the plan, I need to ask myself:
’Am I adding technology to my teaching or providing students with new learning and new ways
to learn?’
’Am I creating an environment where students will express, synthesize, and reflect on their (and
each other’s) learning, or am I creating a new way to report out?’ (A glorified poster board).
’Am I encouraging students to be lifelong learners?’
What else should I be asking myself?
- - - - -
A side note: The curriculum does not come up in my line of questioning... it seems almost in-
significant in this meta conversation. Does it matter what the content is, or isn’t the process far more
- - - - -
It is now a few hours later and well into the night. Wandering from blog to blog, I found myself
on John Connell’s. From one of his posts a few days ago, [6]subjectdiscipline2.0- join the debate: ”...for
too many too often, ” the talk is of new ways of learning but all that happens is the old framework is
polished and added to.””
Once again, technology to learn, not just to teach!
From my comment on his blog:’I think that if we want students to be lifelong learners, and we
want them to take ownership of their own learning to any extent, then subject discipline must be, at the
very least, ‘loosened’ up.’
...This is another topic that has been buzzing around my head recently. It actually goes back to
[7]David Warlick’s idea of ’Derailing Education’ and taking ’side trips’ that I discussed in [8]another
Originally posted: December 16th, 2006
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
I’ve added the comments on my original post into the first comment
below. I’ve also put my questions above in bold font (apparently
’bolded’ isn’t a word). I find it interesting that this was only my
14th post on this blog and already I was using it as a resource to
reflect on.
Yesterday I spoke briefly to teachers with 1:1 classrooms from our
district who were meeting for a pro-d session. The focus of my talk
was around [9]Scaffolding and supporting students as they venture onto
new ground with an online project.
With respect to creating new online projects, (Project2.0’s), I think
sometimes the focus is a little too much on just ’using the tool’ or
’creating the content’ and not enough on skills like: How to have a
meaningful online discussion; How to design a page/project/powerpoint;
How to provide meaningful feedback to a fellow student; or What does
appropriate online behaviour look like?
Are students ’expected’ to know this? We literally spend years
teaching paragraph structure to students, but unleash them on a
discussion forum or blog with little or no training.
I said/asked things like:
• Create some incremental platforms for success. • Begin with the end
in mind. • Do students know what is expected? • Do they know enough to
get started?
I also asked a number of assessment questions... without making any
statements or wielding any opinions on the subject. The reality is
that most of the teachers are using wikis not blogs, but I think think
the points I made apply to making any digital tool more learner
centered. I’ll share my presentation in the coming weeks. I design
many of my slides in ways that are very unfriendly to SlideShare or
other online presentation tools, so I will take the time to do so
after I get this blog up to date.
1. http://weblogg-ed.com/2006/teacher-bloggers-not-blogging-says-me/
2. http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/
3. http://www.edtechmag.com/k12/issues/november-december-2006/blog-rules.html
4. http://mabryonline.org/
5. http://www.edutopia.org/adopt-and-adapt
6. http://www.johnconnell.co.uk/blog/?p=235
7. http://k12online.wm.edu/k12online2006_optz.mp4
8. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/warlicks-k12-online-keynote-06/
9. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instructional_scaffolding
Dave Truss (2008-04-05 05:42:10)
Comments from my original post: - - - - - 1. I may post a more coherent comment later cause I just got home from
my grandmother’s Christmas party at one and am mildly drunk (thank yoooouuu, crazy liberal grandparents–just
about killed myself coming down the front steps) In order to do new things in new ways... I think it’s inevitable
that you’ll have to struggle through doing old things in new ways, etc, but you can shorten that time. One of the
things that I think might determine the length is the criteria. Those of us blogging for fun have no criteria–thus,
we decide how quickly we get the hang of things, and mostly by visiting other blogs and learning from them, and
we determine how often we practice. Students blogging for school have to work within the criteria, and if that
criteria is specific and restricting, it limits them to thinking in old ways to achieve the grade in the same way
they’ve always done it. The criteria should be as open-ended as possible and/or press students to specifically do
things in new ways. I’d also suggest you do set an example for them and show them first the new things they
can do–linking videos and sites, etc,–and maybe use a few other blogs to show them how it’s done. Also, using
blogs to learn and not to teach, you might want to think about what sort of thing the students will be blogging
about, especially in a subject like science. A fact can only be presented as that fact, and the only thing creative
about it is clever sentence work. Blogging topics–if you do give them topics–should encourage genuine thought
and interpretation instead of pointless repetition of facts (ie, ’Who invented the telephone and when?’). I only say
this because it’s an example of doing an old thing in a new way and I’ve had teachers who tried to do something
like that, but I’m not as worried with you behind this kind of assignment as I would be if it were another teacher.
For encouraging lifelong learning, I think the best thing you can do is give students an audience–each other–and
really teach them to have fun with a blog. Not just post what you ask them to, but ideas that interest them
(possibly not related to science) and fun sites. Make it something more personal and applicable to their lives, not
just another assignment like the kind they type up and print out. A blog *is* personal, and it’s living as long as
the person behind it gives it life. Sort of related to what I said above about criteria, plus making it something fun
that they can use. And emphasis collaboration, I think, because that’s what the internet is good for and that’s
the way the world’s going. I would love to say more... there’s so much in this post I want to reply to :) ... but
my head is both woozy and killing me at the same time, it’s LATE, and this comment is long enough. I’d like to
talk more about this later. Apologies for the poor structure and incoherently scattered thoughts, my head won’t
let me hold thoughts for more than a few seconds. (Won’t drink again until legal. Best deterrent ever.) [1]Kris
on Monday, 18 December 2006, 11:09 CET - - - - - 2. One of the key issues here, David, is the strong point you
make about the nature of the curriculum. Following your own and others’ comments on my post about the future
of the ’subject discipline’, I agree with you that it is no longer valid for some national agency to determine the
content of the curriculum for every learner in every school in the country. It just no longer makes sense. I think
there may still be room for a light-touch central curriculum in the elementary / primary sector, but it makes less
and less sense for kids as they get older and older. I like your questions that you feel the need to ask yourself - a
good starting point, indeed. Following your comments, I have now added something to the debate myself [2]here.
[3]John Connell on Tuesday, 19 December 2006, 17:57 CET - - - - - 3. I think you’re right on about what makes
blogs such excellent personal learning tools: ”On the topic of blogs, I have been thinking about what this blog
means to me. I write it as if I have an audience, but I write it for me, not the audience. It is sort of a cathartic
expression of my thoughts on education; A place to synthesize ideas and reflect on new areas of exploration.” T
me it’s the ability to trace your own thoughts that makes blogging such an excellent learning experience. A blog is
a map of the mind’s landscape. Walter, NewMediascape.wordpress.com on Sunday, 07 January 2007, 23:13 CET
1. http://wanderingink.net/
2. http://www.johnconnell.co.uk/blog/?p=249
3. http://www.johnconnell.co.uk/blog/
Synthesize and Add Meaning (2008-04-05 07:15)
Going back to Time, (See [1]Square Peg, Round Hole)
Wesley Fryer’s ‘[2]Moving at the speed of creativity’, refers to the Time cover story, [3]How to Bring
Our Schools Out of the 20th Century, in his post, [4]21st Century Education reform.
In reference to this quote in the Time article:
“In an age of overflowing information and proliferating media, kids need to rapidly process what’s coming
at them and distinguish between what’s reliable and what isn’t. “It’s important that students know how
to manage it, interpret it, validate it, and how to act on it,” says Dell executive Karen Bruett, who
serves on the board of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, a group of corporate and education leaders
focused on upgrading American education.”
Wesley says, “It’s not just about SEARCHING, it’s about FINDING and VALIDATING.”
In a comment I posted on Wesley’s blog, I pay this compliment, “A great summary that SYNTHESIZES
and ADDS MEANING.” Then I suggest, “I would add those two to your sentence: “It’s not just about
…and that is exactly what Wesley has done with his post, he synthesizes what the article says, but he
goes further… he draws from other sources, and new meaning is added. For example, Wesley disagrees
(as do I) with the article’s suggestion of greater rigor and standardized testing. He links us to his podcast
#79 titled, ‘[5]Reject Rigor: Embrace Differentiation, Flexibility, and High Expectations’.
“High expectations are important and needed, but not within a rigorous environment that does not
encourage differentiation and flexibility within classrooms. Learning is inherently a dynamical process,
not isolated events that can be entirely centrally planned, and our educational language as well as
policies should recognize this. We need to embrace differentiation, flexibility and high expectations
for all students.”
That’s a poster quote right there:
But there is a dichotomy here: Our ‘educational language’ around standardization and accountability
juxtaposed with differentiation and flexibility… we seem to have two mutually exclusive camps, yet there
seems to be a move to embrace both. To embrace both is to accomplish neither.
As this post quickly becomes a tribute to Wesley Fryer, (the newest addition to my [6]Netvibes feed-
reader), I think I will quote him one more time. From: ’[7]Apprenticeship learning and critical thinking’
“Learners are not in school so they can take tests, be tested, and be translated metaphorically into statis-
tics that are aggregated into charts and graphs used by politicians to secure their elective offices. Learners
are in school to LEARN, and the confusion which abounds regarding the proper role of assessments today
is a key part of educational reforms our nation desperately needs.”
“We do NOT need more testing, more rigorous testing, and/or more end-of-course examinations in our
schools. Testing has never “saved” and will never “save us” from the challenges which face us in the
educational environment. Only high quality, professional, caring, passionate teachers can provide what
our students deserve and in many cases desperately need: A differentiated, challenging environment of
customized learning that involves regular dialog and authentic assessment…”
The challenge now is recognizing that this fundamentally changes a teacher’s practice… we are on a new
road, but I don’t see a roadmap being developed. I think we lack the perspective to make the map.
Current assessment strategies limit our vision. Current [8]subject-disciplines also limit possibilities and
compartmentalize assessment using a different paradigm than is needed.
We need to be adept at creating flexible, differentiated learning environments
We need to be computer literate, and also be able to teach [9]a new kind of literacy. (Warlick)
We need to challenge students by [10]asking questions, [11]guiding their learning, and helping them
to develop their own [12]personal learning environments.
We need to teach students to synthesize information and add new meaning.
We must change what we do. (And we need visionary leaders to lead the way!)
- - - - -
Having said what we need to do… I am contemplating ‘What we are” (as teachers). I think my next post
will be a tribute to teachers, but not the kind you would expect after a post like this...
- - - - -
I’m back, not even an hour after posting this! Several times I came across the Revised Bloom’s Tax-
onomy, first [13]here and [14]here on Wesley’s blog, then back on Netvibes where I picked up [15]Cool
Cat Teacher’s [16]del.icio.us post... which led me to an article by none other than [17]Wesley Fryer once
Well, third time’s a charm. It clicked that my use of ’Add new Meaning’ in this post was an attempt
to describe the CREATION of new knowledge as seen on the revised taxonomy above. I am wondering
what happened to Synthesis? Is this part of Evaluation?
In a final dedication to Wesley Fryer, I will end with this quote from the TechLearning article:
”We need visionary educational leadership that understands and effectively communicates the importance
of emphasizing student CREATIVITY and the creation of original (and remixed) knowledge products.”
Thanks Wesley!
- - - - -
Sunday March 11th, 2007
This is great: Cognitive Taxonomy Circle
I found this at Jeff Utecht’s [18]U Tech Tips, his source is [19]this American Psychological Association
blog post.
Originally posted: December 26th, 2006
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
I’ve added the comments on my original post into the first comment
This introduction to the *new* Blooms Taxonomy was sort of a
re-awakening for me. A reminder of what really matters in teaching and
learning. It was around this time that I started to take a much more
[20]constructivist approach to teaching. I was already developing this
in Math, but wasn’t really aware that I was doing so. If you scroll
down on the first page of my [21]SciencAlive wiki, you can see that I
based the project on students’ ability to demonstrate higher order
I have very recently been thinking that the *old* Blooms Taxonomy is
better, with ’Create’ being the ’task’ or ’demonstration’ of learning,
but keeping Synthesis and Evaluation as the ’skills’.
1. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/square-peg-round-hole/
2. http://www.speedofcreativity.org/
3. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1568480,00.html
4. http://www.speedofcreativity.org/2006/12/19/21st-century-education-reform/
5. http://www.speedofcreativity.org/2006/08/31/
6. http://www.netvibes.com/
7. http://www.speedofcreativity.org/2006/12/22/apprenticeship-learning-and-critical-thinking/
8. http://www.johnconnell.co.uk/blog/?p=235
9. http://davidwarlick.com/wiki/pmwiki.php?n=Main.RedefiningLiteracyForThe21stCentury
10. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socrates#Socratic_method
11. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/warlicks-k12-online-keynote-06/
12. http://octette.cs.man.ac.uk/jitt/index.php/Personal_Learning_Environments
13. http://www.speedofcreativity.org/2006/12/22/web-20-in-school-reform/
14. http://www.speedofcreativity.org/2006/12/14/the-greatest-university-of-all/
15. http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/
16. http://del.icio.us/brightideasguru
17. http://www.techlearning.com/blog/2006/12/valuing_student_creativity.php
18. http://www.utechtips.com/?p=332
19. http://www.apa.org/ed/new_blooms.html
20. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructivist_teaching_methods
21. http://sciencealive.wikispaces.com/
Dave Truss (2008-04-05 07:33:31)
Comments from my original post: - - - - - 1. Hi David I got here from Wesley’s site. You did a great job of
showing how synthesis of information and critical understanding is really the core learning that should go on. I
agree that this needs to go beyond searching – our students need to be critical with information and use it in a
meaningful way. I liked your mini posters, too. :) [1]Kevin H. on Monday, 15 January 2007, 12:09 CET - - - - -
2. Hi David, Got here from Wesley’s site. I often wonder if the high stakes type of testing has killed the desire
of some teachers to move into the creative area of the taxonomy. Living in a system that has allowed me to do
so many different things, to build my own assessment, to use rubrics to assist students in growing their work and
to build authentic assessment. I truly have enjoyed learning to differentiate for students, to build learning and
understanding units that challenge students to question, to use innovative technologies and to push students to
try new things. For years, I’ve worked in this type of environment. But now, just when countries like the US
and Europe are beginning to question what they are doing and beginning to move away from the cookie-cutter
curricula and high-stakes assessment, we’re moving towards it. I do notice that our students do not treat the
high-stakes assessments as at all important. They see meaning in the assessment of the teacher but not of the
others - maybe that is whey we don’t do well on the international assessments! I like what you have done with
Wesley’s ideas and references. I’ll be spending some time going through these. Kelly [2]Kelly Christopherson on
Monday, 22 January 2007, 02:55 CET - - - - - 3. Saturday 9:35pm in Buenos Aires, Argentina Hi Dave, I came
here from the Moodle forum of OCC2007. I’d like to be able to read your blog regularly if I may. I’m amazed
at the interest and devotion you all show for your work, at the extraordinary ability to communicate, synthesize
and add value, i wish i had the chance to be in a regular course with you. Still for the time being the digital
magic does the trick and I’m thrilled. Thank you. Ines Cambiasso on Sunday, 11 February 2007, 01:40 CET - -
- - - 4. Inis, Thank you so much for your kind words! The e-mail notice to tell me that I had a comment must
have gone into my spam folder, because I didn’t get it... and just stumbled across this comment now (almost a
month later). I really enjoyed the OCC conference and will participate in events like that again, so hopefully we
will ’meet’ again. Once again, thanks for such a nice comment. Regards, Dave.
1. http://dogtrax.edublogs.org/
2. http://kwhobbes.wordpress.com/
links for 2008-04-06 » Moving at the Speed of Creativity (2008-04-06 01:36:23)
[...] Synthesize and Add Meaning | Pair-a-dimes for Your Thoughts Post on our need for a school reform roadmap,
how learners should synthesize ideas and add meaning, by David Truss (tags: synthesize school school2.0 school-
reform schools education EducationReform) [...]
Tribute (2008-04-05 08:19)
This is a tribute to educators. It is written in admiration of a special breed of dedicated educators that
are ’gifted’. It is a salute to teachers who have transcended the skills taught in teacher’s college and
have truly mastered the ’art’ of teaching.
We all know the type, the teacher(s) we speak of well into adulthood; the ones to whom we hold
a special gratitude or admiration; the ones who have helped us to ’sculpt’ our character or ’define’ our
endearing qualities.
To these educators I say thank you!
And now... As I explore the many issues of what it means to be an educator today... As I in-
vestigate what it means to be literate in a technological world starkly different than the one I grew up
in... As I examine the nuances of incorporating new ways to teach and learn... I am reminded that
technology provides new tools, new methods, and new approaches to teaching and learning, but that
being a good teacher involves so much more.
I am honoured to know many good educators: Some embrace technology, incorporate it seam-
lessly into what they do; Some ’dabble’, trying new things and blending old with new, (adding to their
technological ’utility belts’ so to speak); And some are technophobes, scarcely leaving their screensaver
lest to check e-mail or Google an uncertain term. Across this entire spectrum I know truly wonderful
I can think of more than one teacher who is technologically inept, yet I would love for my chil-
dren to be taught by them. I also want teachers who can teach my children to be technologically adept,
and bravely prepared for the world of tomorrow. In both cases I want my child to be inspired, challenged,
cared for, accepted... appreciated.
And so to those of you who meaningfully care for and appreciate your students; to those of you
who engage students, and encourage them to be lifelong learners; to those of you who challenge them
to be more than they believe they can be; to those of you that students return to see, years after you
taught them... I again say thanks!
Think Good Thoughts,
Say Good Words,
Do Good Deeds.
- - - - -
addendum: It is with deliberate intent that this post was written void of any hyperlinks.
Originally posted: December 31, 2006
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
I wrote this with my wife in mind. She is technologically challenged,
she has no interest in computers what-so-ever, and she is a fantastic
teacher! She creates a wonderful environment in her class, she has
made connections with students that she has maintained for longer than
I’ve known her, and she has very high expectations. I loved getting
students from her class (she taught the grade below me in the same
school for 5 years), and whenever I did my yearly ’thank you’ cards
lesson she would get a significant number of cards from her former
What’s the message? It isn’t about the technology! It is about being a
good teacher. It is about making connections with students. It is
about challenging students. It is about creating a positive learning
environment. Again, it isn’t about the technology!
That said, technology, or rather the tools available today, can
significantly enhance a learning environment and even create [1]new
learning environments that simply aren’t available in our traditional
classrooms. Good teaching has a lot to do with the quality of the
teacher, but the learning environment can either help or hinder a
teacher’s ability as they practice their art. The need for changes to
our curriculum, to our means of measuring success, and to our means
for providing equitable resources to all of our students must be
recognized and dealt with.
There is room for wonderful teachers in our classrooms regardless of
technological aptitude, however there are also [2]new literacies that
require technological skills. I’m not sure we need to drag good
teachers ’kicking and screaming’ into the technology age, but we do
have an obligation to provide meaningful uses of technology in our
students’ K-12 experience.
1. http://www.teachandlearn.ca/blog/2008/03/31/the-virtual-classroom-project/
2. http://newliteracy.wikispaces.com/
Blog Rules - Respect, Inclusion, Learning and Safety (2008-04-05 10:18)
Original title: Blog Rules - Just the basics, 4 rules based on Respect, Inclusion, Learning and Safety
In May of ’06 I taught a 10 day course on Leonardo Da Vinci, as part of our yearly Renaissance Fair. I
did this in a brand new way. I started [1]the project off by having students create their own blog here
on elgg. I also created a learning community/forum for each of the two classes, and a social forum to be
shared by both classes.
There is one thing above all others that significantly impressed me with this experience: Students owning
the learning, asking the important questions, and helping each other to learn. They showed an incredible
willingness to contribute/share their ideas.
I wasn’t sure what rules I should give around ’Safe Blogging’ so I pared it down to some basics. In
our school we have been slowly rolling out the ideas of [2]Restitution and we have developed 4 basic
beliefs: Respect, Safety, Inclusion, and Learning. So I thought why not use these beliefs as the guiding
principles for the blogs and communities? Here is what it has evolved to (a work in progress I know...)
Note that #3 in the post below, ’Learning’ is broken into two sections, 3a for the social forum where this
post is found in, and 3b is for the class dialogues and the student blogs. I like this separation, (good idea
or control issues- I’m still undecided???), because it keeps the learning space a learning space, and still
allows the students a place to be kids- with minimal ’cross pollination’.
I like having two different class blogs so that I can have kids reflect on things without giving away
the lesson to the second class, but I also liked that the social blog was a place they could come together...
In fact I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the conversation that often happened in the social
forum! I ran a powerpoint presentation during the fair to showcase some of the online ’conversations’
that occurred. Here is the presentation ([3]Part 1 and [4]Part 2) along with some optional [5]student
feedback (all that was given to me).
I’ve found a lot of posts in the ’edu-blogsville web-world’ recently around Blog Rules with most of
them emphasizing what NOT to do. I did find one positive gem, [6]Arapahoe High School’s Blogging
Policy, with 3 sections: Safe and Responsible Blogging; Successful Bloggers; and a Sample with ’additive’
- - - - - Here is the post with my BASIC RULES:
In the class forums, (I call them class dialogues), I repeat these as the basic rules above without 3a.
I also provide a definition:
This is a space for students to add to Mr. Truss’ class learning dialogue.
Definition: dialogue (also dialog) noun
• a discussion between two or more people or groups, esp. one directed toward exploration of a particular
subject or resolution of a problem. See ’conversation’.
Every student will contribute to this dialogue on a regular basis.
There are some basic rules for using this forum.
(The basic rules are repeated here in the post.)
- - - - -
Originally posted: January 9th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
Even today I am amazed at how well this project went. It exceeded my
expectations and ’sold’ me on the use of technology for learning.
I still like these rules, and as an Administrator now, I am really
liking the idea of Restitution- making things right, rather than
1. http://eduspaces.net/davet/weblog/14829.html
2. http://www.realrestitution.com/
3. http://www.scribd.com/doc/2447853/DaVinciOnlinePart1
4. http://www.scribd.com/doc/2447877/DaVinciOnlinePart2
5. http://www.scribd.com/doc/2447928/DaVinciProjectFeedback
6. http://web.archive.org/web/20060829163548/arapahoe.littletonpublicschools.net/goto/AHS_Blogging_Policy
Blog Checklist | Musings on Teaching (with) Information Technology (2008-11-05 22:02:16)
[...] I found Dave Truss’ post on Blog Rules which may be [...]
Claire Adams (2008-11-05 22:06:20)
Thanks for sharing your Rules for Blogging with students. I really appreciate the opportunity to read some rules
(and reflection upon them) from someone who has done this before. I also really like the way your rules are pretty
positive, they say what to do not what not to do.
Ed Tech Crew » Ed Tech Crew 71 - MAV & Links from listeners (2008-12-07 06:05:03)
[...] Blog Rules from http://delicious.com/celliott http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/blog-rules-respect-inclusion-
learni ng-and-safety/ [...]
How to leave a comment on bizSugar at bizSugar blog and press center (2009-07-21 06:41:34)
[...] Respect others. When leaving comments avoid personal attacks or inapropriate statements likely to offend or
anger other members. [...]
The digital native, the digital naive, and the digital divide. (2008-04-05 14:12)
I haven’t written too many quotable quotes in my day... but I like [1]this one:
I come from the Batman era, adding items to my [2]utility belt while students today are the [3]Borg from
Star Trek, assimilating technology into their lives.
I just wish it was true! The fact is that my utility belt is often lacking...well... utility, and my students
are far from being the technological ’assimilators’ that I believed them to be.
My post’s title came to me after I read this in [4]Dave Maclean’s post:
Interestingly, I am not seeing the tendencies of digital natives that [5]Marc Prensky writes about. In
fact, what I am faced with is students with relative apprehension towards blogging.
Students are not the ’digital natives’ I thought they were. In fact ’digital immigrants’ are much more
the norm (in my Grade 8 class). Now don’t get me wrong, they are savvy in many ways when it comes
to technology. Give an avid Gameboy or Xbox user a new game that they know nothing about and they
can make it to the second level before I know what all the controls do. Hand them a cell phone and they
can text someone before I can figure out how to clear a number I pressed by mistake.
However, little things are coming up that show me that ’digital natives’ they are not! (For ex-
ample, simple things like opening a ’verify your e-mail’ message and thinking that the act of opening
it, -without following the embedded link-, is enough to get verification). But this is just a case of being
naive... my students have shown me that they are willing to learn, and that is refreshing!
To start off this calendar year, I created a private community here on elgg*, and set up all my
students with their own blogs, as well as some community blogs (see more in [6]my last post). But the
few technical problems I had on elgg with [7]my last project are now amplified making it impossible to
use this platform... don’t get me wrong, I enjoy working with this elgg blog, but the computer lab I
use with my students at school uses either Netscape or Explorer with Mac os9, and the combination is
nothing short of brutal! So I adapted. After 2 days of getting everyone set up on elgg and trying to make
the best of a bad situation, I stayed up most of the night and figured out how to get everyone a private
blog on Google’s Blogger, ([8]here is a step-by-step Powerpoint). BUT... Blogger was not in my utility
belt when I started this. As a result I have hit a few school crossing zones on the internet highway.
First I realized, as I started accepting e-mail invites to view my student blogs, that every stu-
dent is now going to have to invite every other student to see/comment on their blog. I have a Social
space for both classes to converge so that means almost 60 e-mail invites that each student must accept.
The invite itself is easy, I just have to e-mail the list to each student (the same addresses in the To: box
as in the body of the e-mail), but accepting invites will be a tedious step that I didn’t need at elgg.
Then, I just found out that I can’t RSS private blog feeds on Blogger- not even to Google Reader. So
now I will have to make the blogs public. Not a big deal except that I was holding off on my letter home
to parents about the blog until I had it up and running, and I felt comfortable inviting them to read
the class blogs and their child’s blog... but if I am gong to have grade 8’s posting comments ’out in the
open’ parents should be informed in advance.
And here is the clincher... I have spent HOURS playing with these technological tools in the last
couple weeks, and very little time on the new Science curriculum. There are two digital divides here
preventing me from effectively using technology in the classroom. These divides are the gaps between:
1. What I know and what I need to know.
2. What the school has in the way of technology and what it needs to have.
In a way, these will always be struggles that we are faced with... but there is a bright side. I
think that with [9]open source software and friendlier and friendlier user interfaces we will see the divide
narrow. Case(s) in point: Computers won’t need to be bogged down with expensive applications, and we
won’t have to settle for outdated browsers when we can upgrade them with free open source applications.
And, I needed some knowledge of html (a slow learning process
for me) to move things around and add items in the right column of this elgg page, whereas all I had
to do was cut-and-paste some code to do the same thing with Blogger. So the gap is narrowing, and
it is becoming easier to be more efficient and effective with our integration of technology: This is a
good thing, that we are slowly moving towards. So what are the missing ingredients to speed this up?
Professional Development, and mentorship come to mind... so does asking for help.
Well it is past midnight and I have to draft a note to parents...
Are students today digital natives? I would say only a select few that have chosen to be so (out
of interest in what technology has to offer as opposed to a birthright of a generation).
Am I digitally naive? Yes, I need more guidance than I have asked for. With this last attempt
at blogging with students I know that I have re-invented the stone wheel and there are tons of rubber
wheels spinning down the web highway. Many students are also digitally naive, and we have an obligation
to help them get ’good wheels’ too.
Is there a digital divide? Yes, there are at least two that are relevant to teachers in the Western
World, but these are getting smaller!
- - - -
ps. I think that my kids may be the first truly digital natives: My 4 year old after getting a
Webkinz stuffed animal for Christmas, ”Now I get to go on Webkinz-dot-com!”
Originally posted: January 15th, 2006
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
*elgg - My blog was originally hosted on elgg.net, then the address
was changed to eduspaces.net. I moved to davidtruss.com because
eduspaces was going to be moved again... Although that is no longer
the case (right now), I am glad that I have made the permanent change!
I’ve added the comments on my original post into the first comment
I won’t get any further into the digital immigrant/native discussion
here, as I come back to this topic and the batman/borg analogy many
more times in the coming year.
What I will address is how blogging/open source/web2.0 tools have
gotten much easier and friendlier to use in just 15 months since
originally posting this. I can laugh now at my poor strategy for
connecting blogs, when all I would have to do today is have one
subscription to each blog on Google Reader, tag them and share them.
Although things are getting easier, we still need to be patient with
newcomers to the digital frontier. As I begin hosting my blog, I
sometimes feel totally lost when trying something new. That same
feeling can be overwhelming, just cutting and pasting some html code,
for someone doing it for the first time. It can be like being taught
the algorithm in Math, without any conceptual idea of what is going
on... veer one half-step away from the instructed path, or reach one
fork-in-the-road, or circumstance where something needs to be altered
and the whole thing gets both confusing and frustrating. We need to
’expose’ people to new technology gently and be aware that comfort
levels are dramatically different.. but more on that later. :-)
1. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/warlicks-k12-online-keynote-06/
2. http://www.dialbforblog.com/archives/282/
3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borg_%28Star_Trek%29
4. http://bringing-it-all-together.blogspot.com/2007/01/building-brick-house-starts-with-one.html
5. http:
6. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/blog-rules-respect-inclusion-learning-and-safety/
7. http://eduspaces.net/davet/weblog/14829.html
8. http://www.scribd.com/doc/2448732/Blogger-signup
9. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_and_open_source_software
Dave Truss (2008-04-05 14:32:59)
Comments from my original post: - - - - - 1. Hi David It’s Kevin again. Thanks for the reflection here. It
is helpful to learn from someone going through the experience. I, too, want to use Elgg for a big project that
connects middle school kids but I wasn’t ready to jump ship from our old platform and I don’t think Blogger is
right, either. I was trying to get the link to your PP on how you set up Blogger accounts but the link didn’t work
for me (maybe I am outside this Elgg?). Anyway, not to cheer on your misery, but I just wanted you to know
that it was helpful to me to read your thoughts as I consider some of the same moves. And I am curious how
Blogger will work for you. Best of luck, [1]Keven on Monday, 15 January 2007, 12:17 CET - - - - - 2. Hi David,
Interesting insights to the difficulties that one can face as we try to navigate the technology highways while still
trying to uphold the various policies that we are bound to follow. I have set up a class on Blogmeister and am
now beginning to see how this will work for our needs. It is a closed community and I get to monitor all the blog
comments and submissions. Oh Yeah!! If you check out www.kwhobbes.edublogs.org you will be able to see how
my adventure unfolds. It is good to know that, like myself, things just don’t ”work” despite what I’ve read on
other blogs. There is much planning, backtracking and recalibrating that goes into using these tools that no one
seems to be talking about. Thanks for breaking the silence! Kelly [2]Kelly Christopherson on Monday, 15 January
2007, 16:47 CET - - - - - 3. Keven & Kelly, Thanks for commenting (again)! I will be sure to visit your sites,
(and let you know that I came with a comment), after school today. Cheers, Dave. [3]Dave Truss on Monday, 15
January 2007, 22:33 CET - - - - - 4. The best laid plans of mice and men.... I will be checking in on your project
to see how you are adjusting to the needs of your students. I too am working a similar system so we can struggle
and succeed together. [4]Dave Maclean on Tuesday, 16 January 2007, 22:14 CET - - - - - 5. Hi david, I’ve added
a link to this post to the [5]digital natives / immigrants critique page on the learning evolves wiki. Your Batman
/ Borg slogan is great! [6]Bill Kerr on Saturday, 03 February 2007, 12:49 CET
1. http://dogtrax.edublogs.org/
2. http://kwhobbes.wordpress.com/
3. http://DavidTruss.com/
4. http://bringing-it-all-together.blogspot.com/
5. http://learningevolves.wikispaces.com/nativesImmigrants
6. http://billkerr2.blogspot.com/
links for 2008-07-20 « The View From My Window (2008-07-19 23:31:35)
[...] The digital native, the digital naive, and the digital divide. | David Truss :: Pair-a-dimes for You... (tags:
davidtruss blc08) [...]
Voices of ADE Asia » Blog Archive » Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh’s with “App”titude (2009-03-13 23:11:42)
[...] 2. Inspiration for the blog title ;http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/digital-native-digital-naive-digit al-divide
Acceptance of Mediocrity, Web 2-point-oh-oh! (2008-04-06 00:05)
{I was just chatting on-line with a past student, telling her that I was having difficulty writing this post.
As it turns out, she wrote a similar post just hours ago. Rather than continuing my tedious process of
writing, deleting and re-writing a mediocre introduction, I thought I would start, and finish, with her
eloquent words… and I shall say very little. }
”The creative work that came out of the arts in [past centuries] had to be excellent, because each individ-
ual’s standard of living depended on it. Nowadays, I would argue, creative work need not be excellent–just
([1]Kris - Wandering Ink.)
- - - - -
What happens to quality in an age of abundance?
Listening Experience? [2]
Or Listening Convenience?
Monumental Mass Media? [4]
Or Mundane Masses using Media?
(100 million views- video no longer available)
The plot thickens[6]?[7]
Or the selection widens? [8]
[9] Creative with Crayons?
[10] Or
Colouring with Clicks?
Are we willing to ’settle’ for less? What about [11]The ”Dumbness” of Crowds? I think it is won-
derful that [12]anyone can have an audience (see Numa Numa), and share their creativity, but how much
must an uninterested audience wade through to find something meaningful?
- - - - -
”...there’s a lot of flotsam and jetsam in creative work floating around today–or should I say, dotsam and
netsam, a term we’ll probably be hearing a lot more of in the near future.”
([14]Kris Bradburn)
- - - - -
Thanks to Kris for ’framing’ my ideas for me... her post is [15]worth the read!
Earphones image by Chance Agrella
Aragon Theatre image by Brandon Perkins
Crayons image by Marja Flick-Buijs
All photos link to their source.
Originally posted: January 19th, 2006
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
I find that this post brings out a melancholy feeling in me. I’m not
sure if it is because it doesn’t necessarily portray the message I
wanted it to, or if it is because it is about mediocrity and our
willingness to accept it. That said, I attempted a couple things here
worth mentioning. First of all, for the first time in this blog, I
tried to use imagery to make a point. Secondly, I believe that I was
frustrated since i was trying to understand [19]The Long Tail but
lacked both the language and comprehension that such a thing existed.
How does a guy holding a video camera and talking about mundane things
get over a million views of his videos? If you want an audience, you
can find one... in fact, they will find you. But the real challenge is
battling mediocrity! When Gary Kern was my Vice Principal, he would
often say, "Good is the Enemy of Great". If something is good (enough)
then there is no need to make it better. It seems today that even the
standard of ’good’ is being lowered to acceptable. Now let me pause
here and say that this is not about how ’kids today’ are lazier or
less caring or... What this is about is how we as a society are being
trained to ’settle’. Of course I’m talking about the proverbial ’we’
here: • We don’t fix our lifestyle, we take antacid pills. • We
complain about how much longer commercial breaks are, but watch them
anyway. • We watch predictable tv and horrible Youtube videos. • We
watch the news and complain about how bad things have gotten. • We
create multiple choice tests because they are easy to mark. • We don’t
get rid of graffiti. • We don’t vote. • We buy cheap things, and we
don’t care when they break. Accepting mediocrity is a national
pastime. If ’Good’ is the enemy of ’Great’, then ’Mediocrity’ is the
enemy of _____________. You fill in the blank.
1. http://wanderingink.wordpress.com/2007/01/18/selectively-permeable/
2. http://www.totalmedia.com/images/maninchair.jpg
3. http://www.freerangestock.com/watermark.php?i=1086
4. http://www.flickr.com/photos/49503201029@N01/79583229/
5. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1460131833967850194
6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robertson_Davies
7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robertson_Davies
8. http://wordpress.com/
9. http://www.sxc.hu/photo/317127
10. http://www.enchantedlearning.com/paint/subjects/mammals/elephant/Africancoloring.shtml
11. http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/2007/01/the_dumbness_of.html
12. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/alan-november
13. http://www.google.com/
14. http://wanderingink.wordpress.com/2007/01/18/selectively-permeable/
15. http://wanderingink.wordpress.com/2007/01/18/selectively-permeable/
16. http://www.freerangestock.com/watermark.php?i=1086
17. http://www.flickr.com/photos/49503201029@N01/79583229/
18. http://www.sxc.hu/photo/317127
19. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1401302378?ie=UTF8&tag=davidtrcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=
Sharing and Engaging: Web 2-point-0h-Yeah! (2008-04-07 23:15)
An antithesis to my last post, ”[1]Acceptance of Mediocrity, Web 2-point-oh-oh!”
Well, actually more of an ‘alternate spin’ on web2.0 than an ‘antithesis’. I must admit to seeing
an element of accepting mediocrity in some students that concerns me. An example of this is the quality
of work that students believe is satisfactory to hand in.
When a student asks me, “How long does this need to be?” my favorite answer is, “It needs to be as long
as it needs to be!” The idea here is that a good answer can come in 4 or 5 eloquent sentences, and it
can also come in a 7-page treatise... Unfortunately a poor answer can also vary in length considerably-
often weighted on the light side. What surprises me is when I read something far less than exemplary,
that a student hands in, and I ask, “Are you happy with that?” or “Would you like to work on this
some more?” many students choose to settle for what they have already done… (“Perhaps you didn’t
understand that I wanted a good copy and not a first draft!”) Anyway, that is a small example that may
be a comment on my assignment as much as it is on the acceptance of mediocrity.
So this post is not about discrediting the point of my last post… rather, it is about validating the use
of an interactive web that engages students in ways that may not always be apparent or available in a
‘webless’ classroom.
Here are my Ah-ha moments with the world of Web2.0h-Yeah!
These are two on-line ‘conversations’ that happened to in my 10-day [3]Da Vinci - Renaissance Fair
Project that I did, which included [4]a blogging component. Neither of them are outwardly profound,
but when they happened they were profound to me in that they showed me the potential the web has
for engaging students as ‘owners’ of their learning.
- - - - -
• In Vanja’s first blog entry, she posed an open-ended question and then said she was going to
search for more information on the topic. She got a comment on her post and personally responded to
it, mentioning that she was still seeking information. Then Charlotte commented and here is Vanja’s
next response:
“ ..umm Charlotte I was actually hoping that you would actually post something to either contradict
or go along with my observations.. not just say that’s meaningful and true.. Tell me what you think is
meaningful and true!!” - - - - -
Vanja both wanted, and demanded a learning conversation. For me it was wonderful to see a
student expecting more from her peers, or should I say, from her community of learners.
- - - - -
• In our Social Forum, (a community blog), Andrew asks, “we need some help trying to figure
out what the animal in Leonardo’s drawing is.
Here are the first 5 of 16 comment responses:
1. From what I can see thats a bull. I can see horns..at least thats what I think it is.
2. I think that is either a bull like Vanja said or it could be an ox.
3. I think it’s a bull or goat. If you ask me, it looks more like a goat.
4. Its probably a cow..........
5. According to my close observation, it looks neither like an ox or a cow. Because it’s horn is
too long, and it looks too slim and skinny to be like a cow or an ox. So I think it might be a goat or
something other than cows. (Like what Alessandra had said) But why is that animal over there? It is
there for a reason??
Lily - - - - -
I was asked yesterday in a Math Learning Committee, “How do you know when your students
are learning? My quick response was, “When they are asking the right questions.” That is exactly what
Lily did above. What I liked most about her comment is that I thought of her question, (Why is the
animal there?), before reading the comments. That question was going to be my ‘teacher comment’…
but the students didn’t need their teacher here!
I couldn’t believe the breadth and depth of what was shared on-line.
- - - - -
These are small but significant occurrences in the wonderful world of web2.0h Yeah!
Here is the Powerpoint I ran continuously during the Renaissance Fair. It showcases some of the
online learning that occurred during our time together: [5]Part 1 and [6]Part 2.
Here now are a few parting comments from students. These are from a voluntary [7]reflection on
the course:
From Cynthia, “I learned more by sharing than by searching.”
From Mona, “You actually get to learn with each other and help others learn.”
From Michael, “I really liked the use of blogs and forums for this project. It really keeps every-
one connected even outside of school.”
From Lily, “It was fun doing this project and I enjoyed this kind of learning experience when
you get to find your own knowledge rather than laying it all out for you. I feel that I have achieved
something really good each time I’ve found some interesting facts on the blog and the dialogues, which
made me put more time into these things. I realized that this could be another way of learning new
things and also communicating with each other rather than finding information by yourself. Our
project was very successful because our new idea really amazed a lot of people, rather than showing off
Leonardo’s inventions. I wish that people still contributed to the blog either on the forum or on the
dialogue next year!”
(Lily checked in with her last post about 3 weeks after the course ended.)
Originally posted: January 25th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
One of the hardest things for me to figure out... even to this day, is
what kind of ’voice’ I should have online. The interesting thing here
is that I don’t think there is a ’right answer’ to this, just a
learning curve that we all need to go through. Also, this may change
depending on the project. One person that has blogged considerably
with students and considered the importance of ’voice’ is Konrad
Glogowski. I’ll leave you with a link to his post: [8]Learning to be
What I am really concerned about, however, is my own voice. For the
past three years, my three successive grade eight classes enjoyed
blogging and created successful and engaging blogging communities.
Most of the time, this development took place without me. While I
certainly encouraged my bloggers, discussed their work in class, and
posted comments to involve my students in instructional conversations,
I have always been absent as a person. This year, I want things to be
I wrote about ’[9]Biting Your Digital Tongue’ in a future post, that I
will link here when I get to it in this reposting adventure.
I’m very interested in how other teachers have found their ’voice’ to
be different online with students?
1. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/acceptance-of-mediocrity
2. http://channel2.typepad.com/channel_2/2007/10/da-vinci-codex.html
3. http://eduspaces.net/davet/weblog/14829.html
4. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/blog-rules-respect-inclusion-learning-and-safety/
5. http://www.scribd.com/doc/2447853/Da-VinciOnline-Part-1
6. http://www.scribd.com/doc/2447877/Da-VinciOnline-Part-2
7. http://eduspaces.net/davet/files/3985
8. http://www.teachandlearn.ca/blog/2007/09/23/learning-to-be-myself/
9. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/blogging-with-students-requires-biting-your-digital-tongue/
Numeracy & Problem Solving: Process Producibles (2008-04-08 01:01)
Math Professional Development day with [1]Peter Liljedahl: Two sessions
1. Exploring Producibles: Getting the Genie Back in the Bottle.
2. Assessing Numeracy: How do you Photograph the Wind?
One of my goals for this year is to make Professional Development Days more useful. Too often
I gather great information from a session and then ’file’ it away never to be used... despite its usefulness!
I have decided that I will always pick one thing from a session and make sure that I implement it
immediately into my practice. I will take the problem below into my Math class on Monday! Problem
solving is something I have always valued and this session was a good synthesis of many ideas that I find
important in teaching Math. I will be taking a lot more than one thing from this session...
You have two glass orbs of equal strength and a 40 story building.
Your task is to determine the highest floor from which you can drop an orb without it break-
What is the least number of drops required to do this?
Both orbs may be broken in order to determine your answer.
Problematic problems:
Solving ‘True problems’ rather than traditional ‘word problems’. “With word problems the problem is
in the words, with true problems the problem is in the problem”… word problems are about the ‘right’
answer, “A train leaves Toronto at…”. True ‘Problem Solving’ is about your path to the answer, it has
‘better’ answers, not necessarily a right answer… (It may indeed have a ‘right’ answer, but when you
get it, you can’t necessarily guarantee that it really is the best answer.) The question above is about
problem solving! (Tell the problem in a story rather than putting it in print.)
Producibles:(anything that students produce – not necessarily to ‘hand-in’ -List below created in
our session.)
• Presentation – Solution/ Think-Pair-Share
• Case Study – give them 3 floors… try it, did your theory hold up?
• Create a similar problem
• Pictures/Drawings (with explanation)
• Self Assessment
• Skit/Video/Audio
Aspects of Problem solving: Communication (talking, listening, sharing, debating, working to-
gether, questioning, helping, taking roles, co-operation), Brainstorming, creating, interpreting, testing,
hypothesizing/predicting/guessing, organizing, risk-taking, getting stuck/frustration/disengagement,
comfortable frustration, self-correcting, messy/loud, getting stuck, brainstorming, perseverance, using
multiple strategies, thinking!
Which aspects do we value… and want to develop in our students?
What to we want to assess?
“A hundred years ago we used Grimm fairy tales to keep kids in line, the fear of a witches or
big-bad-wolf. Now we use assessment.”
We need to make thinking valuable in class… if we just access 20 questions at the end of a
unit/lesson etc. then what are we telling students is important? “Show your work” is really ‘show
my work’. How good are students at truly showing their thinking? Your thinking is chronological not
Here are some producibles that
can be used to look at ‘The Process’:
Reflective Journaling- Does not disturb the process, but creates a producible that is reflective of
the process- can journal on many things- Tell me how working in a group contributed to your answer.
Convince me of how hard you worked on this problem. (Moving the thing that you value into your
evaluation)… but you must teach students what you expect from journaling!
Black/Whiteboards- Put everyone on a board… teacher in the center of the room.
Digital Photos- print and ask, “What were you doing at this point?” “How were you contributing
to your group when this photo was taken?” –can be ‘in-action’ photos or after they are done.
Poster- lots of variety here… not just what is your answer… look at process.
Pictures- Draw a 3 (or 4) panel cartoon that shows me how you got to the answer that you
More producible strategies: Show your work; Show me how you know; Quiz/test; Problem solv-
ing journal; Graphic organizers; Narrative/story; Placemat; Time line organizer; Presentation/sharing;
Self and peer evaluation.
Pair these together: Digital photos used to spur a reflective journal entry.
Here are some [2]Cooperative Learning Strategies.
When you assess process you need to:
1. Let students know what you are assessing, (Today I will be looking at your perseverance or team
work etc.- Pick only one!)
2. Mark them/give them feedback on what you are assessing, (don’t be afraid to be tough on them…
and give them a chance to improve the next time)- call them on it!
-Show that you value the things that you value! (Problem solving aspects or skills that are important
should be both announced and assessed.)
Kinds of Problems:
1. Planning Problem: “How many chocolate bars/drinks should you buy for the school dance?”
2. Fair Share Problem: Goody bags- you need 10 bags and you have 6 suckers, 8 chocolate bars, 12
glow-sticks, 3 party horns… “How do you ‘fairly’ make 10 goody bags?”
3. Estimating a large number of variables: “How many candy canes does the Santa at the mall hand out
in a day?”
4. Modeling problem: “How do you organize classes so that you can get every other Friday off… without
losing overall teaching time, and keeping a fair distribution of class times?”
Possible Producibles for All Students:
• Right/Wrong -sometimes you can just say, ”No, that’s not right”. (If the class culture makes this ok.)
• Step by Step Rubrics/Part Marks
• Content Rubrics
• Performance Standard Rubrics
• Holistic Rubrics
Assessing through Observation (Some students per day- not all)
• A holistic or specific focus observation of selected students on a given day… (Announce and Assess).
Here is a very useful [3]Holistic Marking Rubric .
- - - - -
There is a problem with our fascination with ”Explain your thinking” as a tool to asses. I am
reminded of an analogy in [4]Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell, on:
Unconscious Intuitive Thin-slicing: People are often unaware of how they make intuitive judgments.
Imagine that you have to solve this problem:
two ropes are hanging vertically from the ceiling, too far apart for you to reach both at once, and you
have to find ways to tie them together. One solution, which very few people come up with on their own,
is to swing one rope, grab the other rope, and then catch the swinging rope. In one study, people get
a subtle hint: the experimenter casually walks across the room in a way that involves brushing against
one rope and making it swing slightly. Most of the people were able to pick up on the hint and identify
the rope-swinging solution. However, only 1 of these people realized that they got the idea from the
experimenter’s brush with the rope. The rest came up with unrelated explanations of their inspiration.
They had no idea of the process that led to their (successful) intuition. [Taken from [5]Blargh Blog]
...Students don’t always know where their ideas come from. Our school goal of [6]’Articulate Your Think-
ing’ grew out of an e-mail that I wrote to our Math Learning Team that we had almost thee years ago. I
still think it is important for students to articulate their thinking, and I have found this session interesting
in the way that it challenged some of my thinking. Getting students to record their ideas chronologically
can be a very insightful process that I will explore further.
This was an excellent opportunity to look at what is really important in Math. Just as I have been
focusing on 21st Century Skills and the use of technology for learning, it was great to also revisit the
parallels to Problem Solving in my Math Class.
It is interesting to note that Peter is fully aware that it is difficult to get all students engaged in problem
solving, and he noted several times that this is true for other subjects too, and yet we still work at it...
(Can you say that all your students were engaged with the Water Cycle in Science or with the Square
Dancing unit in Gym?). You still have to use your skills as a teacher to engage students in the problems.
Also, as you work on this ’sometimes messy’ math, it is important to let students know what specifically
you are assessing them for, and then you need to ’raise the bar’ on expected producibles as students: get
used to you assessing ’different’ skills; and, as they improve their thinking skills!
- - - - -
Resource: [7]NRICH –need to filter, but some really good problems can be found here. It has a good
internal search: by topic/grade(UK-so actually ‘level’)/difficulty.
- - - - -
My ‘best answer’, so far, for the initial problem… with a 40 story building, the maximum number
of orb drops I would need to determine the highest floor from which you can drop an orb without it
breaking is (I’ve got it in less than 10… so far). Feel free to post your best answer, but don’t ruin
it for others with an explanation here!
I am starting a collection of [8]good numeracy tasks on my ’Practic-All’ blog. Do you have a Nu-
meracy Task you would like to share? ([9]Click here)
- - - - -
Images: ’Sphere 2720’ by [10]doviende, ’Producibles’ chart by [11]Peter Liljedahl, ’Swimming Hole Rope’
by [12]Cindy Seigle.
Originally posted: January 27th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
I tackled this with my class the following week and even tried out the
(much more difficult to explain) [13]2nd task the week after that. I
also attempted to try one of the approaches. For the second task: I
took digital photos of the students working with the manipulatives I
gave them, (specifically- four plastic cups) and then printed them. I
then had them journal on the back of the page describing what they
were doing/thinking about when the photo was taken.
I think the most difficult thing with Math tasks such as these is the
’unlearning’ necessary. Students want and expect a ’right’ answer in
Math, and do not really like ambiguity. I think this is mainly the
case because they don’t have experience trying these questions on a
regular basis. Also, in hindsight, I wasn’t all that clear on how I
was assessing students and that too can create anxiety and
frustration. Just as in the use of technology in our classrooms,
Numeracy Tasks require a shift in teaching as well as a shift in
1. http://ierg.net/people/index.php?bio_id=43
2. http://www.myread.org/organisation.htm
3. http://eduspaces.net/dtruss/files/4006/14946/Holistic-Rubric.doc
4. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316010669?ie=UTF8&tag=davidtrcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=
5. http://blarblog.blogspot.com/2005/01/blink.html
6. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/articulate-your-thinking/
7. http://www.nrich.maths.org.uk/public/leg.php
8. http://datruss.wordpress.com/tag/numeracy/
9. http://davidtruss.co.nr/ContactMe.html
10. http://www.flickr.com/people/doviende/
11. http://www3.educ.sfu.ca/faculty_member.php?contactid=126
12. http://www.flickr.com/people/cindy47452/
13. http://datruss.wordpress.com/2007/01/27/numeracy-task-2-flipping-hidden-cups/
David Truss :: Pair-a-dimes for Your Thoughts » Math can be beautiful! (2010-05-05 21:35:25)
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Articulate Your Thinking... (an e-mail correspondence) (2008-04-08 01:46)
In my last post about my [1]Numeracy Tasks Pro-D session with [2]Peter Liljedahl, I mentioned an e-mail
I wrote almost 3 years ago. I dug up that e-mail and found an interesting ’conversation’ between Gary
Kern and I. My comments are after the e-mails.
- - - - -
Sent:May 10, 2004 9:55 PM
To: [Our Math Learning Team, my principal, and a few other people whose opions I value]
Subject: School Goal(s)
I’ve been bouncing these ideas around and would like to get your slant.
One overall school goal of”Articulate Thinking”
Building the skills necessary to develop articulate students who can express their thoughts in
meaningful, articulate ways.
The Philosophical Bent
I don’t really care if my daughters, upon graduation, can identify the subordinate clause in a sentence
or if they can tell me how to find the volume of a cone... I do care that they can express themselves in
thoughtful, meaningful ways and demonstrate social responsibility in their decision making.
The GOAL(s)
1 main goal that we always focus on... especially with regards to our all-writes/ or our testing,
3 sub goals, but we only focus on one per year... across the curriculum!
Main Goal: Social Responsibility
Sub goals:
Year 1 - Structure of writing - Form, grammar, etc.
Year 2 - Verbal - speeches, presentations etc.
Year 3 - Visual/Spacial - charts, data, displaying information, etc.
(It could work that we divide this into terms and do all 3 per year, but I think 1 per year lets us keep it
simple and focussed!)
The Buy In
So, how do we focus on one per year... across the curriculum? And how do we get ALL teachers
In every class, we make a commitment to challenge students with a critical thinking challenge monthly
or bimonthly. The topic of the challenge is course specific and preferably integrated with other subjects.
CAPP: Casa Guatemala, Multiculturalism, Bullying etc.
Social Studies: Current Issues, Religions etc.
Math: Problem Solving with real life application, Dream house, Planning a party, etc.
Science: E3 - Environment, Experiments, Ethics
Explorations: (examples)
Tech-Ed: Build a birdhouse that fits these minimum requirements... but these are the sizes of wood you
are limited to...
Computers: Use [insert program here] to present the following information in a meaningful way
Home Ec.: These are the sizes of the individual pieces of material you will need for this sewing project...
place them on this 1m x 1m piece of material so that you waste the least amount of material.
Key idea... focus on critical challenges that force students to express and justify their ideas.
We have the opportunity to build and sequence these during pro-d!
How the Sub Goals work
Year 1 - Structure of writing - All of the challenges above have a written component and EVERY teacher
has a part of their marking rubric factor in Form/Convention/Grammar ... Structure of writing.
Year 2 - Verbal - All of the challenges above have a presentation component and EVERY teacher has a
part of their marking rubric factor in verbal communication of ideas.
Year 3 - Visual/Spacial - All of the challenges above contain data collection and/or graphing etc., and
EVERY teacher has a part of their marking rubric factor in visual representation of the information/
This is not done for every project, but in each class, one of these assignments is expected every
2-3 months.
Back to the BIG GOAL
**The sub goals allow us to micro-teach the necessary skills needed to improve how we express ideas in
written form, in our verbal communication and our ability to visually display information... skills that
allow us to express our thoughts in articulate ways.
The main goal... Social Responsibility.. is where we collect our data to see how we are progressing... to
give us feedback on how well students are doing, (and for that matter how well we are doing at teaching
them these skills across the curriculum).
Once a term, or twice a year, we test kids using a critical question based on Social Responsibility topics.
These would still be taught in CAPP and Advisory, and hopefully also taught in other areas... looking
at the environment in Science, waste reduction in Tech Ed and Home Ec. etc.
How students are expected to respond to the critical question would depend on what year/sub
goal we are focusing on:
Year 1 - Structure of writing - Essays
Example: Moral dilemmas
Year 2 - Verbal - speeches, presentations, etc.
Example: Speech on Bullying; Develop an Anti-smoking ad campaign... You must ’sell’ this idea to your
Year 3 - Visual/Spacial - charts, data, displaying information, etc.
Example: Develop a 10 question survey on peer pressure and display your findings in a meaningful way.
Well there you go!
I’d like to hear what you think,
- - - - -
Gary wrote:
Ahh, what do you want me to say? It sounds like it could be a unifying concept that the school
could rally around. Kind of like Joey’s old EBS, but with an academic slant.
I might argue that these goals are already taught by your Language Art teachers, so the main
benefit is that everyone is working towards the same outcome. To that point, the LA teachers touch on
those skills every year. The main problem, as I see it, isn’t that we aren’t doing a good job teaching
these skills, it is that we have 5 – 20 % of the kids who don’t get it. These are the kids that we need
to focus our goals on – these are the ones where academic interventions are required. If we add more
teachers teaching a concept, the real question is to what extent are we going to improve the ability of
the 5 – 20 %ers? If we aren’t going to improve their skills, then don’t set the goals.
In saying that, perhaps all of our students need to be more articulate thinkers? If so, than this
is a well thought out plan!
Good luck,
- - - - -
David wrote:
It often comes down to that 5-20 % doesn’t it?
I wonder what we are doing now that isn’t working with that group? Is there some school somewhere
that handles this group well?
I’m not sure I challenge this group in a way that gets the most out of them, but then I spend too much
time on giving them info (not a lot of time on the 3 higher levels of blooms taxonomy). If we challenged
kids to think about ’no right answer’ kinds of questions in every class, maybe we would be challenging
and hopefully exciting some of these kids... maybe this is wishful thinking.
I can’t help but wonder what is wrong with the structure of education that limits us from con-
necting with these kids???? If you built your own school what would be different?
Maybe a good discussion for our book club... not ’perfect world’ education, but given the re-
sources we have, what would we do differently if we had the budget of a current school and carte blanche
permission to make the school look and operate any way we felt?
- - - - -
Gary wrote:
Well Dave…
One must first challenge some age old assumptions. Our system is built on the belief that “every
kid can learn.” Second, we believe that every teacher can teach every child. Thirdly, we assume that
every child should be “with their appropriate age grouping.”
If we want to unlock the potential of our students, these assumptions must be examined.
Can every child learn? Developmental psychologist will answer by saying “maybe.” Developmen-
tally, many of our students, especially at the middle level, are stunted in their thinking. They lack the
ability to “integrate” the sensory world. They lack the ability to temper dual thoughts. They even lack
the adaptive process that we assume all people possess. So their answer to that question is “maybe.”
For students to learn, Gordon Neufeld says they must be ready.
Can every teacher teach every child? Come on, we all know that we can’t be all things to every-
one. Even good teachers will eventually meet their match.
Finally, should every child be with their appropriate age? I’m of the opinion that the greatest
thing in our kids lives is their peers. So much so, that peer pressure is ruining their lives. Students don’t
come to school to learn, they come to school to meet their friends. A true cart before the horse analogy.
Again, Neufeld would suggest that this very notion of peer influence is what is causing some kids to be
unable to learn. He believes peers stunt our growth and block us from learning.
So, the solution?
I will put a computer in every students hand. I would keep students in “similar age groupings”,
but I wouldn’t guarantee their same age grouping. I would differentiate all learning, but I would try to
cluster learning objectives so that teachers can continue to play a crucial role in learning and still be the
main facilitator for learning. The computer, in its ideal form, is the tool that allows us to individualize
student work. It will allow us to communicate in real time, learn in real time, and assess in real time.
It will be the lever to better learning. Teachers, however, will need to be better than ever before. They
will be the fuel for the flame.
My middle school would thus have grade 6 – 8 classes. Some students would remain in the class
for only a year before going on to grade 9. Others might stay for four years. Teams of teachers would
still work together to deliver the curriculum, but the interaction and model would be much different than
today. Some genius will lay out the curriculum into standards and objectives that are clear and easy
to follow. Teachers will bring the objectives to life, and technology will allow students to demonstrate
their learning in ways unimaginable only a few short years ago. Problem based learning and rich task
learning will be for the masses. For our 5 – 20 %, reading recovery, math recovery, writing recovery will
be their focus. We won’t be ashamed to actually help people progress.
Finally, students will come to school to learn.
Is it possible?
- - - - -
My thoughts on this conversation:
It was great to re-read this and see where my thinking was 3 years ago... it was before I saw
the value of technology in education, and yet it wasn’t very long ago!
I thought this was pretty insightful of Gary, ”Teachers will bring the objectives to life, and tech-
nology will allow students to demonstrate their learning in ways unimaginable only a few short years
ago. Problem based learning and rich task learning will be for the masses.”
This idea of many students not fitting into school, or rather schools not fitting many students,
has been a something I have considered a lot... especially in my [3]Square Peg, Round Hole post. The
concept of being socially responsible applies equally if not more so in this technological age, (note: my
[4]Blogging Rules).
”One overall school goal of ’Articulate Thinking’. Building the skills necessary to develop articu-
late students who can express their thoughts in meaningful, articulate ways.” This might have been a
lofty goal three years ago, but after reading Thomas Friedman’s (original version of) [5]The World Is
Flat 3.0 and watching [6]David [7]Warlick, maybe it is time that education focussed on, as Gary suggests
’differentiating all learning’. It is [8]the side trips of learning that students enjoy. Maybe when we
are better at meeting students needs, they will have the motivation to meaningfully participate... and
therefore be more compelled to be the ’Articulate Thinkers’ they need to be in the 21st Century!
Originally posted: January 29th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
As you can see, when I originally posted this -almost-three-year-old-
correspondence, I already reflected on it. So now I’ll put the
question out there: ’Given the resources we have, what would we do
differently if we had the budget of a current school and carte blanche
permission to make the school look and operate any way we felt?’
1. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/numeracy-and-problem-solving
2. http://ierg.net/people/index.php?bio_id=43
3. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/square-peg-round-hole
4. http://eduspaces.net/dtruss/weblog/146797.html
5. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0312425074?ie=UTF8&tag=davidtrcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=
6. http://k12online.wm.edu/k12online2006_optz.mp4
7. http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/
8. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/warlicks-k12-online-keynote-06
David Truss :: Pair-a-dimes for Your Thoughts » Numeracy & Problem Solving: Process Producibles (2010-05-05
[...] « Sharing and Engaging: Web 2-point-0h-Yeah! Articulate Your Thinking… (an e-mail correspondence) [...]
Learning Conversations (2008-04-08 21:58)
Learning Conversation Part I
It was refreshing to hear Maureen Dockendorf, our staff development co-ordinator, (Director of Instruc-
tion), speak at our Building Leadership Capacity (BLC*) series introduction.
She encouraged us to become ’intellectual companions’ that enter into ’learning conversations’. The part
I liked most about her talk was the direction of the conversation. She spoke of:
Not the Knowing, but the Process of Inquiry.
Not covering the curriculum, but ’uncovering’ the curriculum.
A focus in innovation and creativity… how do we model this… every day?
Maureen also spoke of the 5 needs that we (students/teachers/learners) have:
The need to feel confident,
The need to feel like we belong,
The need to be potent- feel you have made a difference,
The need to feel useful, and
The need to have a sense of optimism.
(She identified her source for this, but I didn’t write it down.) [”The reference to the needs of the
21st learner were from the former president of [1]ASCD , Martha Bruckner.” -Thanks for passing on this
information in your comment Maureen.]
I think that when using technology in the classroom, it would be prudent to keep these needs in mind!
- - - - -
Learning Conversations Part II
I started by saying Maureen’s presentation was refreshing. I think I felt that way because when I look
back at my blog, I can see parallels to what she spoke about. I think that it is significant that the Director
of Instruction in our district is prioritizing these ideas when talking to teachers interested in leadership...
especially as more and more pressure is being placed on districts to perform well on standardized tests.
So here is my take on what Maureen said relative to what I have written about, (here in this blog so far).
Also note my Meta-Analysis of these two parts below.
Not the Knowing, but the Process of Inquiry:
[2]Articulate your Thinking
One overall school goal of”Articulate Thinking”.
Building the skills necessary to develop articulate students who can express their thoughts in meaningful,
articulate ways.
The Philosophical Bent:
I don’t really care if my daughters, upon graduation, can identify the subordinate clause in a sentence
or if they can tell me how to find the volume of a cone... I do care that they can express themselves in
thoughtful, meaningful ways and demonstrate social responsibility in their decision making.
[3]Sharing and Engaging: Web 2-point-0h-Yeah!
Vanja both wanted, and demanded a learning conversation. For me it was wonderful to see a student
expecting more from her peers, or should I say, from her community of learners.
From Cynthia, “I learned more by sharing than by searching.”
From Mona, “You actually get to learn with each other and help others learn.”
From Lily, “It was fun doing this project and I enjoyed this kind of learning experience when you get
to find your own knowledge rather than laying it all out for you. I feel that I have achieved something
really good each time I’ve found some interesting facts on the blog and the dialogues, which made me
put more time into these things. I realized that this could be another way of learning new things and
also communicating with each other rather than finding information by yourself.
“How do you know when your students are learning?... When they are asking the right questions.
[4]”the use of blogs to learn not just to teach”
I need to ask myself:
’Am I adding technology to my teaching or providing students with new learning and new ways to learn?’
’Am I creating an environment where students will express, synthesize, and reflect on their (and each
other’s) learning, or am I creating a new way to report out?’ (A glorified poster board).
’Am I encouraging students to be lifelong learners?’
A side note: The curriculum does not come up in my line of questioning... it seems almost insignificant
in this meta conversation. Does it matter what the content is, or isn’t the process far more important?
I think that if we want students to be lifelong learners, and we want them to take ownership of their own
learning to any extent, then subject discipline must be, at the very least, ‘loosened’ up. [Which leads us
Not covering the curriculum, but ’uncovering’ the curriculum:
[5]David Warlick’s K12 Online Conference Keynote (Derailing Education)
”This is why the foundation of education systems today should not be the rails, but it should be the side
trips. It should not be the central standard curriculum, but it should be those directions that students,
that learners, both teachers and students, can navigate to on their own.” ([6]David Warlick)
...the teacher as the compass. We point in a direction, (not necessarily the direction that the student is
going), and we are a reference point or guide to the learning. As students sail (rather than ride the rails)
they must choose their destination, (what they want to learn), and tack and adjust their path as they
go... using the teacher as a compass that keeps them on their ’learning’ course.
[7]The way of the teacher is a practice in trust- (Stone Soup)
”In keeping with “the Stone Soup” metaphor, the teacher brings the cauldron, builds the fire, puts the
“magic” stone into the boiling water and trusts that eventually the audience will engage enough to bring
their own hidden ingredients to the process.” ([8]Mia Lobel, Michael Neubauer, Randy Swedburg)
[9]Christopher D. Sessums :: Competing Paradigms and Educational Reform
(Linked above to his post, not [10]my short exerpt)
”The crucial elements that will sustain school improvement is not high-stakes testing, standards, or re-
actionary accountability programs – “it is simple human trust… that rests on four supports: respect,
competency, integrity, and personal regard for others” (George 2006). ”
In terms of education, the alternate paradigm acknowledges the following broad perspective:
• Curriculum is best derived from the needs and interests of the learners.
• Developmental appropriateness should supersede national assessment.
”The developmental needs for learners are widespread and cannot be easily or meaningfully reduced to a
pencil-based exam.”
[11]Articulate your Thinking (again, but this time from Gary Kern)
I would differentiate all learning, but I would try to cluster learning objectives so that teachers can con-
tinue to play a crucial role in learning and still be the main facilitator for learning. The computer, in
its ideal form, is the tool that allows us to individualize student work. It will allow us to communicate
in real time, learn in real time, and assess in real time. It will be the lever to better learning. Teachers,
however, will need to be better than ever before. They will be the fuel for the flame.
...Teams of teachers would still work together to deliver the curriculum, but the interaction and model
would be much different than today. Some genius will lay out the curriculum into standards and objec-
tives that are clear and easy to follow. Teachers will bring the objectives to life, and technology will allow
students to demonstrate their learning in ways unimaginable only a few short years ago. Problem based
learning and rich task learning will be for the masses.
A focus in innovation and creativity… how do we model this… every day?
[12]Square Peg, Round Hole
Sir Ken Robinson, Ted Talks: [13]Do schools today kill creativity? (Worth watching again!)
Many of the Square/Round Peg Students (that don’t fit into our other-shaped schools) are the future
thinkers/dreamers/innovators that are going to meaningfully change our world. We need to recognize
their future value... We have an obligation to nurture them, and to develop their enthusiasm for learning.
It isn’t just about not stifling creativity or not making schools [14]so alien... it is about creating an
environment where every child can thrive... Not making the misfits fit, but rather helping them create a
space that fits them.
[15]Application of Constructivist Principles to the Practice of Instructional Technology
• Think in terms of designing learning environments rather than selecting instructional strategies.
Metaphors are important. Does the designer ”select” a strategy or ”design” a learning experience?
Grabinger, Dunlap, and Heath (1993) provide design guidelines for what they call realistic environ-
ments for active learning (REAL); these guidelines reflect a constructivist orientation:
– Extend students’ responsibility for their own learning.
– Make learning meaningful.
– Promote active knowledge construction.
• Think of instruction as providing tools that teachers and students can use for learning; make these
tools user-friendly. This frame of mind is virtually the opposite of ”teacher-proofing” instructional
materials to assure uniform adherence to designers’ use expectations. Instead, teachers and students
are encouraged to make creative and intelligent use of instructional tools and resources. ([16]Bonnie
[17]Synthesize and Add Meaning [To some extent, this fits in the above two categories as well.]
“High expectations are important and needed, but not within a rigorous environment that does not
encourage differentiation and flexibility within classrooms. Learning is inherently a dynamical process,
not isolated events that can be entirely centrally planned, and our educational language as well as
policies should recognize this. We need to embrace differentiation, flexibility and high expectations
for all students.” ([18]Wesley Fryer)
But there is a dichotomy here: Our ‘educational language’ around standardization and accountability
juxtaposed with differentiation and flexibility… we seem to have two mutually exclusive camps, yet
there seems to be a move to embrace both. To embrace both is to accomplish neither.
We need to be adept at creating flexible, differentiated learning environments.
We need to be computer literate, and also be able to teach [19]a new kind of literacy. (War-
We need to challenge students by [20]asking questions, [21]guiding their learning, and helping
them to develop their own [22]personal learning environments.
We need to teach students to synthesize information and add new meaning.
We must change what we do. (And we need visionary leaders to lead the way!)
”We need visionary educational leadership that understands and effectively communicates the importance
of emphasizing student CREATIVITY and the creation of original (and remixed) knowledge products.”
([23]Wesley Fryer)
[24]A Story About A Tree
...This started out as a story about a tree, and it will end with the planting of some seeds...
How will we use the community building aspects of the internet to foster learning in schools?
How do we make schools into ’modern day’ learning communities?
How do we get students to engage rather than escape?
- - - - -
Meta-Analysis: Hyperlinks fuel the fire
At first, this post was going to be a short reporting-out of my BLC meeting, or more specifically Mau-
reen’s talk. Then I reflected on her words and created Part II, which was going to become this post...
but the process of creating Part II ’planted the seed’ for this post to evolve as it has.
In creating Part II, I tried to put enough information into each section that it really wasn’t necessary
to follow a link unless the reader had a personal interest in the specific topic. The ’effort’ to create this
section, in itself, was a meaningful learning experience. Searching for relevant connections and following
the hyper-linked-thoughts transformed the post from a simple learning conversation to multiple learning
conversations... it allowed me to synthesize ideas and add meaning to the words that I originally heard
at the meeting. It took hours to do this, but it was worth it - I became a participant in the learning
process - I created internal learning conversations and expressed them externally here.
How does the presence of hyperlinks change the experience of this post for the reader? I can answer
that for myself having been consumed by my own reading of edublogs over the past few months. The
challenge I now face is being selective on which hyperlinks, which side trips, I choose to go down... this
is proving to be a skill that I am learning/honing... but the decision-making process has more to do with
personal interests than a logical/deductive process. In keeping with the theme of this post, the act of
effectively following hyperlinks is in and of itself a process of inquiry, it requires taking tangents from
the curriculum and seeking to ’uncover’ what is interesting, and it requires the participant to creatively
select (personal) relevance. Teaching this skill will be a challenge... one that cannot be measured by
standardized tests, but will be a necessary skill for the 21st Century.
Feb. 5th... I have to add hyperlinks to this section! Jesse Lubinsky from Irvington School District
in NY sent a video link to [25]Jennifer Cronk. Her post was picked up by [26]Will Richardson who is in
my [27]Netvibes feedreader. The video is from, ”[28]Digital Ethnography @ Kansas State University”. It
is a fantastic video that exemplifies how web2.0 is changing how we connect, what we do... and who we
are. I have tried to ’say’ things on this video... it doesn’t just speak what I have tried to say, (a number
of times on this blog), it breathes it!
- - - - -
What is the BLC series?
The Building Leadership Capacity series is open to teachers interested in both formal and informal lead-
ership. The four sessions will focus on inquiring and exploring the building of personal leadership capacity
through a variety of experiences. The series puts a high priority on opportunities for participants to talk
about leadership, bringing the unique perspective of a diverse group of educational professionals together
in one room (using the School District Learning Team model**).
*What is a Learning Team
Learning teams are small groups of educators that meet to engage in a professional growth experience
focused on improving instructional practice and student learning. Learning teams are facilitated by a
variety of educators who have expertise in the topical/curricular area, and in facilitation. Two to three
hour meetings occur six times in the year and take the following format: individual write, sharing, dis-
cussion, work-time, reporting back and a commitment for the next meeting.
Learning teams offer an opportunity for teachers to meet in a meaningful learning environment. My
last post on [30]Articulate Your Thinking came out of a conversation in a learning team. They are an
innovative approach to Professional Development in that they provide teachers with an opportunity to
engage in ’learning conversations’ that we want to have, but never seem to be able to find the time to
Originally posted: February 4th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
I won’t add anything here... at this time. I’ve already done a
meta-analysis and the idea behind this post will be developed further
for one of my presentations at Alan November’s [31]BLC08.
Maureen’s Comment on my original post:
I have greatly appreciated your meta analysis and the potential for
deep and thoughtful conversation based on your writing. The reference
to the needs of the 21st learner were from the former president of
ASCD, Martha Bruckner. I continue to ask myself how to replicated the
level of engagement of the skateboarders into who we are as teachers,
administrators in schools?
1. http://www.ascd.org/portal/site/ascd/
2. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/articulate-your-thinking
3. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/sharing-engaging-web-2-0h-yeah
4. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/blogs-to-learn-not-just-to-teach
5. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/warlicks-k12-online-keynote-06
6. http://k12online.wm.edu/k12online2006_optz.mp4
7. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/stone-soup
8. http://www.usdla.org/html/journal/NOV02_Issue/article01.html
9. http://eduspaces.net/csessums/weblog/8200.html
10. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/christopher-d-sessums-competing-paradigms-and-educational-reform
11. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/articulate-your-thinking
12. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/square-peg-round-hole
13. http://ted.com/tedtalks/tedtalksplayer.cfm?key=ken_robinson
14. http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/2006/12/10/an-alien-in-an-alien-world/
15. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/
16. http://www.usask.ca/education/coursework/802papers/Skaalid/application.html
17. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/synthesize-and-add-meaning
18. http://www.speedofcreativity.org/2006/08/31/
19. http://davidwarlick.com/wiki/pmwiki.php?n=Main.RedefiningLiteracyForThe21stCentury
20. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socrates#Socratic_method
21. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/warlicks-k12-online-keynote-06
22. http://octette.cs.man.ac.uk/jitt/index.php/Personal_Learning_Environments
23. http://www.techlearning.com/blog/2006/12/valuing_student_creativity.php
24. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/a-story-about-a-tree
25. http://mscronk.edublogs.org/
26. http://weblogg-ed.com/2007/the-machine-is-using-us/
27. http://www.netvibes.com/
28. http://mediatedcultures.net/ksudigg/
29. http://mediatedcultures.net/ksudigg/?p=77
30. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/articulate-your-thinking
31. http://novemberlearning.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=18&Itemid=60
Tomas (2008-04-09 02:18:54)
click on leave a comment was done automatically and the new window have appeared on my screen. That was so
symbolical- my comments will show my application of what was grasped by me to my practice. Wow, the window
was empty - that was the challenge. Everything was clear thus far, however, what of it? What’s further? Am
I to rewrite you post with adding wow after each your statement? I didn’t guess for a long, because I noticed
the inscription under the window for the comments. It was ”share your wisdom” It was wow indeed. The key
word was share and Thank you came out of itself. I was glad to bookmark your blog Thank you once again
http://candleday.wordpress.com Sincerely yours Tomas Karkalas
Langwitches » Changing- Shifting a School Culture- Train of Thought (2009-05-19 16:12:53)
[...] Maureen Dockendorf spoke of: [...]
School 2.0 Participant’s Manifesto (2008-04-09 07:52)
When I enter our learning space I will be prepared to learn, to participate, to engage, to discover, to
play, to inquire, to create.
We are all different. Our opinions are different. We all learn differently. Our learning will be
Respect makes all the difference.
We are not all equal, but we must all be ethical, just and fair.
Classes are not rooms; they are learning communities.
Our community will use technology effectively, affectively and appropriately.
Curriculum describes and directs; it is not to be prescribed or directed.
Knowledge is static. Synthesis is dynamic. We create meaning.
Collaboration is a series of learned skills.
Grades are measurements; Rubrics offer feedback.
Self-reflection is mandatory.
When I leave I will be more literate, more resourceful, more involved, more collaborative, more
connected, more thoughtful and less willing to accept injustice of any kind.
I will make a positive difference in my world.
Trust Light by Tomas Karkalas
Painting used with permission from the artist, [1]Tomas Karkalas, of [2]Captain’s Bridge. Trust Light,
Tomas tells me, ”was born as the reflection of [3]“Modus Vivendi” (art therapy club of Klaipeda psychi-
atric hospital).”
- - - - -
Inspiration for this manifesto stemmed from reading Christopher D. Sessums’ ’[4]The Future Begins Now:
School 2.0 Manifesto’... although I took a different slant.
School 2.0 on Wikispaces has a [5]Manifesto page that includes Sessums and other worthy contribu-
- - - - -
Feb. 11th, I found a list of 10 things we need to unlearn in [6]Will Richardson’s blog post. I think
a number of these things ’fit’ with this manifesto... Participants can’t fully engage in learning, as de-
scribed above, unless some things are unlearned about how schools look at and do things in the classroom.
Here is Will’s introduction to the 10 things we need to unlearn.
”There is no curriculum for unlearning, and, of course, in many ways it’s simply learning to see things
differently or to at least be open to it. To me at least, the key is attempting to understand how these
technologies can transform our own learning practice (and, I would guess, our unlearning practice as
well.) If we can get started on that road, it can become much easier to re-envision our classrooms and
our schools.”
He ends with this one, ”We need to unlearn the premise that real change can happen just by rethinking
what happens inside the school walls and understand that education is now a community undertaking on
many different levels.”
Worth the read, and worth reflecting on!
- - - - -
Originally posted: February 5th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
I think this is far more philosophical than practical, but I do like
it! There are a number of points made in my manifesto that could be
the seed to an entire post, (something I may still do). I am
definitely going to expand on, and explore some of these ideas
further. I don’t really like the start: "When I enter I will..."
because it begs the question, ’enter what?’ However, I’m not sure how
to meaningfully change it, so I left it as-is. *Update: November 7th,
2009 - I changed it to "When I enter our learning space..." which was
inspired by my recent [7]Learning Spaces blog post. Question: When we
empower learners, should they not have certain expectations and
responsibilities placed upon them? Should we not have them create
their own participant’s manifesto? It has been a long time since I
have found a ’voice’ like the one I used in this post. I’ve never been
able to will myself into such a creative space, it is more like a mood
that comes over me than it is a destination. I think that is why I
like Tomas’ art so much. He seems to get to a creative space on
demand. I’ve always been a photographer who likes the subject of a
picture to be sharp... but Tomas has a gift and I really enjoy his
paintings even though they go outside of my comfort zone. It was nice
to go and check out his blog again.
Will’s blog introduced me to the idea of unlearning, which has stuck
with me quite a bit since.
1. http://candleday.wordpress.com/
2. http://captains-bridge.blogspot.com/
3. http://trustlight.blogspot.com/
4. http://eduspaces.net/csessums/weblog/150678.html
5. http://school20.wikispaces.com/School+2.0+Manifesto
6. http://weblogg-ed.com/2007/the-steep-unlearning-curve/
7. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/blogs-as-learning-spaces/
Online Connectivism Conference: Healthy Discord (2008-04-09 21:30)
I have been participating in this on-line conference for the last few days (or rather nights!) This is the
[1]introduction to the conference that convinced me to participate:
”The evolution of teaching and learning is accelerated with technology. After several decades of du-
plicating classroom functionality with technology, new opportunities now exist to alter the spaces and
structures of knowledge to align with both needs of learners today, and affordances of new tools and
Yet our understanding of the impact on teaching and learning trails behind rapidly forming trends.
What are critical trends? How does technology influence learning? Is learning fundamentally different
today than when most prominent views of learning were first formulated (under the broad umbrellas of
cognitivism, behaviourism, and constructivism)? Have the last 15 years of web, technology, and social
trends altered the act of learning? How is knowledge itself, in a digital era, related to learning?”
The gem of the [2]’Learning Conversations’, that have happened so far, has been a discussion thread
started by presenter [3]Bill Kerr tittled, ”a challenge to connectivism”. A considerable amount of the dis-
cussion is theoretical and I will admit that some of it is ’over my head’ in that I have a lack of background
knowledge to fully appreciate all that is being said. What I have enjoyed in this discussion is the healthy
discord that has occurred. [4]Stephen Downes, web guru and another presenter at the conference, posted
in this discussion thread, ’[5]What Connectivism Is’. This spurred discourse after [6]Tony Forster said in
a post reply to Stephen, ”I am disturbed by your statement...”
Two things have made this enjoyable:
1. The fact that at a Connectivism conference the very definition of the topic is open for debate by
the presenters. This speaks volumes to the unchartedness/ the newness of this way of connecting to one
another, and it embodies the idea that knowledge is both fluid and reconstructed/remixed in this new
connected world. We are continually [8]Synthesizing and Adding New Meaning as we connect in new
2. This discourse is something that I have seldom seen in the world of educational blogs. There seems
to be an unspoken etiquette about being non-confrontational when discussing ideas on other’s blogs.
Essentially teachers don’t criticize others’ opinions. Even when there is disagreement it is often polite,
reserved and... well, annoying. On the other hand, there seems to be thoughtful discord and discourse
happening in the Connectivism conference forums.
I think that our concern that discourse and discord are forms of argument sometimes prevents us from
having meaningful, healthy discourse. In their book [9]Metaphors We Live By , Lakeoff & Johnson
consider the metaphor ’ARGUMENT is WAR’. This is the metaphor that often prevents us from having
meaningful discourse.
”Arguments and war are different kinds of things-verbal discourse and armed conflict-and the actions
performed are different kinds of actions. But ARGUMENT is partially structured, understood, performed,
and talked about in terms of WAR.”
Your claims are indefensible.
He attacked every weak point in my argument.
His criticisms were right on target...”
Formal debates also fit neatly into this metaphor: point-counterpoint/attack-defend.
As a society, we aren’t going to change this embedded metaphor any time soon, but we can separate
argument from discourse. Discourse, discord and disagreement need not be argumentative.
It is fascinating to me that in the blogosphere there is a noticeable shortage in meaningful dis-
course. Teachers encourage critical thinking, challenge students to consider alternative views and
encourage meaningful discourse in the classroom... and then walk on proverbial egg shells when
commenting on blogs.
Now, I am sure that there are some wonderful counter-examples to my point, (and I encourage
anyone reading this to send me links:-). But I do wonder if it is just me- and the circles I hyper-surf
around in- or do others notice this subdued politeness that hinders meaningful discourse?
I am encouraged by the healthy discourse and discord that I see happening at the Connectivism
conference; I think a lot of new, innovative and creative ideas/concepts/theories can and will be born
out of it!
So what is Connectivism?
[10]George Siemens, conference organizer, says in his [11]Connectivism Blog,”Connectivism is a learning
theory for the digital age... For me - call it whatever you want - connectivism, social constructivism,
navigationism (pick your own)...learning today must be seen as social, knowledge distributed across a
network, capacity enhanced by enlarging the network, learning/knowledge as multi-faceted and complex,
incorporating technology, etc. I’m generally not in a mood to argue against other learning theories
(though, at times, it’s required simply to achieve a frame of reference). I’m much more interested in
arguing for effective learning representative of what learners require in order to stay current today.
Evangelizing connectivism is a secondary concern as compared with discussing effective, relevant,
”sustainable” learning.”
In [12]another post, he adds this interesting point about connecting in new ways, ”Dialogue does not
need to be direct in order to be effective. Dialogue of greatest value is what I call parallel, or dialogue
of awareness. At this level, the comments and views of others are within our cognitive network (i.e. we
know they exist) and their influence weighs in our reasoning and thought formation.”
In my small contribution to the discussion thread I say,
”My limited experience in blogging suggests to me that it is the cross-disciplinary meandering and
hyper-linking that brings us deeper levels of understanding, as well as peripherally participating with a
mentor or expert. In fact, I think innovation and meaningful learning/synthesis of ideas comes from the
fringes... connectivism isn’t about the theory- the great body of knowledge to be shared, it is about the
ability for any Joe (or Joan) Schmo to meaningfully add to the learning conversation. (As I hope this
Schmo has )”
[Note: This has actually been adapted from my original post. Another contributor disagreed with a
specific point I made- and I agreed with him! Originally I said ’as opposed to’ instead of ’as well as’
(italicized above)]
Please feel free to disagree!
- - - - -
Reference: G. Lakoff & M. Johnson (1980), [13]Metaphors We Live By . The University of Chicago
Press.(Paperback edition, 1981, *pg. 5, **pg. 4)
Image Credits:
”Arguments Yard, Whitby” by [14]David Hastings (Flickr username: dr1066)
”Definition of Discourse”: Mac PowerBook Dictionary Version 1.0.1(1.0.1) Copyright © 2005 Ap-
ple Computer, Inc.
- - - - -
Excerpt from [15]My Feedback/Reflection post on the Connectivism Conference, (Feb. 10th, 2007).
About me:
Well I still have to look at/listen to the Stephen Downes presentation before I would feel
comfortable saying that I have come close to concluding with the conference. As I say in [this]
blog post, I have found both the discourse and even discord refreshing. I think best when
I am surrounded by people who challenge what I say and what I think. At more than one
point I felt misunderstood and had to clarify myself... but I believe that ’the meaning of your
communication is the response that you get’ and so I take full responsibility for my lack of
communication. In an effort to clarify my words, I do the same with my thoughts... isn’t that
what being a life-long learner is all about? This conference has provided a considerable amount
of fodder for me to chew on for a while. I have had many opportunities to [16]synthesize and
add meaning to ideas both new and old alike. I have also found many new friends!
Thank you all for contributing to my learning!
- - - - -
Originally posted: February 9th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
Recently I’ve noticed a number of heated discussions going
back-and-forth in edublog comments. These have been confrontational
and somewhat negative in nature. The exchanges seem far more like
mud-slinging than they do discourse... criticism rather than being
critical. So the politeness is gone but the ’argument is war’ metaphor
still persists. Stephen Downes is one of the few people I’ve ’met’
online who engages in true discourse. He takes a stance on challenging
topics and engages in thoughtful dialogue.
One of the interesting things that I have noticed about my blog is
that I seldom inspire a flood of comments. I have had a few posts that
have been linked to (and del.icio.us-ed) by many others, while
gathering just a single comment or two. Oddly enough, I’m ’ok’ with
this in that the more I write, the more I realize that I am doing this
for me more than others... case-in-point, it is taking me hours, over
days and days, to re-populate my blog this way... reflecting along the
way, yet I’m still doing it- for me! So why do I bring it up? Well, I
hope that I am adding to the conversation, that I am adding value, and
I look at my low comment response as a piece of feedback that may
suggest that I could be doing more.
On the other hand, I follow many others, I track who has linked to me
and I comment on other blogs myself... so perhaps the ’dialogue of
awareness’ that George Siemens mentions is how I add value to the
conversation. Through blogging, Twitter and other online tools, I have
had so many others influence my thinking, and challenge my beliefs
about education, learning and the use of technology. The richness of
that ’conversation’ cannot be measured by comment counting.
1. http://www.umanitoba.ca/learning_technologies/connectivisim/
2. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/learning-conversations/
3. http://learningevolves.wikispaces.com/
4. http://www.downes.ca/
5. http://ltc.umanitoba.ca/moodle/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=12#385
6. http://www.freewebs.com/schoolgamemaker/
7. http://www.flickr.com/photos/dr1066/203919554/
8. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/synthesize-and-add-meaning
9. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0226468011?ie=UTF8&tag=davidtrcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=
10. http://www.elearnspace.org/blog/
11. http://connectivism.ca/blog/2006/11/connectivism_vs_constructivism.html#cooliris
12. http://connectivism.ca/blog/2007/01/conversations_online.html#cooliris
13. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0226468011?ie=UTF8&tag=davidtrcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=
14. http://www.flickr.com/people/dr1066/
15. http://ltc.umanitoba.ca/moodle/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=120#921
16. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/synthesize-and-add-meaning
”The Power (and Peril) of Praising Your Kids” (2008-04-10 02:32)
[1]How Not to Talk to Your Kids:[2] The Inverse Power of Praise.
A Feature in the The New York Times, By Po Bronson.
Thanks to Kris from [3]Wandering Ink who sent me this link.
I will let the article speak for itself:
Dweck sent four female research assistants into New York fifth-grade classrooms. The researchers would
take a single child out of the classroom for a nonverbal IQ test consisting of a series of puzzles—puzzles
easy enough that all the children would do fairly well. Once the child finished the test, the researchers
told each student his score, then gave him a single line of praise. Randomly divided into groups, some
were praised for their intelligence. They were told, “You must be smart at this.” Other students were
praised for their effort: “You must have worked really hard.”
Why just a single line of praise? “We wanted to see how sensitive children were,” Dweck explained.
“We had a hunch that one line might be enough to see an effect.”
Then the students were given a choice of test for the second round. One choice was a test that would
be more difficult than the first, but the researchers told the kids that they’d learn a lot from attempting
the puzzles. The other choice, Dweck’s team explained, was an easy test, just like the first. Of those
praised for their effort, 90 percent chose the harder set of puzzles. Of those praised for their intelligence,
a majority chose the easy test. The “smart” kids took the cop-out.
Later, when given a much more difficult test, these results were magnified. It really is worth reading the
whole article, but here is a key point about the research above:
Dweck had suspected that praise could backfire, but even she was surprised by the magnitude of the
effect. “Emphasizing effort gives a child a variable that they can control,” she explains. “They come to
see themselves as in control of their success. Emphasizing natural intelligence takes it out of the child’s
control, and it provides no good recipe for responding to a failure.”
More food for thought from the article:
Psychologist Wulf-Uwe Meyer, a pioneer in the field, conducted a series of studies where children watched
other students receive praise. According to Meyer’s findings, by the age of 12, children believe that earn-
ing praise from a teacher is not a sign you did well—it’s actually a sign you lack ability and the teacher
thinks you need extra encouragement. And teens, Meyer found, discounted praise to such an extent
that they believed it’s a teacher’s criticism—not praise at all—that really conveys a positive belief in a
student’s aptitude.
In the opinion of cognitive scientist Daniel T. Willingham, a teacher who praises a child may be un-
wittingly sending the message that the student reached the limit of his innate ability, while a teacher
who criticizes a pupil conveys the message that he can improve his performance even further.
In a nutshell, praise effort rather than intelligence. The article goes on to mention the value this has on
developing persistence when faced with failure, while praising intelligence increases the stress and reduces
the desire to face such challenges.
I will be thinking about this a lot over the next few days both at school with my students and at
home with my own kids.
- - - - -
Po Bronson’s blog, ”How Not to Talk to Your Kids” [4]Part 2, [5]Part 3, [6]Part 4. From Part 4:
”A common praise technique that people use (I know I did it with my tutoring kids... up
til a few weeks ago, that is....) is to use a present success to control future performance. For
example, if a typically-sloppy child writes an essay that’s atypically legible, a parent or teacher
may say, ”That’s very neat: you should write all of your papers like this.” Even if it’s meant
as sincere praise and encouragement, the research shows that’s not only an ineffective way to
praise. In fact, like praising for intelligence – it can actually damage a child’s performance.
Here’s [7]what is going on...”
Originally posted: February 13th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
Last year I cleaned up this post (just used the text, and no
reference/sidebar of my blog), and sent this to staff via e-mail. I’ve
never been thanked so much for passing on information!
On a more personal note, my wife and I struggle with this, especially
when our kids come home feeling proud about what they did/created. A
year later I can tell you that this approach takes practice. Part of
the difficulty is that praise of intelligence and ability so pervasive
in our society... it is almost expected.
"Daddy look what I made!"
’Wow, look at the detail on that, you really put a great effort into
it, didn’t you?’
"Yes. Do you like it?"
1. http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/index.html
2. http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/index.html
3. http://wanderingink.net/
4. http://www.pobronson.com/blog/2007/02/how-not-to-talk-to-your-kids-part-2.html
5. http://www.pobronson.com/blog/2007/02/how-not-to-talk-to-your-kids-part-3.html
6. http://www.pobronson.com/blog/2007/02/how-not-to-talk-to-your-kids-part-4.html
7. http://www.pobronson.com/blog/2007/02/how-not-to-talk-to-your-kids-part-4.html
ASK [for help] and Ye Shall Receive, SEEK [the right questions] and Ye Shall Find
[the right answers]. (2008-04-11 20:29)
On Tuesday I got to hear [1]Chris Kennedy speak. He is a principal, teacher and somewhat of an unoffi-
cial district technology guru. His main message: ”It isn’t about the Technology!” Good teaching practice
transcends the use of technology. What technology can do is: create new ways to use and improve your
skills as a teacher; engage and interest students in ways that you could not before; prepare students for
a world very different than the one we grew up in.
It was the ’side trips’ in the talk that I really appreciated. Here are two that hit a chord with me.
1. Mentorship: Chris weaved into his talk,
time and again, how much he appreciated his mentors at the school - teachers whom he learns from. He
seems to have created a real learning community at his school (with a voluntary book club, and an open
invitation for any teacher to come to Team Leader/ Department Heads Meetings).
“Teachers want to be more than independent contractors that share a parking lot.”
Chris also mentioned how important it is to be in an environment where ”I can screw up and it is
ok,” and he notes that critical friends are needed as well as mentors.
In my exploration of web2.0 I have not done a good job of seeking out mentors... the result has been
hours of forging my own trail, trial and error, and in many cases a very steep learning curve. Chris spoke
humbly of his digital immigrant status, and that he counts on friends, teachers, students and mentors to
show him new things that he then plays around with, until he too can take ownership of the new skills
or tools. It is interesting that in the past couple of days I have had two friends request some time with
me to ’show them the ropes’ with some of the tools that I use. All these people seeking mentors and here
is stubborn Dave slogging away at it on his own... This I will [am] change [ing]!
2. Not Obstacles but
Opportunities: Before I begin this section I need to give a little background to my day, before Chris’ talk.
I started the day at a team leader meeting where it was decided that we are banning mp3 players from
our classes. Students are free to use them outside of class on breaks, but not in the classroom. I voiced
my desire not to do this, but I didn’t have the benefit of hearing Chris talk before this decision, and I
guess that I was less than convincing.
Here are my notes from Chris’ talk:
Kids are going to text message.
How are we going to make that work in our school?
When someone wants to ban something,
I ask myself,
how can we use this to help us in education?
‘It is a new tool’.
Not obstacles but opportunities.
I like mp3’s in my Math class. Students know that when I talk, headphones are to be removed from their
ears. In my experience students appreciate, and are respectful of, the opportunity to listen to music in
class. However, I also know how important it is on a staff to have teachers support and show respect for
school rules (and each other). I have already made the rule clear to my students... I just happen to think
that this is something that teachers should have autonomy over.
Now here is the thing… Am I using mp3’s in my class for any kind of educational purpose? No, not
specifically... and until I do, it really isn’t something I should be terribly upset about.
What it comes down to is qualifying the kind of questions we are going to ask ourselves when con-
sidering (new or ubiquitous) technology use in the classroom.
“How can we use this?” Seems to be a much better question than, “Should we?”
- - - - -
Photos: [2]’Helping Hand’ by [3]popofatticus/Barrett Hall, [4]’What Dragon?’ by [5]wjklos/William
- - - - -
Originally posted: February 15th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
Chris left our district to become an Assistant Superintendent in West
Vancouver... a huge loss to us! I had posted on a position in his
school and went to the interview on the day after he announced that he
was leaving. I walked into the office and an elderly teacher came in
and spoke to one of the VP’s. She said, "I know! We just won’t hand in
our marks and we can all force Chris to stay back... he just can’t
go!" He is missed! I would have taken that job if Chris wasn’t
On a personal note, I have been better at seeking out help, Twitter
has been wonderful in this regard! I even spoke of global tech support
from [6]Derrall Garrison in this Slideshare presentation of [7]Brave
New World-Wide-Web. We are living in an ever-shrinking world and
asking for help can extend far beyond what was possible before I
developed my digital network.
Also, things have changed... now I must create more mentorship
opportunities since I no longer have my own class to work with. I must
say that I am VERY impressed with the enthusiasm of the teachers in my
new school and plan on sharing some of the very cool things happening
online at our school these days. I will do this soon... but for now, I
have a lot of posts to re-read and reflect on.
1. http://cuebc.ca/2007/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=26&Itemid=2
2. http://farm1.static.flickr.com/27/41795505_88195a8f64.jpg?v=0
3. http://www.flickr.com/people/barretthall/
4. http://farm1.static.flickr.com/51/131695387_a3a3fc9753.jpg?v=0
5. http://www.flickr.com/people/wjklos/
6. http://educalgarden.blogs.com/
7. http://www.slideshare.net/datruss/brave-new-www
Promoting a Spirit of Inquiry (2008-04-12 16:46)
I have just spent my 2nd of 3 days with [1]Bruce Wellman of [2]Mira Via in a Pro-D session tittled
Developing & Facilitating Collaborative Groups. The first session had a focus on facilitating groups and
my personal learning focus centered around two main ideas:
1. Being deliberate about when we use Discussion and when we use Dialogue.
• Discussion is most effective when a decision needs to be made.
• Dialogue is most effective when we have a Change Initiative.
2. Effective paraphrasing with two powerful concepts: 1. Identifying the ’baskets’, the key themes, and
not getting lost in the ’noise’, the content, that people get stuck talking about without meaningfully
moving the conversation forward; and, 2. Shifting the Level of Abstraction. Either shifting down to
concrete points or examples, or shifting up to Values, Beliefs, Goals, Assumptions, Concepts, Categories,
or Intentions.
An example for this second form of paraphrasing given was a student in a VP’s office going on-
and-on about his car troubles being the reason he keeps coming to school late. A shift down would be
to figure out the specific problem, brakes or alternator, that needs to solved. A shift up would be, ”Oh,
so what you are saying is that you have transportation problems. We need to sort out if walking, a bus
pass, or friends picking you up will be the best possible solution until issues with your car are solved.”
(This could also be considered ’identifying the basket’ in the first form of paraphrasing mentioned).
The idea is to use paraphrasing as a means to direct the conversation towards meaningful discussion.
In the second session the emphasis was more on ways to Promote Inquiry. Each of the sub
headings below have specific skills that can be practiced, and focused on, in order to be more effective
at promoting inquiry.
[3] Inviting Thinking
”We are wired to detect threat in the communication of others.”
Think about our language:
Decision has the same root as Incision, Precision, Recision... Cutting Away
Decide other ‘cide’s… suicide, pesticide, herbicide …killing [ideas]
(note: coincide- co-incident- these have a different root than above.)
So… We can not confuse People with Ideas – kill ideas not people!
Separate People from ideas… Neutralize it linguistically
‘The Idea’ not ‘Dave’s Idea’, ’The key point is’ not ’Your point is’
We are wired for psychological safety – so HOW we inquire is as important as the topic of in-
quiry. We need to reduce the potential for threat in our questions.
The following Elements of Invitation aid in promoting the spirit of inquiry.
Attending Fully
The idea here is congruence... both our physical and our verbal elements of communication demonstrate
full presence.
How many times do we have conversations with people while trying to pay attention elsewhere? I am
horrible at talking on the phone with my computer in front of me, whereas I am pretty good at having
students wait a moment while I complete a task so that I can turn and face them and fully engage in
helping them.
I am reminded here of the SOFTEN Model I use with students at the beginning of each year: Smile,
Open posture, Forward lean, Touch, Eye contact, Nod.
Approachable Voice
Credible- Authoritative
Example: A newscaster delivering information
Approachable- Questioning
Example: A newscaster conducting an interview
[A funny [4]counterexample]
[5] An interesting
parallel to this is the universality of our body language across cultures...
’Palms down’ is authoritative and controlling ”Settle Down/ Listen here/ You need to know...”.
Whereas ’palms up’ is inviting, ”What do you think?/ Tell me.../ In what ways...”.
Here are some Approachable Invitations:
How might...
What would...
What are some...
What might be some...
In what ways...
How might you...
What seems...
We spent some time looking at how we might use these Invitations with Cognitions, (predict, re-
call, select, describe, sequence, compare/contrast, analyze, prioritize, summarize, conclude, generalize,
connect, apply), in order to inquire, and promote meaningful discussion on specific topics. (These all
work well when paraphrasing as described above).
”How might you summarize the results from the grade-wide assessment?”
”Given these issues around student behavior, what are some generalizations that we can make?
When asking such questions an Approachable Voice will invite much better responses than a
Credible Voice.
The ’gift’ is to bounce between these two voices, and use them to your advantage.
Think of a new teacher telling the students in a questioning, approachable voice, ”Today we are going to
...[?].” -Credible Voice is important too!
Not enough of this is focussed on with student teachers!
A pet peeve of mine is when people use [6]uptalk and make statements sound like a question?
Use Plural Forms
...to invite better inquiry.
’The’ is singular, ’Some’ is plural. (See below)
Exploratory Language
...is psychologically safer.
These promote more meaningful responses. They reduce the need for confidence/surety and the need to
evaluate and sort ideas, until after several ideas are fully developed.
The... to Some ”What are some key ideas here? (Plural Form)
Could... to Might
Is... to Seems
Why... to What ”What are some of your thoughts about that?”
Can anyone tell me... to What are
Positive Presup-
Finding and focusing on the positive aspects of the message being communicated... it encourages an
”on-going willingness to engage with each other and with ideas”. This reminds me again of paraphrasing
by shifting up- with the purpose of finding a positive belief or assumption.
Statement: ”Our students just can’t do the work.”
Facilitator/Group member: ”So, you’re concerned about helping all of these students be successful.”
Non-dichotomous Questions
Ask question that can not be answered by Yes or No.
”Did you notice...” becomes ”What are some interesting or unusual things that you noticed...”
Avoid these dichotomous question starters:
Did you... Will you... Have you...
- - - - -
I used information from both of my Pro-D sessions with Bruce Wellman to create the post above, with
most of the information coming from notes on a page that was:
Adapted with permission from: B. Wellman & L. Lipton, (2004). Data-Driven Dialogue: A Facilitator’s
Guide to Collaborative Inquiry. Sherman, CT: Mira Via LLC.
Thanks to Bruce for allowing me to share this information... please cite appropriately.
- - - - -
My thoughts:
What happens to most Professional Development (Pro-D) resources? For me it often gets tucked in a
drawer, or piled onto a filing cabinet for later reference... and then it is forgotten! This is part of an
on-going attempt to make the learning more meaningful. By reviewing and synthesizing the session for
this post, I start to ’own’ the material, or the concepts taught.
There is actually quite a lot of very useful information here not just for facilitators of groups, but for
any member of a group. Things I can immediately work on:
• Effective paraphrasing in order to move the conversation forward, rather than just to summarize.
• Being a little more deliberate/aware of when to use my Credible vs my Approachable voice.
• Making questions more inviting, exploratory, and positively framed.
Depending on what the third session is like, I might write another post, or I might just add to
this one.
- - - - -
Photo Credits:
[7]untitled by [8]gregw,
[9]???DESIRE by [10]ah BOB lee – the JiuHuKia,
and Katie by me.
Originally posted: February 18th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
I’m glad that I came back to this post. I think that I shift
abstraction very well, but do not always use inviting language that
promotes dialogue. As much as writing this down helped me to ’own’ the
material, it is still easy to forget over time without revisiting.
1. https://mail.google.com/mail?view=cm&tf=0&ui=1&to=Bwellman@miravia.com
2. http://miravia.com/
3. http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregw/3332612/
4. http://www.dailymotion.com/Knightrdr/video/x238ul_caveman-news-interviewgeico-commerc_ads
5. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jiuhukia/251345061/
6. http://ezinearticles.com/?Does-Uptalk-Make-you-Upchuck?&id=959
7. http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregw/3332612/
8. http://www.flickr.com/people/gregw/
9. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jiuhukia/251345061/
10. http://www.flickr.com/people/jiuhukia/
A Whole New Book Club (2008-04-13 10:10)
Kelly Christopherson has put out an invitation to join a book club. For those of you who have not visited
Kelly yet, his blog [1]Educational Discourse is a blog from the trenches. He is a Principal who also teaches
and coaches. Kelly’s blog posts are not only thoughtful and insightful, they are written with a personal
touch... they have heart.
About the Book Club: We thought we would start with:
[2]Dan Pink’s [3]A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future .
Kelly has suggested a wiki or a forum, or skype as examples of places we can meet and ’chat’... who
knows we could even meet in Second Life. These are only suggestions, we invite other ideas. The simple
goal of this Book Club is to create a space where participants can get together and have a meaningful,
enjoyable learning conversation.
[4] As an example of how a Book Club can enrich the reading ex-
perience, A Whole New Mind introduces Six Senses, each with a working Portfolio. These portfolios all
have website links to follow... wouldn’t it be great if 6 (or more) people each collected the links from just
one chapter, explored them, and provided them on a wiki with comments as to what they thought about
the sites they visited? I’d be far more likely to interact with others contributing this way, than to go to
all these links on my own.
Let one of us know if you
are interested.
Originally posted: February 19th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
We decided on a [5]wiki, Kelly got it set up and I played with setting
up the chapters for discussion. A few things happened, or rather
didn’t happen, to make this far less successful that it could have
been. I think the biggest flaw was that we never set any specific
deadlines. Specifically we didn’t plan a live (online) discussion, or
even an ’end’ date to have things completed by. Essentially we didn’t
build in the scaffolding and expectations that, as teachers, we all
know is necessary to get a good project from students. Yes we are all
adults, but we all have busy lives and I know that my commitment to
the ’project’ would have been far greater if I had specific deadlines
to meet. The more time I spend with web2.0 tools, and the more
mainstream they become, it becomes blatantly obvious that good
pedagogy and the creation of meaningful assignments that build on
caring relationships is what really matters. The tool doesn’t
matter... using it well does!
1. http://kwhobbes.wordpress.com/
2. http://www.danpink.com/
3. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1594481717?ie=UTF8&tag=davidtrcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=
4. http://craphound.com/someone/?p=425
5. http://readingpros.wikispaces.com/Whole+New+Mind
Portal Needed to Connect Classrooms to the World: Global Citizens can Share Tal-
ents and Skills with Students (2008-04-13 13:22)
Originally posted: February 21st, 2007 [[1]Update: Fieldfindr on Ning-October 3rd, 2007]
Here is an idea that has been brewing in my mind for a while:
[2]FieldFindr A space where teachers can meet global citizens who
have skills that they are willing to contribute to a class.
Teachers can find people in a field of interest that they are working
on in their class. Volunteers can tell teachers their field of
interest and also tell teachers how they would like to help a class.
The site could be sort of a combination of [3]Warlick’s HitchHikr and MySpace or Facebook. (In a way
it is more of a matchmaker site.)
You can sign up and log in as a teacher, or as a willing contributer (Volunteer) in you field of interest.
Basically Volunteers create a profile listing talents and skills. Then they set up a time-line of when
they would be interested in helping with, or presenting to, a class. Then teachers can contact volunteers
who have profiles of interest.
There could be an opportunity for volunteers to contact teachers too, but I think this should be done
through a contact page [4]like this, rather than by direct e-mail.
Here is a [5]mock-up wiki that I built to give you an idea of what I mean. (Yes, I know the profile
pictures are a bit big, but they were easy to format that way.)
Below the mock-up profiles, I created a space where interested contributors to a classroom could actually
post their information. Teachers can find prospective volunteers by searching a particular field/subject.
However, I believe that there is a need for a fully committed portal site that is dedicated to:
At a dedicated portal:
Tag searches could easily be set-up. (See [7]my ’Super Tags’ post [coming soon])
Teachers could find other teachers to help them.
Positive relationships between business and education can be formed.
Success stories could inspire teachers hesitant to explore web2.0
Retired teachers or field experts can be tapped into.
There is so much opportunity for collaboration! (I came up with this list in about 3-4 minutes... and I’m
sure you could add to it:-)
Once the site is set up, the opportunities and possibilities are endless!
Again, just off the top of my head, here are some kinds of volunteers we can easily tap into...Especially
if we had a portal to help us do so.
• A musician or poet who is willing to judge a performance or contest.
• A Researcher willing to share new ideas in their field.
• A Math tutor who offers after school assistance on a forum. (Time differences could actually be an
advantage here.)
• A dance instructor could teach ballroom dancing at a local high school.
• A retired teacher giving a video tour of a Boreal Forest or a desert he lives close to.
• An art gallery tour from half-way around the world...
- - - - -
A similar idea originally came to me a few years ago after seeing this award winning [8]Timebank Com-
It came to me again a few months ago when I read this [9]David Warlick Post where David is talk-
ing about [10]Will Richardson’s session at MASSCUE:
”Will did make a passionate point about how we need be talking about sharing our students’ work with
real audiences. It’s engaging them in real conversations with the world they’re learning about.”
I finally had to get this idea out after reading these [11]Wesley Fryer and [12]Vicki A Davis posts over
the weekend.
Originally posted: February 21st, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
So, in reflecting on my blog posts I move from an unsuccessful book
club to an unsuccessful portal... they would be disappointing if they
weren’t so enlightening! To this day, failures are looked upon as
negative as opposed to opportunities for learning. It seems
conditioned into us at such a young age... this is a comment on our
society as much as it is a comment on schools.
This is still a great idea... but it was DOOMED TO FAIL! Why?
1. Because it is geared to educators, not to those who would be
willing to contribute. My audience and the target audience are not the
same. Also the structures to build a sortable ’bank’ of volunteers are
not available for those interested in signing up, (see #3).
2. Formal measures around safety need to be hammered out. Note
[13]Kelly’s Comment on the original post:
Dave, I like this idea. I think that it has great potential. Now, the
administrator comes out in me but how do we ensure that: a. The person
is an expert in what they say they are b. They are safe c. There is
not "inappropriate" contact between people and the students.
I think this is wonderful and we have this type of thing going on in
our school with some of our local people. The big difference is that
we are in a small community, people who are vounteering must do a
criminal records check and any outside school projects are to be
okayed by the parents. Precautions. I think that this would be an
incredible way to get people from different sectors involved in the
education system. This would also allow teachers to have references
for their projects or assignments - would give validity to what we do
in schools. That would increase the "price of stock" for educators in
all areas.
3. Both Wikispaces and Ning are the wrong venues, I simply don’t have
the required tech savvy-ness or financial resources (or for that
matter time) to create what is needed.
- - -
That said, I can see a University really taking this on as a project.
They can start with one department, say Music or Science, and promote
the interests of their instructors/Masters Students/PhD students with
teachers that may be interested in their skills as either mentors or
experts or judges or...
There is significant need and opportunity for such a portal and I
challenge anyone with the knowledge and resources to make it happen!
1. http://fieldfindr.ning.com/
2. http://fieldfindr.wikispaces.com/
3. http://hitchhikr.com/
4. http://davidtruss.co.nr/ContactMe
5. http://fieldfindr.wikispaces.com/
6. http://fieldfindr.wikispaces.com/
7. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/super-tags-and-tag-weeders/
8. http://ny.beam.tv/beamreels/reel_player.php?reel=VtnphRSkMN&reel_file=hKDzXvyWMt
9. http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/2006/11/15/at-masscue/
10. http://weblogg-ed.com/
11. http://www.speedofcreativity.org/2007/02/17/connecting-students-with-real-world-experts/
12. http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/2007/02/future-wave-of-school-volunteerism-be.html
13. http://kwhobbes.wordpress.com/
Vicki Davis (2008-04-16 15:11:11)
Why don’t you take this on, or resurrect the discussions as part of the [1]Advocates for Digital Citizenship, Safety,
and Success efforts that people are joining in. I still think it is a great idea – there needs to be a way to safely
screen the adults, somehow.
1. http://ad4dcss.blogspot.com/
Kidnapped! (2008-04-13 23:26)
A Typical Day...
Last Thursday started out as a typical day. I was supervising my Athletics Leadership group as they
ran their first lunch-time 3-on-3 basketball games... the event went well with participants and spectators
from all grades. Right at the warning bell for the end of lunch, another teacher came to me and, with a
serious look, said, ”Didn’t you hear the announcement there is an important meeting for all teachers in
the staff room. So as the leadership kids cleaned up, I headed over to the staff room. On the way I saw a
couple teachers going to their room, rather than to the staff room. Then as we headed towards the staff
room I saw my wife, Ann, and youngest child in the office.
2 Things to Know
My wife is also a teacher at our school, but she has Thursdays off... and the last time something like
this happened, I found out my grandfather had died. So at this point my heart is pounding and I rush
into the office to hear the bad news.
It’s All Good!
I’ve been told, ”You should have seen the look on your face.” The fact is Ann did see it and said to me
right away, ”It’s all good,” as she gently tapped me on my forearm to calm me down. I wasn’t convinced.
Next she asked me where my bag and jacket were, and told me we were leaving the school... this did
nothing to calm my nerves. We headed back to the office after I picked up everything and I could now
see that the office staff were excited about something that I didn’t know, so I finally realized that all
was good.
But what about my class? ”...Taken care of.” But I have an appointment after school! ”...Not anymore.”
A quick stop home and an e-mail to my basketball co-coach about the practice I was already scheduled
to miss (for the appointment I no longer had), then my wife instructed me to drive to my cousin’s
house. We had one of our kids in the back with us, and the other was at school. I knew we [3]
would have to go back
to get her from daycare before 5pm and since my cousin’s house is a good 40 min. away, I knew this
would be a short surprise... I was wrong. Did my sister come for a visit?- I was wrong. Someone else is
visiting (my cousin lives close to the airport so I kept guessing who came to visit us)- I was wrong. Ann
asked me to bring a coat and then mentioned it was a nice day so I guessed, ”We are doing something
outside”-wrong again. A lot of the trip was quiet with my wife not wanting to give anything away. We
arrived at my cousin’s place and went in. ”So what are we doing?” My cousin shrugs, then I notice
something by the door... his suite case. ”Where are we going?”
Viva Las Vegas
[4] On the short drive to the airport I
finally find out that I am on my way to Las Vegas. My class has been planned for Friday, my leave of
absence has been taken care of, Monday has been planned (my kids had minor surgery- it went well)...
everyone on staff but me knew that I was going. ”Here is some US money, here is your travel insurance,
have a wonderful trip!” Happy 40th Birthday... nine months early! Before I knew it I was sitting in a
limo, compliments of my cousin, on my way to the Mirage Hotel on the strip. While checking in we see
my sister and her husband, with my two nieces and nephew , (they live in California). By the end of the
night I am reunited with two other cousins and my other brother-in-law, all coming from Toronto.
3 nights and 7 days
[5] Who needs sleep! I
was there until Sunday night, but it felt like a full week. Wonderful company, great meals, a show with
my nieces ([6]Le Reve), and more Texas Hold’em poker than I have played in the last 2-3 years. One
of my cousins helped my game a lot, and in the process of playing with him, I really got to know him.
When I left Toronto for Vancouver he was just a kid and so this is the longest we spent together as
adults. As an interesting aside, he told me that I had a very profound influence on a major life decision,
when we had a chat on one of my visits home to Toronto. I also had an enlightening conversation with
my nephew who taught me a bit about the social cliques in his high school, and he suggested that I
don’t use the term ’hook-up’ to mean ’meet with’ friends since that is the old-school meaning. There
was enough time to do everything I wanted except sleep. I think I spent less than 12 hours in my hotel
Icing on the Cake
I came home with more money than I left with. All-in-all only about $70 more, but with all the meals,
and gifts for Ann and my girls, this was a wonderful bonus. I’m sure the trip cost enough without me
going there and spending a large sum of money so it was icing on the cake not to do so. After my
abrupt departure at school my TOC (replacement teacher) casually mentioned to my students that I
had been kidnapped. On returning yesterday it was great to see that my students were very excited for
me. Their first two questions were invariably, ”How was your trip”, and ”Did you win?” It was a little
weird, I actually felt a little uncomfortable telling them that I won. I found myself taking advantage of
this moment to talk about gambling as a form of entertainment, ”When you go to the movies, you know
you are going to spend a certain amount of money for your entertainment... tickets, popcorn, a drink,
maybe some video games afterwards. The same should be true for going to a casino, you have a budget
for what the entertainment is going to cost you, because more often than not you will lose. The secret is
to stop when you reach your entertainment budget for that trip... and the absolute worst thing you can
do is spend more money trying to win back what you lost.” Then as I looked out at my grade 8’s, who
are years away from getting into a casino, I wondered if such a lecture (short as it was) was necessary
when these kids are years away from gambling age? I repeated this with my second class, oh well, I just
can’t help myself sometimes.
Thank You!
To my wife, you are truly wonderful. I certainly didn’t make this easy for her, first I had an appointment
booked on the Friday to get my braces off, then I told her I wanted to go to a Student Leadership
Conference in Seattle on the same Friday. Little did I know of the headaches I was creating for her as I
went about planning activities for the same day as my surprise get-away. Thanks again for your efforts
Ann, I will cherish the fond memories of this trip for a while. I can’t wait until our next holiday!
Thank Teachers!
[7] This trip was above
and beyond anything I needed, but it was such a wonderful break. I am refreshed, (after sleeping 11
hours on Monday night), and ready to teach! To all the administrators reading this... teachers could
use a break... it’s the end of February, this is the longest stretch before a break for teachers... go to
Starbucks or Tim Hortons and buy some coffee, hot chocolate and treats... go to each room pushing
your treats on a trolley and serve your teachers in their rooms... tell them you appreciate them, tell their
students how lucky they are... spend less than 5 min. in each class and totally make their day! Or write
a card and add a $5 coffee card, or bring treats to your next staff meeting... recharge your teachers’
batteries and make them smile. They don’t need to be kidnapped to know that they are appreciated.
- - - - -
New voices: Following [8]Miguel and [9]Kelly, I will seek out 7 new voices in my next 7 posts. I
found [10]Patric[11]k Higgins, Jr.’s ’Chalkdust’ blog through his interest in [12]our book club. Some of
Patrick’s posts, such as [13]Creativity, with reason will keep me reading!
- - - - -
Photos: [14]Ghosts and Figures by kodama (on the road), [15]Airplane (2006.06.04) by Bruno D
Rodrigues, [16]Volcano Erupts at The Mirage - Las Vegas by Old Shoe Woman, [17][pocket 10’s] July 7
2005 by Peter Kovacs, and [18]Coffee Love (F1-20473) by javaturtle
Originally posted: February 28th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
I’m becoming a huge advocate of year-round schooling and longer
breaks. We had Easter weekend added to our March Break this year so we
came back to school on a Wednesday... it would have done a world of
good for both teachers and students to be given that second week
completely off. I’d much rather a few longer breaks than one long
This holiday was both exhausting and rejuvenating. It was a wonderful
Recently I’ve added a few voices to my
(seldom-read-while-I-do-all-this-reflecting-and-reposting) Feed
Reader... but they are far from new! They are mostly people I’ve ’met’
through [19]Twitter. Connected people bring me what I need to read.
1. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kodama/3332297/
2. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kodama/3332297/
3. http://www.flickr.com/photos/davipt/163212084/
4. http://www.flickr.com/photos/judybaxter/25626585/
5. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kovacs/24450790/
6. https://boxoffice.wynnlasvegas.com/shows_info.html
7. http://www.flickr.com/photos/javaturtle/133316103/
8. http://www.edsupport.cc/mguhlin/archives/2007/01/entry_2730.htm
9. http://kwhobbes.edublogs.org/2007/02/23/just-a-walkin-down-the-street-4/
10. http://chalkdust101.blogspot.com/
11. http://chalkdust101.blogspot.com/
12. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/a-whole-new-book-club
13. http://chalkdust101.blogspot.com/2007/02/creativity-within-reason.html
14. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kodama/3332297/
15. http://www.flickr.com/photos/davipt/163212084/
16. http://www.flickr.com/photos/judybaxter/25626585/
17. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kovacs/24450790/
18. http://www.flickr.com/photos/javaturtle/133316103/
19. http://twitter.com/datruss
Scott S. Floyd (2008-04-14 14:22:44)
Gotta love it when the family surprises you with time with them. I know it was an exciting, refreshing weekend.
Congrats on marrying well.
SUPER TAGS and TAG WEEDERS: It’s time for blog tags to grow up!
(2008-04-13 23:57)
[1] Call them Super
Tags, Übertags, meta tags, tagging tags, umbrella tags, call them what you will but I WANT THEM!
I did a little search on Technorati, so is it [2]K-12 Online, [3]K-12Online, [4]K12Online, or
[5]K12OnlineConference? I haven’t even considered the year yet [6]k12Online06... The fact is that
some of these searches are similar, but at the same time some posts are being missed because of the
writer’s choice of tags. Also, there are other searches, as explained below, where a combination of very
different tags would be beneficial.
In my post about [7]a portal needed to connect classrooms to the world I made up a mock site: [8]Field-
findr on wikispaces. At this site a field expert who would like to help out in a classroom puts her grade
interest as K-12 and makes this a tag. The teacher in the mock-up has a Grade 4 class, and she uses the
tag Grade4. In helping the teacher find an expert in a particular field, shouldn’t she be able to search
the tag ’Grade4’ and have the ’K-12’ tag be part of the search? (I didn’t even consider K12 rather than
K-12 or Grade-4 rather than Grade4).
It is time for tags to grow up and be smarter! In my first example, wouldn’t it be great if a confer-
ence organizer were able to create a Super Tag that would allow a search of any number of tags to also
include the many possible variances? Depending on the site, some of these could be end-user controlled,
participant controlled, contributor controlled or organizer controlled, but regardless of who gets to create
these Super Tags, they are long overdue!
Many blog sites don’t have a means to use the [10]’and’ boolean in tag searches. I find that the need for
this is growing as more and more people use the same tags. A perfect personal example of this is how I
narrow a search of [11]my del.icio.us account links. I now have several tags with over 50 links and rather
than searching for a link through 50+ sites, I just do a ’your bookmarks’ search with two tags that I
think the link would have. This will usually narrow the search down to 5-15 links. (I can’t show you this
here since the ’your bookmarks’ search can only be done when you are logged into [12]del.icio.us)
- - - - -
So there you have it, Super Tags and Tag Weeders, two features that I think many bloggers would like
to see!
- - - - -
New voices: Following [13]Miguel and [14]Kelly, I am seeking out 7 new voices in 7 posts, here is #2.
[15]Serendipitous Moments isn’t really an edublog, but the posts that author Subbarman [16]tags with
Education are a treasure for educators to read. Enjoy!
- - - - -
Photos: [17]Tagged gate by Steve Roe on Flickr and [18]Tagged Door by Sam Judson on Flickr
Originally posted: March 3rd, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
Things just keep getting easier online. My del.icio.us searches are
extremely simple using the firefox extension, and also ways to utilize
and search tags seems to be getting better.
I have more to say on this, but will save it for another post coming
1. http://www.flickr.com/photos/steveroe/311977335/
2. http://www.technorati.com/search/K-12_Online
3. http://www.technorati.com/search/K-12Online
4. http://www.technorati.com/search/K12Online
5. http://www.technorati.com/search/K12OnlineConference
6. http://www.technorati.com/search/k12Online06
7. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/fieldfindr-connect-classrooms-to-the-world
8. http://fieldfindr.wikispaces.com/
9. http://www.flickr.com/photos/samjudson/5956982/
10. http://www.internettutorials.net/boolean.html
11. http://del.icio.us/dtruss
12. https://secure.del.icio.us/register?noredir
13. http://www.edsupport.cc/mguhlin/archives/2007/01/entry_2730.htm
14. http://kwhobbes.edublogs.org/2007/02/23/just-a-walkin-down-the-street-4/
15. http://subbaiyer.wordpress.com/about/
16. http://subbaiyer.wordpress.com/tag/education/
17. http://www.flickr.com/photos/steveroe/311977335/
18. http://www.flickr.com/photos/samjudson/5956982/
Licensed To Pill: We live in an over-prescribed (and over-labelled) society.
(2008-04-14 00:35)
[1]Licensed To Pill
Comedy or social commentary?
- - - -
New voices: #3 of 7, this blog is probably better read than mine, but again I think it is invaluable
for educators to read: [2]The Genius in All of Us by David Shenk.
In a recent post, [3]Labels and Limits, David quotes a Washington Post article, ”Increasing numbers
of children are given increasingly specific labels, ranging from psychiatric and neurological diagnoses such
as Asperger’s and attention-deficit disorder to educational descriptors including ”gifted” and ”learning
disabled.” He argues that students don’t deserve ’fixed limits’ or labels placed on them.
I think this fits with the idea of us living in an over-prescribed society... every teacher has met a kid
that ’needs’ medication to ’fit into’ the classroom, but I wonder how much of this is an issue of placing
[4]square pegs in round holes? At what point do labels hinder rather than help?
After reading Christian’s [5]Stop Blogging Because You’re an Educator over at think:lab, I have been
more compelled to look for new voices outside of edublogs. I will continue to call it new voices, but really
I am seeking out different perspectives whether new or not.
Originally posted: March 5th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
I’m stuck in the Square Peg metaphor and have been for a while. On
that note, I am now going to make a big overarching, very generalized
statement and then leave it hanging without further explanation:
Schools are designed for Girls and Boys suffer unfairly.
- - -
With respect to ’new voices’, again I must say that things have
changed, and that my [6]Twitter network does far more for me than
searching for ’different perspectives’ ever would! Worse yet, I’ve
become a twitter snob. If someone new chooses to follow me on Twitter
I go to their web page... not an edublogger? They probably won’t be
followed by me. At some point this may hinder me, but for now it is
all about keeping my network meaningful.
1. http://www.cafeoflifepikespeak.com/Videos/Licensed%20To%20Pill.swf
2. http://geniusblog.davidshenk.com/
3. http://geniusblog.davidshenk.com/2007/02/labels_and_limi.html
4. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/square-peg-round-hole
5. http://thinklab.typepad.com/think_lab/2007/02/stop_blogging_b.html
6. http://twitter.com/datruss/friends
Marking What Counts and Reporting on Report Cards (2008-04-14 01:52)
"Just because something can be counted, doesn’t mean it counts, and
just because something is difficult to count, doesn’t mean it doesn’t
[1]Subbaraman Iyer
In my first year of teaching, another first year teacher on my team, Ken Andrews, designed a marking
system for Humanities (English and Social Studies combined). In his system students chose projects
based on which outcomes they most needed to demonstrate. Like all teachers, he had assignments based
on the curriculum and prescribed learning outcomes (PLO’s), and then during the year he would have
’choice’ projects. The means of output/presentation were determined by a student’s need to demonstrate
skills they had not shown yet, or that they were still developing. Ken had 4 or 5 categories based on
the PLO’s, and to give you an idea of how this worked, some students might have had to do an oral
presentation whereas another might have needed to write an essay, and still another student might have
had to write something creative as their choice project. Without going into greater detail, he basically
followed the notion of:
Not counting marks, but marking what counts.
Ken Andrews
As we start to look at different skills, [2]21st Century Skills, and get kids thinking [3]beyond what is on
the test, it gets harder to mark what really counts. Report cards will have to change as our assessment
does. How valuable is it to measure a student’s ability to solve a [4]Numeracy Task? How do you weight
this evaluation next to quiz and test marks that are based on a student’s ability to follow the steps in
adding fractions, or their ability to follow the algorithm for solving an algebra equation? What about
their ability to [5]Synthesize and Add Meaning to what they know?
These are questions I am grappling with on a number of levels... but while I think about these things, the
reality of having to write report cards is still there. After just completing my second term report cards,
I have been thinking of the changes that I have helped to make on our district’s middle school report
cards. They don’t directly address my concerns above, but the changes have created an opportunity to
look at learning skills as much as we do marks... I think this is a step in the right direction
Report Cards. They can be a challenge! Especially for teachers in our school where, in the last 6 report
card periods over the last 2 years, we have had 6 different report cards with different formats.
We’ve been a pilot school for the District Middle School Report Card. As a member of the Learning
Team in charge of this, we instituted the Learning Skills section seen here, from our first term report
card last year.
It wasn’t perfect but it was a chance to say a bit more about a student than a simple work habit evalu-
ation of G, S,or N (Good, Satisfactory, or Needs Improvement).
With hindsight being 20/20, I now wonder how we could have included some 21
Century Skills into
these learning skills? Of course then we would need to ensure that all students were given the opportunity
to develop those skills. The idea behind these Learning Skills was a driving force of what we as not only
teachers, but also as parents, wanted to see on a report card. A theme that kept coming up was that we
wanted to know that the teacher knew or understood who our kid is! We also wanted to know what areas
of learning we, as parents, could help with at home. We changed the evaluative language from G, S, and
N to M-Mastering, D- Developing and E- Emerging. This has subsequently been changed back. I like
the more positive description of M, E, and D, but that’s also partially because it signaled a difference in
approach from the umbrella term of Work Habits we used to have on our report cards, and also because
I think that the old scale carried a bit too much baggage with it. ”How does it look when I give a grade
of an ’A’ with an ’S’ for work habits?” (My response is that what it looks like doesn’t matter! Add
an anecdotal comment to explain this.) However, it seemed to me that students who get an ’A’ and
who are still ’Emerging’ in certain learning skills would have very appropriate feedback if his report card
mentioned this. I’ll stab at a more humourous aspect of this after looking at where we are now. Our
district rolled this report out for our first term this year.
It was to be... ”The last format we are going to work with”... but it wasn’t. Three key flaws to our
design: 1. Teachers hated the Learning Skills; 2. Teachers of individual courses did not have a say
regarding behavior and/or work habits in their individual classes;and, 3. Students portray these skills,
or lack thereof, quite differently from class to class/teacher to teacher. What I really hated was the
drop-down menu for Social Responsibility, now mandatory for us to report on. Here are the options from
the drop-down menu from which we were (and still are) to choose from:
On our current Report Card cover page it
states, SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY Social Responsibility is reported on in one or more of the following
areas: contributing to the classroom and school community, solving problems in peaceful ways, valuing
diversity and defending human rights, and exercising democratic rights and responsibilities.” Even with
student input, I found these difficult to use for all but the most inclusive/cooperative students. The
menu is based on the BC (Provincial) Performance Standards for Social Responsibility ([6]find the rubric
here). Although I like the rubric and use it for students to reflect on, I think the drop-down menu needs
to be revised to make the comments more meaningful to students, teachers, and parents. (I couldn’t
imagine putting, ”tends to be egocentric, apathetic, feel powerless” on a student’s report card!) There
is a 65 character space also provided for further explanation by the teacher. Also from our report card
cover we have an explanation of the Learning Skills. For the Term 1 report above the 5 skill areas were
simply identified as learning skills, (including social responsibility) whereas there is greater detail in this
term’s new cover page, (with Social Responsibility being separated out, as described above). Notice the
combining of the learning skills from the Term 1 report:
LEARNING SKILLS Acknowledging the development needs of early adolescents, Learning Skills are
reported on as: Work Habits & Effort, along with Behavior & Attitude. Work Habits & Effort relate
to completing work on time, coming to class prepared, asking for help when needed, seeking appropriate
challenges, and putting forth a best effort. Behavior & Attitude refer to being respectful towards peers
and adults, adjusting behavior to suit various situations, making positive, independent decisions and
working with an appropriate level of supervision.
Older report cards simply had ’work habits’ to encompass all of these. Before I say that ’I really like this
new format’, let me say that after our school learning team ended last year and I have had nothing to
do with these new changes, so this isn’t a case of me tooting my own horn. I really like this new format!
Work Habits & Effort fit well together, as do Behavior & Attitude. Yes a student could have poor work
habits and still put in a great effort, or have a great attitude and still be a behavior issue, but these
difference can easily be touched on in the anecdotal section of the report card. The separation of work
habits from behavior is the most noticeable change for me. As a parent I think this information is much
more meaningful, and as a teacher I feel that I can better inform parents as to where I see areas of need
and, hopefully as the year progresses, areas of growth. Also, now the kid with an ’A’ in a class but with
both Satisfactory Work Habits & Effort as well as a Satisfactory Behavior & Attitude can be referred to
as an ”A with a double S” :-) Here is this term’s report card. Due to the unexpected change we were told
that we did not have to go back and re-fill in the grades/skills for Term 1. This would have been a little
challenging and time consuming since we’d have to combine the learning skills that we originally looked
at separately.
Technology will make this format for a report card easier, as time progresses. The technology is indeed
already present, but the pace of adoption is painfully slow. Currently we are using a word document and
that has limitations. Soon this will be an on-line document that all teachers can access. Soon we will add
some 21
Century Skills to the fray... and hopefully soon we can have a report card version that we can
use for more than one term!What would a perfect report card look like? What skills would it measure?
How will it measure Learning Skills and/or 21st Century Skills? What needs to change so that we are
more effective at marking what counts rather than just counting marks?
- - - - -
New Voices #4 of 7: Check out Dan Meyer’s [7]dy/dan blog, specifically his post [8]How Math Must
Assess which relates very specifically to my topic, marking what counts. I also like his post [9]Why I
Don’t Assign Homework... a must read, whether you agree or not!
Originally posted: March 11th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
I was disappointed with the move back to G, S and N rather than M, D
and E... but that is just systemic as to the resistance to change
often seen in education.
We can’t fundamentally change our report cards in a truly meaningful
way until we change what we consider important first. However,
assessment itself is the greatest impediment to meaningful change in
education. Standardized tests are about ’counting marks’ NOT ’marking
what counts’.
Here is a recent video version of my sound file linked above to
’beyond what is on the test’.
1. http://subbaiyer.wordpress.com/2007/02/14/finding-right-metrics/
2. http://scottmcleod.typepad.com/dangerouslyirrelevant/2007/02/assessing_21st_.html
3. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6705929
4. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/numeracy-and-problem-solving
5. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/synthesize-and-add-meaning
6. http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/perf_stands/s6to8.pdf
7. http://blog.mrmeyer.com/
8. http://blog.mrmeyer.com/?p=9
9. http://blog.mrmeyer.com/?p=133
it brought tears to my eyes (2008-04-14 02:26)
The power of the human spirit at its’ best! [1]
[2]”CAN”: World’s Strongest Dad, (read this first).
Originally posted: March 12th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
We see so many horrible things in the news... why aren’t stories like
this one ever the headlines? We really need to re-evaluate why a
troubled kid who shoots up his classmates gets hours of airtime while
great deeds go unnoticed.
Here is another wonderful story, this one about a student, that I can
watch time-and-again...
1. http://cjcphoto.com/can/
2. http://cjcphoto.com/can/
The Web2.0 Prophecy: An Adventure (2008-04-14 23:48)
Originally posted: March 13th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
Until now I have been adding my reflection at the end of these
re-posts. However, I thought with this post it should come first. Why?
Because it is important that I share the date of the original post
before quoting other bloggers who were expressing views/moods they may
not currently hold.
Of all my posts, this one really seems forward thinking and, well,
prophetic. We truly are ’heading map-less into new, and uncharted
territory’. And we really can ’be the change we want to see in the
world’. This can be an exciting time to be an educator... we must
remember that even when things are challenging!
- - -
It has been eerie. Unsettling.
I’ve been restless. Dissatisfied.
... and I don’t think that I am alone.
[1]Wesley Fryer is scaring people with [2]Karl Fisch’s presentation “Did You Know” remixed by Scott
“Shock and awe” may not be the best formula for conversations and learning. Maybe I need to craft and
share a more basic, simple message, and avoid overwhelming people with too many scary statistics and
[3]Will Richardson is ’Stuck’.
”There’s nothing new here, really. I know. What’s new for me at least is that if feels like my lens
for all of this is changing. And that’s why I’m stuck as to what to write about here. My learning and
classroom learning look very different. I will never enter another physical classroom as a “student” again,
and that’s by choice. That physical space just doesn’t cut it. And schools are all about physical space.
And control. And content.”
[4]Kelly Christopherson feels stuck too.
”Really, we, as educators, live in a world of dichotomy - where one part of our world is moving so quickly
it takes our breath away while the other side hardly seems to move at all. There we are, stuck in the
middle trying to somehow bring these two together. Some people are doing a fantastic job while others
are so overwhelmed that they stick with what they know, which, we are finding, doesn’t fit with our
present students which is causing some serious problems.”
[5]Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach sees schools with more walls than windows. (Read this!)
”Let’s Rethink It
Order and discipline in a time of tremendous social change in the 19th Century. Well, It is the 21st
Century and once again it is time for social reformers to rethink the reasons and ways we are educating
our young.”
Tangled in the web I find [6]Stephanie Sandifer, who thinks Action Plans are Overdue. She points me
back to Sheryl and Will (whom I had already read), as well as [7]Miguel Guhlin, who in turn writes about
Sheryl’s post.
Miguel’s post (overall) is more upbeat... yet this paragraph sticks with me,
”At the risk of sounding cynical, here’s a quick response on Saturday morning: Schools fail miserably
about instilling democracy in our children...voting, democracy education are distractions from the REAL
curriculum schools teach from and about. Democratic values are also antithetical to our schools since
they are restrictive, controlled environments...they are top-down controlled, in the ”strict father frame”
that George Lakoff describes that tolerates no back-talk, no discussion, no questioning. Socrates would
not only be drinking Hemlock, he’d be...well, you can only execute someone once.”
Miguel’s optimism comes later when he says, ”...let their voices, that of the learners, ring throughout
our schools, voices that speak of relevance, authenticity, and human connections...in ways that cannot be
This sounds like my friend Dave Sands who says ’it is students who will change education’. But it
isn’t coming fast enough, there are too many ’walls’ denying our students, too many flame snuffers.
This isn’t new. I’ve been here before.
From [8]my first post:
”In a hundred years or so, everyone now alive in the whole earth will be dead - is this not so?”... ”It
would therefore be possible for the human race to run its affairs quite differently, in a wise and benevolent
fashion, in a relatively short time.”
...”And so?”
”The purpose of education,” said Wizard Prang, ”is to make sure this doesn’t happen.” ...”The pur-
pose of a system is what it does.”
To my first collection of other posts, where I found so many people writing and talking about how schools
don’t fit kids: [9]Square Peg, Round Hole... Time and again I am finding myself in these lulls of impa-
tience, frustration and dissatisfaction.
- - - - -
But it is all making sense to me now.
Well, that might be overstating things... but I have found some clarity.
Have you heard of [10]The Celestine Prophecy?
Well now I give you, ’The Web2.0 Prophecy’
What spurred this comparison on? My thinking can jump around quite a bit, it went something like this:
We are reaching a group consciousness around ’where we are’ compared to ’where we should be’ with the
use of technology and schools... ’reaching a group consciousness’ reminds me of the [11]100th Monkey
Effect... actually, this is like a web version of the [12]Age of Aquarius... which reminds me... what were
the ’9 Ideas’ or ’Agreements’ I read about in The Celestine Prophecy about 10-12 years ago?... No wait,
they weren’t Ideas or Agreements, they were... (Google search the book)... ’Insights’ ! ...(reading) ...Wow,
I can really see some parallels here!
So, here is my comparison. I will box in the text about the Celestine Prophecy Insights from Wikipedia
([13]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The Celestine Prophecy, Monday Dec. 12, 2007 - I’m just realizing
that a date is essential when quoting a changeable text). I will then put my slant on how ’”WE” are
progressing through the insights in relation to the ’WEb’
The Web2.0 Prophecy
THE FIRST INSIGHT . . . A CRITICAL MASS A new spiritual awakening is
occurring in human culture, an awakening brought about by a critical
mass of individuals who experience their lives as a spiritual
unfolding, a journey in which we are led forward by mysterious
A New Web Awakening
Thank you to [16]Alan November, [17]Stephen Downes, [18]Will Richardson, [19]David Warlick and
others, for leading the way and helping to awaken us.
- - -
THE SECOND INSIGHT . . . THE LONGER NOW This awakening represents the
creation of a new, more complete world view, which replaces a
five-hundred-year-old preoccupation with secular survival and comfort.
While this technological preoccupation was an important step, our
awakening to life’s coincidences is opening us up to the real purpose
of human life on this planet, and the real nature of our universe.
The awakening to a whole new era.
[20]Thomas Friedman paved the way in print,
and [23]Karl Fisch added his multimedia presentations.
(2020 Vision - A thought provoking look at the future - 15:45)
- - -
THE THIRD INSIGHT . . . A MATTER OF ENERGY We now experience that we
live not in a material universe, but in a universe of dynamic energy.
Everything extant is a field of sacred energy that we can sense and
intuit. Moreover, we humans can project our energy by focusing our
attention in the desired direction...where attention goes, energy
flows...influencing other energy systems and increasing the pace of
coincidences in our lives.
We = Energy
Time Magazine tells us that WE are
[25]Time’s Person/People of the Year.
Professor [26]Michael Wesch shows US that WE are the power of the web.
- - -
themselves off from the greater source of this energy and so feel weak
and insecure. To gain energy we tend to manipulate or force others to
give us attention and thus energy. When we successfully dominate
others in this way, we feel more powerful, but they are left weakened
and often fight back. Competition for scarce, human energy is the
cause of all conflict between people.
The Struggle for Power: Elitist -vs- Ubiquitous
On the one hand we have Four Eyed Monsters’ video
[27]”Humanity Lobotomy”: Net Neutrality Open Source Documentary
and on the other, [28] $100 Laptops.
[29] [EMBED]
- - -
violence ends when we experience an inner connection with divine
energy within, a connection described by mystics of all traditions. A
sense of lightness--buoyancy--along with the constant sensation of
love are measures of this connection. If these measures are present,
the connection is real. If not, it is only pretended.
Web [30]Mavens rather than Mystics
We have the pioneers: [31]Vicki A. Davis has [32]soared, so has [33]Darren Kuropatwa.
We see the potential!
(I had [34]a glimpse.)
- - -
THE SIXTH INSIGHT . . . CLEARING THE PAST The more we stay connected,
the more we are acutely aware of those times when we lose connection,
usually when we are under stress. In these times, we can see our own
particular way of stealing energy from others. Once our manipulations
are brought to personal awareness, our connection becomes more
constant and we can discover our own growth path in life, and our
spiritual mission--the personal way we can contribute to the world.
We are Connected
Personal (public) blogs (with others commenting) rather than personal (private) diaries.
MySpace, FaceBook, LinkedIn, [35]Explode.us, Flickr, YouTube, and personal
connections as described in [36]A Story About a Tree.
- - -
mission further enhances the flow of mysterious coincidences as we are
guided toward our destinies. First we have a question; then dreams,
daydreams, and intuitions lead us towards the answers, which usually
are synchronistically provided by the wisdom of another human being.
On the bright side:
We have the [37]Creative Commons;
We used to only dream of flying,
We see the [39]potential for providing wisdom to others.
But we seem to have impediments to our dreams; [41]challenges and limitations that stall our dreams.
All the quotes at the start of this post belong here... they are symptomatic of how (not why) we are not
collectively moving forward. This isn’t about blame or excuses, rather it is about recognizing that things
are not necessarily FLOWing as well as they could.
- - -
frequency of guiding coincidences by uplifting every person that comes
into our lives. Care must be taken not to lose our inner connection in
romantic relationships. Uplifting others is especially effective in
groups where each member can feel energy of all the others. With
children it is extremely important for their early security and
growth. By seeing the beauty in every face, we lift others into their
wisest self, and increase the chances of hearing a synchronistic
We need our ’guiding coincidences’ to be ones that are nurturing and powerful.
We need to collaborate, empower one another, and see potential rather than roadblocks. This is important
for our children/our students, but it is equally important for us. Our ’synchronistic message’ can’t be
”impatience, frustration and dissatisfaction” as I mentioned earlier.
Our message must be uplifting. But an uplifting message isn’t enough!
We need financial support, visionary leaders, moral compasses, inspiring role models, enriching pro-
fessional development, and meaningful collaboration. We also need minimally restricted content and
unlimited access... these are all building blocks that ’increase the frequency of guiding coincidences’...
these are the things that inspire us, fuel us, connect us, and allow us to see the potential in ourselves and
each other. We truly can ’Be the change we want to see in the world.’
- - -
THE NINTH INSIGHT . . . THE EMERGING CULTURE As we all evolve toward
the best completion of our spiritual missions, the technological means
of survival will be fully automated as humans focus instead on
synchronistic growth. Such growth will move humans into higher energy
states, ultimately transforming our bodies into spiritual form and
uniting this dimension of existence with the after-life dimension,
ending the cycle of birth and death.
Web3.0 or Web3D
[42]Gary Hayes has some ideas about where are we going next.
This is both a scary and an exciting time... but mostly it’s exciting
Reading what I have said regarding the Seventh and Eighth Insights, I am keenly aware that some of
us are not ’stuck’, and that some of us are experiencing those ’guiding coincidences’ where everything is
coming together. However, I think currently this is the exception rather than the norm My question to
you is this: When we are stuck, when things aren’t coming together, when our universe is not unfolding
as it should, how do we make things [44]FLOW?
I ask this since we are heading map-less into new, and uncharted territory.
1. http://www.speedofcreativity.org/2007/03/07/avoiding-shock-and-awe-in-platos-cave/
2. http://scottmcleod.typepad.com/dangerouslyirrelevant/2007/01/gone_fischin.html
3. http://weblogg-ed.com/2007/stuck/
4. http://kwhobbes.edublogs.org/2007/02/26/where-is-there/
5. http://21stcenturylearning.typepad.com/blog/2007/03/i_was_chatting_.html
6. http://ed421.com/?p=235
7. http://www.edsupport.cc/mguhlin/archives/2007/03/entry_2916.htm
8. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/the-purpose-of-a-system-is-what-it-does
9. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/square-peg-round-hole
10. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Celestine_Prophecy
11. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundredth_Monkey
12. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_Aquarius#Orb_of_Influence
13. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Celestine_Prophecy
14. http://www.technorati.com/
15. http://www.technorati.com/
16. http://www.novemberlearning.com/
17. http://www.downes.ca/
18. http://weblogg-ed.com/
19. http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/
20. http://www.thomaslfriedman.com/worldisflatexpanded.htm
21. http://www.thomaslfriedman.com/worldisflatexpanded.htm
22. http://www.thomaslfriedman.com/worldisflatexpanded.htm
23. http://www.lps.k12.co.us/schools/arapahoe/fisch/fischbowlpresentations.htm
24. http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=7281108124087435381
25. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/0,9263,7601061225,00.html
26. http://mediatedcultures.net/ksudigg/?page_id=54
27. http://foureyedmonsters.com/neutrality
28. http://laptop.media.mit.edu/
29. http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=-2454177915360000762
30. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maven
31. http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/index.html
32. http://flatclassroomproject.wikispaces.com/
33. http://adifference.blogspot.com/2007/03/good-day.html
34. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/sharing-engaging-web-2-0h-yeah
35. http://ex.plode.us/
36. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/a-story-about-a-tree
37. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/
38. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/
39. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/fieldfindr-connect-classrooms-to-the-world
40. http://fieldfindr.wikispaces.com/
41. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/digital-native-digital-naive-digital-divide
42. http://www.personalizemedia.com/index.php/2006/08/27/virtual-worlds-web-30-and-portable-profiles/
43. http://www.personalizemedia.com/index.php/2006/08/27/virtual-worlds-web-30-and-portable-profiles/
44. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28psychology%29
The Web2.0 Prophecy: An Adventure | Pair-a-dimes for Your Thoughts :: David Truss Video (2008-04-20 10:18:45)
[...] and Learning Originally added to Judy’s video collection by heyjude This video came from
http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/the-web 2-point-0-prophecy/ No Comment Watched It LOL’d Loved It Hated
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Wesley Fryer (2008-04-15 23:14:56)
I resonate with many of these ideas, but disagree that ”we don’t have a map.” I think educational theorists like
Dewey, Freire, Holt and others wrote ”a map” for us years ago. Progressive education has been misunderstood and
misapplied in many cases. Digital technologies offer the opportunity to blend learning in transformative ways, and
the information glut highlights our dire need for new skill sets alongside traditional ones. Our need to be critical
thinkers and media literate is really not new. Many skills touted as part of ”the new literacies” or ”new methods
of teaching” have actually been around quite awhile. In some cases, they look new because of their digital face, or
their potential digital face. One risk which is presented by using the term ”prophesy” is that some people might
mistakenly think the changes we are discussing here (and in many cases hoping for) are inevitable. While on a
macro scale, taking a longer view, we probably will see many changes inevitable (like 1:1 learning) at a micro
level and in the shorter term, the advancement of this learning revolution and vision will be highly dependent
on the actions of local leaders. Nice synthesis of ideas here. Beware the dangers inherent in prophesy, however.
Historically prophets were never popular people. The torches and pitchforks tend to come out when the voice of
the prophet is amplified with noticeable volume.
I officially claim this title for my first book - YET unwritten! » Moving at the Speed of Creativity (2008-04-15
[...] themes of this book: Like the future, yet unwritten. It is up to us to fulfill and operationalize the Web2.0
Prophecy. It is NOT an inevitable future, it will come to pass (in varying forms) only if leaders at local, [...]
Vicki Davis (2008-04-15 06:30:18)
Excellent article with overviews of so many important things. Did you write this yesterday!? ;-) Guess you are a
prophet. So, tell us, what’s next? (Maybe a grassroots effort of teachers to help promote the effective use of these
Edward Barrier (2009-07-27 06:57:23)
I just heard about the web 2.0. I am well aware of the dangers of being a prophet but I don’t care. I’m too
old to be afraid. The old testament prophets were not fortune tellers. They paid attention to what was going
on around them that others were ignoring and tried to tell them what was likely to happen if they continued to
be purposefully ignorant. And yes, when the disasters they predicted happened they were blamed. The common
wisdom must have been ’How else could he have known about it?’ As I understand web 2.0 it is a way we can
be connected without the domination of corporate america. It has not yet been stolen as were newspapers and
radio. As long as we allow the ruling class to intimidate us we can never be free. We must have the means to
communicate with each other. Am I correct?
SUCCESS(full) Presentation (2008-04-15 21:23)
success: Richard St. John (From [1]TED)
This isn’t only a presentation about what leads to success... it is also about presenting successfully.
It is about how to use Powerpoint (or another presentation tool) effectively: Simple graphics, purposeful
movement/animation, a single key word, effective use of bold font, a minimalist quote, good pacing,
simple humour, and a message that we could all benefit from.
”[2]Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Originally posted: March 16th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
I used this as part of a presentation to Grade 11’s and 12’s, (and
blogged about it later). The one key thing I am starting to understand
is that ’design’ is a skill that is necessary to teach students. I
absolutely hate being ’shot to death’ by Powerpoint bullets... but
realize that if I get bullet-bombed, it is my fault for not showing
students how else they can creatively use this presentation tool.
1. http://www.ted.com/index.php
2. http://www.kausal.com/
Reflections: Visit Counts, Technorati, Comments and Ego: A Good, Bad, and (al-
most) Indifferent Post (2008-04-16 02:37)
An honest look at my blog.
The Good: • This site, elgg.net, is not going to be called EduFilter (seems my e-mail wasn’t the only
complaint). Elgg is now EduSpaces, a name a number of us recommended - though I bear no claim to
my voice being listened to since I also offered a dozen other alternatives.
The Bad: • All my links to the site need changing, this isn’t necessary since elgg rather than edus-
paces in the address still works, but I would rather that my Flickr, Curriki, LinkedIn, & other blogs etc.
all had my updated links.
The (I wish I was) Indifferent: • My [2]Technorati URL needs to [3]change. THE BIG QUESTION:
Why did this bother me?
There are two reasons that I can think of: TIMING and EGO.
My blog is getting more attention than it ever has. Some noted bloggers: [4]Stephen Downes, [5]Scott
McLeod, [6]Wesley Freyer, [7]Miguel Guhlin, and [8]Vicki Davis (on [9]EdTech Talk ) have all given my
[10]Web2.0 Prophecy: an Adventure a plug and linked to it with my old elgg address. This attention has
doubled traffic to my site and I thank them for this! Yet I sit here pretending it didn’t bother me that
they are linked to my old Technorati address rather than the new one. This leads to the main reason the
URL change bothered me...
I while back I e-mailed Scott McLeod in response to his [11]top edublogs? post and wrote this:
”As I said in my comment, thank you for doing this and being honest about your interest in your ranking.
I think a significant number people care and don’t admit it, and I admire someone who openly admits it.
I haven’t really paid attention to my rank- being new myself- I have had my blog for almost a year, but
would consider myself [12]a ’blogger’ a la Will Richardson for only a few months now. However I have
been watching my number of visits and my clustrmap religiously... not the ranking itself, but it shows
my concern in the same vain.” [Link (above) added for this post.]
Here comes the honest part: I like to go to my [13]sitemeter and see where people visit me from. I like
seeing the dots grow, in number and in size, on [14]my clustrmap... and I like when I see new links in
Technorati. Why?
The fact is, that I want to be well read, and I want my blog to be recognized. Scott McLeod says
it best at the end of his ’top edublogs?’ post:
”P.S. I unapologetically admit that I care about my Technorati ranking. Why? Because I’m trying to
make change. The bigger audience I have, the more readers I reach directly and the more people I can
influence indirectly through those readers. I’m on a mission. Aren’t you?”
So, not only have I mulled over the change in URL, I have also reflected on this blog quite a bit.
After having this blog for almost a year, this is what I know...
Besides my [15]Web2.0 Prophecy post, the posts that get attention are:
1. [16]Square Peg, Round Hole - a collection of other people’s ideas around schools not fitting kids
that I have been adding to until recently, now a second post is in the works.
2. [17]Portal Needed to Connect Classrooms to the World: Global Citizens can Share Talents and
Skills with Students and the accompanying wiki [18]fieldfindr, (yesterday fieldfindr had more hits than
my blog... almost a month after I created it as a mock-up to go along with the post). When will someone
make this a reality?
3. [19]The digital native, the digital naive, and the digital divide - among other things, the idea that
maybe students of this generation aren’t fully at the digital native stage... yet.
4. [20]Leadership Lesson Plans - found in my files rather than my blog. Thanks mostly to [21]Cur-
riki, these get visited and downloaded a number of times daily. I am glad I can offer these resourses that
I have found useful in teaching Leadership.
And in my opinion, the most under-rated post: [22]School 2.0 Participant’s Manifesto - Manifesto’s
are big in [23]education and schools2.0 but they mostly focus on the changes needed to the system. Here,
I look at the responsibilities of the learner- remember them?... the people we are ’doing this stuff to’.
(ok, that was a bit cheeky!)
To anyone reading my blog for the first time, [24]Learning Conversations is a post that quotes a lot
of my other posts and gives a sense for what this blog is about, and what it means to me.
And now, in case this post hasn’t been self-indulgent enough,
I will reflect a little more on this blog.
The Good:
•Quality. I take pride in my posts and although I still do them primarily for myself, I am keenly aware
that I have an audience. This has made me a much better writer... (and it can do the same for students!)
•Recognition. My site is slowly growing in readership. Fear not ’A list’ bloggers your position is safe,
I’m not tilting the blogosphere on its’ head here, but I do consider myself an agent of change, and I will
make my world a better place!
•Meaningful dialogue. I have enjoyed the learning conversations that I have had online. I have not been
this excited about learning- ever! Was it like this in school for anyone? [26]Not me.
The Bad:
•In-click/Out-click. I am amazed at how ridiculous some of the Google Searches are that lead to my site.
For example I have the phrase ’Webkinz-dot-com’ in a post that happens to touch an image of a (totally
unrelated) bridge. 2-5 times a week I get hits from Webkinz (stuffed animal) image searches - Hardly
what I would call a meaningful hit.
•Time. I spend too much time on the computer. I can’t keep up with my feedreader. Both reading and
writing are slow processes for me. I started highlighting ’New Voices’ but have stopped recently because
I haven’t read any recently. I resolve this by sleeping less, but I can’t keep this up much longer. Who is
doing all this well? And what is your secret???
•Comments. I spend a bit of time each week commenting on blogs... continuing the conversation. But I
seem to generate very few commenters on my blog. This might be a result of my next point.
•Post length. I am long-winded. Most of my posts are lengthy. Are readers even getting to the end of
them? I think it was Vicki Davis who wrote ’write it, then cut it in half.’ I have to learn to do this... it
won’t be easy for me. Even this post is probably too long!
The Indifferent:
•Technorati. It took a few days but I’m over it. I really don’t mind that I am starting over. I will enjoy
watching the links grow again. I have never gone to Technorati to see someone else’s ranking and judged
their site as a result. In fact, in a comment on Christian Long’s post [27]Stop Blogging Because You’re
An Educator I state: ”...Warlick and Richardson seem to be more about post-cards than edu-posts.” I’ve
noticed that many of the really meaningful posts that I have read recently have not come from the ’big
boys’ but rather the boys and girls- like me - that are in the trenches, trying to make sense of where
schools are now, and where they need to be.
Speaking of the trenches, here is a new voice for you ( #5 of 7): Read Claudia Ceraso’s [28]The Price of
Evolution in your Teaching Practice.
- - - - -
Images: [29]Foster City Reflections and [30]Under The Bridge 2 are both by [31]Peter Kaminski on Flickr.
- - - - -
Originally posted: March 20th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
Changes: So here I am on my 3rd URL, once again messing up my
links/Technorati following - I hope this is the last move! When elgg
links no longer worked for eduspaces, (a change I was not expecting),
my blog stats took a real blow. I had no way of informing rss readers
of the address change. When eduspaces was threatening to close down,
that’s when I ventured into the world of self-hosting. Apology: In
this post I was unfair to David Warlick and Will Richardson. They do
so much for edubloggers and also for education, and yet I made some
condescending remarks towards them. They may not be ’in the trenches’
the way teachers are... but they are leaders that are fighting the
same war. David & Will, I am sorry for being overly critical and
unappreciative of what you have done to lead us. Comments: These are
the comments on the original post.
- - - - -
1. Dave, I see you’ve been writing up a storm! I know what you mean
about the vainness and ego that we seem to grow as we begin
writing. I can empathize with the lack of sleep but mine isn’t
from the rss or the writing these days! I know how you feel about
trying to be read and wondering what is going on. I think, and
this is a fairly thin theory, that there are many, many blurkers
who read and don’t comment. For both you and I, we have passed
that stage and we want to bring about change because we see the
great benefit that it will bring. I, too, really liked the
Web2.0:An adventure. I just haven’t had time to give you any
feedback!! Take care. We’ll have to "link" up one of these days.
Take care. Keep writing. And don’t worry about the size of your
posts. I’ve gotten past that. If it is worthy, people will read.
Your’s are worthy Dave!
[32]Kelly Christopherson on Friday, 23 March 2007, 00:46 CE
2. Thanks Kelly, I have the same sentiments about your posts. In
fact, if you go to the last link in the post above- leading to a
Christian Long post, you will find this in my comment, "I got here
after reading a post by Kelly (see his comment above). I enjoy
reading his posts, but some of them can take 20+ min. to read when
I am in the mood to follow the links, and Kelly is very good at
making the links meaningfully relevant." That is why I am having
so many issues with my reading. I love hyperlinking to follow
certain thoughts and ideas, but it can take so long... this
cartoon sums it up:
cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com
Cartoon by [33]Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely
re-use on your blog at [34]We Blog Cartoons.
Thanks again for your comment! Dave.
[35]David Truss on Friday, 23 March 2007, 03:00 CET
3. David, After our "chat" at Explode I added you to my RSS and
looked forward to having time to come back. Here I am. Glad this
post is a kind of guide to your blog highlights. I agree with you.
Your post is long. If I could edit it, I would cut off this bit:
"Are readers even getting to the end of them? I think it was Vicki
Davis who wrote ’write it, then cut it in half.’ I have to learn
to do this... it won’t be easy for me. Even this post is probably
too long!" Just that. Because those lines are somebody else’s idea
in an altogether different blog. They can shine in the original
blog. They are not words consistent with the "voice from the
trenches" spirit you have built up here, which is precisely what
keeps you reading. Please do not write in your own blog according
to rules you were not consulted to shape up. For your stats, I
read your post twice (I tell you this because I’m sure Technorati
won’t). I like the way you use lines to subdivide your post. They
prepared my mind for a new turn in your thoughts. Yet, I admit I
was totally unprepared to find a link to my blog at the end!
[36]Claudia Ceraso on Friday, 23 March 2007, 03:09 CET
4. As a newbie blogger, I share many of the sentiments you express,
Dave. However, my main reason for blogging is to express and share
my ideas and thoughts, engage others in discussion, and hopefully
make change, in my own teaching or in the teaching and leadership
of another person.
However, there is a rock-star sort of film which covers edublogs,
and I wish that weren’t the case.
[37]Miss Profe on Friday, 23 March 2007, 14:53 CET
5. Thank you Claudia and Miss Profe,Claudia, excellent point. As
mentioned above, I will gladly read Kelly’s longer posts or for
that matter any long posts when I find one that is worth
reading... and often we get pleasantly surprised towards the end
of a post. Wink -Also, thanks for the feedback on the breaks/line
dividers, I find them useful in shifting my thoughts and it is
nice to know that is being passed on the to the reader.Miss Profe,
I am not sure if it is possible to blog, as we both do, and not
have it change us in a meaningful way... and I’m sure the changes
have a [38]positive ripple outward to those we have influence on.
Thanks for your comment!
[39]David Truss on Tuesday, 27 March 2007, 09:46 CEST
1. http://www.flickr.com/photos/peterkaminski/2262698/
2. http://www.technorati.com/
3. http://technorati.com/blogs/pairadimes.davidtruss.com?reactions
4. http://www.downes.ca/
5. http://scottmcleod.typepad.com/dangerouslyirrelevant/
6. http://speedofcreativity.org/
7. http://www.edsupport.cc/mguhlin/
8. http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/
9. http://www.edtechtalk.com/
10. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/the-web2-point-0-prophecy
11. http://scottmcleod.typepad.com/dangerouslyirrelevant/2007/01/top_edublogs.html#comment-28496463
12. http://weblogg-ed.com/2004/blogging-writing-feeling/
13. http://www.sitemeter.com/
14. http://www4.clustrmaps.com/counter/maps.php?url=http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com
15. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/the-web2-point-0-prophecy
16. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/square-peg-round-hole
17. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/fieldfindr-connect-classrooms-to-the-world
18. http://fieldfindr.wikispaces.com/
19. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/digital-native-digital-naive-digital-divide
20. http://eduspaces.net/dtruss/files/1762
21. http://www.curriki.org/
22. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/school-2oh-participants-manifesto
23. http://school20.wikispaces.com/School+2.0+Manifesto
24. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/learning-conversations
25. http://www.flickr.com/photos/peterkaminski/2163266/in/photostream/
26. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/
27. http://thinklab.typepad.com/think_lab/2007/02/stop_blogging_b.html
28. http://eltnotes.blogspot.com/2007/03/its-management.html
29. http://www.flickr.com/photos/peterkaminski/2262698/
30. http://www.flickr.com/photos/peterkaminski/2163266/in/photostream/
31. http://www.flickr.com/people/peterkaminski/
32. http://kwhobbes.wordpress.com/
33. http://www.cartoonchurch.com/blog/
34. http://www.weblogcartoons.com/
35. http://DavidTruss.com/
36. http://fceblog.blogspot.com/
37. http://missprofe.wordpress.com/
38. http://www.gurteen.com/gurteen/gurteen.nsf/id/X00044EEA/
39. http://davidtruss.com/
Assessment & Rote Learning: Math Conundrums (2008-04-17 22:14)
Multiply Two Negatives and You Get a Positive.
So, I take ’Rote Learning’ and multiply that by ’Teaching to the Test’ and that equals ’Better
Standardized Test Results’ ? Well, that’s not exactly what this post is about... but this is a good lead
in. And for those of you that don’t know why -3 x -4 = +12, I do provide a link that might help.
In some ways I think this really should be two posts, one on Assessment and one on Rote Learn-
ing of Multiplication/Division Skills, but I also think they fit well together.
I’m in the process of marking some Algebra tests.
Just so you know, 7 x 4 = 32 and 6 x 8 = 52.
I just want that on the record.
In both cases the student’s algebra was correct.
In fact, in both those cases the error made the algebra much more difficult, with the variable be-
coming a fraction rather than in integer.
So, how would you evaluate these two questions?
Before you read this, Dan Meyer’s [1]How Math Must Assess, and his linked mini-thesis are wor-
thy reads.
I remember doing a Math/Assessment Pro-D at the start of a Staff Meeting a few years ago. I
gave everyone a Fraction Quiz and an answer key for a fictitious student. The quiz was out of 20. (I
have the questions, but need to track down the answers I created to add to this post.)
The first question asked the student to reduce fractions to lowest terms, (4 fractions for 4 marks
- they included 2 proper fractions, & 2 improper, one of which reduced to a whole number).
The second question said, ”Solve. Put all answers in lowest terms. (2 marks each)”. There were
a total of 8 questions, 2 each for adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions.
The student made one consistent error when reducing.
Staff members had many questions including, ”Can I give half marks?” -All of which I answered,
”You are marking the quiz, you decide.”
On the low end, one teacher who had never taught Math gave the student 8/20 - I think he
gave 1 mark each for getting the first parts of the 2nd question correct. On the other end of the
spectrum, our LAC (Learning Assistance Center) teacher gave the student 18/20. All other teachers
varied within these two scores, with no single score being an obvious favorite.
To be honest, the quiz answers were very contrived, and I doubt a student would make such an
error so consistently without making others, but the point was well taken.
What are we assessing? Is our assessment measuring what we say it is? Are we assessing the right
Rote Learning (for Multiplication Tables... and Related Division Questions)
If you teach Math, here is a New Voice ( #6 of 7). I stumbled on to Amanda Waye’s [2]Understanding
Multiplication blog doing a Google Search for this post. Her [3]Opposing Views on Teaching Methods
has made this post easy for me... read her post and I can get down to the ’nitty gritty’ without a whole
lot of background details.
Rote learning. I know the opposing arguments. I even agree with them as I will demonstrate
later. But when a kid arrives in my class in Grade 8 and doesn’t know their times tables it drives me
crazy... When they can’t multiply 4 x 7, or can’t see that 7/28 can be reduced... I have to wonder...
how can I meaningfully teach them integers or algebra?
Now, I’m neither suggesting that students sit at one table and memorize another table for hours
on end; Nor am I suggesting that rote learning is a singular approach to learning multiplication. But in
order to [4]get students to be more numerate, we need not have the pendulum swing completely away
from drilling some basics.
Multiplication is repeated addition, it is about adding ’groups of’ a number. It is a simple con-
If a student just has rote comprehension of their multiplication tables in their early years, it will
help them more than it could possibly hurt them. For those of you that had multiplication drilled
into them, did it scar you? Are you wounded by it? If so, I would argue that it was a result of poor
delivery, not the actual memorization. I know that I memorized my tables, but as an adult I have no
recollection of the process... just as I don’t remember learning to read. Furthermore, as a Social Studies
trained, Arts Degree student, I know that a strong foundation in basic skills helped make my transition
to teaching Math a lot easier than if I had lacked such a strong background.
Here is the crux of my point: When you have a solid understanding of Math fundamentals, it is
easy to build new, more challenging concepts on to your base knowledge.
[5] Example: When multiplying integers [6]I teach the ’rules’, the algorithm, but [7]I also teach
’Why?’. A student who has rote understanding of their times tables will see within my Multiplying
Integers lessons that multiplication is repeated addition... a student lacking basic multiplication skills
usually cannot go beyond the ’rules’ since the multiplication itself is a neuron-taxing challenge to them.
You need an understanding of basic skills before you can move on to more challenging tasks.
[8] You can’t teach a skateboarder to do a [9]Ollie when they still
have issues staying on their skateboard... They need to be competent on their skateboard- without
thinking about their balance, timing etc. before they learn the more complicated moves. Once a skater
has the fundamentals of an Ollie within their repertoire, they have the foundation to perform even more
Integers and Algebra both build on a foundation knowledge of multiplication skills.
Use rote memorization, flash-cards, games online... make it fun... do a song and dance, stand on
your head... but what ever you do, don’t let your kids get to Grade 8 without knowing their multiplica-
tion tables!
- - - - -
Image of Skater: [10]IMG 8459 by [11]Outside the Box on Flickr
Originally posted: March 23rd, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
I think my last paragraph is a bit over the top, but I still feel
strongly about the ideas in this post. Our move to numeracy:
right-brained/more spacial/conceptual/problem based learning is great,
but cannot be done in isolation from a strong foundation of basic
Now that I am out of the classroom, I think I can be a little more
objective about my own practice as a Math teacher. (It also helps that
I am giving learning support to two different teachers in Math as
well.) I simply was not [12]constructivist enough! Sometimes, I
justified teaching the rule first by claiming that it appeased
students and allowed them to relax and learn the ’why’ afterwards...
was I appeasing students or myself?
That said, Basic Math Facts are the foundation or scaffolding that
support conceptual understanding of Mathematics. Any learning
constructed in a Math class will crumble without basic support
structures in place. Multiplication (and related division) tables are
an essential base for success!
Update: May 1st/08 Darren Kuropatwa attempted to post a comment and it ’borked’, so [13]he posted
it instead. I asked if I could share it here too... I couldn’t agree with him more!
Breathtaking post, or was it three? ;-)
Assessment I did the same exercise with my dept. We also had the same
vastly differing results you did. At a provincial in-service about 9
or 10 years back I participated in the same exercise using real
student generated work. Results varied from around 33% to 80%. This is
one facet of f [14]Academe’s Dirty Little Secret. Anyway, in my dept.
we’ve been looking at how we assess all the content in all the courses
we teach; one course at a time, one unit at a time. We’re trying to
develop a consistent approach to assessment at least within our
building. We’ll be "at it" for a while yet. Basic Skills
Fluent knowledge and recall of basic addition, subtraction,
multiplication and division facts are essential for ANY student to
experience success in math. I’m on the same page you are Dave.
A grade 9 student, who struggles (mightily) with her multiplication
facts, and I were talking about this last week. As I was trying to
help her I asked why she thinks I feel it so important for her to
become fluent in her recall of the multiplication table: "I know, I
know, some day I might not have a calculator and I might need to
multiply two numbers." [Oy! Who tells kids this stuff? And do they
really believe that? -- I mean the adults, not the kids. I know the
kids don’t believe that.] "No. That’s not why. You’ll always be able
to get a calculator if you need to multiply a bunch of numbers. That’s
not the reason. It’s that you need to know the language of math so you
can join the conversation."
"If your teacher is trying to teach you why multiplying pairs of
negative numbers always have a positive result, or why, when we divide
fractions, we ’multiply by the reciprocal’ they’re going to talk about
stuff like 7x8 and assume you know it’s 56 and go on to discuss some
deeper ideas. If you’re hung up on 7x8, need to pull out a calculator,
you’re going to miss the entire conversation. Your brain will be back
5 steps while everyone else is talking about this other stuff. By the
time you figure out what’s going on you won’t know what’s going on.
You’ll feel lost and confused and fall farther behind."
"Why do I need to know math anyway?" "For the same reason you need to
know how to read. Because it’s a fundamental way that humans
communicate with each other and understand the world around them. If
you can read but you can’t understand mathematics then there will be
giant tracts of things happening in the world around you that you’ll
never understand." [Whew! Went on a bit of a rant there. I’m going to
get a cup of tea ... Cheers Dave!]
[15]Darren Kuropatwa
1. http://blog.mrmeyer.com/?p=9
2. http://understandingmultiplication.blogspot.com/
3. http://understandingmultiplication.blogspot.com/2007/03/what-is-multiplication.html
4. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/numeracy-and-problem-solving
5. http://datruss.wordpress.com/2007/03/24/multiplying-integers-why-is-3-x-4-12/
6. http://datruss.files.wordpress.com/2007/03/mult-div-int-mod-bk.doc
7. http://datruss.files.wordpress.com/2007/03/multiply-integers.DOC
8. http://www.flickr.com/photos/outside-the-box/37236238/
9. http://skateboard.about.com/od/skateboardingdictionary/g/GlosOllie.htm
10. http://img_8459%20by%20%27outside%20the%20box%27%20on%20flickr/
11. http://www.flickr.com/people/outside-the-box/
12. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructivism_%28learning_theory%29
13. http://adifference.blogspot.com/2008/05/assessment-and-rote-learning.html
14. http://adifference.blogspot.com/2008/01/academes-dirty-little-secret.html
15. http://adifference.blogspot.com/
Dave Matheson (2008-05-02 10:15:02)
I couldn’t agree with you more, Dave. As a high school principal, as I observe math classes, I often see students
weak multiplication skills fog up the algebra.
U Tech Tips » Blog Archive » Utecht’s Daily Links 05/07/2008 (2008-05-06 17:31:52)
[...] Assessment & Rote Learning: Math Conundrums | David Truss :: Pair-a-dimes for Your Thoughts [...]
A Difference: Assessment and Rote Learning | pdZone (2008-05-02 22:03:50)
[...] also think that David Truss’ original comments about math assessment are spot on. I remember having several
discussions with colleagues about how a student had [...]
Brian Foley (2008-08-27 05:52:56)
I don’t think I could agree much more, except to say that you shouldn’t let a child get to grade 3 without him/her
knowing basic multiplicationcold. I wonder if the [1]multiplication policeare going cite you for saying ”multiplica-
tion is repeated addition.” Technically, it’s not, but I still think using it in the way you have, also mentioning that
it’s counting in groups, is a good way to phrase it. Your web material looks great, BTW. So cool to see how you
are weaving tech into your classrooms. Looks like those Vancouver kids are lucky. Keep up the good fight! Brian
(a.k.a. Professor Homunculus at MathMojo.com )
1. http://www.textsavvyblog.net/2008/08/interview-with-keith-devlin.html
Shay (2008-11-03 01:11:01)
I loved the video! And yes, I think we should tell the kids that’s it’s ”counting in groups” and not ”repeated
Thing 4: Blogging Begins with Reading | Third Grade Teacher (2009-06-10 16:34:18)
[...] while reading Pair-a-Dimes (David Truss): Students, Information and Schools I opened a post about rote
memorization This made the blogg reading interesting but very time consuming. This not the way I usually [...]
Kit (2009-04-04 20:19:35)
I’m currently a student assistant in a progressive classroom (kindergarten/first grade class, with students ranging
from 5-7 years old). We have some of our more mathematically advanced students doing multiplication in their
heads, and some of the less advanced students still learning to count all the numbers in order (17 seems to get lost
a lot :-P). In order to teach math skills, the head teacher who I work with has a couple games that help the kids to
learn. For the children who are still learning to count and to add, she has a game called dice rolls, where they roll
two 6-sided dice, count up the pips, and mark it on a sheet of paper. They have started to note trends like, ”my
sevens are winning” and some of them are able to understand why ”because there are more ways to make seven
than there are to make two or twelve,” but not all of them get that. They do all get the visual component of it.
For the children who are multiplying, they roll their dice, and instead of adding them and then marking them on
a bar graph, they put them into a math equation, and multiply them. So they are practicing their multiplication
tables without just rote memorization. They are using the skills they are building. And if they forget what 3x4 is,
those students know that multiplication is adding in groups so they can count it up. Obviously, in this situation,
they are only multiplying by 6s at the highest, but for first graders, that’s pretty good, from my understanding of
where they ”should be.” Plus, the teacher has introduced multiplication to the other children in subtle ways so far,
without calling it that yet, getting them familiar with the idea of counting by fives, and counting by threes, and
counting by twos - which is really also what helps with multiplication. If you can count by threes, and then use
your fingers to remember how many times you’ve counted by threes, you can do easy multiplication. The teacher
introduces these concepts all throughout the day; there are typically very few subject classes, though occasionally
the whole class is engaged in a literacy activity or a math activity, but they are allowed to self-direct WHAT math
activity they choose. Additionally, as part of the morning routine, the children are required to use math skills
- they count attendance, and figure out the number day of school, and whether it’s even or odd, and what the
pattern is, and add a cube to our rods of ten, and change the abacus. The other game that the teacher has is
called the trading game. In this game, the child rolls two dice. They pull out “ones” cubes for each pip. When
they get ten cubes, they trade it in for one rod of “ten;” when they have ten rods of ten, they trade it in for one
square of ten. When they have ten of those, they trade it in for a cube of a thousand. The children begin to
see visually the concepts of counting by tens, but also of how the ones, tens, hundreds places all work. This is
an important concept that I think many people also fail to understand in the early years that I’ve found hinders
some of the college students I know who took computer programming, and had no basis for understanding how
binary worked. At any rate, my point from this post is that the teacher I work with has ways to develop the
students math abilities that are engaging, deal in concrete examples that are meaningful because they are active
participants – the act of rolling the dice lets them control the numbers they are adding and multiplying. This
allows them to take ownership of their learning, and it just provides a much more engaging classroom than if they
were sitting at desks and instructed how to add and count for an hour.
Multiplying Integers: Why is -3 x -4 = +12? « ‘Practic-All’ (2009-11-08 20:16:06)
[...] uploaded a couple pages of my Math Model Book for a ‘Pair-a-Dimes’ post, “Assessment & Rote Learning:
Math Conundrums“… and thought I would share these very practical resources [...]
Vandals, Vulgarity and Victims (2008-04-18 01:21)
Until last year, this odd negative/neon image was the only public image you could find of me on the
web. In fact currently, many of my online sites still have this image. I like the photo, people who know
me recognize me in it, and it was taken on a hot air balloon trip with my wife, so it has fond memories
attached. But I decided that since I have been very public with my thoughts and ideas, (as seen on this
blog), I would share a bit more of who I am, while on the web. Slowly but surely I have been putting
photos on the web with a greater likeness to me. Now I wonder if I should go back to this image? I
wonder if I should make my family photos private again? Also, I am keenly aware that at some point in
the future I may need to moderate comments on this blog, and I find that sad.
Today I read a horribly upsetting Kathy Sierra post on the [1]Creating Passionate Users blog. Kathy
has been the victim of some anonymous, vulgar, sexist vandals... that have gone so far as to issue death
threats. I am not linking to the actual post since, although I truly empathize with how difficult this has
been for her, I don’t like the approach of the post. Kathy shares, in detail, all of the words, images and
internet pseudonyms of the people that have put her in considerable distress. Personally, I think that
gives the vandals too much credit/recognition that they certainly don’t deserve (I said this in one of the
1,000+ comments currently on this post).
This comes after reading Kelly Christopherson’s post [2]Masked Commentors just over a week ago. As
he states about the first comment on his school blog, ”it wasn’t necessarily positive and it used a bit of
profanity... I know that even these comments have nuggets that I need to mine and use to become a
better leader and person.”
I must admit to having difficulty seeing the nuggets sometimes. Instead, I see the miner covered in
These are filthy crimes. They are not victimless. They are not funny. They are hurtful.
I got hit with this kind of abuse a couple years ago. I have a website that I go to for drawing faces in
art. I used to sign my work with a pseudonym rather than my real name when I saved portraits that I
created into the public gallery, (I expected the same from my students). I would use these saved images
in the following years as examples of what students could do. Two years ago when I did a search for my
pseudonym in the gallery there were derogatory sketches and comments that came up in the search that
were directly aimed at ’Mr. Truss’.
Neither of these last two situations compare with the anguish that Kathy is experiencing... in fact she
may very well depart from the blogosphere as a result of this... (which would be horrible, and I am
saddened by the potential loss). However, these situations do make me think of the potential perils of
teachers and administrators having a public face on the internet. It only takes one malicious person to
be hurtful, one ’bad apple’ to spoil the pie.
There is a saying I love to use:
”Don’t wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”
This is fairly easy to do with an angry person... simply choose not to engage in their dirty approach.
However these kind of hurtful, hateful on-line vandals bring the mud to the fight. They hurl it at you and
get you dirty whether or not you choose to engage. Combating this is not easy: It takes [3]courage, it
takes thick skin, it takes effort to choose a moral stance; to avoid slinging mud. As a result, it leaves me
wondering... How do you stop these malicious people from getting the best of you? Beyond not giving
the offenders any credit or notoriety, and beyond ’turning the other cheek’, what else can be done?
- - - - -
Anti-Cyberbullying Day - Friday, March 30th, 2007
Originally posted: March 28th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
I just recently referenced this post, and used the ’wrestle with a
pig’ quote in a comment on [4]a Clay Burell post. (I would like to
link to [5]Dan Meyer’s post too- the lessons learned in any conflict
are usually found in attempts at resolution.) I mention this here
because I think Clay touched on the question that I ended the post
with. Sometimes a fight is what is needed. Sometimes standing up for
yourself is necessary. Sometimes expressing your dissatisfaction can
be helpful, even healthy.
- - - - -
I thought this next point was going to be the subject of a new post,
but I’ll share it here now:
’Be Careful What You Say Online!"
A few months ago my blog on Eduspaces ended up getting referenced in
German, Italian, and also in the language of [6]Bahasa (I had a
student’s mom translate it for me:-)
I ’[7]del.icio.us-ed’ these (for myself-not shared) and in the ’notes’
section made comments about the reference. Shortly after the reference
in Bahasa, I was quoted in a Spanish blog*. I was amazed that there
was "yet another reference to my blog" in another language "that I
don’t understand", and what you see in quotes is roughly what my notes
on delicious said. It was meant as a private note to myself, and its’
intent was astonishment at my sudden international link-love.
Well, it turns out that I did not click the ’do not share’ check-box.
And suddenly I had a very public, and easily interpreted as flippant
or rude, note about someone’s blog... someone who took that time to
write very positively about both me and my blog. This person, (who
remains anonymous here because I did not ask first if I could share
this), found my delicious link reference and wrote me an email that
stated how rude my note was... and I have to agree, "yet another
reference to my blog that I don’t understand" is hardly a polite
comment to come across!
Two quotes that have served me well in my life are:
"[8]Think Good Thoughts, Say Good Words, Do Good Deeds."
"[9]The meaning of communication is the response that you get."
My thoughts were good, my words were poor, and I needed to apologize.
What I communicated was not my intention, and the response clearly
told me of MY error. I have since apologized, but still feel regret
for my poor choice of words. It was a very real reminder that there is
an underlying responsibility for what we put online.
"[10]Stand Up!"
The hidden lesson in this takes me back to my post above and what Clay
and the e-mail I received can tell us: When we feel wronged it is
vital to ’stand up’ and say so! I believe that the art and skill of
communication is deciding how to do this. Having said that, I think
that both Clay and Dan could have handled their issue better, but who
am I to ’[11]cast a stone’?
Clay felt wronged and spoke up. My blog referencer felt wronged and
spoke up. Sometimes it isn’t enough to ’turn a cheek’ or a ’blind
eye’. Sometimes we need to let others know that we feel wronged. On
the other side of the fence, sometimes we need to apologize and mean
it... and sometimes we need to do more than that to [12]make things
*[Update: Please see the first comment on this new post by
[13]Gabriela Sellart. I did not initially name her as the author of
the [14]Spanish-Written Post that I del.icio.us-ed because I wrote
this after midnight and had not asked her if she wanted this to be
public. Her comment is both honest, and insightful and pays tribute to
the point of this reflection. Thanks (again) Gabriela!]
- - - - -
A final note: Kelly’s comment on my original post brings up the point
that we need to teach these life-lessons to students:
I agree that what is happening to Kathy is completely different than
what has happened to me. My suspicion is that I have a student who
likes to vent and this is their forum for doing so. It is a chance to
talk about being anonymous and using pseudonyms when on the net. We
truly need to discuss this in our classrooms, our schools, our
communities and our nation. It is important that, with the dawning of
a new era in communication and "community" building, we do not permit
people like those who are bullying Kathy. For someone to do such a
thing is truly a criminal offense. I agree with the stop cyberbullying
campaign and will pass this on to all the teachers in my school. As
educators, we need to take this to our students and go beyond. There
is a lesson here that is greater than any curriculum we teach - it is
about life, freedom and respect. Thanks for the message Dave!
[15]Kelly Christopherson
- - - - -
Think good thoughts, say good words, do good deeds.
Visible links 1. http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/
2. http://kwhobbes.edublogs.org/2007/03/13/masked-commentors/
4. http://beyond-school.org/2008/04/02/of-little-pricks-and-april-fools/
5. http://blog.mrmeyer.com/?p=739
6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indonesian_language
7. http://del.icio.us/dtruss
8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoroastrianism
9. http://www.amazon.com/review/product/0911226192?filterBy=addTwoStar
10. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsVkV3AZqqI
11. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AM0sU-sDMGU
12. http://www.restorativejustice.org/intro/tutorial/outcomes/restitution
13. http://revealties.wordpress.com/
14. http://andamiada.blogspot.com/2007/06/el-pasado-episodio-4-los-edublogs.html
15. http://kwhobbes.wordpress.com/
Dave Truss (2008-04-18 13:16:08)
Thank you Gabriela, Very well said! I value the lesson that you taught me, and I really appreciate your comment
here. I think the lesson is valuable enough to share publicly, but it is a tribute to your own character that you
chose to use e-mail and keep it private. Dave.
gabriela sellart (2008-04-18 09:12:32)
Dave, I think I sent you that email not only because I was angry (and I was really angry) but most of all because
I knew it was worth telling you the way I felt. I had a high opinion about you (still have) that’s why I didn’t
make this incident public. As we kept it private, we were able to listen to each other, and not only settle down the
argument but learn something from the situation. I think we should always stand up for our rights. To get the
result we want, we should choose our strategy wisely. It depends on whether we want to confront or make peace.
Thanks again (now in public) for answering my angry email in such a way that I could read your thoughts. g
on being a blogger... (2008-04-18 22:58)
How is a post inspired? Where do the seeds of thought that blossom into these very words come from?
The seeds
• I have a student in my class that is currently on a very unhealthy diet. I know that I cannot convince
her to get off of it without replacing it in some way. I hunt down my copy of Anthony Robbin’s ’[1]Un-
limited Power : The New Science Of Personal Achievement ’ because I remember that it has a very
well executed, healthy eating strategy. I find the book and it has a few paper bookmarks in it from a
couple decades ago. From the page with the first bookmark:
... you will enrich your world and enrich your work if you bring to it the same curiosity
and vitality you bring to your play.
• I read Claudia Ceraso’s insightful post, [2]Blogging So Far , (I like her blogger’s view of Google). I
realize that like Claudia, I too have had my blog for 1 year. I follow the links and come across a few ”5
reasons I blog” posts... not my kind of post to write, but interesting to read. [From Claudia’s post]
A blog is a learning engine
A node in your PLE ([3]personal learning environment ). A [4]virtual zone of proximal
development . Learning happens when you connect to other people (other, meaning diverse
, not just a group of different people). Reading alone with my books is half way to learning.
I need to ask. If the author cannot be consulted anymore, I’d much rather find what their
readers are writing in blogs. Always connecting, constructing, learning.
• I re-read Christopher D. Sessums’ [5]How Do Educators Learn Successful Practices Using Social Me-
dia/Social Software? and I comment: [Exerpt from the comment]
In my attempt to
(im)migrate into a web2.0 user/participant it has been the informal learning that has been
most beneficial/rewarding. For example, your post: [6]Competing Paradigms and Educa-
tional Reform struck a chord with me almost a year ago, and prompted me to [7]quote you
on my fledgeling blog. It was one of a [8]number of [9]influences that has made me questions
my practice and [10]the practice of schools.
I am now trying to bring [11]Science Alive for my students in a way I never dreamed I
could before... But this did not come from any formal community. It came from a loosely
bound community of learners, unequally nurturing and feeding off of each other. It came from
a digital web-path of hyperlinks which has helped construct meaning and relationships not
easily discovered in a linear learning environment.
I think it is the informal learning experiences: the resourceful, interest-driven meandering
between, among and within more formal communities/conferences/platforms and collabora-
tion opportunities that has been most meaningful to me.
In essence I have become an empowered learner!
... This comment isn’t just another seed, it is the roots. It is what this post is about. It is why I blog.
The gardening
I start to make the connections between these seedling ideas.
• ’Vitality’. My blog is not work, it
is play. Play from which I have the benefit of enhancing what I do in my classroom, in my daily job...
which in turn provides even more vitality.
• ’Always connecting, constructing, learning’. I haven’t been able to finish my book for [12]our book club
because I read for 5 minutes and my eyes/my brain are craving a hyperlink... the lateral shifts in thinking
that help me [13]synthesize and add meaning to what I read. I want to interact with my reading, have
it engage me. (See the ’Read a reading’ section of Claudia’s post.)
• ’An empowered learner’. I choose. I link. I follow links. I follow my own agenda. I change my
agenda because something interests me now. I change my mind. ’I’ control my learning... and I have
never in my life enjoyed learning as much as I have since I started truly ’blogging’ a few months ago.
The bloom
So how is a post inspired? I find seeds of inspiration, let them germinate in my mind, and a new post
has blossomed.
”Because we all need to take a stand...”
Today is Stop Cyberbullying Day - Friday March 30th, 2007
Here is [14]a great site.
Originally posted: March 30th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
This kind of learning is so rich, and it is so diametrically opposed
to traditional school learning.
Hyperlinks bring learning alive for me... they give me choice. How do
we give students choice about their learning in school? How do we
empower them as learners?
- - -
Comments from my original post:
1. I’ve also just found a great post on Anne Davis site,
ng- - with a list of questions for novice bloggers to ask
experienced bloggers.
[16] Emma Duke-Williams [17]Emma Duke-Williams on Friday, 30 March
2007, 17:38 CEST
2. DavidArrived here to your post through the blog reactions widget.
From now on, I will call it seed tracker. I confess I had many
doubts before publishing my ’Blogging so Far’ post. It was a kind
of stream of consciousness that made me wonder how much sense
would readers make of it. I was talking to myself. Later the same
day I found this
a-blogger-as-writer/ And I simply had to leave a comment. This
empowered learning as you say can point to so many directions, I
think it is good to post about it and let others get into
conversations with our thoughts. Happy bloganniversary!
default user icon [19]Claudia Ceraso on Saturday, 31 March 2007,
02:02 CEST
3. Emma, Thank you for the link, I really do appreciate it! :-)
Laughing Claudia, How serendipitous... When I first read [20]your
post, (one of my ’seeds’), I followed some links within your links
and came across Christine Hunewell’s [21]a blogger as writer. When
composing my post, I spent about half an hour looking for it, it
really was another seed to my post! ... and here we are full
circle with you, once again, providing me the link- thankfully the
path is more direct this time. With respect to your ’stream of
consciousness’ writing... I believe that state is an ideal writing
state, and that some of my best writing has come when I have
written to/for myself. Thank you for your comment, and your
wonderfully inspiring post! [22] David Truss [23]David Truss on
Saturday, 31 March 2007, 04:36 CEST
Visible links 1. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0684845776?ie=UTF8&tag=davidtrcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=
2. http://eltnotes.blogspot.com/2007/03/blogging-so-far.html
3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_Learning_Environment
4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zone_of_proximal_development
5. http://eduspaces.net/csessums/weblog/161395.html
6. http://eduspaces.net/csessums/weblog/8200.html
7. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/christopher-d-sessums-competing-paradigms-and-educational-reform
8. http://www.techlearning.com/blog/2006/12/valuing_student_creativity.php
9. http://www.usask.ca/education/coursework/802papers/Skaalid/application.html
10. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/square-peg-round-hole
11. http://sciencealive.wikispaces.com/
12. http://kwhobbes.edublogs.org/2007/02/28/have-i-got-a-club-for-you/
13. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/synthesize-and-add-meaning
14. http://stopcyberbullying.ning.com/
15. http://anne.teachesme.com/2007/03/28/student-to-student-blogging-questions/
16. http://eduspaces.net/emmadw/
17. http://eduspaces.net/emmadw/
18. http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/2007/03/28/christine-hunewells-a-blogger-as-writer/
19. http://fceblog.blogspot.com/
20. http://eltnotes.blogspot.com/2007/03/blogging-so-far.html
21. http://technocalities.wordpress.com/2007/03/28/a-blogger-as-a-writer/
22. http://eduspaces.net/dtruss/
23. http://DavidTruss.com/
WOW: Bringing Science Alive! (wiki) (2008-04-19 10:31)
What happens when you:
Allow students to determine what they need to learn, and then enable students to manage their own
learning activities?
I recently started a wiki space for my Grade 8 Science classes called [1]Science Alive!
The concept is to let students choose their own
topic to explore, and then demonstrate learning on all the levels of [2]Blooms Revised Taxonomy.
It has been exciting starting this project... and scary too!
I have been developing a rather critical blog post, looking at my own attempt at creating and using
this wiki in my class. I have told myself time and again that I have bitten off more than I can chew, and
that I am expecting too much from my Grade 8’s.
I asked my students to ’start’ looking into their chosen subjects this weekend. Before dinner tonight
(Sunday Night) I checked the ’Recent History’ of Science Alive and saw no changes for the weekend other
than one on Friday afternoon. I have to admit to being disappointed.
Well I just came back (at 9pm) and I got to meet Joyce.
So, what happens when you:
Allow students to determine what they need to learn, and then enable students to manage their own
learning activities?**
Have a look at what Katie and Sara did this weekend: [3]Meet Joyce.
(**See the Instructional Stategy Development section in this [4]Bonnie Skaalid paper.)
Originally posted: April 2nd, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
From my post:
"I have told myself time and again that I have bitten off more than I
can chew, and that I am expecting too much from my Grade 8’s."
Yesterday I got to hear [5]Alan November speak again. I couldn’t make
his early session, but arrived just at the end of it, then sat with
him for a few minutes before his afternoon session. He seemed inspired
by some of the really great projects that teachers were doing. One
interesting comment that he made was that, during their sharing
session, time-and-again yet another teacher would come up to share
what they were doing with their classes and two key ideas would
1. Teachers felt like their projects were not good enough, or that
they could have/should have done more with it. (The subject of a
future post.)
2. Teachers were surprised by what students were capable of, or what
they accomplished.
The afternoon session catered mostly to teachers that had not seen him
before, and although I really enjoyed it, what struck a chord with me
were these two points Alan and I talked about for all of 2-3 minutes.
Do we set the bar too low for our students?
If we are continually surprised by what our students are capable of
when we empower them with dynamic ways to demonstrate their learning,
then isn’t that an indication that we should be expecting more?
I can’t help but think that we should expect more... and that perhaps
this is a motivation issue. I don’t mean that "kids today aren’t
motivated"! I think that we just don’t motivate them enough, we don’t
offer them opportunities to feel empowered about learning, we don’t
let them learn for the love of learning. Instead we teach them things
that will fit on a test, things that will ’prepare them for the next
- - -
For a real-life example, I need not look any further than my own
motivation in school.
My university marks looked like this:
I loved the course: A
I liked the course and the prof was engaging: A
I liked the course: B
The prof was engaging: B
I disliked any of the above, and the course was easy: C
Any other conditions: C- to B, but mostly in the C’s!
Translation... If I was engaged/motivated, I met and even exceeded
expectations; If I wasn’t engaged, I did what I needed to do in order
to pass.
In my classes with lower marks, I’m fairly certain that I would have
looked like someone not really capable of doing more. Or else I may
have been a classic examples of a student who gets those wonderful
report card comments, ’Not meeting his potential’, or ’Capable of
better marks if effort improves’.
I may not be brilliant, but I can’t think of a single course I took in
university that I wasn’t capable of getting an ’A’ in. So why didn’t
my report cards show a plethora of A’s? Here is the crux: The content
or the learning experiences weren’t interesting enough for me!
In fact, I often broke the criteria for projects and assignments. I
would do what I wanted and ’take the hit’ on my marks. (I have a
perfect example of this that I’ll share at another time.) Or, I simply
felt bored and didn’t bother putting an effort in. I’m not proud of
this, but it is not an exaggeration to say that I probably handed in
more than a third of my assignments late, simply because I didn’t want
to do them in the first place.
- - -
If we engage our students in interactive, social, dynamic learning
opportunities that are meaningful to them, then what are they capable
1. http://sciencealive.wikispaces.com/
2. http://www.utechtips.com/?p=332
3. http://sciencealive.wikispaces.com/Insulin+and+Diabetes
4. http://www.usask.ca/education/coursework/802papers/Skaalid/application.html
5. http://novemberlearning.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=14&Itemid=55
”I’m a mop not a sponge”: Metaphors all the way down (2008-04-19 20:36)
A well-known scientist once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the Earth orbits
around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the centre of a vast collection of stars called our
At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: ”What you have told
us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.”
The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, ”What is the tortoise standing on?” ”You’re very
clever, young man, very clever,” said the old lady. ”But it’s turtles all the way down!”
Yesterday, I was in a meeting with a parent and one of my students, (why do teachers have parent meet-
ings about a teenage student’s education and not have the student there too?)
[1] The parent obser-
vantly noted that although her son could be physically in a room, he could often ’disconnect’ and be
elsewhere in his mind. For him to be more successful, he would need to engage more in what was going
on. I told him, with all honesty, that I too had that problem to the point that my parents worried that
I might have been on drugs (I wasn’t). It took until my Grade 13 year (Ontario, Canada) to recognize
that I needed to be a participant in the classroom in order to ’stay connected’.
As I was talking my student interrupted and said, ”I just had a flash of insight, I’m a mop not a sponge!”
He got it! And today he proved it. He was a fully engaged participant in my Math lesson. I can hear
myself in upcoming classes, ”Remember to be the mop”.
"Metaphors may create realities for us, especially social relations. A
metaphor may thus be the guide for future actions." George Lakoff &
Mark Johnson
"The more we understand metaphor, the more we understand ourselves."
Dan Pink
We try to get ’all the way down’ to the bottom of things when really what we need is insight into things.
[Uhhhg! A perfect case-in-point: I just finished deleting an overdone, unnecessary paragraph describing
We don’t need to ’fix’ as much as we need to understand... (deeply, not literally).
We must dance to the music, not count the bars, or get to the final note.
Metaphors are the foundation of our thoughts. They assemble ideas, they construct meaning, they build
understanding. They create learning.
Metaphors teach
Some Metaphor Resources:
[2]Tick-Tack-Treat (This leadership lesson plan is a favorite from my retreat!) This includes an introduc-
tion to the use of Metaphors and Stories in Leadership Education taken from my [3]Masters Paper.
[4]Teaching Metaphors : Great stories that warm the heart, and teach the soul.
[5]My del.icio.us tagged with ’metaphor’
Credits: Turtles all the way down, story and image are from [6]Wikipedia, but I first read it here: ’[7]Tur-
tles All the Way Down: Prerequisites to Personal Genius ’. ’Magic mop’ image by [8]Chris Hogg on
Flickr. George Lakoff and Mark Johnson quote, ’[9]Metaphors We Live By ’, University of Chicago
Press, 1980, pg. 156. Quote by Dan Pink:’[10]A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the
Future ’, Penguin Group, 2006, pg. 140. ’Life & Music’ video written by Alan Watt
Originally posted: April 5th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
In schools we tend to be so literal and focused on what is ’Right’ or
’True’. Metaphors help define us, they help us create meaning... and
they even help us identify who we are, and what is important to us.
Jeg går en Tur - A self portrait by Lasse Gjertsen
1. http://www.flickr.com/photos/chris-hogg/336096131/
2. http://www.scribd.com/doc/2409020/TickTackTreat
3. http://www.davidtruss.com/leadership_paper.htm
4. http://www.davidtruss.com/teachingmetaphors.htm
5. http://del.icio.us/dtruss/metaphor
6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtles_all_the_way_down
7. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1555520227?ie=UTF8&tag=davidtrcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=
8. http://www.flickr.com/people/chris-hogg/
9. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0226468011?ie=UTF8&tag=davidtrcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=
10. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1594481717?ie=UTF8&tag=davidtrcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=
Phosphorescent Posts: metaphor surfing for bright ideas (2008-04-22 03:10)
My most recent post, [2]”I’m a mop not a sponge” , highlighted a metaphorical epiphany that one of my
students had about his learning style. This post will look at metaphors I have found on my journeys
through the blogosphere since then.
2 rules to my quest:
1. The post title must contain a metaphor.
2. The meaning behind the metaphor has to be worthy of
quoting/highlighting/linking to.
I’ll start with Lynn losing her glasses. Her [4]Optical Powercut gave her a new perspective on things:
So, what have I learnt? That it’s good to look at things differently sometimes and everyone
is much thinner than I thought!!
I think sometimes even ’rose coloured glasses’ can impair our view of contrasting colours... and ideas!
Moving outward from personal ’insight’, Carolyn examines [6]classrooms with glass walls , she wonders
about the safety of ’open’ classrooms, but candidly admits,
One of the debates I’ve been having recently has to do with the publicness of learning
through 2.0 tools like blogs. Don’t get me wrong. As someone who’s been blogging for almost
nine years, and has a dozen different status messages broadcasting my moods & motions 24/7,
I’ve set the bar low when it comes to my own privacy.
So we make ourselves ’open books’ but justifiably worry about how ’open’ our classrooms have become.
From our classrooms, Pete tells us about our children, [8]The Wolves of Learning,
Our natural curiosity is like a wild animal; it hunts where it needs to in order to satisfy
its deep hunger. As children, we awaken each day with an insatiable appetite to learn. It
is in our early years that we are “wolves of learning”. There is a deep, DNA-based, natural
connection between learning and survival; call it the burning relevance of the empty stomach.
Pete states that institutionalized learning has tamed, ”The wildness of our natural curiosity...” and con-
cludes very powerfully,
Let us find ways to give our children back their birthright, their natural curiosity and
facility to learn. There have to be ways that we can organize our learning institutions to
accommodate individual curiosity and the standardized curriculum. I believe that thoughtful
educators can create environments that are less restrictive and provide much more natural
habitat for learning. Let us find ways to foster the wildness and thrill of learning again. Let
us answer the “Call of the Wild”.
This reminds me so much of the many links I provide in my metaphorically titled [9]Square Peg,
Round Hole post, which -each in their own way- comment rather eloquently on the misgivings of our
schools... (Note [10]Warlick’s Alien World and the very appropriate [11]Animal School for other mean-
ingful metaphors on this topic.)
And finally on a larger scale Miss Profe notes, in [13]What Really Makes the World Flat, where the most
meaningful ’bridges’ can be made,
Global bridges are important and necessary. But, what about the bridges that can be
built between, say, a suburban school and an urban school within the same community?
What about making connections between people who can have a real impact on each other
and who may be dealing with similar issues? We can visit and meet face-to-face, and see how
mutual suggestions are benefiting each other. One does not need a blog or a wiki to do that.
This reminds me of one of my favorite metaphors I use with students, John Heider’s interpretation of
Lao Tzu’s [15]Ripple Effect found in [16]The Tao of Leadership . Our ripples of influence may be
far-reaching, but often our greatest influence can be closest to us, where our ripple can be felt most. Miss
Profe concludes,
Developing a deeper understanding of one’s community and the people who live there
can provide a transformative learning opportunity for students, and in the process, lead to a
flatter world in the most profound sense. As we like to say, learning is messy, and there is
nothing messier than connecting with The Other within one’s own backyard.
Although I agree with Miss Profe, and value her focus on impacting our own personal communities, I
also think that our digital world has made it much easier to have an incredible impact on a global scale.
The world isn’t so much ’flat’ as it is woven.
...and as I have said before, metaphors teach.
- - - -
Images: [18]Glow by [19]Steve Crane, [20]bifocal by [21]miss oddgers (Karen Rodgers), [22]Celstial Ar-
tillery by [23]jpstanley (Jeremy Stanley), [24]Thanks All, you are my favorites by [25]f2g2 (Florian),
[26]Divided we fall by [27]mafleen (Kate Robison), [28]Creative Commons by [29]ocean.flynn (maureen
Flynn-Burhoe), and [30]CBC ’Spring Carnival’ detail by [31]Velma’s World (Velma Belchik).
Originally posted: April 8th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
It is Miss Profe’s words that are resonating with me now. I have very
often felt ’all alone’ as I embarked on my web2.0 adventure. I have
ended up connecting via my blog, and skype, and twitter to teachers in
other Provinces, States, and Countries... yet know very little about
the things going on in my own district. My outward focus of attention
has not been intentional, but rather just ’easy’.
This is similar to what I have been dealing with as I get used to our
new Sharepoint portal. The fact is that the move towards such a portal
has been really healthy in promoting the use of online tools into the
teaching practice of our district. Alan November has said that ’we’
are years ahead of other districts. I know this would not have been
the case if it were not for the portal. Yet for someone who has been
playing with web2.0 tools for a while, the (current) portal tools feel
so restrictive and counter-intuitive. We are in the process of
upgrading which will change that significantly, but I couldn’t sit
around and wait for that to happen.
So for me, it has been easier to ’go outside’ of the district.
However, as more and more teachers ’get connected’, and as the portal
tools become more user friendly, I need to start looking in my own
back yard for some meaningful connections.
- - -
Comment from my original post:
My thanks for a thought-provoking post and for sharing my image with
your readers. I am analogy-driven, close cousin to metaphor, and I
found the points you made compelling. My ’Spring Carnival’ yarn which
you closed your post with is, ironically, not woven but spun. Maybe
the world is not just not-flat but is spinning; which begs the
question: spinning out of control or just going round-and-round, like
a top on it’s axis, like the moon around the earth, like it is
supposed to. Cheers!
Velma, COLORBOMB Creations on Monday, 09 April 2007, 00:32 CEST
1. http://www.flickr.com/photos/strandloper/417995321/
2. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/metaphors-im-a-mop-not-a-sponge
3. http://www.flickr.com/photos/googlefish/287852901/
4. http://2coach.wordpress.com/2007/03/20/today-ive-had-an-optical-powercut/
5. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpstanley/174896304/
6. http://randommind.wordpress.com/2007/04/04/learning-in-classrooms-with-glass-walls/
7. http://www.flickr.com/photos/f2g2/124873184/
8. http://preilly.wordpress.com/2007/04/02/the-wolves-of-learning/
9. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/square-peg-round-hole
10. http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/2006/12/10/an-alien-in-an-alien-world/
11. http://www.raisingsmallsouls.com/
12. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mafleen/19154215/
13. http://missprofe.wordpress.com/2007/03/19/what-really-makes-the-world-flat/
14. http://www.flickr.com/photos/oceanflynn/276344173/
15. http://www.davidtruss.com/teachingmetaphors.htm
16. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0893340790?ie=UTF8&tag=davidtrcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=
17. http://www.flickr.com/photos/velmasworld/420351280/in/set-72157594366572294/
18. http://www.flickr.com/photos/strandloper/417995321/
19. http://www.flickr.com/people/strandloper/
20. http://www.flickr.com/photos/googlefish/287852901/
21. http://www.flickr.com/people/googlefish/
22. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpstanley/174896304/
23. http://www.flickr.com/people/jpstanley/
24. http://www.flickr.com/photos/f2g2/124873184/
25. http://www.flickr.com/people/f2g2/
26. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mafleen/19154215/
27. http://www.flickr.com/people/mafleen/
28. http://www.flickr.com/photos/oceanflynn/276344173/
29. http://www.flickr.com/people/oceanflynn/
30. http://www.flickr.com/photos/velmasworld/420351280/in/set-72157594366572294/
31. http://www.flickr.com/people/velmasworld/
Younsuk and Jaeho (2008-04-22 18:38:07)
Thank you for your comment on our Basketball Without Borders site. We will try to break stereotypes about
basketball on our site. We have more interviews coming up with some interesting players so please keep checking
our site. Thanks! - - - - - Younsuk and Jaeho, I will be checking out [1]your site again. It is enjoyable to see
students put such passion into a project. Thanks for following up with a comment. Dave
1. http://highschoolbbal.wordpress.com/
The World is Woven | Re-Siever (2008-07-12 15:04:21)
[...] David Truss gets me thinking: [...] We are all weaving this web of relationship, one connection at a time.
”Some Assembly Required” (2008-04-23 05:57)
I thought I was going to spend the long weekend reading my book for our book club, but I had a Whole
New challenge instead: Putting together a million piece puzzle for my kids to play on in our back yard....
swings, monkey bars, slide, fort, climbing wall, and picnic bench all neatly packed in boxes Ikea style...
’some’ assembly required!
Today I was back at school and boy has reality hit! Tomorrow morning our Grade 8 team has to
get the ball rolling for our yearly Renaissance Fair (coming in May); Tomorrow at lunch I start training
a Leadership Crew to run a Grade 5 leadership retreat/afternoon at our feeder schools; Some time in the
next two weeks I have to set up an afternoon to introduce this program to other middle school leadership
teachers/admin; I am running a Pro-D session on ’Starting Your Own Blog’ a week from Saturday and
I still have a number of hours work to do to set things up; I have a sleepover fundraiser at the school in
just over two weeks; and my kids are in musical theatre plays (playing at alternating performances) this
Thursday & Friday night as well as two shows Saturday... yikes!
And then there is [3]my class Science Alive! wiki. As I said in a [4]comment earlier this week, ”I think
that I am guilty of seeing the value of using technology in guiding learning, but not effectively guiding
learning in my technology use.”
I have done a pretty good job of getting my students going... but now as momentum builds I have
come to the realization that I don’t have a marking rubric to guide me, or my students, as we move
towards a final product.
My class is assembling a lego model without the instructions, or even the image of the final product
on the front of the box. This isn’t a problem for the creative/motivated students; they will assembly
a better model in ways that I could never have ’instructed’ them... but some students need structure,
they have been fed it for years and expect it (even from yours truly - this isn’t finger pointing, it is
I let technology supersede pedagogy.
On the bright side, I am a teacher in my 9th year and I’m loving the vitality and enthusiasm my attempts
at a 2.0 Classroom have given me. So what if I am out of my comfort zone, as are some of my students.
So what if [5]learning is messy. Of course my approach will be more pedagogically sound next time...
but as I start putting all the pieces together, I have come to the realization that some things are worth
doing... even if some assembly is required!
Feedback and suggestions for the wiki are invited...

Images: [6]050724006lego05 & [7]050724007lego06 by [8]quadrapop on flickr.
Originally posted: April 11th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
This is the power of a blog... I won’t reflect here, instead I will
let the two comments on my original post do that for me. Thanks to
Gabriela and Claudia for being so insightful and contributing to my
- - -
1. David, I’ve been reading your posts since I started blogging for
my students. I am amazed to see that I share some of your concerns
as regards education. Amazed because of the different educational
realities we live in and because we teach different subjects.How
to deal with “structure dependent” students (most of them) is one
of my concerns. They get puzzled when you don’t provide the
expected, clear and well organized instructions. I love playing
that game, though.I have to admit that I have failed many times.
The worst was to feel frustrated and give up. Then I learnt to
insist and be patient (both things at the same time). Success is
not guaranteed, but when it finally happens the feeling of
achievement the students get is so rewarding that it’s worth the
“discomfort”. If students have the chance of making decisions,
they have an experience and you also have an experience.I had a
look at your wiki and I thought: “If I had had a science teacher
like him, I would have learnt something at school.”Insist and be
patient, and, please, never stay too long in your comfort zone.
[9]Gabriela Sellart on Wednesday, 11 April 2007, 23:28 CEST
2. David,I believe there is nothing wrong with needing some
structure. It may be a sign of a totally different learning style
compared to our own. Let’s say we should learn from it as well.
What scientific basis is there to conclude that one style is
better than the other? I would refrain from thinking either that
the student in need of "structure" should embrace any other way
just because it is better to so many other people. I am sure that
by taking part in your wiki, they are already experiencing 2.0
style and, to a certain extent, they must have challenged their
previous structures for learning. No need to go over the board
with efforts to help. The student can be an expert in his own
needs. Second, I would not try to device any steps to "instruct"
these students. Perhaps I am not the best node in these student’s
network to go beyond or learn more. Let’s admit it: we are in love
not only with what technology enables us to do but also with
’learning my way’! So I wonder whether I would not create a sense
of lack of confidence in those students if I continue to encourage
another learning style. I would definitely help the
"structure-needed" student to find a learning node within the wiki
members. Peer help will do it. And I would expect that their
interaction -unpolluted by my words- teaches me a lesson in
learning. As a teacher, I think I would be quite effective if I
simply manage to help the student find who can teach/provide the
structured view he needs so much. Look forward to your posts about
how your students get on with all this. It’s a pleasure to see how
your wikispaces grow.
[10]Claudia Ceraso on Sunday, 22 April 2007, 22:50 CEST
1. http://www.flickr.com/photos/quadrapop/28150000/
2. http://www.flickr.com/photos/quadrapop/28149998/in/set-657897/
3. http://sciencealive.wikispaces.com/
4. http://kwhobbes.edublogs.org/2007/04/04/back-to-learning/
5. http://learningismessy.com/blog/?p=51
6. http://www.flickr.com/photos/quadrapop/28150000/
7. http://www.flickr.com/photos/quadrapop/28149998/in/set-657897/
8. http://www.flickr.com/people/quadrapop/
9. http://revealties.wordpress.com/
10. http://fceblog.blogspot.com/
A Giant Teaches Me About SUCCESS: a “what are your secrets to a successful life”
meme (2008-04-24 00:25)
I’ve been tagged with a “what are your secrets to a successful life” meme by [1]Kelly Christopherson. To
be honest, I was dreading being tagged by a meme... I knew it was going to come eventually, but my
writing process, my flow, seldom lends itself to creating lists... they are too linear for my big picture-right
brained thinking process, and they often come out very contrived. However, Kelly dedicated his post to
his Grandmother, and this reminded my of a special list related to this topic that I have already written.
So I dedicate this post, (my portion of my Papa’s eulogy), to my grandfather, Leon Bernstein, March
24th, 1924 - December 4th, 2000. He really is the best role model for success that I have ever had the
pleasure of knowing.
Papa B. is a Giant!
Like many of you, I know this because he told me so.
Papa wasn’t boasting when he said this, he was just
telling you the way it is. If you were to measure a
man by the legacy he leaves behind Papa would come as
big as they get. In this way he is still a giant and
always will be.
Five children, 13 grandchildren, and a growing number
of great grandchildren, currently at 5 and a half,
make quite a legacy for Papa and Granny. Papa called
his great grandkids his Third Crop. Just on Sunday he
told me, ”Boy, if I knew my Third Crop was going to be
this much fun, I would have had them first.”
We all miss Leon Bernstein, Mr. B., Dad, or Papa. But
our lives are so much richer from knowing him. Like
many of you here, I never really thought of living
without him in my life before now. Yet, I feel sorry
not so much for us, but for his Third Crop, for my
daughter, who will not get to know him. I speak to you
today to share with you some of the wisdom Papa has
taught me: some wisdom that needs to be passed on to
Papa’s Third Crop.
So here are some lessons or rules that Papa lived by,
rules that made him the Giant we all know.
Rule #1
”Don’t wait for it to completely break before you fix it.”
Papa would walk into your house and see a loose tile
in the kitchen. Two days later, he would show up with
his tools and mend it before it became a problem.
There is an old saying that says, ”Kill a snake when
it is small”. Papa never had to deal with large
Rule #2
”Stuff happens, just move on.”
Papa never dwelled on bad things, he would just move
on and, ”Call that Wally”. I can not remember Papa
being mad for more than five minutes. He knew there
were much more important things to focus on. Like his
favorite sports team, or making sure everyone saw the
beautiful sunset from his balcony. Or just playing
with his grand and great grand children.
Rule #3
”Don’t waste time on stupidness.”
This rule could also be called, ”I look stupid to
you?” or the ”What de-yass is dat?” rule. Papa didn’t
have time for stupidity. On this topic, Papa was very
expressive. He always used his time and never wasted
it. On the same note, Papa was always fixing things
and if there was a smarter way to do things, or a
short-cut to use, Papa found it. It was usually just
after one of his time saving discoveries that Papa
beamed, and would say, ”Man, Papa is a Giant!”
Rule #4
”Enjoy everything you have.”
For Papa, nothing was too small to be appreciated. He
made it an art to celebrate the little things in life.
From his morning coffee and jumble puzzle to a
handmade birthday card from a grandchild, Papa
appreciated all that life had to offer.
Rule #5
”Business is business and pleasure is pleasure.”
Papa had the amazing ability to put on and take off
his business cap. He never mixed the two. He had the
knack of being small town friendly and big business
savvy without ever letting one get in the way of the
Rule #6
”Be small town friendly.”
I remember going to a shopping plaza early one
morning with Papa. A woman walked pass us as we got
out of the car and she said, ”Good morning”. Papa
replied, ”Good morning,” and then said, ”You’re from
the islands.” The woman stopped and looked up oddly at
Papa wanting to know why he thought she was from the
islands? Papa replied, ”Because you said good morning,
in a big city like this, people don’t talk to
strangers in parking lots”. Turns out she was from
Trinidad. Papa loved to get to know people. From a
sales clerk, to a door attendant, to a doctor, to a
President, Papa was a magnet that people could not
help but be drawn to.
Rule #7
”Never retire.”
This is what kept Papa young and fun. He didn’t
retire…He became a tiler, a carpenter, a chauffeur, a
landlord, a banker, a fund-raiser, a board member, a
baseball coach, a plumber, a jack of all trades. He
continued to learn and to grow. He did all this
without spreading himself too thin. He did all this
keeping his family a priority, after all his main job
was as a loving husband, father, grandfather, great
grandfather, and a true friend.
Rule #8
”Smile…a lot.”
With us, his second crop, and his third crop too,
Papa could often be found, laying down on the carpet
with kids playing on and around him. His smile would
light you up. He would nap on the floor in a crowded
room, wake up and pretend to be mad for 10 seconds or
so because his grandchildren put hair ties and clips
on him. We would laugh and then you would see a glint
in Papa’s eyes and a smile that was contagious. Papa
was happiest around family and that happiness was
contagious too.
Rule #9
”Take care of your family.”
If I had to rank these rules, this would be number 1
with Papa. From fixing your toilet, to helping you at
the bank Papa was always looking out for you. As I
look around this room, I think I’d be hard pressed to
find a single person that he didn’t do more for than
they did for him. When it comes to family and friends,
he is the best role model anyone could have.
Rule #10
Always remember… ”Papa is a Giant!”
Papa B’s ”Crop”, July 2007. His third crop count is now 10... and will continue to grow.
Originally posted: April 14th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
It occurred to me that some of the rules such as #3 and #6 deserve a
little background knowledge. My grandfather fled Poland with his Dad,
Uncle and their families as a boy... they ended up in Barbados and my
Papa developed a very strong ’[2]Bajan’ accent. He had a great lilt to
his speech and he could make a swear word sound like the melody of a
song. If he said "What de-yass is dat?" it would not come off as
Also, in Barbados #3’s title, "Don’t waste time on stupidness." would
actually be said something like this: "dow-wase na-time-pun
stupidness". I always say that English is both my first and second
language. When I moved to Canada absolutely nobody understood me. My
sister’s accent was so strong that her teacher wanted her to go to
One final note. My Great Grandfather (ol’ Papa) and Uncle Sol tried to
talk the rest of the family into joining them when they fled Poland...
their response: ’We are in the sweater business, what are we going to
do in the Caribbean? The answer turned out to be ’LIVE’! Most of the
family that remained in Poland were killed in the second invasion.
- - - - -
Comments on the original post:
1. What a Papa! How lucky to have such a treasure in your life! A
couple of whispers from the family: ’Plant your own garden and
decorate your own soul.’ If you fall, remember to pick something
Eve on Sunday, 15 April 2007, 18:21 CEST
2. Dave, Awesome. I spent the Easter week at home with my mom. I
visited with grandma several times, took her for coffee, spent
time at her house, cleaned her walk and did some outside work
while my kids were inside talking with her and visiting. I am
always amazed at how they pick up so much and how grandma Chris
tells her stories and they listen. I think that what you wrote is
something that is greater than just success - it’s about life and
being human. From what I can see Papa B was indeed a huge success!
Have a great week Dave.
[3]Kelly Christopherson on Sunday, 15 April 2007, 20:44 CEST
- - - - -
Do you have a special Life Lesson, Rule, or Secret to Success that
was passed on to you by a parent or grandparent? Share it with
1. http://kwhobbes.edublogs.org/2007/04/13/keeping-secrets/
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bajan
3. http://kwhobbes.wordpress.com/
Start Your Own Blog (2008-04-24 22:01)
Here is the write-up for the 2 hour Professional Development seminar that I ran today for 9 dedicated
teachers who showed up on a sunny Saturday, after a full day of Pro-D on Friday.
Start Your Own Blog
A practical session that will introduce you to blogging.
You will see how others use their blogs and you will get a chance to create your own blog.
You will also learn just how easy it is to create links, add pictures and even movies to your blog.
Also, you will learn a bit about web2.0 and very easy to use tools that make your time on the web faster
and friendlier.
[1]Start Your Own Blog on Edublogs Wiki on Wikispaces
& a blog post with instructions on how to hyperlink, embed images and videos, as well as tag a post on
[2]Making a Splash with Your First Post
I did my best to make these resources that could be: a) used by others to structure their own
Pro-D sessions; and b) used as a self help tutorial.
... any feedback would be appreciated.
The session went very well with the teacher participants asking great questions and showing enthusiasm.
Overall, I spent too much time talking about the tools, and didn’t get onto creating their blogs until we
were rushing against time. Feedback from one participant was that we should build the blog first, then
talk about the tools- an excellent idea, and I will change the wiki sometime soon (well, not too soon,
I’ve spent enough of my life collecting resources and building these tools over the last couple weeks!)
The power of WE: Special thanks goes to a few people who saved me hours of time by helping
me out, and by having great resources already built, so that I didn’t have to create them myself.
• Kris ([3]Wandering Ink) for helping me find worthy links for my example page: [4]A variety of
bloggers, blogging mostly about blogs and blogging. Kris also edited my ’[5]Making a Splash’ post.
I hadn’t published it yet so I threw it into a Google Document, where she edited it. We chatted on
MSN throughout and then I cut-and-pasted the edited sections back into my post. It was easy to do -
especially with our dialogue via chat. A teacher and a former student collaborating, (late on a Friday
night), to create a tool for teachers, in a way that was impossible not too long ago... very cool!
• Cool Cat Teacher Vicki Davis for [6]10 Habbits of bloggers that win and [7]How to comment
like a king (or queen)... both great posts!
• Mike Temple for his blog [8]Edublog Tutorials. This blog linked to another great resource:
MSU (Michigan State University) [9]video tutorial. Mike has done a great job with this blog!
Thank you to these people, and all the wonderful people that I linked to in on the wiki.
Personal Reflections:
-This was the first time I tried to do technology based professional development, beyond intro-
ducing a few tools to my staff, and I am happy with how things went.
-We only had about 1:45 minutes and this would be a great 3 hour Pro-D. A typical teacher
blunder when trying something out of your comfort zone... pack too much in!
-As a mac user, I need to be a little more familiar with a pc lab.
-I really should have them make their blogs first, as was suggested.
-I only got the e-mail address of 4 of the participants and none of their new blog addresses- I’ll
have to hunt these down for a feed I created. I think this is a good idea to offer support and community
for new bloggers, and I should make the collection of this information more formal.
I invite feedback on the [10]Start Your Own Blog tools... and I hope that others will find them useful!
Originally posted: April 22nd, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
Why on earth did I do a Pro-D on ’start your own blog’ instead of on
’start blogging with your students’? Of the participants, one started
a blog with her students in an elementary school (in the interior of
BC... I offered her some help last year, but have lost touch this
year. I don’t think any of them maintain their own personal blog.
Tonight I commented on Darren Draper’s post: [11]The Future of the
Future of Professional Development. I actually participated in the
first session of Darren’s [12]OpenPD and spoke over Skype about my
[13]Science Alive Wiki (this was a live invite to share, not a planned
talk). I also mentioned this in my [14]Brave New World-Wide-Web slide
show as part of being a networked teacher.
In the post Darren asks a few questions including:
1. How do we transform OpenPD so as to attract the kinds of teachers
that aren’t the most technologically savvy?
2. How do we garner the participation of additional groups of
teachers? Sure, individual participation from wherever you may be
is fantastic, but a class of multiple classes would be ideal.
Here, in my comment, is one possible direction I could see Pro-D
going if we want more people to engage meaningfully with
If you want to capture a ’new’ crowd then you need to offer them
low-hanging fruit. Twitter has a difficult introductory stage. RSS
takes time to develop... why not just have a few educators sharing
with Google Reader on a resource wiki and let that be an initial
introduction to RSS... challenge participants to add to the
resource page.
I think wiki’s are a great entry point. They are easy to use AND
when students begin to learn from their peers, or take
responsibility for their own learning on a wiki that excites the
teachers to want more!
Give them a project with easy-to-find success within reach. For
example, a fully developed 2-3 week student project with rubrics
they help develop (with your help too) - something with a start,
and a finish, and a lot of opportunity to build student buy-in, to
get support and to find success.
It is a fallacy to say that a networked teacher does less, or has
an easier time engaging students... that takes hard work and good
teaching. So, don’t pump-it-up as the greatest thing since sliced
Instead, provide an opportunity for teachers to see and experience
the transformative nature of these tools on LEARNING (as opposed
to ’teaching’). Once this happens it is difficult for a teacher to
go back into their pre-technology cave of shadows... they’ll be
hooked and they will seek out the new tools, and take the time to
develop their own network.
1. http://startyourownblog.wikispaces.com/
2. http://startyourown.edublogs.org/2007/04/21/start-your-own-blog-first-post/
3. http://wanderingink.net/?p=20
4. http://startyourownblog.wikispaces.com/Examples
5. http://startyourown.edublogs.org/2007/04/21/start-your-own-blog-first-post/
6. http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/2006/03/ten-habits-of-bloggers-that-win.html
7. http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/2006/08/how-to-comment-like-king-or-queen.html
8. http://miketemple123.edublogs.org/
9. http://miketemple123.edublogs.org/v-tutorials/
10. http://startyourownblog.wikispaces.com/
11. http://drapestakes.blogspot.com/2008/04/future-of-future-of-professional.html
12. http://openpd.wikispaces.com/
13. http://sciencealive.wikispaces.com/
14. http://www.slideshare.net/datruss/brave-new-www/
”Who Have You Helped Today?” - Developing Empathy (2008-04-25 00:10)
Two Brothers, Craig and Marc Kielburger, are my modern day heroes.
Tonight Marc is having dinner with Oprah Winfrey. The brothers’ US office is hosted by Oprah. They
have had an audience with Mother Teresa. They have been featured on Oprah, CNN, CBC, BBC, and
60 Minutes. They are sought after speakers that have shared the podium a number of times with former
U.S. president Bill Clinton, as well as with such world renowned leaders as Nelson Mandela, Queen Noor,
Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama.
But that is not why they are heroes to me.
Take the fame (and the accolades mentioned below) away, and they are still my heroes: Two brothers
under 30 years old. Many of their accomplishments began when they were well under 20. In fact, they
began to change the world when they were 11 and 13 years of age.
Craig and Marc are the founders of [2]Me to We and [3]Free the Children, the largest organization in the
world of children helping children. They inspire kids to ”Be the Change”, to make a meaningful difference
in the world... and their army of inspired kids have benefited over 1/2 a million needy people in the
world... WOW!
Helping Others
I heard Marc speak (for the second time) on Friday. After his talk, he spoke with students and teachers
from our school. Our Me to We club is raising money for Free the Children. Under the direction of a
teacher, Sarah, our students have raised over $9,000 so far. My 24 Hour Famine/Sleep-Over at the school
will raise another 2-3 thousand, and yet another teacher Chris will make at least that much with Freezie
sales as the weather warms up.
Last year we bought goats to give families an income and thus help students go to school. This year we
are raising money to build a school in Sierra Leone. Sarah wanted to raise between 10 and 15 thousand.
Thanks to countless students, their families and all of our staff, it looks like we will surpass that!
In the service of others we learn meaningful lessons ourselves. Mark spoke of developing empathy in kids.
In so doing, he wondered if standardized testing ’taught’ our kids anything meaningful? When do they
learn about empathy and love?
They learn this from being in the servicing of others. Listening to Marc, a true hero, has taught me
something very valuable.
Helping Me, and My Family
Every night when I put my kids to bed I ask them a question... ”What was your favorite part of the
day?” My kids will often offer up a list. My oldest daughter is very compassionate, she makes an effort to
mention at least one event in which my wife or I are in one of her favorite parts of the day. My younger
daughter meanders a bit... she is still learning... sometimes she has a list, sometimes her favorite is
tempered with, ”But you know what I didn’t like about today?”
When I heard Mark speak, I wondered about another question I have stopped asking: ”What did you
learn today?”I also thought of the question my friend Mike asks his (older) kids: ”What questions did you
ask today?” ... this is a better question than ’what did you learn?’, but not one that inspires meaningful
answers from my Grade 2 child... even less from my preschooler. After listening to mark, I decided on a
new question:
”Who did you help today?”
It is simple. It inspires empathy. It shows what we truly value... and I look forward to the day when my
daughters ’favorite part of the day’ is also the answer to ’who did you help today’.
My Heroes
Thanks for the inspiration Mark!
Please take the time to find out more about my heroes. Or better yet, [4]GET INVOLVED !
[5]Marc is a Harvard graduate and Rhodes Scholar, who graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Uni-
versity. He, ”has been recognized for his vision and leadership with Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 award
and has received an Ashoka Fellowship for his innovation and commitment to social change. He is the
youngest person ever to be awarded the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship and is the recipient of an
honorary doctorate of education from Nipissing University for his work in leadership development. Marc
has been honoured as a 2007 Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.”
[6]Craig ”has received many awards for his work, including the Nelson Mandela Human Rights Award,
the World Economic Forum GLT Award, the Roosevelt Freedom Medal, the Governor General’s Medal of
Meritorious Service, the Human Rights Award from the World Association of Non-Governmental Organi-
zations and the World’s Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child, also known as the Children’s Nobel
Prize.” Oh, and Craig is also a 2002 and 2003 Nobel Peace Prize nominee. He is a [7]Megastar. (Read
this last link to learn about Craig’s inspiration, and a hero in his own right, Iqbal Masih 1982-1995.)
[8]Free the Children has recently been awarded one of ten Million-Dollar Awards from the [9]Skoll Foun-
Images by [11]carf on flickr. [12]Imprisoned... & [13]Children of the World Unite - I (see comments in
my reflection)
Originally posted: April 24th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
Natalie Barrington contacted me via my online contact form 3 days ago
regarding this post:
I am writing on behalf of Pearson Education Canada, a textbook
publisher. We are developing a grade 8 language arts textbook and
would like to reprint one of your blogs.
I’m interested in seeing their letter that, "will include the details
of our publication, and any changes we wish to make." I wonder how my
blog was found and selected for this? Regardless, it is an honour to
have one of my posts recognized in this way.
- - - - -
For a long time I asked my kids, "Who did you help today?" before bed.
It was only a matter of weeks before my oldest daughter’s ’favorite
part of the day’ was also the answer to ’who did you help today’...
and I did feel very proud of her. My youngest daughter went for months
where she insisted I ask her the two questions, or I’d hear,
"Daaa-Deee! Aren’t you forgetting something!" I still ask these
questions, but not every day.
- - - - -
Comments from the original post
1. A most important work being done by Craig and Marc, one of many
done to change the lives of children, both the privileged and the
underprivileged. I am happy our images illustrating this article
could be used in support of such noble causes.My own organization,
the [14]Children At Risk Foundation - CARF has been helping street
children and other children at risk in Brazil for the last 14
years, a programme also recognized by Ashoka when I was nominated
to their fellowship in 2000. Our educational work with the
privileged children in developed countries who are active
supporters of our programmes in Brazil is as important as the work
being done in Brazil with the funding these conscious kids manage
to raise for us.As your title emphasizes; raising empathy. For
many more images illustrating the work done by CARF, please feel
free to visit our [15]Photo Galleries with more than 2.740 images
and texts. If you would also like to support our work with street
children and other children at risk, feel free to use our
[16]Changemakers Campaign Page In Peace, Gregory J. Smith, Social
Entrepreneur and Founder, Children At Risk Foundation - CARF
Gregory J. Smith, Children At Risk Foundation - CARF on Tuesday,
24 April 2007, 16:13 CEST
2. Thanks Gregory, Your photos are wonderful, and I am inspired by
the work your organization is doing in Brazil. Your photos bring
needy children to life, and humanize the need to be the change/ to
be a ’changemaker’. I hope that in some small way, the photos you
share with me here will encourage others to join [17]Free the
Children or CARF’s [18]Changmaker Campaign. Dave. Here is "Still
shining..." another wonderful photo in Gregory/carf’s
collection...it warms my heart.
Still shining, by CARF on flickr
[19]David Truss on Tuesday, 24 April 2007, 18:53 CEST
Visible links 1. http://www.flickr.com/photos/beija-flor/470797361/
2. http://metowe.org/
3. http://www.freethechildren.com/aboutus/index.html
4. http://www.freethechildren.com/getinvolved/donate/index.html
5. http://metowe.org/about/marc-kielburger.html
6. http://metowe.org/about/craig-kielburger.html
7. http://ambassadors.net/archives/issue16/megastars.htm
8. http://www.freethechildren.com/aboutus/index.html
9. http://www.freethechildren.com/pressroom/source/press/The_Skoll_Foundation_mar14_07_Ten_Innovative_
10. http://www.flickr.com/photos/beija-flor/7617124/in/set-190425/
11. http://www.flickr.com/people/beija-flor/
12. http://www.flickr.com/photos/beija-flor/470797361/
13. http://www.flickr.com/photos/beija-flor/7617124/in/set-190425/
14. http://www.carfweb.net/
15. http://www.flickr.com/photos/beija-flor/collections/
16. http://www.carfweb.net/changemakers.html
17. http://www.freethechildren.com/getinvolved/donate/index.html
18. http://www.carfweb.net/changemakers.html
19. http://davidtruss.com/
$3,881.65 for one night’s work (2008-04-26 11:22)
...more on [1]Empathy.
Friday night I camped out at the school with 49 students, each raising a minimum of $50- to
earn the opportunity to sleep over at the school. We hosted a 24 hour famine to raise money for our
[2]Me to We Club... we are fundraising to [3]build a school in Sierra Leone.
It was fun, and it was exhausting! Three and a half hours of broken sleep... and totally worth
it! Some things didn’t quite go as planned, but overall it was a huge success. I’ve done many [4]30 Hour
Famine’s for World Vision, but this year I wanted the fundraiser to coincide with our school goal of
$15,000.00 to build and help supply the Sierra Leone school. The famine itself is a great way to give the
students an experience that many kids around the world are ’inflicted’ with: Hunger!
So, I could go on about the kids that snuck junk food in, and indulged... or how these same
girls were disrespectful to the female teacher that helped me out, (something I still have to follow up on
Monday), but instead, I want to highlight empathy and compassion. So, enjoy a few tales of the next
generation doing good.
Callie: She didn’t collect any money. I saw her leaving the school on Friday and said to her, ”I
thought this would be something that you would want to do?” Her response: ”I wanted to Mr. Truss
but I just couldn’t ask anyone else for money.” You see, we just finished a fundraiser selling boxes of
chocolate bars - 15 bars in a box, $30 a box. My class sold 16 boxes, Callie on her own sold 22. I gave
her a permission slip and where it said ’you must collect a minimum of $50-’ I added ”ˆ or sell 22 boxes
of chocolates... Wow!” You should have been there to see the smile on her face.
Reed: (He sold two boxes of chocolates) ”Mr. Truss, I can’t ask anyone else for a donation, I’m
just going to donate $50 myself so that I can come. I can afford it.” He ended up donating $85... basically
he got $35 in pledges but kept his personal donation at 50.
Sadey and Misha: For the second year in a row they raised $150 each. While some students just
got their parents to write a cheque for $50, these girls collected money 1, 2 or 5 dollars at a time.
Braden: As he handed me his required $50 on Wednesday, ”I don’t get paid until the weekend,
can I donate more after the famine?”
Nicole and Ian: They couldn’t sleep over at the school, but still chose to collect money any-
Alexandra: We only had one grade 6 girl in attendance. I saw Alexandra from my (Grade 8)
class talking to her when everyone was arriving. I asked her if she new the girl and she said yes. I said
do you mind making sure this girl feels included? Her response, ”Oh, of course!”
Andy & Carleigh: They are the backbone to our Me to We club. They both plan to go to the
Leaders Today [5]Take Action! Academy this summer run by [6]Free the Children. They are two young
kids who are thoughtful and compassionate. They are, and they will continue, making the world a better
Empathy may not be part of the curriculum, but it certainly can be encouraged in school... by
teachers and students alike!
([8]A Tribute: By [9]Metaphor on Flickr)
Originally posted: April 20th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
Our school surpassed our goal and raised almost $17,000. I think this
post goes well beyond talking about empathy, and students caring for
others. It also speaks of the potential of our next generation.
- - - - -
Take a look at the news and you will see the worst-of-the-worst teens
today have to offer... swarming/mugging/stabbing/drunk
driving/stealing... it is enough to make you sick and think that all
is lost for the next generation. Why aren’t stories of compassion and
hope front page news? Why must a mad lost soul who slaughters innocent
children in a school shooting be the feature of in-depth reports while
the victims are portrayed by still pictures and weeping loved ones?
News editors and journalists don’t give our wonderful students enough
credit and enough accolades! We spend hours telling students how much
they are valued and appreciated in schools, then they go into the
’real world’ where they are portrayed so poorly by mass media. Why is
it that front-page scandals, sex and slaughters sells papers while
compassion, caring and community are condensed into one feel-good
article on page 15? If we, as a society, want the next generation to
meet their potential, do we not need to show them what we value in our
global village?
1. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/developing-empathy
2. http://metowe.org/
3. http://www.freethechildren.com/getinvolved/buildaschool.htm
4. http://www.30hourfamine.org/
5. http://leaderstoday.com/academy/
6. http://www.freethechildren.com/aboutus/index.html
7. http://www.flickr.com/photos/prasadrl/213745386/
8. http://www.flickr.com/photos/prasadrl/213745386/
9. http://www.flickr.com/photos/prasadrl/
School 2.0h no, not yet... (2008-04-26 14:16)
I’ve been having this conversation in a few different places, and now I need to put my thoughts together.
Here is a summary of some discussions and e-mail messages, a Wesley Fryer’s post ”[1]Advice for designing
the school of the future” and my comment there, and [2]my forum post in the School 2.0 social network
on Ning.
It all started here:
My daughter’s school is going through seismic upgrading. 2 years of noise and upheaval… 1/2 the school
sealed off, with the kids in portables, then a year later the other half goes to the portables and the kids in
the potables move to the newly revamped wing. They are practically taking the roof off, half a building
at a time.
After a PAC meeting I asked the principal what technological improvements were going to be made to
the school…
Not going wireless (apparently too expensive!?!?)
Not even extra electrical outlets in the rooms!
Certainly not a consideration to redesign a library built to store walls of encyclopedias. (I’ll discuss this
point later)
The problem is the financial handcuffs placed on the principal to meaningfully do anything to improve
the school at this time. Why? Because money set aside for seismic upgrades is from very different coffers
than those of renovations/improvements. What does this mean? It means that we won’t spend $10,000
now to wire the school with extra plugs and create a wireless network... but we will necessarily have to
do so, for $25,000 in two years, (when the walls and roof have been seismically upgraded).’ [These costs
are an approximate assumption of mine, and not based on any specific research done on my part.]
This well said response was given to me by Brian, our district’s Manager of Information Services. He
responded to my e-mail and also wrote a response to my comment on Wesley Fryer’s post:
”I agree wholeheartedly with Wesley’s school 2.0 description and [3]David’s concerns. The
culture in bricks and mortor schools and districts takes a long time to shift… The challenge
not specifically highlighted in David’s comments though is the how government and / or local
district funding rules work. For a seismic project, we are very limited in what else we can
“add on” to the overall scope of work. And, there are no other pots off money to draw from
to “do the right thing” with the renovation. It’s unfortunate but our reality…That said, our
vision for schools would encompass the school 2.0 idea. With time, the vision can be realized.”
Brian has been working on a district learning portal, and so he knows the value of having connected
classrooms. But the ’right thing’ can not be done at this time.
[4] I had an interesting conversation with a
former student’s parent a few days ago. She works in construction for a number of different school boards,
and has done so for over 15 years. Although she isn’t working specifically on my daughter’s school, she
told me how easy it would be to first, make the school wireless (a job that literally would take minutes
during the construction), and then also to run the wire to add electrical outlets to the classrooms, while
the seismic upgrading is taking place. She agreed with me that financially, this task would be significantly
cheaper during construction. And in her words, the reason this won’t happen is because in the case of
every district she has worked for:
”They Do. They Think. They Re-Do!”
At first, I took her words in jest, but as the conversation continued, and she went back to that phrase
(without exaggeration) over a dozen times. I then realized that she truly was talking from experience.
I could see her frustration, she shared my exasperation, but could offer no solutions. Just as has been
mentioned above, she reiterated that there is simply no additional money to do these kind of improve-
ments. She stressed that this was especially the case with seismic upgrades because these upgrades have,
in the past, been grossly over budget due to ’add-ons’ that clever principals and district superintendents
have added to the upgrades in the past. This has resulted in very strict limits placed on what can be
done while this construction is happening.
’We can’t afford it now, so we will pay significantly more to do the same thing later!’ I find this so
Another aspect to this has been the design of the school library. My daughter’s school has a com-
puter lab next door to the library, but there is no door between the two rooms. I wonder how hard it
would be to place a sliding door, or remove the wall altogether?
In his post ”[5]Advice for designing the school of the future” Wesley Fryer suggests:
”I think the school of the future should be centered around the library, and include not only
great places to read but also inviting places to collaborate and work together, sort of like a
Starbucks atmosphere. I think the library should have a design and performance studio, which
would permit students to craft high quality media products for the global stage: the web. I
think an educational learning portal should serve as a primary learning centerpiece. One of
the big things we need to do as school 2.0 educators is redefine our identities as teachers: It’s
ridiculous for us to attempt to be experts on all the content subjects we teach. We really
need to embrace the model of facilitating project-based learning, so the physical structures of
school should support that pedagogical framework.”
Here is part of my comment/response to his post:
I agree with you, “One of the big things we need to do as school 2.0 educators is redefine
our identities as teachers” however, as you say, “the physical structures of school should sup-
port that pedagogical framework.”
As someone who is struggling with the availability of technological resources, I can say that
the framework really should come first!
A question to you Wesley, what can we do as teachers, as members of society who have
seen the outside of Plato’s education cave.. who know that there is more to life than shadows
on our school hall walls… what can we do to tear down those walls and build schools that are
designed for school2.0 rather than school1890?
I think that the reality is that many brand new schools being built today are not fully embracing the
possibilities of the future. Partly because we don’t really know what that future looks like, and partly
because of financial constraints.
I posed the following question in the Ning School 2.0 forum:
In my daughter’s school, I will fight for wireless, and I will suggest more power outlets in
the classes, (so that eventually if they get, perhaps, a row of computers on a wall, or even a
mobile computer lab, at least students can power their computers... but what else would you
ask for?
And after a few days I’ve only had one response, (which I will get to in a moment). What I find interesting
is that [6]nlowell has an [7]interesting forum post asking, ”What is the purpose of the classroom?” Go no
further than the very first response to see Heather Burlesson’s poignant statement:
”I don’t think we can continue the industrial model. Today’s students do NOT want to
be robots, and they have the tools at hand to reject all our attempts to force them into such
a mold.
How can we actively engage them while satisfying the system? I’m not sure what the answer
is, but I’m fairly certain any change will have to start within the classroom itself. Transform-
ing the ”brick and mortar” into a place the kids *want* to go to - My*pace for the flesh and
blood part of the day - that’s the challenge we are facing at the moment.”
In essence, we may not like the current ’industrial model’, but we really don’t know where education
is going. This makes concrete suggestions difficult... there really is no blue print (no road map as they
say) to the classroom of (as little as) 25 years from now.
In the one response to my question above, [9]Librarian Nancy White points me to a [10]David War-
lick post.
Here is her entire comment:
I really loved [11]David Warlick’s response to this kind of question on his blog - his pro-
posal? The one non-budget-blowing thing he would do first is put all school furniture on
wheels! Think about this –one of the key elements of project based learning and indeed,
practicing 21st century skills is student collaboration. Let’s move those desks around - set up
collaborative work space, and a place for presentations.
I agree that the school library is the learning and information center of the school - espe-
cially in the age of technology. If creating collaborative work spaces in classrooms seems
difficult to navigate, then start with the library! This is where you’ll find staff who truely un-
derstand the concept of School 2.0 - and how to collaborate with teachers to create incredible
learning experiences for students using 21st century tools and resources.
I think that Warlick’s idea of the classes no longer needing to be ’anchored’ is indeed a good starting
point. It invites the opportunity for change, and it prepares us to be prepared to try things in new ways,
while also encouraging opportunities for collaboration.
So now that battle must rage on. I will be meeting with my daughter’s school principal next week,
and it is my goal to create a ’wish list’. It may be a moot point, but to me we cannot complain about
the situation and then ’sit idly by’ and allow nothing to happen.
I welcome other suggestions, other wishes, that you would want to see during a ’renovation’ such as
Images: [13]Lockers 1 by [14]soundman 1024, [15]Decaying Technology by [16]tracer.ca, [17]Urban
Nightscape by [18]Todd Cliff, and [19]Head Inside: Brain Wash by [20]NeverB4Breakfast (Yanko
Originally posted: May 3rd, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
I had the meeting with my daughter’s school principal and I was very
impressed with what she was advocating for. I also liked that the
Library design was being thoughtfully considered. On a current related
note, check out [21]Alan November’s podcast interview with 16 year-old
Zaki Tahari who created a virtual mock-up of the newly planned library
at his school, with his own unique design elements added!
On the topic of changing schools, I think I have reached some resolve
around the idea that schools will never be caught up, or up to date,
with the technological needs they require. That said, and accepted, I
think that we have great potential to do some really creative and
innovative things with the money we do have to spend.
The challenge we have now is deciding what we can do now that creates
opportunities rather than obstacles later on.
1. http://www.speedofcreativity.org/2007/04/23/advice-for-designing-the-school-of-the-future/
2. http://school20.ning.com/forum/topic/show?id=595650%3ATopic%3A2362
3. http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/archives/966
4. http://www.flickr.com/photos/tracer/480016794/
5. http://www.speedofcreativity.org/2007/04/23/advice-for-designing-the-school-of-the-future/
6. http://durandus.com/wordpress2/
7. http://school20.ning.com/forum/topic/show?id=595650%3ATopic%3A423
8. http://www.flickr.com/photos/todd_cliff/394991147/
9. http://casl.wordpress.com/
10. http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/2007/04/05/visions-of-school-20/
11. http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/2007/04/05/visions-of-school-20/
12. http://www.flickr.com/photos/alphadesigner/214533957/
13. http://www.flickr.com/photos/soundman1024/247814806/
14. http://www.flickr.com/photos/soundman1024/
15. http://www.flickr.com/photos/tracer/480016794/
16. http://www.flickr.com/photos/tracer/
17. http://www.flickr.com/photos/todd_cliff/394991147/
18. http://www.flickr.com/photos/todd_cliff/
19. http://www.flickr.com/photos/alphadesigner/214533957/
20. http://www.flickr.com/photos/alphadesigner/
21. http://nlcommunities.com/podcasts/1798/blc06/entry166038.aspx
Andreas Auwärter (2008-04-29 22:29:30)
Hi Dave - what you describe i feel also here, by talking in schools. But finally I think the problem here is in more
layers and areas than you caught in your post above. Just to structure my thoughts by pointing them out. 1th
Organisational issues. I cannot say much about, because it is related to your districts organisation. But complain
also here most of the discussions are about money - nobody has - .... or should i say nobody wants to give. 2th
Sustainability - And in this point you are really right. BTW - It was good luck that my wife has been asked @
school how to plan the infrastructure also for internet. They didn’t make much investions - but putting net cables
to each classroom instead of the horror computer labs idea was a very good starting point. 3th Complainment -
related to this i just realize the ”unshureness” of peoples as parents who really wanted to complain that a school
could use W-LAN (I don’t know if they exected xrays coming out) (headshaking and wondering) 4th just tying
all above together there is in my point of view really a problem we have to solve anyhow. Those (i think i said it
somewhere before) who have been able to get the experience of new use of connected experiences and those who
didn’t see any additional value. OK Thats Fact - the problem is there as one of them seeing to bring it out clearly
- I think now you cannot get it out in words. Thats the difficulty and also the effort. So somehow it will take
another additional change. Bis denne Andreas
More than one face to Cyberbullying in the classroom (2008-04-26 16:41)
I apologize in advance for the clinical nature of my description below... these are students currently in
my class, and this blog is open for anyone to read.
Background: Student 1 is male; Students 2 & 3 are female. Student 1 and 2 ’dated’ earlier in the
year. Student 1 and 3 are good friends... ”But that’s all!”
The incident: Student 1 (who is in my first class) does not log out of his [1]Science Alive! wiki ac-
count. Student 2 (who is in my second class) goes onto the same computer and realizes that Student
1 is not logged out. She writes a wiki mail message that she addresses to all students in Science Alive!
(almost 60 kids in 2 classes). Here is the message:
from [Student 1]
to members of [2]sciencealive
date May 3, 2007 1:42 pm
subject most horrible secret!
Unfortunately I was not in class when this happened- I was at a Math Learning Team meeting.
This message got to Student 3 (also in the second class) quickly. She excused herself to go to the
bathroom and confronted Student 1 about this - she realized it wasn’t him because at the time of the
incident he did not have access to a computer. After coming back to class and doing some more digging,
she discovered who sent the message. Then this new message came along:
from [Student 2]
to members of [3]sciencealive
date May 3, 2007 2:06 pm
subject sorry folks
i sent [student 1’s] message totally sorry! :( i throw myself on
[student 3’s] & [student 1’s] mercy... it was a bad joke swear i won’t
do it again!
I find all of this out the same evening via an e-mail from Student 3. She is very upset!
What did I do? Well, the first thing I did was make this an office issue.
(A little digression here as I look at what makes something an office issue.)
In 9 years as a teacher I have made very few classroom issues into office issues. I have 4 D’s that I
think are issues that should be dealt with at an office level. The first two D’s are cut-and-dry/immediate
office issues. These are ’no-brainers’, you break these rules and you go to the office!
1. Drugs- Alcohol is included in this category;
2. Dangerous- Not just weapons, but physical violence too. The best policy is a zero-tolerance pol-
icy... We don’t solve problems this way. (Sorry President Bush, but I’d be sending you to the office);
The next 2 D’s have some grey area between being an issue for the office and being an issue that I
handle myself. They are:
3. Defiance- an absolute refusal to participate and/or co-operate. If you don’t come to class prepared
to learn, or if you aren’t willing to participate with the class... If you can’t offer me 5 % of what I am
offering you, then that probably hinders my ability to give everyone else the time and attention they
deserve. I obviously can’t help you, so there is no reason for you to be here. I’ve only ever had one
student absolutely refuse to engage in learning to this point. I honestly felt that it was a disservice to
keep him in the class and made this the reason to send him to the office. (I have used this as ’leverage’
with other students in the past- not an ideal strategy, but sometimes a student needs to know that you
have limits);
and the final ’D’,
4. Disrespect- If you are going to treat me, or others in a way that is hurtful, if you are going to
’injure’ others emotionally/socially... then we have a problem. Hitting someone, or physically hurting
someone puts you in the ’Dangerous’ category and becomes an immediate office referral. Disrespect on
the other hand is a little different. If you emotionally or socially injure someone then you are defying one
or two of [4]our school beliefs : Respect and/or Inclusion.
So why was this act of disrespect an office issue? Because it was bullying! It may not satisfy the
dictionary definition of bullying, ’to use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone)’, but it
injured someone’s dignity in a very public way. To me bullying of any kind, like physical violence, should
have a zero-tolerance policy. If I dealt with this on my own, then I would be offering a perception that
this is easily fixed... and it isn’t. From [5]Nails in Fence (from my [6]Teaching Metaphors):
"When you say things in anger, they leave a scar... You can put a
knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say
I’m sorry, the wound is still there." A verbal wound can be just as
bad as a physical one."
This act, whether done simply as a joke, or with hurtful intentions, was wrong on many levels, from
identity theft with the use of Student 1’s account to social embarrassment of Student 3, (and Student 1
as well). It is cyberbullying because it used technology as the medium to bully.
For my class, the first thing I did (while still at home) was to send out a wiki mail message to everyone.
Basically it said, ’Don’t use wiki mail until we get a chance to talk tomorrow.’ I didn’t want it used to
perpetuate any more issues or, for that matter, gossip.
Next, I changed my lesson plans for Science. It was our last day for the project, (talk about putting
a damper on the whole thing), and our school dance was scheduled for the afternoon so I thought this
would be a great opportunity to have a lesson about bullying and cyberbullying.
Here is my Daily Agenda for [7]Science Alive!
Friday May 4th, 2007 Today we will take a break to talk about a
serious issue... Cyberbullying! We are having this talk because of a
specific wiki ’mail’ issue. However, please realize that the specific
issue is being dealt with appropriately... talking about an issue that
has already been dealt with can be equally as hurtful. If you scroll
down to March 30th, you will see that we already discussed
Cyberbullying. Also, please check out April 16th to see that we
brought up our school beliefs, which we first talked about when
blogging and also very early on in this project, on March 16th. So, we
will talk about the many faces of Bullying and Cyberbullying today- an
appropriate conversation before our dance... and we will do a
reflective assignment on Science Alive! on Monday. Also, I will give
you until Monday to put last touches on your wiki pages! (This was
something I was planning to do anyway! -Use the time well!)
Normally I would be equally as clinical talking about this situation with my class, so as not to single out
the involved students, however this specific issue was fully public already since every student received all
the mail messages mentioned above.
Once I went over the situation, I emphasized that the issue has been taken to the office and is in-
deed being dealt with appropriately, and that my lesson goes well beyond this one incident.
Why is this an important step? If I don’t do this, then I am a bully too! I am ostracizing Student
2, and I don’t want to do this! She is a wonderful kid who made a bad choice... ”Let he who has not
sinned cast the first stone”. I’ve made some very stupid choices/decisions in my life. In the hockey game
we call life, I’d like to think that I have a good [8]plus/minus when it comes to good choices I’ve made
versus bad, but that doesn’t negate the bad choices as if they never existed. Student 2 made a bad choice,
she is not a bad person!
Next in the agenda, I specifically mentioned other times that we discussed similar topics for two rea-
sons, first to further distance my lesson from the specific issue, and then also to show everyone that this
is an important issue that needs to be discussed on a regular basis.
Also, rather than having students reading this agenda on their own computer as I have done in the
past, I had this on the projector screen, and I did not scroll down enough for students to see that I was
extending the due date of the assignment. I wanted them focused.
So, the lesson involved 3 videos from Youtube, with a discussion after each. Here are the videos:
I think the discussions went well in both classes. I think I made students see that there are many faces
to bullying... it is a continuum. I tried to convey that the choices they make influence others, whether
we intend for this to happen or not. I hope that I helped students to see that we have a responsibility to
make a positive rather than negative difference in the world, and that often we can do so with very little
I also spoke of the etiquette around asking someone to dance, and turning someone down politely. I
admitted to being turned down for dances many times in my life, and that I appreciated when it was
done in a nice way. I reminded them that saying yes to a dance was a 2-3 minute commitment, not a
lifetime one. On the other side of the spectrum, 2-3 minutes is an eternity if someone is groping you or
touching you inappropriately- you have every right to stop a dance early in that case. This was a ’light’
way to end a very heavy conversation, without losing sight of the main ideas I wanted to get across.
An important note: What were student 2’s consequences? She was not permitted to go to the dance.
Also, on Monday or Tuesday she must report back to the office, along with Student 3, and state whether
they have been able to come to an acceptable resolution. If they haven’t, the next step is that they
can choose to have peer mediators involved. Barring that, it will become an office issue again, but I’m
confident it won’t get to that point.
A side note: Student 3 stayed back after class and thanked me for giving this the attention that I
A final note: It would not have been too hard to handle this situation on my own. However, I think that
making a very public issue such as this into an office concern raises the profile of such an incident. It
validates that such behavior is simply not tolerated in our school!
Originally posted: May 6th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
[Student 2] admitted to me about a week later that she actually felt a
little bullied herself by my very public discussion, over two classes,
about this issue. It was a great conversation because I got to
apologize and, for the first time, she really saw how intent and
consequences did not always match. She meant to be funny with hurtful
consequences, I too ended up with hurtful consequences. It was a
valuable lesson for both of us!
I was invited to be her friend on Facebook this summer and I saw that
both Student 1 and Student 3 are also her online friends.
Comments from the original post
1. Hi David,Thanks for sharing your story. You mention that you tell
your students that they have a chance to make a positive
difference. That’s just what you did by grabbing such an important
teachable moment. As a mom & a former middle school teacher, I
have to say that you are one in a million.
Carolyn on Sunday, 06 May 2007, 15:04 CEST
2. Thank you for your kind words Carolyn! :) Smile I was visiting my
page on the [9]StopCyberbullying Social Network on Ning and
re-read what I wrote on my ’Chatterwall’: "I think that IDEALLY
cyberbullying should be something we expect not to happen, just as
graffiti is. We don’t say, "Don’t write on the walls", but it is
understood when we look at basic rules and expectations. For now I
think it should be mentioned. Here is where I could use some help:
For my foray into using blogs and wikis in the clasrroom, I have
tried my best to keep the rules very simple... [10]Respect,
Inclusion, Learning and Safety Well, it isn’t enough to just
expect cyberbullying to ’not happen’ without making reference to
it. My rules on Respect and Inclusion do not mention specific
’infractions’ and so I wonder, do I mention cyberbullying in the
rules, or do I just teach about it?" I am a fan of telling
students ’what to do’ rather than ’what not to do’ however, now I
realize that yes, indeed, counter-examples are needed. I think
this is the case because many students are interacting with each
other in new ways with these Web2.0 tools, and a social faux pas
is not as obvious as graffiti painted on a wall. Once again, thank
you so much for your thoughtful comment Carolyn, Dave.
[11]David Truss on Monday, 07 May 2007, 06:32 CEST
3. You were right to make this an office issue. As much as I don’t
like dealing with these as an administrator, these are the issue
that help to define the culture and atmosphere of the school. As
an administrator, it also helps to have discussions with teachers
who are dealing with these issues to know where they stand and
what they are doing. By continuing to discuss this with students
and creating an environment of learning from mistakes, you have
allowed the students to see that mistakes happen, they sometimes
hurt people and we need to fix them. You allowed the student to
see that they aren’t bad - ALL of us make mistakes. It’s the
learning that is important. That is why the place we are in is
called school!
[12]Kelly Christopherson on Sunday, 13 May 2007, 08:40 CEST
Visible links 1. http://sciencealive.wikispaces.com/
2. http://sciencealive.wikispaces.com/
3. http://sciencealive.wikispaces.com/
4. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/blog-rules-respect-inclusion-learning-and-safety
5. http://eduspaces.net/dtruss/files/1748/4936/Nails+in+Fence.doc
6. http://www.davidtruss.com/teachingmetaphors.htm
7. http://sciencealive.wikispaces.com/
8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plus/minus
9. http://stopcyberbullying.ning.com/
10. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/blog-rules-respect-inclusion-learning-and-safety/
11. http://eduspaces.net/dtruss/
12. http://kwhobbes.wordpress.com/
David Truss :: Pair-a-dimes for Your Thoughts » Shifting Learning (2010-05-01 23:21:38)
[...] looked at Facebook (twice) and awareness of cyberbullying too. I’ve told people to stop blaming mismanage-
ment on the tool. I’ve event told people [...]
Wikis in the classroom: a reflection. (2008-04-30 01:47)
Well here it is, my completed [1]Science Alive Wiki.
After [3]an incident delayed getting [4]feedback from my students until last Monday, things got extremely
busy with preparation for the [5]Renaissance Fair and my Grade 5 Transition Retreats [the subject of a
future post]. All this included 3 afternoons out of my classroom at other functions... I blinked and it was
Friday afternoon. And only now have I noticed that not everyone has given me feedback yet. What I do
see there is very encouraging.
Before reading the feedback, my initial impression was given in my [6]Some Assembly Required post.
To expand on that,
I wrote this in a comment (over a month ago) on [7]Kelly Christopherson’s blog.
I have just given my students the opportunity to study any topic they
choose in Science for their wiki pages we just started. Short of one
pair of overachievers (that I mentioned in my blog), the group seems
very apathetic.
However I think “choose your own topic” can be very difficult for
students who have spent years being fed criteria checklist style
assignments. I am constructing a post now (in my mind- & hopefully on
my blog this long weekend) that looks at the pedagogy involved in such
assignments. As Carolyn says (above), “it’s easier if the content
comes first and then they are using the technology to communicate the
content.” …But I think it is more than that, it is setting clear
objectives, ‘ownership’ of the criteria, and clear expectations around
expected outcomes… So much to consider!
I think that I am guilty of seeing the value of using technology in
guiding learning, but not effectively guiding learning in my
technology use.
[8]Carolyn Foote, mentioned above also added this comment after mine:
These situations are ones I see frequently as a librarian as I
But I think most of us, if told we can research anything we want,
might be stumped for a little while if it was that open ended. I think
that you’re right about setting clear objectives.
And I think it is more than just the fact that kids are used to having
defined assignments. Even the assignment to “do whatever you want” is
still an assignment–it’s not their own motivation driving them, it’s
I think somewhere in there, we all know what we’d like to know more
about, but it’s hard to start that “cold”. I think any kind of
prompts, strategies, and discussion we can use to help students start
thinking about their own interests is helpful.
Having them clip newspaper or magazine articles on some topics ahead
of time—having them bookmark three websites that interest them ahead
of time–brainstorming with the whole class–all these are strategies
that help them get started on realizing they do have interests.
Carol Kuhlthau has some interesting work on the research process, and
part of what she talks about are the emotional stages students/all of
us go through during the research process. The anxiety at the
beginning of a project and inability to think of something is one of
the normal stages she defines. We all get more confident as we catch
on to an idea and then start researching it, and our motivation gets
stronger to do more. I think her work is really helpful in helping
understand how students feel and why they don’t perform the way we
might expect, especially in the beginning stages, and why they need
some scaffolding to internalize the process.
This is brilliant feedback. It isn’t rocket science for a seasoned teacher that really should know this, but
scaffolding that is student directed is something we should all be reminded of from time-to-time. I think
that in my excitement to get things started, and my desire to have students choose their own topic, [9]I
let technology supersede pedagogy.
Reading the Science Alive feedback now I realize that the comments above are fuel to make a good
project great. The students loved Science Alive, and choosing their own topic was a huge highlight. Add
a healthy dose of scaffolding, a little better structure with respect to time lines and expectations, and a
few experts to help us out along the way, and we have a delicious recipe for one heck-of-a project pie.
I intended to put some student feedback highlights here, but I won’t. If you are interested, [10]READ
Here is a very short summary:
• Students really liked this project. Some of them considered it the best ever!
• They loved that they got to choose their own topics.
• They felt challenged.
• They hated the issues we had dealing with crappy computers, and yet they were willing work through
the frustration.
• They thought this was a valuable experience... so much so that many of them wanted to do another
similar project and/or suggested that I should do this again next year.
• And finally, using their words: They enjoyed being able to share their ideas, ”What I am most proud
of the most from the page is when I was how I typed out information to let others read it and learn from
what I learned,” and being able to see what others did, ”I thought this was a great project because it was
always fun, and when you needed inspiration, it was easy to just click on someone else’s page, and see all
the neat stuff that they’ve done, and then it makes you want to make your page just as good (or, it did
for me).” Also another student commented about how a different group’s project touched him, ”I learned
a lot of stuff over the period of time that was given. I especially enjoyed learning about the diabetes
because my aunt has diabetes so it was interesting to see what she goes through and how she’s affected”.
I’m proud of my students and I am very happy with our first attempt at creating wikis. I believe that
for many of my students we truly did bring Science Alive!
What I will focus on now are the comments that can give me perspective on my teaching, and on doing
a project such as this in the future. Three key things come to mind, the first of which has already been
1. Scaffolding
Here are some comments: [Their words/spelling/grammar, no editing on my part. Students can’t edit a
Discussion topic like they can their wiki page.]
"Next time I would give us students not necessarily more time, but
more of a guideline of what you want our final project to be. Rather
then it being ’we become experts’, a guideline that would help us in
seeing our destination of a final product."
"For some groups, I don’t think they knew what to do first and how,
so maybe there could be more guidence on the Scientific Method."
"The advice I would give you to improve this project would probably
be to have more criteria and guidelines and really help people on what
experiment they have chosen."
"Next time it’ll be a bit better if you gave us an idea of how the
"final product" should be like"
"I would suggest doing a little less conferencing, but just maybe
asking people how they’re doing informally, and maybe narrowing the
topic you can choose just a little (there are so many options that
it’s a little overwhelming, in my opinion)."
"The only thing that I would change about this project is as much as
I did love the freedom I would have helped a little bit if you had
givin us a brief overview of what you wanted to finished product to
be. I think this would be good because some people did not even know
what to start with on there page. Other than that I thoroughly enjoyed
this project."
Since Carolyn made some great topic development suggestions above, I will look more at some other
I realize now that I didn’t really give them enough of an outline. This is a challenge for topics like
this... especially in a middle school where the students are still young. So many times in my teaching
career I have shown a creative exemplar to students and then had a dozen photocopy-like replicas handed
in. Also, in all honesty, I didn’t really know what to expect from my students and so it was hard to tell
them what it was I expecting! I think that if I spent more time getting them involved with their topic
and exploring possibilities early on, some of this stress would have been alleviated.
I did a lot of conferencing with groups and discussing ideas, but often I didn’t relate this back to specific
things I wanted to see on their page. [Notice the control-freak teacher in me said ”specific things I wanted
to see” rather than suggestions that would enhance their learning. This is a learning curve for me as well
as them.]
One frustration for me was that I taught Science for just 40 min. classes (a first for me this year having
taught 80 min. classes in previous years). Take away login and log out times and sometimes it seemed
that I would have just 2 or 3 really good conversations about projects and the class would be over.
Here is a very interesting comment:
"We faced a few challenges like the one that really affected us
mentally, this was when we found out that Mr. Truss didn’t like our
ideas but it turned out that; that comment fueled our fire to prove
him wrong. It was rather difficult figuring out what exactly Mr. Truss
wanted out of us for this project but in the same way it made us
interested even more in the project because he left us hanging he let
us figure most of it out on our own. "
The specific thing that I didn’t like in this case was that the experiment that they wanted to do had way
too much variability and opportunity for chance to influence their results... this group did the experiment
they wanted to do it anyway. Although I don’t think it was a great decision, I am glad they realized that
I really did give them a choice.
The task at hand is to offer support to those that need it, and challenge those that don’t - not much
different than any other project. The difference from other projects is that criteria is very hard to offer
when you open up a project and allow everyone to demonstrate their learning in different ways. (Note
[11]Gabriela Sellart’s and [12]Claudia Ceraso’s comments on my [13]Some Assembly Required post- found
in the reflection section.)
More from my students:
"Another thing that I really liked about this project was that there
were very few guid lines and know that we have finished the project it
feels like we did everything with almost no help at all."
"This one has definitely been different from the other projects I
have done because, the other projects I have done in the past were
’assigned’, and very directed, you had a topic chosen by the teacher
and that’s what you did. This one had more choice and a sense of
freedom, even if you chose the topic, you were still responsible for
completion. But having chosen something you’re interested in, it makes
the project more fun to do."
Scaffolding not instructions and criteria lists.
2. Time Line
"I think we should have gotten a due date, so we know when to get the
project done in time."
"I would tell the classes the timeline for the experiment, if they
have a rough timeline, maybe they’d know how to space out their
experiments and project idea’s making everything more even."
I had no idea how long this project would take. It went longer than it should, but I wanted to give ample
notice when I finally did choose a date. Looking back, I gave the students notice on a Monday that it was
due the following week Friday, then gave them until the following Monday... a lot of time! Yet, the lack
of a stated completion date really seemed to bother students. I would love to see students keep updating
their projects even now- why can’t they continue to pursue their interests? However, in the future I will
start with a specific due date. Will this light the fire under students’ seats and get many of them on task,
and/or more focussed, sooner? I don’t really know?
3. Experts
"I think it was better to have a chance to meet experts really, so we
can learn more and be interested in things we are researching."
I had students research who were experts in their fields and intended to have them contact some of these
people. Reality sunk in when I realized that I didn’t know these adults and I would have Grade 8 students
contacting strangers directly. In the future, I would want to create a specific contact page for field experts
to use to contact us. Then I could route initial contact through me. I would also notify parents that this
would be happening well in advance of doing it. I think that this could happen in a safe way if it is well
thought out, not flying by the seat of my pants as I was doing in this first attempt.
I could also have used some experts of my own. I’ll point again to Brian Crosby’s Learning is Messy
post, [14]Working, Breathing, Reproducible, Intriguing Models and once again beg for a Web2.0 service
like [15]Fieldfindr. (I created this mock site in February and it has had over 1,200 visits since the middle
of March... who can make this a reality?
So being neglectful and completely guilty of not creating any rubric or marking scheme for this project,
you might wonder how will I mark this project?
I plan on sitting down with each group over the next little while and coming to an agreed upon mark
with them. I will ask them, ”How have you shown me higher order thinking skills?” and then we will have
a discussion. Their written feedback (or lack of it) will play into this as well. In the end, I am starting
to believe more and more that we should abolish marks altogether.
Imagine giving a ’C’ to a student who writes:
"What I enjoyed right away was the fact that we could pick virtually
what ever topic that we wanted to. This to me put a whole new spin on
things. All of the sudden you are interested in what you are
researching and you are excited to start your experiment and find out
what your results are going to be. Another thing that I really liked
about this project was that there were very few guid lines and know
that we have finished the project it feels like we did everything with
almost no help at all."
Is a ’C’ meaningful feedback? What are you telling that student about lifelong learning? What does the
mark accomplish?
A Sad Note
The Renaissance Fair starts this week. Early last year I saw an [16]Alan November webcast and decided
to take the plunge with my Renaissance project... I had the students blogging! I spent hours learning
how to set everything up, and more hours again developing [17]blogging rules and lessons on using tools
such as [18]del.icio.us. The experience was [19]wonderful! It opened my eyes to the potential of web2.0.
To start off this school year I went to the computer lab and [20]couldn’t get things going again with our
out-dated computers, (Mac OS9 and web browsers that need OSX). I resorted to this wiki project after
two blogging experiences failed with my students due to our lack of tools. And so, after yet another
success with my wiki, here I am about to abandon the blogging aspect of my project... sad indeed
...And a Happy Note
I can’t get myself to end this post on a sad note, so I will end with a very positive observation:
This year has been cathartic for me.
• I have fully embraced using this blog as a learning tool since about November.
• I have read more and thought more about education in the last 6 months than in any given 5 years of
my life.
• I am embracing technology like never before.
• I am engaging students in their learning like never before.
• I believe that we will see some (very exciting) fundamental shifts in education over the next few years.
...And Back to the Science Alive Wiki
If you have any observations that I may have missed, then feel free to be my teacher. Thanks!
Originally posted: Mary 14th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
I did get to blog with my students again for the Renaissance Fair! I
negotiated with the other project teachers getting them to use the
horrible computer lab for research, along with a trolley of books from
the library, and I got to use the PC computer lab in the library. You
will see some more reflections on this in my next post.
This post evolved into a short presentation that I did with 1-1 laptop
teachers at a pro-d session recently. It is evolving into what will be
[21]the 2nd half of my 2nd presentation at BLC08, titled ’Learning
Conversations’ (named after [22]this post).
Part 2. It is the questions we ask ourselves and our students that
help make Project 2.0h’s great. This take-it-with-you powerpoint
presentation will help you provide the scaffolding for engaging
digital projects.
The thoughtful/reflective effort it took to write this has made this
one of the most powerful things I’ve done for professional development
as a teacher.
Comments on the original post:
1. Observations? Being your teacher? Sorry, not right now. Too busy
learning from you.Thank you so much for sharing these reflections
on your experiences. I am still amazed -perhaps I should not be by
now- to see how similar our issues can be when integrating
technology in spite of teaching different subjects with different
objectives. Your reflection goes beyond teaching science, no
doubt. Perhaps that is a result from blogging to an audience of
teachers at large. You have learnt how to spot the core edu-issues
to be discussed. Perhaps this happens to you as well. I find that
when I am thinking, reflecting, my inner voice is talking to
someone other than myself. Blog readers and commenters become part
of the network of your thoughts. They help us to refine ideas,
express them in a precise manner and direct them to the people who
may continue developing them. Enough. I’m afraid I am going a bit
away from the post with my comment. Or perhaps we could consider
this another bullet in your final Happy Note.
[23]Claudia Ceraso on Monday, 14 May 2007, 16:34 CEST
2. Wow, what an incredibly reflective post, and how lucky your
students are to have you as a teacher. Thanks for sharing your
thoughts on what did and didn’t work well. Your mindfulness about
trying to approach this project differently and trying not to
"steer" students too much was fascinating. Glad to have helped in
some small way!
[24]Carolyn Foote on Friday, 18 May 2007, 00:42 CEST
3. Dave, I really enjoyed your authentic reflection and willingness
to share your learning with all of us. It is this that is probably
your greatest success with this project.In terms of student
learning, I agree with your conclusion around scaffolding student
learning to a greater degree. you may consider presenting or
exposing students to a specific concept in science like "gravity"
and then encourage them to "connect" gravity with something
meaningful to them (which probably will not be hard, e.g.
skateboarding). This way, they will be able to narrow their focus
much easier and their Wikis and/or Blogs will have a common
element for which they can interact and build knowledge around the
concept (gravity) across topics. Just a thought :) I think you
make some obvious comments around timelines, expectations and
grading that are often overlooked when utilizing a new process -
"I let technology supersede pedagogy". Remember it only takes a
conversation and a someone taking notes:) Overall, from the
students comments, it appeared that you made a great leap and had
a very successful start to facilitating some "authentic learning"
for students. BTW, do we really need to give a grade - why can’t
we just comment and question so the learning never stops! [25]Dave
Sands on Tuesday, 22 May 2007, 06:00 CEST
Visible links 1. http://sciencealive.wikispaces.com/
2. http://sciencealive.wikispaces.com/
3. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/more-than-one-face-to-cyberbullying-in-the-classroom
4. http://sciencealive.wikispaces.com/message/view/home/545517
5. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/sharing-engaging-web-2-0h-yeah
6. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/some-assembly-required
7. http://kwhobbes.edublogs.org/2007/04/04/back-to-learning/
8. http://futura.edublogs.org/
9. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/some-assembly-required
10. http://sciencealive.wikispaces.com/message/view/home/545517
11. http://revealties.wordpress.com/
12. http://eltnotes.blogspot.com/
13. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/some-assembly-required
14. http://learningismessy.com/blog/?p=51
15. http://fieldfindr.wikispaces.com/
16. http://www.anovember.com/
17. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/blog-rules-respect-inclusion-learning-and-safety
18. http://del.icio.us/dtruss/web2.0
19. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/sharing-engaging-web-2-0h-yeah
20. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/digital-native-digital-naive-digital-divide
21. http://novemberlearning.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=230&Itemid=135
22. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/learning-conversations/
23. http://eduspaces.net/fceblog/
24. http://futura.edublogs.org/
25. http://cuebc.ca/2007/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=83&Itemid=35
Embedding principles of design | Not So Distant Future (2008-04-30 12:07:24)
[...] one student on David Truss’s blog commented about a wiki project he did with students, “I thought this was
a great project [...]
Digital Magic #8 « ‘Practic-All’ (2008-05-25 18:50:45)
[...] I attempted something like this with my ScienceAlive Wiki. I reflected on the project and how I would improve
on it here: Wikis in the classroom: a reflection. [...]
The Importance of Pedagogy | Reading 4 Me (2008-09-23 12:19:29)
[...] when I read David Truss’s blog entry “Wikis in the classroom,” I recognized the [...]
Digital Magic #14 « ‘Practic-All’ (2008-10-13 17:29:54)
[...] is a wiki I did for Grade 8 Science (the front page is my daily agenda), and here is a reflection that I did [...]
1.3 May
Blogging with students requires biting your [digital] tongue (2008-05-01 00:26)
In my last [1]post about my Science Alive wiki, I mentioned that our [2]Renaissance Fair Project was
starting, ([3]here is the assignment). I also mentioned that with our lousy computer lab, I wouldn’t be
blogging again as I did [4]last year.
Well, I decided to go ahead anyway! I can’t use our useless communal teacher lab, but I got to spend the
2nd half of the first class in the library using the computers there, and the next 2 days in our Computer
Teacher’s lab. Although I won’t be able to use any lab again until next Wednesday, my students (who
all have computers at home) have all started blogging.
In fact, it is 12:15am and a peek at my Meebo chat box I put on the site tells me that there are at
least 2 students on the site right now!
Here is a very interesting dialogue that has started on one of my student’s blog posts:
Christina K
Mona Lisa?
here are two pictures.
One of a guy named John (i’m not sure who he is though)
And the other of the Mona Lisa
I was reading something on a website and it was talking about how they look alike. I noticed this too.
So I’m wondering whether they are brother and sister, or if they are the same person.
Here is the website address.
Take a look at it.
Posted by Christina K
1. They have similar noses, forehead, similar bone structure, similar smile or smirk and if you look
closely they have similar eyes. I’m not sure if they are siblings, but they might be the same person.
ChristinaL on Thursday, 17 May 2007, 02:22 BST # |
2. Wow, their facial features look almost identical! I researched about the painting on the left and
found out that it’s called the ”John Gesture” and is a portrait of John the Baptist. As for why he’s
raising his index finger, many historians think that it’s because Jesus was always shown raising two
fingers while he blessed people. Therefore, John wanted to show people that he was superior to
Jesus as one comes before two. I don’t really see any connection between John and Mona Lisa but
I guess Da Vinci must have had some reason for placing these two paintings within sight beside his
deathbed before he died.Viola C on Thursday, 17 May 2007, 02:47 BST # |
3. But why would Da Vinci make John the Baptist look like Mona Lisa? Da Vinci couldn’t have
actually seen John the Baptist...
ChristinaL on Thursday, 17 May 2007, 03:19 BST # |
4. They really do look identical. So if one was John the Baptist, and the other the Mona Lisa...what’s
the connection that could possibly relate to the two paintings being of the same person in a different
form? Was John the Baptist in a different time than Da Vinci? If he was then that’s just crazy
that these two people look identical. Again the two ideas were that they could be siblings or they
could be the same person. I just don’t understand why they would be the same person..
Christina K on Thursday, 17 May 2007, 04:52 BST # |
5. I can’t believe how John the Baptist and Mona Lisa, two people from totally different worlds, could
look identical. I think it’s more than a coincidence that Da Vinci painted them so similar. I guess
it’s just one more secret that Da Vinci didn’t want to share with the world.
Viola C on Thursday, 17 May 2007, 05:29 BST # |
6. Well, this is what I think. As a humanist, he opposed the church in telling how other people should
live their life. Could it be that he wanted to show his dislike for the church secretly through many
little things he did. Could it be that by drawing John the Baptist with similar facial features as
Mona Lisa, he is showing that he may have seen John, therefore completly going against what the
church and the Bible says. But then again, my ideas are crazy....
Jessica N on Thursday, 17 May 2007, 08:03 BST # |
7. Da Vinci was a very mysterious man, so it’s not very surprising that he made Mona Lisa and the
John the Baptist look the same. No one would understand his geinus mind and like Viola said, this
would be one more secret that Da Vinci wouldn’t share with us and the world.
ChristinaL on Thursday, 17 May 2007, 21:17 BST # |
8. Take a look at Mona Lisa’s shoulders, compared to to other picture. They are practically the same
in every way! Mona Lisa’s shoulders are large and manly (no offence Mona Lisa). Now look at the
other picture. Can you spot a dramatic difference?
Sara on Thursday, 17 May 2007, 21:18 BST # |
9. Woah thats pretty interesting Christina!The picture of the guy, is probably another painting by-
DaVinci. He probably didn’t want to show it to others, and hid it somewhere where he thought
no one would find it. It also can be a painting of him when he was younger! Yeah thats all. Good
Job! :)
Tijana M on Thursday, 17 May 2007, 21:20 BST # |
10. also if you look in the picture of the last supper there is a man holding up one finger like the picture
of John the Baptist
JessicaT on Thursday, 17 May 2007, 21:26 BST # |
11. I was just looking at the picture of Mona Lisa.[6]http://www.artchive.com/artchive/ftptoc/leonardo
ext.htmlI observed her close up at 200 % and I noticed a really weird line going across her forehead...
the line seemed really out of place. From my discovery I looked a her hair on the left side and I
noticed that there was a veil type thing, maybe she was getting married, or she was getting married
to John the baptist Any other Ideas?
Katie Z on Thursday, 17 May 2007, 21:32 BST # |
12. This is amazing. If I was to first see these pictures I’d think they were twins. There smile is
identical. Also there noses look exactly the same. Only if there hair was the same I would think
that it was the same person.
Amrit C. on Thursday, 17 May 2007, 21:33 BST # |
There are some great observations here. My emphasis in the class is on Da Vinci the inventor and scien-
tist, but look at the student generated interest in his artwork! Would this kind of [off topic?] interaction
happen in a classroom? Would it happen if this was a paper assignment
Now here is the challenge for me... LET THE ’CONVERSATION’ HAPPEN!
When I read, ”...maybe she was getting married, or she was getting married to John the baptist...” I
really wanted to post a little timeline. Earlier I actually started typing a comment suggesting that per-
haps Da Vinci used the same model for both paintings, then erased it rather than posting it... I forced
myself to ’bite my tongue’.
The fact is that I am not used to letting students take ownership of their learning in this way. I want to
’teach’ them... isn’t that my job?
But if I had put that ”perhaps Da Vinci used the same model” post in after the 5th or 6th comment,
would the other comments have followed?
If I chose now to comment on the century-and-a-half millennium-and-a-half chasm in time preventing
John the Baptist from marrying Mona Lisa, then who will I be taking this away from? Whose voice will
I be stealing? Who will I prevent from asking ’Exactly who is John the Baptist?’ Who will I be stopping
from researching and answering that question?
Would JessicaT have been inspired to write this post?
In Christina K’s blog is the picture of John the Baptist and how he
is pointing his finger, I did some research and in the picture of the
Last Supper, there is one of the 12 deciples on the right side to Jesus
is pointing one of his fingers out. Also in another picture by Da Vinci
two versions. One was rejected by nuns, and one wasn’t (the picture
above was the rejected one)
Posted by JessicaT
Interesting research you have done! Thanks for putting all these together to compare! Are you going to
look into the meaning behind the ’pointing finger’ ?
Mr. Truss on Friday, 18 May 2007, 04:54 BST #
As you can see, I did comment here. Perhaps when the conversation lulls on Christina’s blog, I may ask
’who was John the Baptist?’
I am hoping to promote inquiry.
It is the classic ’guide on the side’ rather than ’sage on the stage’ issue. However, it isn’t easy to
stand back and let all this learning happen without me. But, in a web2.0 world, where students are
meaningfully engaging in [7]Learning Conversations, we really must bite our [digital] tongues.
Originally posted: May 18th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
Konrad’s post, [8]Learning to be Myself, mentioned in comment #9
below, is well worth the read!
My thoughts on this post are very scattered and commenting on them
would detract from what this post is about. This quote from the post
puts a lot into perspective:
The fact is that I am not used to letting students take ownership of
their learning in this way. I want to ’teach’ them... isn’t that my
While reposting this Chris Lehmann announced his newest post on
Twitter... it is Brilliant!
[9]What I want to talk about
It gets to the heart of what our real job is... challenging our own
practice and doing what’s best for our students!
Comments from the original post:
1. Lots of things accomplished by biting your tongue: Your students
thought, guessed, were amazed, asked questions, made up stories,
drew conclusions, doubted, did research, were surprised, connected
things, made deductions, analysed, observed…
And all this about Da Vinci’s work!
Have you considered falling in love with your lousy computer lab?
[10]Gabriela on Friday, 18 May 2007, 20:15 CEST
2. Thanks for the great post. This is a prime example of the role
that we as teachers need to remember to play as we move our
students into classrooms of the 21st century. Whatever we call
it-coach, mentor, "guide-on-the-side"-it represents a shift from
the role of teacher as purveyor of knowledge, a skill you describe
above.I am teaching a class about blogging this summer, and I
would love to use this post as an example of the interaction
between students on blogs. Would you be opposed?
[11]Patrick Higgins on Saturday, 19 May 2007, 22:46 CEST
3. What a wonderful conversation that is taking place. It
demonstrates what can happen when students begin to converse about
topics and take them beyond what would ever happen in class. Now,
one thing you might suggest to the person who is blogging is to
look at a timeline to see when things are happening and hopefully
the student might make some connections with that and the
comments. Given the person you are studying, what is part of his
art could indeed be part of the science - a study in body/facial
similarities that turns into Mona Lisa and John the Baptist. Very
interesting stuff.
[12]Kelly Christopherson on Monday, 21 May 2007, 07:17 CEST
4. Thanks for the great comments! Gabriela, a working lab would
actually make things better, but the forced adversity has not
hindered my enthusiasm, (or the students’ and that is wonderful to
see)! The good news it that the lab is one of the next in line in
the district to be replaced... this summer. Patrick, no need to
ask, go right ahead and use it. I am working on a ’presentation’,
(one of the tools on this blog), to put together a ’My Web2.0’
presentation... It is a work in progress and may look very
different from day to day until I figure out how best to use it,
but it has links to all my wiki and blogging experiences as well
as on-line resources that you are welcome to tap into. [Link
removed due to spam issues, this will be rebuilt on DavidTruss.com
soon.] Kelly, you are always so encouraging, and insightful.
Connecting Art to Science is a mini-lesson that I give during this
course, (Arte/Scienza - The development of the balance between
science, art, logic and imagination. "Whole-brain" thinking-
remind you of some reading we have done recently?), and I will be
sure to make the connection to the highlighted post- thanks! I
cross-posted this on Classroom2.0 and got some interesting
comments there...
gPost - - - - - [14]Diane Hammond said…Very interesting! As hard
as it is to let silence reign long enough to push thinking in this
online environment, it’s still do-able. I find it much harder in a
f2f class situation to stop long enough for processing time. In
f2f the silence feels uncomfortable, like the point at which you
lose control. I know I’m guilty of too quickly supplying the
"answer" or pushing the next step. Excellent interaction here!
[15]Skip Zilla said…Diane got at the heart of the matter of
inquiry. It suspends time which is usually clocked by classroom
structure; it contemplates connections in what is observed which
is suppressed in the give and take of predetermined answers. Seven
students engaged in a timeless conversation. --Skip [16]Carolyn
Foote said…I do think when we give students opportunities to teach
one another, they will come forward and have conversations like
these! Kudos to you for giving them that space!We tried a research
project where students shared topics across class periods and used
a wiki to collect their information. In addition to being a great
learning experience, it was a fascinating social experiment to see
how some students emerged more as guides, some as the comics, some
as the organizers, some as the designers...but it was nice because
they could all play to their own strengths.Again, kudos for
creating a space for students to guide one another! - - - - - It
never occurred to me before that the reason it was so hard to
’bite my tongue’ is that this is actually harder to do
face-to-face, and that asynchronous contributions by students
permits and promotes more meaningful dialogue than what would be
forced within the limited time-frame of a classroom. Thanks to all
of you for your great contributions!
David Truss on Wednesday, 23 May 2007, 08:01 CEST
5. how is this wonderful or good learning? their speculations are
inane and so completely off course, yet they are trying to
"solidify" these concepts into some sort of working model. These
are college students? Have they lived in remote caves their whole
lives? I would think by their age they would at least have a
cursory idea of history and religion, if for no other reason than
being aware of the world around them.Oh, and nice call, teach, on
the "century and a half" discrepancy. I rather hope you meant
millenium and a half...
Dave Thomas on Monday, 20 August 2007, 02:24 CEST
6. To Dave Thomas,These are 13-14 year old Grade 8 students. After I
asked the question in class, "Who was John the Baptist and why is
he famous?"... my young students’ answers (the next day) helped
them to clarify a small aspect of their ’working knowledge’ in
both history and religion. My gut instinct was to return your
cheeky tone here, but you were commenting to someone who allows
’inane’ and ’off course’ conversations to happen in his college
class. It is my belief that your assumption of the age of my
students led to that line of thinking. My students were making
assumptions too... however these assumptions led to learning
opportunities far beyond what they learn from day-to-day in many
classes (including my own). I cannot apologize for their lack of
knowledge, and will not apologize for allowing this online
’conversation’ to happen. I think our adherence to the Prescribed
Learning Outcomes can, all too often, do a disservice to our
students’ child-like inquiry, and can squash Socratic
questioning/thinking. Is it not conversations such as this that
allow us to provide students with the opportunity to develop more
than just a ’cursory idea of history and religion’? Oh, and as for
the "century and a half" error - thanks for pointing it out! I
should have realized my error before submitting my post. The
correction is now duly noted (above). Thanks again!
David Truss on Monday, 20 August 2007, 08:52 CEST
7. Dave Thomas,
I hope you took the time to read Mr. Truss’ response to your
comment. For from error comes learning and without error there
would be no need for learning. I take solace in the fact that you
took the time to read the comments made by the students and
furthermore you took the time to comment on them. I hope that his
students will read your critiques and find a lesson in them.
As a principal, I covet teachers who help students to delve into
domains that are new to them. These students had never used
digital conversations before and regardless of what was being
said, they were taking risks using a new communication medium. I
say good on Mr. Truss and way to go Teach!
And as a bonus, his retort to your comment modeled self-effacing
class. Something all grade 8 students need to see.
Dave MacLean on Thursday, 30 August 2007, 07:25 CEST
8. David,This is a fascinating post. I agree that biting our tongue
is a challenge. I’ve been struggling with this ever since I
started building blogging communities with my students. On one
hand, I want to be part of their conversations and direct them. On
the other hand, I want to see what happens when I remove myself
from these interactions. I find that once the students see
themselves as bloggers, once they start commenting on the work of
their peers, it is very difficult (and not always wise) to enter
the conversation by using my teacherly voice. That’s whhy I’ve
been writing about the process of losing my teacherly voice on my
blog. Recently, however, I’ve discovered that, in my class
blogging community, I am present in two different modes - as a
subject expert and as an individual learner. Both, I believe are
important. [17]Here’s a more detailed explanation (a response to
your comment on my blog) and [18]another comment on [19]Leigh
Blackall’s blog. I really enjoyed reading this and I hope that you
will continue to address this on your blog.
[20]Konrad Glogowski on Sunday, 28 October 2007, 02:05 CET [21]# |
9. Hi Dave,On the "John Gesture" your students might enjoy an
interesting art history alternative: "The intellectual influence
of Renaissance Hermeticism on art, rather than a depiction of Mary
Magdalene at the Last Supper, is the basis for A Different da
Vinci Code. This is an alternative explanation of Leonardo’s
symbolism, which proposes the typical use of transgender figures
in various artworks of the period as a veiled reference to the
alchemical androgyne (cf. Sophia/Baphomet), representing the
keenly anticipated rebirth of classical knowledge and culture.
Similarly, Leonardo’s use of the up-pointed finger of
Mercury/Hermes, also referred to as the John Gesture, is proposed
to denote the universal Hermetic motto, "As above; so below."
There’s more here, with illustrations:
tm Fred on Saturday, 10 November 2007, 01:07 CET
Visible links 1. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/reflection-on-wikis
2. http://eduspaces.net/davet/weblog/170327.html
3. http://eduspaces.net/davinciclass/weblog/170443.html
4. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/sharing-engaging-web-2-0h-yeah
5. http://web.archive.org/web/20070404234956/http://www.amuseyourself.com/goodreads/leonardodavinci/
6. http://www.artchive.com/artchive/ftptoc/leonardo_ext.html
7. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/learning-conversations
8. http://www.teachandlearn.ca/blog/2007/09/23/learning-to-be-myself/
9. http://practicaltheory.org/serendipity/index.php?/archives/955-What-I-Want-to-Talk-About.html
10. http://revealties.wordpress.com/
11. http://chalkdust101.wordpress.com/
12. http://kwhobbes.edublogs.org/
13. http://classroom20.ning.com/profiles/blog/show?id=649749%3ABlogPost%3A18841
14. http://www.classroom20.com/profile/dhammond
15. http://www.classroom20.com/profile/skipzilla
16. http://futura.edublogs.org/
17. http://www.teachandlearn.ca/blog/2007/09/23/learning-to-be-myself/#comment-107526
18. http://learnonline.wordpress.com/2007/10/12/to-facilitate-or-to-teach/#comment-7223
19. http://learnonline.wordpress.com/
20. http://www.teachandlearn.ca/blog
21. http://eduspaces.net/dtruss/weblog/171020.html#cmt78863
22. http://eduspaces.net/mod/blog/action_redirection.php?action=weblog_comment_delete&weblog_comment_
23. http://altreligion.about.com/library/davinci/bl_differentdvc.htm
Nexus » Blog Archive » Join the 2008 Comment Challenge (2008-05-01 19:48:45)
[...] It’s interesting that as I’m reflecting on my commenting behaviour, I stumble upon today’s post by David
Truss where he re-visits one of his posts from a year ago. One of the comments David quotes from the [...]
Diane Hammond (2008-05-01 20:42:24)
Thanks for re-visiting this post - I remember it from last year. It’s important that we all share these ”stories” of
the changing practices in our classrooms. We are still ”teaching” but our pedagogical model must change if we are
to engage this generation of students.
Tips from Edublogger | Library: The Sweetest Berry (2008-07-23 18:23:43)
[...] There’s a great blog checklist to get the action started, a link to a vivid example of “letting the conversation
happen,” and LOTS of blogs-in-action. Posted by Melissa A. Filed in SLJ 2.0 Learning Experience [...]
Claire Adams (2008-11-05 22:16:24)
Thankyou for the benefit of your experience. I hadn’t anticipated having to ’bite my digital tongue’ when dealing
with my students’ blogs. The example you provided really drives home the point that sometimes we really are
doing the right thing by postponing a comment.
Statement of Educational Philosophy (2008-05-02 02:13)
[Originally posted May 23rd,’07]
I wrote this three years ago, but recently had to make a change... As little as one year ago the second
paragraph did not exist for me, and now it is placed in a position of importance. I post my Statement
of Educational Philosophy now, after reading and posting a comment on [1]Kelly Christopherson’s post,
which in turn was inspired by [2]Harold Jarche’s post, which in turn was inspired by [3]Albert Ip’s post,
that Harold first read over two years ago... Has this kind of engagement in learning ever happened for
you, coming from a text book?
I wonder how much of what I have written is ’universal’ and how much of it is a product of being
stuck in the current bureaucratic-age based paradigm?
Feedback, as always, is appreciated. (Think [4]Healthy Discord and feel free to be critical.)
Statement of Educational Philosophy
The goal of education is to enrich the lives of students while producing articulate, expressive thinkers
and lifelong learners, that are socially responsible, resilient, and active citizens of the world. Education
is about teaching students, not subjects. It is about engaging students in their learning, and maximizing
the potential of each and every child. Education is about looking beyond the child’s intellect, and seeing
the whole child. Education is about providing students with opportunities to be challenged and still
Education is currently going through some dramatic changes. Technology has altered the way teach-
ers, and students, communicate with and amongst themselves, as well as with the greater community,
and with the world. New ways of communicating and sharing learning are being developed and explored.
There needs to be a transformation from using technology in schools to using technology for learning.
Teachers have to adapt, and be adept at making a students’ learning experience both meaningful and
engaging. Teachers also need to recognize that technology has created new needs and new definitions of
what it means to be literate in today’s world. However, just being literate is not enough, students must
develop their curiosity, creativity, communication skills and critical thinking.
Teachers and school leaders have a responsibility to be mentors and role models to students. We have
a responsibility to cultivate a sense of community and belonging. The quote, “It takes a village to raise
a child”, rings true in so many ways. Education is a collaborative effort that needs leadership and a
strong vision. Co-operation among all stakeholders is essential. A community is an essential extension
of a school. Relationships between a school and its’ community, whether educational, entrepreneurial,
co-operative or charitable, should not just be encouraged but pursued.
We must value and foster relationships with parents and family. The power of having all significant
adults working together to raise a child cannot be underestimated. No one understands more than an
educator how valuable parent involvement is in successfully educating a child. It is vital to keep parents,
our partners, informed and actively engaged in their child’s education. But all parents are not created
equally, so we also have a responsibility to educate and inspire good parenting within our community.
And for those children who do not have a significant adult role model at home, we have an obligation
to create opportunities for our educators to provide caring guidance. Every child that cannot find an
adult to connect with in a school is a child we have failed, and every child we have provided a meaningful
relationship with is a success to be relished. Caring, compassion and empathy are cornerstones to a
meaningful educational relationship.
Schools with a strong leadership team, that encourage a meaningful, common vision, can help students
perceive learning as a lifelong journey. In doing so, a school must encourage greatness and loathe medi-
ocrity. Educators must maintain high expectations and strive to see students excel. Students must be
given the opportunity to maximize their potential and they should be inspired to do so. Every child has
the potential to attain greatness! The job of an educator is to harness a child’s abilities and set them
free with the confidence and the necessary toolbox to succeed.
Originally posted: May 23rd, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
In his brief comment on the original post, [5]Harold Jarche said, "I
really like your first paragraph. It captures the essence of
That puts technology into perspective! Technology is a tool used to
help us get to the goal in the first paragraph. "Do not confuse the
pointing finger with the moon."
1. http://kwhobbes.edublogs.org/2007/05/22/can-we-move-a-rubber-tree-plant/
2. http://www.jarche.com/?p=1174
3. http://2020learning.blogspot.com/2005/03/our-world-is-changing-our-schools-are.html
4. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/connectivism-conference-healthy-discord-2
5. http://eduspaces.net/haroldj/
Statement of Educational Philosophy | Transformation Teachers Programme (2008-05-03 06:16:55)
[...] click here to read the full post and then write a comment on this blog about what he says. You can see from
Digital Magic #17 « ‘Practic-All’ (2008-11-03 00:20:39)
[...] can you use Wordle in the classroom? Words used most frequently show up larger. I used my Statement of
Educational Philosophy to create this wordle. Statement of Educational [...]
Philosophy of Education - Updated « Kristina Dimini’s Blog (2009-04-03 18:35:48)
[...] I was tweeting with David Truss and he mentioned he read my Philosophy of Education, he also shared his
with me. As I was reading [...]
My Philosophy of Technology in the Classroom « Ashley’s Weblog (2010-01-02 10:16:28)
[...] some topics to write our next blog on. One suggestion was to read Dave Truss’ blog about his philosophy of
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How to Prevent Another Leonardo da Vinci (2008-05-02 21:56)
... continue teaching school like it is 1890.
“Blinding ignorance does mislead us.
O! Wretched mortals, open your eyes!”
Here it is from Kris, a 15 year-old former student, ”[1]How to Prevent Another Leonardo da Vinci”.
I think this post should be mandatory for every student teacher to read before they graduate.
I can hear the rebuttals, and yes there are some sweeping generalizations made... but rather than
being defensive, I think it is our duty as educators to make things better... in EVERY classroom. We
have the tools, and the understanding of pedagogy to make things better even though logistics, economics
and circumstance can impede us. What we need are the exemplars, the role models, and the educational
leaders to help us get where we need to be.
Today I went to a Learning Team Celebration where everyone on learning teams shared their successes
with regards to action based research, done with colleagues, to explore areas of interest. Learning teams
(as described [2]here) promote dialogue among peers looking at areas such as the use of reading strate-
gies, social responsibility programs, numeracy initiatives, and integrating technology to engage students
in more meaningful ways. I have realized over the past few months that it isn’t technology per se that will
change education. Instead, it is collaboration of teachers using best practice, and of students interacting
with us and each other, that will truly and meaningfully change education. Technology, such as web2.0
tools, will help make the process easier, and speed the process up.
Consider this: I have had the honour of teaching with some truly amazing teachers, and yet I have
spent little or no time observing them teach. I have not been able to tap into some ’masterful’ resources
just a few classroom doors away from me. Collaboration is key! Is it ironic or apropos that a post about
da Vinci, a recluse that hid his work, is a post that highlights the value of collaborating?
Here are the 1st and 7th points of 10, offered by Kris in her [3]How to Prevent Another Leonardo da
Vinci post:
This is how we kill each trait that may yield another Da Vinci:1.
Curiosita (from [4]How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to
Genius Every Day ) What: Intense and insatiable curiosity; constantly
learning due to a desire to ask and answer questions The Murder: In
schools, for the most part, students learn only what the teacher
decides they will learn. Student questions will often go unanswered if
they lead away from the material (go off-topic), or if there are time
constraints on what must be learned that leave no time for these
questions in class. 7. Connessione (from “How to Think Like Leonardo
da Vinci”) What? Acceptance and appreciation for the
interconnectedness of everything in life; interdisciplinary approaches
and thinking The Murder: Facts and concepts are taught in specific
classes that are independent of each other, and students are moved
from individual class to individual class without knowledge of how the
two might be connected. Boundaries like that between art and science
are rarely crossed or their connectedness even explained. Facts and
ideas might be taught with no explanation of the links between them
(ie, learning individual details and facts but not the big picture).
Read the whole post! If you are an educator, then I challenge you to do two things:
1. Congratulate yourself! Recognize that your are a good teacher, and that you do things within your
classroom that do not hinder your students as some of these generalizations do. See the positive.
Noticing the good that we do, and acknowledging it as such, encourages us to continue and improve.
2. Challenge yourself! Recognize that you have the opportunity to challenge students in new ways,
and know that you too are learning... share your challenges with your peers, seek out opportunities
to collaborate, with your colleague across the hall or your web friend across the world. WE will
make education better than it ever has been!
Originally posted: May 30th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
Kris is not just a former student, she is a current teacher... my
teacher. I would not have this blog up-and-running if it were not for
her tech support. Also, her del.icio.us links are fodder for many of
my posts.
Learning is a journey best shared, not led. We are nodes in each
other’s learning networks...
Two weeks ago I bought a Wii Remote to create a [5]Tim Wang
Multi-touch Whiteboard. I’ve been talking with our computer teacher,
Stan, about getting this going and then on Tuesday a student, Raj,
caught wind of what we were planning to do. Wednesday morning Raj was
downloading software from his phone to Stan’s computer, he also
created two infra-red pens out of highlighters and push-button
switches. Thursday morning before lunch I walked into Stan’s class to
find Raj demonstrating the multi-touch whiteboard to his class. This
morning he perfected an adjustable stand to hold the Wii Remote, (it
was his second prototype).
I’m going to make a very harsh statement here and I’m going to stand
behind it:
My experience with [6]empowering students with leadership
opportunities supports this point.
- - - - -
Here is Carolyn Foote’s comment on my original post. I love the line:
"I think with enthusiasm, innovation, and collaboration that we can
make a difference for students." See Carolyn’s recent post:
[7]Empowering ourselves to empower our students.
Thank you for sharing that incredible post. I’ve already emailed it
to several people at my own campus. I also appreciate your
response. A group of us read Whole New Mind this year, and I think
more than anything I’ve read in a long time, it really conveyed to
me the "boat" that we too often miss as educators, in terms of
supporting the creative thinking of our students. And on a site
visit that my campus made to schools in California, we visited High
Tech High and saw the power of cross curricular connections. We’ve
sent a team of our teachers there for a summer workshop on
interdisciplinary connections, and I can’t wait until they get back
(wish I was going too, but it’s during NECC). I think with
enthusiasm, innovation, and collaboration that we can make a
difference for students. And I agree that the web 2.0 tools can
make that process so much easier. And we as educators, like this
student, need support and encouragement, and the community that
many of our interactions over the blogs or on sites like Ning
offer, help us "keep the faith" as well. Thanks so much for sharing
this post!
Carolyn Foote on Friday, 08 June 2007, 00:24 CEST
1. http://wanderingink.net/?p=49
2. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/learning-conversations
3. http://wanderingink.net/?p=49
4. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0440508274?ie=UTF8&tag=davidtrcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=
5. http://blog.loaz.com/timwang/index.php/2007/12/11/multi_touch_whiteboard_under_100_dollars
6. http://www.davidtruss.com/leadership_paper.htm
7. http://futura.edublogs.org/2008/05/02/empowering-ourselves-to-empower-our-students/
bRinging tools to class (2008-05-03 23:49)
Today during a Math lesson on Surface Area and Volume:
Mr. Truss, I forgot my calculator, can I borrow one?
Do you have your cell phone?
Then you have a calculator.
Really? I can use my cell phone?
Cell phones and mp3 players in the classroom: [1]Not Obstacles but Opportunities
"Kids are going to text message.
How are we going to make that work in our school?"
- - -
"When someone wants to ban something, I ask myself,
how can we use this to help us in education? ‘It is a new tool’. Not
obstacles but opportunities."
Chris Kennedy
It is time for us to [2]PAY ATTENTION!
Originally posted: June 8th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
My first computer was a Commodore [3]Vic-20 and I can remember being
excited to get the 16k adapter. Now students walk around with more
information storage than most desktop computers had when the same
students were in diapers... and I’m not even considering the
information available to them by searching the web!
As Kris’ comment below suggests, many students don’t know the
capabilities these machines have... should we not be helping them
learn what’s possible?
Comments on the original post:
1. I’ve used my cell phone as a calculator lots of times in school,
but I always have to explain its function to the teacher when they
come over to confiscate it (inevitably). Part of the problem is
that a lot of people don’t actually know about the other programs
on a cell phone - it makes phone calls, and that’s good enough for
them! It’s like people who use Firefox but don’t install any
extensions or use tabs (such users exist).Cell phones are like Web
2.0, they’re massively useful to those who actively explore all
the options and add-ons and know how to use each one - the power
users.I was the ’tech person’ among my roommates at a spring break
conference in the States solely because I was the only one who had
figured out how to work both the radiator and the coffee machine
in our hotel room - when our alarm clock died and I pulled out my
cell phone in substitute, you could almost hear the unspoken
disbelief: "Our cell phones can do that?":) It’s good to be
tech-savvy. (PS, these are amazing:
[4]http://www.lifehacker.com/search/cell%20phone/all/ )
[5]Kris on Friday, 08 June 2007, 09:37 CEST
2. I love this quote:"When someone wants to ban something, I ask
how can we use this to help us in education? ‘It is a new tool’.
Not obstacles but opportunities."
Do we think Google bans some tool from their creative team?
Thanks for the link to "Pay Attention"--very thought-provoking.
[6]Carolyn Foote on Friday, 08 June 2007, 14:13 CEST
Visible links 1. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/ask-and-ye-shall-recieve
2. http://t4.jordan.k12.ut.us/t4/content/view/221/35/
3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_VIC-20
4. http://www.lifehacker.com/search/cell%20phone/all/
5. http://wanderingink.net/
6. http://futura.edublogs.org/
The Capacity to Lead (2008-05-04 10:26)
Students of all ages have the capacity to lead.
For a few years now I have taken a group of Grade 7 and 8 students to our feeder schools to teach the
incoming Grade 5’s the ”Seven Secrets of Leadership”, but really it is about so much more than that!
This is from the e-mail I send to our feeder schools:
What you get: 12-15 of our Leadership Students and a teacher running
sessions on “The 7 Secrets to Leadership”. An opportunity for your
grade 5 teachers to meet and/or work with the grade 4 students in
their classes. (Your teachers do not need to be in the gym, although
they are invited to see what we are doing, and stay as they wish.) A
reflective journal written by all the students to use as a discussion
starter or as feedback for what the students have learned. A positive
experience to help make transition to grade 6 less stressful for your
Grade 5’s. What your students get: A carousel of 5 activity based
lessons run by our Leadership students. -In one activity students all
Grade 5’s learn to open combination locks. A few group activities
that teach students about leadership. A reflective journal to keep
after the session is done. A chance to see grade 7 and 8 students as
positive role models. A positive experience the helps students with
the transition to Middle School. What we get: An authentic leadership
experience for our grade 7 and 8 students. Grade 6 students entering
the school next year with positive expectations about what Middles
School students are like. (Also, no tears from the stress of opening a
combination lock as well as the stress of dealing with everything else
that can overwhelm a new student on their first few days of Middle
School). We require the use of your gym for 2 to 2.5 hours. All grade
5 students are invited, even if they will be going to another Middle
School- the program is not specific to our school.
The Agenda looks like this:
12:30 Arrive at feeder school and set up
1:00 Grade 5 Teachers brings students to gym.
Truss -Journal, ’Secrets’ intro.
Journal Entry – ”What makes a good leader?” -Truss
Ice Breaker 2- Leadership Games – 1 or 2 groups
- Alphabetical by name - Tyler
- Birthday - Sarah
Continue games but no talking anymore
- Height - Deighton
- Hair Colour - Callie
- Shoe Size - (optional)
Journal Entry –Truss
12:20 Split into 5 groups and move them to the stations
Truss ”Get a secret - keep a secret” - Don’t talk about the stations.
’Don’t you hate it when someone tells you how a movie ends?’
5 Sessions run 5 times by our student leaders:
12:30 Session 1 :: 12:45 Session 2 :: 1:00 Session 3
1:15 -Break from the rotation–
Read ’[1]The Butterfly Story’ - Sara
Journal Entry, then rotate to next station
1:30 Session 4 :: 1:45 Session 5
Station # A - Balloon Challenge SECRET #3 WORK TOGETHER
Station # B - Maze SECRET #4 BE POSITIVE (Cooperation)
Station # C - Blanket Fold SECRET #5 EVERYONE MATTERS
Station # E - Human Knot SECRET #7 LISTEN FIRST, THEN TALK
1:55 QUICK Synthesis: What Secret to Leading by Example did we learn from…
The final secret
SECRET TO SUCCESS IN GRADE 6 (A bonus secret) -Truss
When you can’t solve a problem by yourself… ASK FOR HELP
-Homework (3 questions in the middle of the journal)
- - - - -
10 min. Debrief for our Crew
I will be building a resource package to explain
the events soon (with the help of my students).
If things work out with funding, I will be helping to implement this program with a number of Middle
School Student Leadership teams in our district next near. [Update: I did a Pro-D session in January,
though I am not aware of any additional schools doing this to end off ’08. I think there was enough
interest from a teacher here at my new school, (even before I got here), that these sessions will happen
in the ’08-’09 school year.]
One important note is that the lessons, ’the secrets’, are decided upon by my students. This
year students continued on with 4 of the 5 activities that we did last year, but one (the Balloon
Challenge) is new, and one of the older activities has a different lesson, as was decided by the group
that is running that activity this year. Two years ago, one of the Leadership Lessons was ”Take a
Risk”. I wasn’t a fan of this initially, but the group did a fantastic job of running a related activity and
explaining how leaders take smart risks rather than poor chances. I am glad I trusted them and didn’t
try to change their idea because of my bias.
For me, the best part of the retreat is seeing my students improve their ability to communicate
their instructions clearly and lead a group of students with enthusiasm and intent.
An excellent learning experience happened this year when students running the blanket fold were
over-explaining/demonstrating their activity. The blanket fold instructions were given such that not
only did Grade 5 participants understand that the blanket was to be folded, as small as possible, while
everyone stood on it (no one can step off or touch the ground), but they also got a demonstration on
how to fold the blanket. I told my students, ”you are cutting open their cocoons”, in reference to [2]The
Butterfly Story and my students fully understood my message... let them figure out how to fold the
blanket on their own - don’t do it for them!
Last week Monday I took a few of my leaders and we ran our activities with some Grade 3’s & 4’s at a
Peer Helper retreat organized by two great principals, Dave Sands and Mark Clay. Their combined effort
involved students from two very different Elementary Schools, one that could be classified as ’Inner City’
and the other from a very upper-middle class neighbourhood, both out of my school’s catchment area.
When we arrived at 5pm the Peer Helpers had already had a full day of training so we took the
distinct ’lessons’ out of our activities and made the activities much more focussed on fun. We started
out with a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors for candy, with my students making sure that everyone always
had candy to participate, (a chance for them to lead by example). Then my students ran their activities
at 5 stations around the gym. Next, I did an activity for the Grade 3’s and 4’s to ’put together the
pieces’ and relate what we did to their Peer Helper programs. But in the end it was these Grade 3’s and
4’s who help me put some ideas together and taught me something...
We should be teaching Grade 5’s at the start of the year to help them become leaders in their
school, rather than just at the end of the year to help them transition to Middle School. Later in the
week, in talking with two other Elementary Principals when we did the Seven Secrets Retreat at their
school, they too thought this would be a great idea. One of them, Perry, suggested that we train Grade
4’s at the end of the year and come back and do more with them at the start of the next year. The
challenge for us would be getting our program up and running at the start of the year. A lot to think
The simple fact is that students of all ages have the capacity to lead... they just need to be pro-
vided with the opportunity, along with a little training and support.
Originally posted: June 11th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
I can list a number of reasons why things didn’t move ahead as
planned: I moved to a busy high school job that involved developing
another program; My goal was to get some collaboration time with
Student Leadership Teacher Leaders and their students, but I only got
a single afternoon Pro-d introduction to the teachers; I was promoted
to VP just weeks after the presentation to the Middle School Student
Leadership Teacher Leaders... these all amount to nothing more than
excuses! That said, I need to make things work in my own new school
before expanding the program. My school is embarking on a [3]WEB
program that has many similar goals to my program AND it has built in
sustainability by the building of relationships beyond a single-day
event. It will be my job to promote this only in as much as it will
add value to what will already be happening thanks to a number of
teacher leaders that are taking a great leadership role in connecting
to our incoming Grade 5’s. Collaboration is key... on the level of all
the adults working together in the building AND also in our ability to
collaborate and empower our students... as I said, ’students of all
ages have the capacity to lead’.
1. http://www.scribd.com/doc/2874377/TheButterflyLesson
2. http://www.scribd.com/doc/2874377/TheButterflyLesson
3. http://www.boomerangproject.com/web/
links for 2008-11-03 « The View From My Window (2008-11-03 12:04:59)
[...] The Capacity to Lead | David Truss :: Pair-a-dimes for Your Thoughts (tags: davidtruss leadership stu-
dentvoice) [...]
Reflections: Stirring in the crock pot (2008-05-05 01:09)
[1] Spring brings new beginnings just as a school year comes to
an end. As a teacher it is difficult not to be reflective in June.
Special moments remembered, peppered lightly with what could have been, and never transpired. The
nostalgia seems to loom more so this year as I contemplate a move after my nine-year career in a single
Two things I have come to realize: I have been fortunate to have worked with some amazing people
in an amazing school, and it is time to move on.
My stint has not been without changes:
• the school changed from a 7-9 Junior High, to a 6-8 Middle School
• 2 principals and 6 different vice principals
• only 3 teachers have been there longer than I have
• I have taught in 6 different classrooms
• I’ve taught 2 different grades
• I’ve been both a Humanities and a Math/Science teacher
• I’ve only repeated my same course load twice in 9 years
[2] My stint has not
been without challenges: With a wonderful student dying in her sleep days after she finished Grade
9, and [3]job action (twice), being two of the more emotionally draining experiences.
Yet my stint at this school has been wonderful in so many ways. Imagine being hired right out of the
education program and put into a school with 13 other brand new teachers - about half the teaching
staff! We had an unbelievable year of learning from each other. Every time you walked into another
teacher’s room you were ’wow-ed’ by what you saw... and in the spirit of learning, there wasn’t a sense
of one-ups-man-ship that can happen in such a situation, but rather a desire to offer an equally engaging
experience in your own classroom. The people I shared those early teaching experiences with are now
my closest friends.
And now it is time to move on. I said that four, three, two years ago, and last year too, and still find
myself at the same school because it has offered me so much, and yet this time I am sure that I will find
another ’home’.
I have posted on a few very different High School jobs, including English/Socials in a Gifted Program,
a Math 9/10 position, a Planning 10 and Graduation Transition Coordination position, and a Leader-
ship/PE/Student Services position... each one desirable for many differing, but equally intriguing reasons.
I already know that I won’t be offered the first one, thankfully as it will also be taught with Grade 12
English, (which I have no desire to teach). I was encouraged to apply for that job by a parent of [5]a
gifted student in my class going into the program, that in itself was a wonderful compliment. I have
just spent some time preparing for interviews, happening tomorrow, for the next two jobs I posted for.
I have a passion for Math, and know that I would enjoy focusing all of my attention into one subject
area... (hopefully with some access to technology:-) I would also love the opportunity to contribute to
the developing Graduation Transitions Program in a school, and perhaps use wikis to coordinate some
of the large scale school-wide events organized in order to meet the graduation requirements of every
student. Also, I would be interested in implementing an e-portfolio into the Planning 10 course. The
final posting would include teaching Leadership at a High School, a position I have wanted to do for
years, and something that would make my [6]Grade 5 Leadership/Transition Retreats easier to expand
into a district initiative next year.
It is a bit boggling that my interests could take me in so many different directions, and yet I feel ready
for which ever path I have the opportunity to follow.
I have also been reflecting on this blog over the past while. It has been wonderful documenting my
trials, tribulations, and triumphs over the past few months, and the cathartic nature of blogging is one
that I can no longer do without. I teach, therefore I blog. However, I have slowly realized that I am a
[7]slow-blogger who creates posts in a crock pot, not a pressure cooker. Recently, I have found it hard to
write, and for that matter hard to engage in reading blogs. I have had a few tabs open for days now, with
[8]great posts [9]half-read. For this reason, I will be taking a small hiatus, probably fully unplugging for
a while in early July. As I near that break, I can’t help but wonder how my blog will change, depending
on which job I have the opportunity to hold next year?
[10] Images [11]by [12]Roman Edirisinghe on Flickr.
Originally posted: June 18th, 2007
Comments from the original post:
1. David, What a year... You well deserve a break. I wonder how we
manage to read the same posts, roughly around the same time. I
remember your comment in my blog about finding there a link you had
lost. I had also bookmarked Barbara Ganley’s post on slow-blogging
for a future post. I think I belong there too. The good thing about
your slow-blogging is that once you do post, I do not scan you in
my RSS, I really want to slow down and read you. Just echoing this
to myself: "I teach, therefore I blog". I want to make sure I
remember it. [13]Claudia Ceraso on Tuesday, 19 June 2007, 03:55
CEST 2. David, it has been great getting to know you through your
blog. I feel that, at times, you were just around the corner and
our conversations would pick up where they left off. I know that
whatever direction you go, your dedication to students and learning
will shine. Enjoy your well deserved time away and don’t fret about
the blog - the writing will take care of itself. It always does.
Take care! [14]Kelly Christopherson on Wednesday, 20 June 2007,
07:41 CEST
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
These comments come from two of several bloggers whom have become my
teachers and friends. I have learned from them that I don’t need a
Face-to-Face encounter in order to build a meaningful relationship.
What has struck me with both of them is how our digital lives have had
uncanny parallels, and through commenting on my and their blogs, we
have become ’linked’ in many ways. - - - This was my last post for
over 2 months, I ended up taking the entire summer off. As you will
see in future posts, I took the Graduation Transitions Program
Coordinator position along with teaching Planning 10. Little did I
know that it would be a one-semester gig before being promoted to Vice
Principal. - - - I think my blogging ’voice’ changed after the break.
This was a ’last’ post in many ways for me. That said, it was a very
healthy change. I think, as I look back, I see a lot of frustration,
and as I look forward from this point I see a lot of hope and
"Argue for your limitations and sure enough they are yours"
[15]Richard Bach: Illusions
I can still get whiny that ’things aren’t moving fast enough’ or ’we
need more resources’, but in the end what I seek are opportunities for
our students to soar and I can’t do that when I’m assuming limitations
that prevent this from happening.
1. http://www.flickr.com/photos/romanedirisinghe/27903014/
2. http://www.flickr.com/photos/romanedirisinghe/13051345/in/set-585552/
3. http://eduspaces.net/dtruss/files/3987/9521/Editorial-10-14-05.doc
4. http://www.flickr.com/photos/romanedirisinghe/13050856/in/set-585552/
5. http://sciencealive.wikispaces.com/Senses#tocSenses12
6. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/the-capacity-to-lead
7. http://web.archive.org/web/20070613010957/http://mt.middlebury.edu/middblogs/ganley/bgblogging/2006/11/
8. http://remoteaccess.typepad.com/remote_access/files/changing_literacies.pdf
9. http://halfanhour.blogspot.com/2006/08/things-you-really-need-to-learn.html
10. http://by%20roman%20edirisinghe/
11. http://www.flickr.com/photos/romanedirisinghe/13051248/
12. http://www.flickr.com/photos/romanedirisinghe/13051248/
13. http://http//fceblog.blogspot.com/
14. http://kwhobbes.wordpress.com/
15. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0385319258?ie=UTF8&tag=davidtrcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=
Kelly Christopherson (2008-05-05 13:12:28)
Dave, it has been a great experience learning new things, sharing and growing a network. As someone who began
this voyage at a similar time, it is interesting to watch your journey as it parallels my own, sometimes very similar
and sometimes vastly different but always moving forward. Like you, I took the summer off and returned to
blogging with a different focus. I’m focusing on trying to solve problems and, like you, not whining so much. Keep
at it, Keep Strong
Transitions, Transformations, and Transgressions (2008-05-06 01:32)
- Originally posted August 28th, 2007 -
If you come to a fork in the road, take it. - Yogi Berra
I’ve taken a job at a high school and I am looking forward to the new challenge! After seven years
of teaching Grade 8’s and two years of teaching Grade 9’s, I will now be teaching Grade 10’s. The new
position also provides me with the opportunity to make connections with students in every grade (9-12).
The job has two key components:
1. Coordinate the [1]Graduation Transitions Program at the school.
2. Teach [2]Planning 10.
My immediate challenge is that the Government’s Graduation Transitions Program is not what it was last
year. I must make it clear to Teachers, Students, and Parents, what the changes are from the [3]Gradua-
tion Portfolio Program (that the Government initiated, then pulled out of at the 11
hour). The politics
and opinions behind this change could be the subject of a very long post, but this is all I will say here:
Some people will welcome this change, some are saddened by it, and it is my job to make the most of
it, as well as to make the transition easier, and more meaningful to those involved in the new process.
My biggest challenge is in presenting the new information to Grade 11’s and 12’s since the program is
introduced in Planning 10, which they have already finished. I am fortunate that teachers meet these
students monthly for advisory time, and so there will be an opportunity to share/present information to
them. The first session is next week, and so my planning has already begun. One highlight that I was
delighted to discover was that I will be sharing a computer lab for my Planning 10 course... soon I will
be exploring the possibilities... Transformations I was amazed at how many resources I threw away and
gave away as I packed up 9 years of teaching resources. I think that I would have kept twice as much if I
had moved a year ago, but I have changed so much in this past year. Even if I were to return to Middle
School in the future, my experiences with the world of web2.0 have opened my eyes to ways that I should
and would teach, with our without the use of technology. I’m not belittling what I have done in the past,
simply noting that my priorities and interests have shifted, and so my approach has changed too.
The caterpillar is a beautiful animal too, but a butterfly cannot be the caterpillar again after it has been
transformed. On another topic, I wonder how this blog will change? I know that it will be somewhat
different as a result of my new position, but will it be a transformation into something new, or will it
just veer slightly, while heading in the same general direction? I guess I will know in a couple months!
Transgressions I’m really gong to miss my last school. It has been a big part of my life for so long, and I
am leaving a wonderful staff, that I will miss dearly. My wife, Ann, has taught at the school for 6 years,
and it has been wonderful having the opportunity to work, socialize and commute with her. She is moving
on to a new school as well and her dynamic personality, leadership, encouragement, guidance, student
advocacy and social committee duties will be missed by one and all. My teaching partner, Armaghan, was
fantastic to work with and I am not sure if I will ever work with someone who compliments me (and puts
up with me ) as well as she did. We would have 45 second meetings in which entire day schedules
would be flipped upside-down to accommodate each other’s needs. We have similar expectations and
share the same respect for students. We both focus on our student’s potential, and their abilities to
work and lead. We usually noticed the same issues with students that had challenges, and we shared
the view that students should almost always be present at parent meetings- (After all, whose education
are we talking about?) We made a great team, and I will miss working with her dearly! Years ago I
read a book called [4]Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don’t . In
that book Lee Iacocca was considered a Level 4 leader, with the optimum leader being a Level 5 leader.
He only warranted a ’4’ since he lead by command and did not develop the team around him. Ford
faltered after he left, whereas under a Level 5 leader, a company usually performs better after the leader
has left, because he/she has built leadership capacity while being there. Although I cannot say that I
necessarily built capacity for the [5]Student Leadership Program, what I did do was help to create the
structure such that other school leaders besides myself could share their interest and expertise in the
program. Armaghan has been involved in the leadership program for a few years now, and I am sure that
under her guidance the program will blossom! I will still be involved with the program to some extent
since my [6]Grade 5 Leadership Retreats will be funded by Staff Development and so I am excited to
see that program potentially expand to other Middle Schools in the coming year. It also allows me the
opportunity to continue to work with Armaghan, and my old school a little longer. But now is not a time
for too many transgressions. I look forward to meeting new friends, and creating positive relationships
at my new school. It is time to focus on what lies ahead! I have a lot to do in order to make my new
position great and, as Yogi Berra once said, ”If you don’t know where you are going, chances are you’ll
end up somewhere else.”
Originally posted: August 28th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
I have to laugh at the quote at the end of this post:
"If you don’t know where you are going, chances are you’ll end up
somewhere else."
Well, it seems that even if you DO know where you are going, you still
end up somewhere else! In December of ’07 I had a long chat with my
wife about ’where I was going’ and predicted a 4-year path before
(perhaps) getting into administration. Less than 2 months later I was
promoted to Vice Principal of a Middle School (with 9 days notice). I
came to another fork in the road... and I took it! So many other
things seemed to have popped up for me too: Alan November inviting me
to speak at [7]BLC08, becoming my own web-host, and getting [8]a blog
post printed in a Grade 8 Language Arts textbook. I could never have
seen this coming!
1. http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/graduation/grad-transitions/welcome.htm
2. http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/graduation/planning10.htm
3. http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_2005-2009/2007EDU0011-000082.htm
4. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0066620996?ie=UTF8&tag=davidtrcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=
5. http://www.davidtruss.com/leadership_paper.htm
6. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/the-capacity-to-lead
7. http://novemberlearning.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=230&Itemid=135
8. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/developing-empathy/
Diane Hammond (2008-05-06 06:19:56)
I too have been fortunate to have encountered forks in the road (and so far have made good choices). Looking
back though I can identify the steps I’ve taken that have prepared me for the forks I’ve followed. There’s a line I
like in Randy Bachman’s song ”The Road”: ”If you don’t know where you’re going Any road will take you there.”
Good line to discuss with students.
Presentation Week (2008-05-07 02:15)
I have not used PowerPoint very many times in my life. However, I have sat through, and sometimes
suffered through, many as part of an audience. So I felt a little intimidated when Nicoletta, one of my
Vice Principals in my new school, asked me to create a PowerPoint presentation to introduce the new
[1]Graduation Transitions program that I am responsible for implementing. The first presentation would
be happening on the first day of school, delivered to almost 80 staff members, most of whom I had not
met yet. The next two would be to the Grade 11’s and Grade 12’s respectively in their Assemblies four
days later. ’Great’, I thought, ’I get to bore the entire staff and half of the school’s students with a
PowerPoint presentation in my first week, what a great first impression!’
Fortunately, I have been thinking a lot about good presentations lately. I’ve previously written a [2]short
post linking to a [3]great presentation, and I found another valuable resource, [4]a post by Joyce Valenza.
Well, feedback on my presentations has been overwhelmingly good, ”The best presentation to staff I’ve
seen since coming here,” -this was from a staff member I bumped into in the photocopy room, and ”I
loved your presentation,” -from a grade 11 student who held a door open for me. I’ve actually been a
little uncomfortable with the compliments. The fact is that I am delivering a good message about a bad
A Little History
[5] The original Graduation Portfolio, like
Graduation Transitions is a good idea. The problem with the Portfolio was that the Provincial Govern-
ment implemented it but did not provide sufficient financial or resource support to make it effective and
more importantly, meaningful. On the one end of the spectrum, teachers in our district worked very hard
to make the Portfolio program work, and just before the final mandatory presentations, the Provincial
Government backed down and made Portfolio optional. On the other end of the spectrum our district
Student Leadership Council (SLC) initiated a district-wide ’vote’ that quite intentionally was biased to-
wards getting rid of the Portfolio. I could write several long-winded posts about both perspectives but
in the end what really matters is that the Portfolio program is gone now, and any new program is going
to be faced with skepticism, doubt and ill feelings from many students and teachers alike! So now the
challenge is to make the new, easier (mandatory) program work, rather than throwing our hands in the
air and thinking, ”When are they going to pull the plug on this one?”
The fact is, I believe Graduation Transitions is here to stay. This program has been weeded down to
having every student in the Province show evidence that they have considered important aspects around
their health, community/work experience and their careers. I don’t think that these minimum expecta-
tions of a BC grad will be going anywhere soon.
About the Presentation
In the end, I think that I did a pretty good job delivering four important messages.
The messages were:
· What does the new program look like
· This is easier than the previous Graduation Portfolio program
· The intent behind the current program is good
· The program may be mandatory, but ’we’ decide whether to make it a chore or a positive, meaningful
I used a fair bit of comics/humour in the slides, but very little humour in my delivery. I did read a
quote off of my slides, but did not really read from my slides beyond that. For the teachers, I used a
couple comics at the end to make the point that we can make this much better for the students if we
buy into it, and make the most of it. And for the students, I used a series of images to represent the
fact that Grad Transitions is the new and much improved version of the Graduation Portfolio that they
did not want or like. This was a great slide that was used very early on in my presentation, (the second
slide). I wish I could show it here, but I used a few copyrighted images, and although I did not have an
issue using them in my presentation, I would not feel comfortable printing them here on a personal blog,
without permission. The slide went like this:
An image of an old black & white boxy picture-tube TV with the title ”Graduation Portfolio” then an
image of a modern flat screen TV with the title ”Grad Transitions”. This continued with three more
images to impress the point.
Graduation Portfolio Grad Transition
The Flintstones Anime Robots
A wall-to-wall 1950’s computer A sleek new Emac
A tape cassette Sony Walkman An ipod nano
I used some simple slide or fade transitions between images. I spoke about the history and challenges of
the portfolio program while this slide played, but it was powerful enough that I think I should have let it
play in silence, or had some cheesy video game music behind it, (perhaps Space Invaders for Graduation
Portfolio and some ambient music from Warcraft for Grad Transitions). The chuckles in the audience
told me that the message was getting through.
One of my final slides went back to this theme. It was a split screen with a comic on the left, titled
’Graduation Portfolio’ that had a juggler with his juggling balls going everywhere, bouncing on the floor,
etc. Then on the right hand side, titled ’Graduation Transition’ I had an oversimplified gif animation file
of a line-drawn juggler juggling 3 balls continuously. I confirmed that, ’Yes, this new program is easier
to manage’, but it is still important and something you do have to focus on, and fit into your schedule in
order to graduate.’
Both of my presentations, to the staff and to the students ended with this quote: (I did not read it, just
had it up as I concluded.)
Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples, don’t count on
harvesting Golden Delicious. ~Bill Meyer
These presentations took a very long time to prepare: Partly because I have not spent a long time using
Powerpoint; Partly because the content was so new to me, and because the program is so new that there is
little direction yet; Partly because I knew how important this first impression would be. Now despite the
fact that the presentations went well, I am not pretending that some, if not many of my audience did not
buy into this. The presentation means nothing if I can’t implement this program in a way that students
feel is meaningful. Teachers will also buy in if they see that students find this a worthy experience. I
have a lot to do to make this work!
Final Thoughts
In conclusion, I am very happy that my ’Presentation Week’ is over! I learned a lot about creating
presentations and again I highly recommend that you read [6]Joyce Valenza’s post and follow some of
the links she suggests. Also, I am still grappling with copyright issues. The fact is, I am not going to
get permission to use an image of the Flintstones in my presentation... that permission would come too
late anyway. But, this was not a presentation made to hand-in to anyone. It created no capital gains
for me, and did not have my name attached to it. I did not publish it here on my blog. Is it ok to use
copyrighted images for such a presentation?
- - - - -
Image: [7]’finally’ by [8]thebigdurian on Flickr.
Originally posted: September 10th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
Tomorrow my Principal, Andrew, and I (along with some more staff) are
speaking to the parents of next year’s Grade 5’s. I’m using a
ready-made slide show but I have put comics at the start and the end
as lead-ins to the things I think are important... and... I also spent
over an hour taking out all the cheesy-spin-around-flying-words-and
transitions. If I’ve learned just one thing from preparing and doing
these presentatons it is that:
1. http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/graduation/grad-transitions/welcome.htm
2. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/successfull-presentation
3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vldjedAashA
4. http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/blog/1340000334/post/1880011988.html
5. http://www.flickr.com/photos/thebigdurian/14386298/
6. http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/blog/1340000334/post/1880011988.html
7. http://www.flickr.com/photos/thebigdurian/14386298/
8. http://www.flickr.com/photos/thebigdurian/
9. http://students2oh.org/2008/01/07/teaching-process-of-design/
Start with Innovative Schools... (2008-05-09 01:19)
”How can the next president better help small business and entrepreneurs thrive?”
That was the question that US Senator and Presidential Candidate Barack Obama asked on [3]LinkedIn.
A day later I posted response #1421. Here it is:
The definition for ’Entrepreneur’ came from Google using ’define: entrepreneur’, but I did not link to it
since the link does not work.(www.onlinewbc.gov/docs/starting/glossary.html).
What I did link to was a very [6]gifted student’s blog post- (you’ve seen it [7]here before), a [8]Time
Magazine Article found in this student’s [9]del.icio.us links tagged ’gifted’, and my [10]Square Peg, Round
Hole post.
I don’t think that the purpose of our educational system is to ’produce entrepreneurs’ but it seems
fairly evident to me that we should be fostering the kind of thinking that entrepreneurs possess in our
[11]flat world.
I also don’t think that we need to cater specifically to gifted students... on the contrary, what we
do to fill their educational needs, to challenge them, and to catalyze their creativity, can (and will) help
every student become more ingenious.
In his recent post, ”[12]Who are we re-
ally failing”, (which also links to the Time Magazine Article above), Christopher D. Sessums points to
a year-old post about a debate, ”[13]Transforming Learning: Evolution or Revolution”. In this post,
Christopher says:
”Is framing the debate of transformation as an evolutionary or revolutionary process the correct way
to look at the current situation? Might there be a better set of metaphors? How might the notion of
emergence fit this proposition? What might Paulo Freire think?”
I think the answer is in the question... it isn’t an evolutionary or revolutionary process... it is a transfor-
mation that has qualities of both evolution and revolution. There has been a metamorphosis in the way
people connect, relate, communicate, and inquire. With regards to schools, education, and learning, you
might say that we are in a cocoon right now. Some of us only know what it means to be a caterpillar,
others see the potential of being a butterfly, and none of us know where our wings can take us.
- - - - -
Painting from [14]’Aquatic Origins’ exhibit by Michelle McGauchie. (Used with permission from the
Originally posted: September 14th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
We are definitely out of the cocoon, and although we still aren’t sure
where our wings can take us, we are beginning to fly. I think the
transformation has been from groups of educators going in similar
direction to a single (loose) network of learners helping, and
connecting to, each other. Comments on the original post:
1. Here is the cookie-cutter email response. I guess with it being a
’business’ question I should not have expected any significant
mention of education.Barack Obama wrote:Hi Dave-Thanks for
participating in Barack’s question on LinkedIn Answers – our
campaign will review all of these answers in the days ahead.Barack
is committed to helping small businesses and believes they are at
the heart of the American economy. He is committed to expanding
opportunities and easing the everyday pressures so many businesses
face by cutting their health care costs, improving access to
capital, and investing in innovation and development.He plans to
fix our health care crisis and enable more small businesses to
provide affordable care to their employees. He will expand loan
programs for small businesses and create a national network of
public-private business incubators. He also will invest in
women-owned businesses, increase minority access to capital,
increase supports for businesses in rural areas, and work to close
the digital divide that limits the growth potential of many urban
and rural small businesses. In addition, Barack will support
entrepreneurship and spur job growth by creating a national
network of public-private business incubators. Business incubators
facilitate the critical work of entrepreneurs in creating start-up
companies. They offer help designing business plans, provide
physical space, identify and address problems affecting all small
businesses within a given community, and give advice on a wide
range of business practices, including reducing overhead costs.
Business incubators will engage the expertise and resources of
local institutions of higher education and successful private
sector business to help ensure that small businesses have both a
strong plan and the resources for long-term success. Obama will
invest $250 million per year to increase the number and size of
incubators in disadvantaged communities throughout the country. We
appreciate immensely your willingness to share your insights and
suggestions on these issues and your help in achieving these
goals. For more information on Barack ideas for improving America
visit: www.barackobama.com/issues Thanks, Scott & Becky @ Obama HQ
[15]David Truss on Friday, 14 September 2007, 21:46 CEST
2. Your blog is inspiring, and can serve as a resource for teachers
in the trenches. I teach 3rd grade, and I am seeing the
differentiation of technological literacy...some are learning what
an icon is, some can navigate to a research link, and others are
making amazing connections. It is frustrating to have a curriculum
that includes just "keyboarding" and it starts 1/2 way through the
school year. Student need to engage in critical thinking and be
able to read and think across several technological literacies. I
plan to really explore what you have here and find ideas for
implementation. -ABC Coach
ABC Coach on Saturday, 27 October 2007, 17:59 CEST
3. To ABC Coach,Thank you for your kind words.I’m beginning to think
that it is time we threw the curriculum out the window and rebuilt
it from scratch. Start with the ’end in mind’ and meaningfully
engage students in critical thinking and 21st Century Literacy,
rather than just creating a series of patchwork adaptations and
solutions. -Dave
[16]David Truss on Saturday, 27 October 2007, 23:07 CEST
Visible links 1. http:
2. http://www.linkedin.com/answers/startups-small-businesses/small-business/STR_SMB/95900-11932467?split_
3. http://www.linkedin.com/static?key=company_info&trk=ftr_abt
4. http://www.linkedin.com/profile?viewQA=&key=5794092
5. http://www.linkedin.com/profile?viewQA=&key=5794092
6. http://wanderingink.net/?p=49
7. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/prevent-another-da-vinci
8. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1653653-2,00.html
9. http://del.icio.us/gypsyblue/gifted
10. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/square-peg-round-hole
11. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0312425074?ie=UTF8&tag=davidtrcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=
12. http://eduspaces.net/csessums/weblog/190364.html
13. http://elgg.net/csessums/weblog/129328.html
14. http://www.mycollingwood.ca/aquatic_origins.asp
15. http://davidtruss.com/
16. http://DavidTruss.com/
Digital immigrants or digital natives? A discussion of digital competence... A spec-
trum, not a dichotomy! (2008-05-11 02:53)
[1]Amy Capelle has started a very interesting discussion in Ning’s Classroom2.0
[2]She asks, ”[3]Are they really digital natives?”
The discussion there is great! Here is my response:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
”I come from the Batman era,
adding items to my utility belt while students today are the Borg from Star Trek,
assimilating technology into their lives.”
That’s [4]a quote I use to differentiate digital immigrants from digital natives.
BUT I have realized that it is much more about comfort level & exposure than it is about age. While I
am helping some frustrated students open a sign-up verification e-mail, other students have logged into
the new site, added a photo, and changed the appearance of their personal page.
There are three digital divides here preventing me from effectively using technology in the classroom.
(Two from my post, and the 3rd added from this Classroom2.0 discussion.) These divides are the gaps
1. What I know and what I need to know.
2. What the school has in the way of technology and what it needs to have.
3. What skills/abilities students enter my class with.
#1 I can change.
#2 will never change fast enough.
#3 is the shift in this conversation.
I have both immigrants and natives in my class, so the distinction is moot.
In [5]another post I said,
”And then there is my class Science Alive! wiki... ”I think that I am guilty of seeing the value of using
technology in guiding learning, but not effectively guiding learning in my technology use.”
I have done a pretty good job of getting my students going... but now as momentum builds I have come
to the realization that I don’t have a marking rubric to guide me, or my students, as we move towards a
final product.
My class is assembling a lego model without the instructions, or even the image of the final product on
the front of the box. This isn’t a problem for the creative/motivated students; they will assembly a better
model in ways that I could never have ’instructed’ them... but some students need structure, they have
been fed it for years and expect it (even from yours truly - this isn’t finger pointing, it is observation).
I let technology supersede pedagogy.”
Digital immigrants or digital natives is nothing more than a discussion of digital competence... it is a
spectrum, not a dichotomy!
Where does this leave us?
We want all of our students to be digitally competent.
We want all of our students to be [6]articulate thinkers.
We need to make this happen in pedagogically sound ways.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Let us go to the very beginning of the whole debate and none other Mark Prensky himself. In his
article, [7]Adopt and Adapt: Shaping Tech for the Classroom, Prensky says:
”...technology adoption... It’s typically a four-step process:
1. Dabbling.
2. Doing old things in old ways.
3. Doing old things in new ways.
4. Doing new things in new ways.”
I think we get excited when we see ’new things in new ways’, but often we end up (re)creating old
things in new ways. The real conversation needs to be around the constraints of curriculum and stan-
dardized testing.
”This is why the foundation of education systems today should not be the rails, but it should be the side
trips. It should not be the central standard curriculum, but it should be those directions that students,
that learners, both teachers and students, can navigate to on their own.” ([8]David Warlick)
New things in new ways... creating articulate thinkers... and building digital competence as a by-product.
Originally posted: September 19th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
I remember laboring over the semantics of my title for this post. I
used the word ’spectrum’ then changed it to ’continuum’ and then back
to ’spectrum’. The reason I stuck with ’spectrum’ is because the
competence and exposure to technology that students face today are not
uniform as a continuum may suggest. Students can have very narrow
bands, or very wide arrays, of knowledge or expertise when it comes to
their use of technology. So if I were to make the post title into a
statement it would be:
Rather than a Digital Native/Digital Immigrant dichotomy, students
have a wide spectrum of digital competence positively correlating to
their digital exposure.
- - -
I’ll save the conversations around assessment, pedagogy and
standardized testing for another day.
Comments on the original post:
1. David,You always do such a great job of bringing things together,
focusing on what is truly important and not the chaff. Schools and
school jurisdictions are slow moving in so many ways. They are not
adept at recognizing change or at responding to that change. This,
at times, has been a very useful such as when bandwagon ideas and
such were not able to make big headway. However, we have come to a
time when change is necessary and vital to our ability to prepare
students to transition to that place we call world. Unfortunately
we cannot continue to wait until everyone has reached stage 3 or 4
as outlined by Prensky because, as you point out, our students
aren’t even there. With the shifting sands of technology, I don’t
believe we will ever get there. Educators will need to become
comfortable with being uncomfortable, with change being a constant
and not having all the answers. When we realize that we, too, can
be borglike if we but allow ourselves the opportunity to revel in
the change and not fear it, helping our students will become
synonymous with helping ourselves. Keep writing, David. You have a
gift for sifting and finding that nugget. Btw, I’d like to try the
book club idea again. Interested?
[9]Kelly Christopherson on Thursday, 20 September 2007, 07:22 CEST
2. Thanks for your kind words Kelly!"Educators will need to become
comfortable with being uncomfortable, with change being a constant
and not having all the answers." What a great point. We expect our
students to change, grow, and be lifelong learners... should we
not do the same!Yes, I would like to try the book club again, and
yes we can make it work this time... but I need a couple more
weeks before I can think of opening a book for pleasure. Do you
have any in mind?
[10] David Truss [11]David Truss on Thursday, 20 September 2007,
08:32 CEST
3. The Borg! Resistance is futile - therefore we all will be
assimilated into the Web2.0...I am neither immigrant nor native -
I am an illegal alien and loving it!
[12]mrsdurff on Friday, 21 September 2007, 03:24 CEST
4. David,You certainly have a great take and grasp on the issues
education faces, especially in regards to technology in and out of
the classroom. I’ve enjoyed so much, your "thoughts".Isn’t that
what it is all about? Whether it be a violin, a pen or a mouse -
this interaction with ourself, the fertilizing of ourself to bring
more splendour and light into the world?We are doing that here,
you are doing it so well with your blog. It is your violin. I
enjoyed the stories so much and you’ve inspired me and I think
I’ll start a story of the day on my own site - stories for
teachers.I’m gonna keep lurkin’ :) David
Guest on Tuesday, 02 October 2007, 01:55 CEST
Visible links 1. http://classroom20.ning.com/profile/2of3rs
2. http://mrscapelle.googlepages.com/
3. http://classroom20.ning.com/forum/topic/show?id=649749%3ATopic%3A48203&page=5
4. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/digital-native-digital-naive-digital-divide
5. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/some-assembly-required
6. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/articulate-your-thinking
7. http://www.edutopia.org/adopt-and-adapt
8. http://k12online.wm.edu/k12online2006_optz.mp4
9. http://kwhobbes.wordpress.com/
10. http://eduspaces.net/dtruss/
11. http://davidtruss.com/
12. http://durffsblog.blogspot.com/
tgidinski (2008-05-11 20:28:54)
I like the word ”spectrum” better than ”continuum” in this case too for the following reason: When I think of
”spectrum,” I think of the light spectrum, which continues farther than we can see with the naked eye. For me, a
continuum has a finite starting point and ending point. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Dave Truss (2008-05-11 11:58:51)
Jan, Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I certainly agree with you that, ”There is significant, rich, deep
teaching and learning happening in classrooms without technology, and there is lousy teaching happening where the
kids spend more time in front of screens.” And, that is an argument I’ve heard many times before. Yet, I think
there is also a lot of weak, shallow teaching happening as well, regardless of tech infusion or lack there of. That
said, what I try to present to teachers is the idea that technology can offer opportunities that a typical classroom
cannot. I still see Middle School students colouring maps and doing cookie-cutter style Country Studies, when
students can be digitally ’visiting’ countries, creating and labeling personal Google Maps and connecting to stu-
dents (or Teachers or Historians) in the country they are studying. Yes there is, ”lousy teaching happening where
the kids spend more time in front of screens” but there are lousy lectures happening in our digital-less classrooms
too... should we just not lecture from now on? I feel like this is a ’throw the baby out with the bath water’ kind
of argument and as you can see it gets me a bit riled up. ;-) Technology infusion into the classroom has its’ own
pedagogical challenges. It does NOT make a teacher’s life easier! Technology infusion changes the way we
need to teach and that poses more challenges as we figure out what is effective, engaging and mean-
ingful to students and their learning. Perhaps our delivery of the message needs to change, but regardless
of our approach we are trying to break a very old mold... it is extremely difficult to implement disruptive change
gently. We cannot ’...go quietly into our classrooms’ ! We must embrace the [1]Brave New World-Wide-Web.
1. http://www.slideshare.net/datruss/brave-new-www
Jan Smith (2008-05-11 10:14:05)
Thanks Dave, Great food for thought. Here’s [1]a video to add to the buffet: (I saw it yesterday on David War-
lick’s site) As positive as the message of the video is about change and potential, I wonder about the technological
xenophobia I see directed at some teachers by tech leaders. I have heard the natives/immigrants dichotomy (and
it is a dichotomy to them)tossed about often. There is significant, rich, deep teaching and learning happening in
classrooms without technology, and there is lousy teaching happening where the kids spend more time in front of
screens. I think if we want our colleagues to see the potential in a technology, we have to frame the invitation
differently than we do for our students, beyond ”if you demo it, they will come”. It is a bit like the pap served up
in ”[2]A Vision of K-12 Students Today” ...it continues to frame tech use/non use as a competency/incompetency
proposition. I really liked how [3]Dan Meyer responded to it here. By the way, I admire the way you are reflecting
on your posts. Socrates (via Plato) would be so proud! Cheers, Jan
1. http://youtube.com/watch?v=b4VhoWGZ2eA
2. http://youtube.com/watch?v=_A-ZVCjfWf8&feature=related
3. http://blog.mrmeyer.com/?p=708
Through the Filter 05/13/2008 | WebedtecH (2008-05-12 23:31:49)
[...] Digital immigrants or digital natives? A discussion of digital competence… A spectrum, not a dicho... [...]
K12 Online Conference 2007: Playing with Boundaries- (at your leisure)
(2008-05-14 01:54)
Why should you participate in this online conference?
• It’s Free!
• You can participate when it is convenient for you.
• You can participate as much or as little as you like.
• You will ’meet’ some very interesting people.
• It will challenge you to do ”[2]new things in new ways”.
• It will help you to improve your practice.
Why am I signed up? I have a bit of a history with this conference.
My journey into the world of [3]Web2.0 - the interactive/participatory web, where we create and share
content rather than just seek information - started with a [4]webcast of Alan November that challenged
me to start [5]my first blogging project with students.
Next, my commitment to consistently keeping a personal blog got started a little later. An early in-
spiration was the K12 Online Conference 2006 [6]keynote webcast by [7]David Warlick. I wrote [8]a post
in response, which I did after the conference was over... welcome to the anytime, anywhere experience of
an online conference. However, it is even more engaging to participate during the conference when you
can interact and learn with other participants... Join the [9]Learning Conversations!
Just click on the image below to find out more.
Originally posted: September 26th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
Here it is, short-and-sweet: My plate was too full to participate!
I was so busy building the Graduation [11]Transitions program that all
I did was listen to the keynote and I was done. Since then I have
followed up a bit, with the highlight being an introduction to
[12]"Unprojects" as served up by [13]Chris Harbeck.
I find it somewhat ironic that I added to the title of this post, "(at
your leisure)" and then had no leisure time to participate.
...and now here I am: Trying to move my blog post-by-post, reflecting
along the way; Learning the ropes as a new VP; Trying to be a great
husband and father; Trying to get back into shape (I spent an hour on
the treadmill today); and trying to prepare [14]3 presentations for
BLC08. Leisure time will resume in August:-/
1. http://k12onlineconference.org/
2. http://www.edutopia.org/adopt-and-adapt
3. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/the-web2-point-0-prophecy/
4. http://online.sd43.bc.ca/staff_development/webcast.htm
5. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/sharing-engaging-web-2-0h-yeah/
6. http://k12online.wm.edu/k12online2006_optz.mp4
7. http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/
8. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/warlicks-k12-online-keynote-06/
9. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/learning-conversations/
10. http://k12onlineconference.org/
11. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/transitions-transformations-and-transgressions/
12. http://www.slideshare.net/charbeck1/unprojects-125206
13. http://makeitinteresting.blogspot.com/
14. http://novemberlearning.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=230&Itemid=135
FieldFindr: Using Ning to Connect Teachers to Volunteers (2008-05-15 00:24)
”A portal to Connect Classrooms to the World: Global Citizens can Share Talents and Skills with Stu-
dents. Teachers can find Global Citizens (Volunteers) willing to help in a field of interest that they are
working on in their class.”
[1]FieldFindr: Where teachers can meet global citizens with skills to share.
It started with a [2]post and a [3]wiki, and now it has evolved into a [4]Ning Network.
I humbly request your help so that WE can make this happen. After you sign up, [5]this forum post is a
great place to start.
Thank you for contributing to this new site!
Originally posted: October 3rd, 2007
First, here is the April 15th/08 reflection from [6]my original
Fieldfindr post:
- - - - -
So, in reflecting on my blog posts I move from an unsuccessful book
club to an unsuccessful portal… they would be disappointing if they
weren’t so enlightening! To this day, failures are looked upon as
negative as opposed to opportunities for learning. It seems
conditioned into us at such a young age… this is a comment on our
society as much as it is a comment on schools.
This is still a great idea… but it was DOOMED TO FAIL! Why?
1. Because it is geared to educators, not to those who would be
willing to contribute. My audience and the target audience are not the
same. Also the structures to build a sortable ‘bank’ of volunteers are
not available for those interested in signing up, (see #3).
2. Formal measures around safety need to be hammered out. Note
[7]Kelly’s Comment on the original post:
Dave, I like this idea. I think that it has great potential. Now, the
administrator comes out in me but how do we ensure that: a. The person
is an expert in what they say they are b. They are safe c. There is
not “inappropriate” contact between people and the students.
I think this is wonderful and we have this type of thing going on in
our school with some of our local people. The big difference is that
we are in a small community, people who are vounteering must do a
criminal records check and any outside school projects are to be
okayed by the parents. Precautions. I think that this would be an
incredible way to get people from different sectors involved in the
education system. This would also allow teachers to have references
for their projects or assignments - would give validity to what we do
in schools. That would increase the “price of stock” for educators in
all areas.
3. Both Wikispaces and Ning are the wrong venues, I simply don’t have
the required tech savvy-ness or financial resources (or for that
matter time) to create what is needed.
- - -
That said, I can see a University really taking this on as a project.
They can start with one department, say Music or Science, and promote
the interests of their instructors/Masters Students/PhD students with
teachers that may be interested in their skills as either mentors or
experts or judges or…
There is significant need and opportunity for such a portal and I
challenge anyone with the knowledge and resources to make it happen!
- - - - -
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
[8]Vicki Davis added this to the comment to the post mentioned above:
Why don’t you take this on, or resurrect the discussions as part of
the [9]Advocates for Digital Citizenship, Safety, and Success efforts
that people are joining in.
I still think it is a great idea — there needs to be a way to safely
screen the adults, somehow.
Maybe there is still hope for something like this to happen. Who has
the skill, know-how and resources to make it happen?
1. http://fieldfindr.ning.com/
2. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/fieldfindr-connect-classrooms-to-the-world
3. http://fieldfindr.wikispaces.com/
4. http://fieldfindr.ning.com/
5. http://fieldfindr.ning.com/forum/topic/show?id=1217534%3ATopic%3A23
6. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/fieldfindr-connect-classrooms-to-the-world/
7. http://kwhobbes.wordpress.com/
8. http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/
9. http://ad4dcss.blogspot.com/
Opportunities, Access & Obstacles (2008-05-16 02:26)
“You know the No. 1 complaint about school is that it’s boring because
the traditional way it’s taught relies on passive learning,” Mr.
Noguera said. “It’s not interactive enough.”
Pedro Noguera ([1]NYT)
I just watched [2]David Warlick’s [3]K12 Online Conference Keynote: [4]Inventing the New Boundaries.
Then I got an e-mail from [5]Kris about an article coming out in the New York Times later today,
titled: [6]In Some Schools, iPods Are Required Listening.
They both reminded me of [7]this post,
"Kids are going to text message.
How are we going to make that work in our school?"
- - -
"When someone wants to ban something, I ask myself,
how can we use this to help us in education? ‘It is a new tool’. Not
obstacles but opportunities."
Chris Kennedy
Which takes us back to the New York Times Article:
Ms. Poli said her Spanish-speaking students — known around the school
as Pod People — have been able to move out of bilingual classes after
just a year of using the digital devices, compared with an average of
four to six years for most bilingual students.
Winnie Hu
We have the capability to access like never before! Recently I have thought a lot about how things have
changed, about how we digitally engage and interact in our world. There are so many opportunities
available to us.
• Our lives are open, public and on display.
For under $100 you can have [8]iLife ’08 and produce, publish, print and share what ever you
want with the world. Fifteen years ago $10,000 couldn’t have given you the same opportunities... and
there are free versions of similar (and some better) tools popping up all the time.
• Online networks help to define us.
My Blog, My Flickr, My Space, My Facebook, My Friends, My Profile, My Second Life, My
del.icio.us, MyBlogLog, My Ning Network, My Twitter, My-Whole-Life-Connected-and-On-Display-F-
or-Anyone-And-Everyone-To-Se e...
• Growing access to customizable tools and networks.
[9]Maps of the future are being used as a [10]catalyst for conversation. As Mark Van’t Hooft of
[11]Ubiquitous Thoughts notes, the map ”...lists half a dozen external forces that will affect education
in the next decade in the areas of family and community, markets, institutions, educators and learning,
and tools and practices. With regards to digital tools, it is noteworthy that the focus seems to be
on mobile and connected devices, in an environment that favors personalization/customization AND
networking/connectedness at the same time.”
• Personalized learning that responds to a learner’s needs.
Machines are finding [12]creative answers to problems... This site, [13]Think Artificial, also [14]intro-
duced me to [15]Virtual Tutors: Launched in March, [16]uMind ”...employs AI to create a virtual tutor
that recognizes and adapts to the student’s limitations and emotional distress. The instructor knows
when a student is stumped and activates extra teaching modules on the specific subject.”
• Life extended beyond the physical world.
Moving beyond just Web2.0 sharing. The [17]first time I saw [18]Gary Hayes’ ”[19]THE CHANGING
INTRAWEB - FROM 1.0 to 3.0” was the first time I considered the possibility of Web3.0. Today there
seems to be a very real weaving of real-life and virtual realities for [20]more than just entertainment. We
will find ourselves engaging in, and fully integrating with, a digital universe – [21]a metaverse – ”This
ubiquitous cloud of information is like electricity to children of the 20th century: essentially universal,
expected and conspicuous only in its absence.”
Yes there are Obstacles ... and they aren’t going away fast enough. The most basic one is once again
access- (or at least lack there of). [22]Carolyn Foote’s post on [23]The disconnect notes the many road-
blocks teacher face, (”the disconnect between “the possible” and what’s permitted in schools”).
Here is what I said in a comment on Carolyn’s post:
I’ve been limited by the technology my school can provide time and again:-(
About a year and a half ago, I got out of Plato’s cave, saw the vibrancy technology can provide in
a student’s learning experience and I have been constantly thrown back into the cave to watch the
technology-less shadows… A disconnect indeed!
For me the (hardware) tools are computers, ideally wireless laptops.
For many others, as I have been learning, the (web2.0/software) tools themselves are unimportant com-
pared to access, opportunity, and COLLABORATION TIME. Tools are getting so much more user-
friendly, but using them for learning (rather than just to teach old things in new ways), that is the trick.
Case in point: I have seen a few blogs where students answer a teacher question, but don’t interact with
each other in any meaningfully way.
So for many teachers collaboration time, or training, or professional development opportunities are more
important than tools (in my humble opinion).
Put 2 or more well-intentioned teachers in a room and practice will improve. Don’t offer specific tools,
offer opportunities for people to [24]Connect & Collaborate & Creatively engage with tools of their choice.
Oh yeah… but make sure they have the technology available to make this time useful when they get back
into their classrooms!
Access Granted
On many levels, ’access issues’ are key obstacles. Yet, opportunities abound! The web lets us [25]col-
laborate in [26]many [27]different [28]ways! So now I have to wonder: Do we want our discussions to be
around what we can’t do?
It isn’t so much about ’[29]New Boundaries’ as it is about removing boundaries. There were holes in the
Berlin wall for years... innovative teachers today are escapees from behind similar walls. It is time to
tear the old ideological walls down. Teachers and students need access granted!
Originally posted: October 9th, 2007
Comment on the original post:
I’m just discovering this post after you shared it on twitter during
Educon! It is such a fresh way of looking at the issues involved. I’m
going to add it to the wiki for reflection.
I think identifying this as an ideological battle is significant. It’s
about the difference between fear and opportunity. I think we have to
be informed, and inform our districts as well, and we each have to
help on the front lines by spreading hope not fear.
[30]Carolyn Foote on Monday, 28 January 2008, 14:05 CET
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
One of the most amazing things about our district is how open it is...
and we are building an infrastructure designed for our students to be
able to bring their own hardware!
In 5 years, a teacher won’t need a 1-1 laptop program, but instead
just 2 or 3 ’computers’ for those that do not bring their own to
class. Why? Because I figure in 5 years instead of carrying around an
MP3 player and phone/camera, almost every student will have a jazzed
up iPhone or equivalent tool. They will be [31]bringing their own
tools to class. With the hardware obstacle out of the way, we can
start focusing on the use of technology to [32]Connect & Collaborate &
Creatively engage the learner... allowing our student to [33]Construct
their learning and [34]Create meaning.
I’ve seen a real shift in my own thinking recently. Forget whining
about access, disregard the slow speed of change, get over the
obstacles! Go after meaningful results. Engage and empower students.
Be a leader and a role model.
Visible links 1. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/09/education/09ipod.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
2. http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/2007/10/08/k12-online-conference-begins/
3. http://k12onlineconference.org/
4. http://k12online.wm.edu/davidw.mp4
5. http://wanderingink.net/
6. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/09/education/09ipod.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
7. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/ask-and-ye-shall-recieve
8. http://www.apple.com/ilife/guidedtour/
9. http://www.kwfdn.org/map/index.aspx
10. http://www.kwfdn.org/map/demo.aspx
12. http://www.thinkartificial.org/artificial-intelligence/when-intelligent-systems-surprise-us/#more-472
13. http://www.thinkartificial.org/about/
14. http://www.thinkartificial.org/artificial-intelligence/teachers-arent-all-made-from-meat/
15. http://www.umindsoft.com/English/Solutions/education.html
16. http://www.umindsoft.com/English/News/News1.html
17. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/the-web2-point-0-prophecy
18. http://www.personalizemedia.com/index.php/about-gary-2/
19. http://www.personalizemedia.com/virtual-worlds-web-30-and-portable-profiles/
20. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7012645/
21. http://www.news.com/2100-1025_3-6175973.html
22. http://futura.edublogs.org/
23. http://futura.edublogs.org/2007/10/01/the-disconnect/
24. http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/2007/10/04/a-few-random-things/
25. http://fieldfindr.ning.com/
26. http://www.wikipedia.org/
27. http://del.icio.us/network/dtruss
28. http://moodle.org/
29. http://k12onlineconference.org/?p=144
30. http://futura.edublogs.org/
31. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/bringing-tools-to-class/
32. http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/2007/10/04/a-few-random-things/
33. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/some-assembly-required/
34. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/synthesize-and-add-meaning/
INDEXED - a ’graph’ is worth a thousand words (2008-05-17 15:09)
[1]Jessica Hagy uses graphs to make sense of our world. She is deft at finding hidden truths in places
we all look at, but are blind to. I will share one such graph with you now, and link to two more on her
blog.... head there and find your own favorites.
[2]Interesting people are interested.
I have spoken about [4]Learning Conversations before, but this little cue card says so much... for Jessica
Hagy ’A ’graph’ is worth a thousand words!’
But we can’t just complain about the current state of education...
[5]What are you gonna do about it?
Complaints do not move us forward, action does. After all...
[6]Yes, there is always another option.
We need to dream, but we also need to be grounded enough to know what is possible... and we have to
follow through and implement our plans.
Thanks for the inspiration Jessica!
Originally posted: October 15th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
Rather than a reflection, I’ll just continue the Jessica Hagy tribute
with a compliment to my readers and educational bloggers alike. We do
what we do... because we have to:
[7]You’ve got to try.
Visible links 1. http://www.blogger.com/profile/17286747380227623649
2. http://indexed.blogspot.com/2007/10/interesting-people-are-interested.html
3. http://indexed.blogspot.com/2007/10/interesting-people-are-interested.html
4. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/learning-conversations
5. http://indexed.blogspot.com/2007/10/what-are-you-gonna-do-about-it.html
6. http://indexed.blogspot.com/2007/03/yes-there-is-always-another-option.html
7. http://indexed.blogspot.com/2008/05/youve-got-to-try.html
Two ’stuck’ posts, a borrowed post with an added rant, and a few questions.
(2008-05-18 00:28)
I have 2 blog posts on the go right now that I can’t get myself to complete.
One is on Digital Citizenship which looks at a post by [1]Vicky A. Davis. The concepts I am formulating
are in need of some more deep thought, and I don’t know when I will get to it?
The second post is on a 1-1 project in our district. I invited myself to a presentation for parents of
students receiving computers for the project. Although the post is almost done, (and sitting in a Google
document), I’m feeling bitter about my lack of availability of computers to teach my Planning 10 classes
and so I don’t think I can complete the post until my frame of mind is one that can frame the post in
the positive light I feel it deserves. (I feel childish admitting that, but that’s where I’m at right now.)
A third post has been looming in my head, but my feedreader fed it to me in the form of someone else’s
post: [2]It’s time for some perspective here by Kelly Christopherson.
Here is a little more perspective: I am attempting to fully engage, but still can’t keep up... I’ve been to
Second Life, but can’t find anything useful there... I don’t Twitter (yet?)... and to me [3]Ustream seems
like nothing more than a car accident that everyone is slowing down to look at...
All these tools are technological with only the potential to be pedagogical... but they aren’t designed
with pedagogy in mind. And so with regards to education, I wonder if those in the lead are actually
worth following? Will Richardson has [4]a great blog, but I’m not going to give [5]him and his buddy 45
minutes of my time to get information that a 4 paragraph summary of their talk could give me!
...And as for the big hype around backchannels... why do people think this is something worth hav-
ing transcribed? If a backchannel is used correctly -in my humble, ’perspective from the outside looking
in’, opinion- then it would influence the presenters, and so the meaningful components would be inte-
grated into the presentation. As for any ’interesting sidebar conversations’ that happen- they are mostly
relevant in context with the presentation and if they are worth expanding on and investigating... great,
investigate them and blog them for me, just don’t ask me to read 200+ comments to find a gem in the
rough. Backchannels have tremendous value in the ’here-and-now’, during a presentation, but what’s
with all the analysis after the fact? My point is that not only do I not have time for all these new tools,
these new tools are time consumers that don’t add to my learning experience in a meaningful way.
Looking at Kelly’s post, he states:
”Primarily, little has changed with education despite all the tools. I firmly believe that until we examine
the curricula, change some of those objectives and rework others, making it relevant to the students, no
amount of cool tool is going to create change.”
I couldn’t have said it better!
[Pink Floyd tune in my head... clocks ticking/bells chiming] The coordination of the Graduation [6]Tran-
sitions Program at our school is consuming so much of my time. I have to be realistic about what else I
can do!
• How much of the [7]K12Online07 conference will I participate in?
• Is [8]FieldFindr worth spending time on?
• Am I Ning-ing for my Planning 10 class project or blogging?
• When will I finish my other posts?
I could go on but I think my point is made, and I want to turn my questions outward...
• Am I the only one who feels like a 30 hour day would still be too short?
• Are there others out there who wonder what kind of commitment it will take for a teacher to be
technologically savvy enough to meaningfully engage students with all these new tools?
• Are we focusing too much on the tools and not enough on pedagogy?
• Will educational structures change fast enough to provide our students with a relevant education?
• ... and for that matter... What would an ideal education look like today?
Update: What technology should do for us...
[9]Learning Authentically in the Language Arts Classroom by Jamie McKenzie[10]
Here are the bulleted criteria under 1. Rationale ...
“authentic teaching” that involves students in “authentic intellectual work” outside school.
...pass the test of authenticity because they meet the following criteria:
• They are rooted in issues, challenges or decisions that people face in the world.
• They are genuine.
• The act of wrestling with these challenges is purposive - saturated with meaning and
• A student can see a payoff in the future for work well done and skills acquired.
In short, authentic intellectual work passes the test of “so what?” It is meaningful, worthy
and generative - in the sense of provoking ongoing growth and development.
I think that if the use of technology is authentic in this way, then the technology is being used appro-
priately in education. (Rather than just to play with the newest toys, as I seem to be noticing with
Ustream- more on this misguided ’use of technology in education’ in my next post). Also noteworthy,
the author’s [11]Anti-Prensky article.
Originally posted: October 15th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
In his post, Kelly linked to [12]Stephanie Sander’s post over at
[13]Change Agency, which fits well with the quote above that asks (in
the last sentence) "so what?"
Stephanie’s post asks "What?, So What? and Now What?" and is well
worth the read!
- - - - -
An interesting aside... the 1-1 presentation I invited myself to in
October, ended up being at the school I was promoted to in February. I
introduced Mr. Mak to wiki’s and this amazing teacher has [14]made the
class wiki into a class portal for almost every subject for his class
and in some cases his team. Hard to believe that he just got the
laptops in February!
More thoughts after the comments...
- - - - -
Comments on the original post:
1. We must always be willing to innovate. I have found that the
backchannel is very useful in my classroom and at conferences. It
is not a transcript but a place where people may become involved
in the conference -- see [15]Diane’s post today about the
experience.Yes, there are a lot of things to try out and learn. I
think that ustream gives us a couple of capabilities -- #1 a live
view into a live presentation -- sit in if you wish -- or check
the 4 paragraph blog post later (but does the blog post really
contain everything -- probably not and #2 instead of an incredible
speaker skype videoing into my classroom -- why not connect to
10-15 classrooms or more -- why should I horde those
opportunities.Yes, we’re playing with some of these new tools, but
that is what happens on the bleeding edge. I am using
backchannelling in my classroom as well as twitter for flat
classroom.And no, there isn’t enough time in the day. Just don’t
let it overwhelm you and make you cynical about it all. There is a
time and place for innovation and it rests squarely where there is
room for improvement in the classroom... students need to be a
part -- not just receivers. That is what the backchannel offers.
I’d love to answer your questions and share thoughts about these
emerging fields. But don’t forget a great teacher will be a great
teacher anyway -- we all have to do the best we can with where we
are -- and if you join twitter -- let me know. Would love to make
your acquaintance. Vicki Davis on Tuesday, 16 October 2007, 00:48
2. I too share your need for more time. I am a dabbler with these
tools and thus my full understanding is stunted by the lack of
depth. If backchanneling is similar or actually like the chat that
went on as people downloaded and watched Warlick’s pre-conference
keynote, then I am in agreement with you Dave. The nonsensical
chatter that went on instead of real discussion of the issues
being presented drove me bonkers. In fact, it became apparent that
few people had actually watched the presentation and were using
the conversation like a kiss and hug chat room. Very annoying.
Another example was the fireside chat with Warlick...I felt like a
kid with ADHD trying to listen to David, watch the whiteboard
while being distracted by the chat box. I know that the digital
natives are able to multitask, but that was ridiculous.
Multi-tasking is another way of saying - hit them with as many
mediums as possible and hope one holds their attention long enough
to give them information. I say....say something worth saying and
you will hold their attention.
Just my "2cents"...
Dave MacLean on Wednesday, 17 October 2007, 06:15 CEST
3. What appears to be opposing views of the last two comments is
something that interests me.I see the value in a backchannel!
There are many times, as a student, that I wished I had a way to
ask questions or clarify my perspective, without interrupting the
patter of the teacher. A backchannel could also be used as
[16]Vicki is using it, to share what she is teaching with others
along with a video stream so that they too have a part in the
presentation rather than just receiving it one-way.I also see the
caution of throwing more ’information’ out without it having any
pedagogical merit. That was my rant. However, in hindsight, I was
to quick to pounce. Educators are now experimenting with tools
like Ustream... it is a [17]new boundary teachers are playing
with. As I said above, "Backchannels have tremendous value in the
’here-and-now’", what I don’t understand is the transcribing of
the backchannel. The overanalysis of an unstructured stream of
information... it seems like too much. Also, as Dave says above,
"say something worth saying and you will hold their attention."
But these are NOT two sides of the same coin. They are two
different coins all together. One is about tools, and exploring
their potential. The other is about information, and its’ ability
to overload a learner. Together these two perspectives offer
opportunity and suggest caution. Both are needed.There’s my
pair-a-dimes worth!
[18]David Truss on Thursday, 18 October 2007, 08:40 CEST
- - - - -
In my comment above I mentioned ’pedagogical merit’ and to be
honest, I have been on a bit of a focus in that direction
recently. What I really mean by that is finding the right tools
and structures for the right job in order to meaningfully enhance
learning and engage learners. That said, I think that it is
important to read George Siemens post:
[19]Pedagogy First? Whatever.
...Pedagogy is not the starting point of planning to teach with
technology. Context is. ...Pedagogy should not even be a
consideration during the planning stages of technology use. Harsh
statement? Perhaps, but it’s a reality. Few Utopian situations
exist where our decisions on how to teach can be based exclusively
on pedagogy. Resources, expertise, technology, needs (of learners,
educators, society), and funds impact what we choose to do. In a
world: context. The mix of multiple, mutually influencing factors
determine what we types of technology we select. ...Let’s abandon
the somewhat silly notion of pedagogy first and recognize that the
choice of technology is driven by many contextual factors and
therefore context is what we are evaluating and considering when we
first start talking about possible technology to use. Then, after
we have selected technology, we can start talking about pedagogy.
Pedagogy is just not a practical starting point for deciding the
technology we should use.
So the context is more important than the pedagogy. It is more
important to design the learning space, to create a learning
environment that is friendly, useful and meaningful to the learners,
than it is to focus on the content or intended outcomes. In a recent
presentation I did to teachers in our district with 1-1 Laptops, I
talked a lot about Scaffolding. Creating structures in your
technology/web-based projects that supported student learning and
engagement. (I’m reworking this to be in one of [20]my presentations
at BLC08.) So, now this is what I think: ’Context’ is where you start.
’Scaffolding’ is the structure(s) we build in order to increase the
effectiveness of the technology use. ’Pedagogy’ is the artful things
we do to enhance learning regardless of technology use. I’m not sure
if scaffolding as described is fundamentally different than ’good
pedagogy’, but the term scaffolding suggests that we build something
onto the context, rather than just add something ’pedagogically sound’
to it... whatever that means!
Visible links 1. http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/2007/09/what-should-be-done-about-digital.html
2. http://kwhobbes.wordpress.com/2007/10/14/its-time-for-some-perspective-here/
3. http://www.ustream.tv/
4. http://weblogg-ed.com/
5. http://weblogg-ed.com/2007/weblogg-ed-tv-episode-1-dr-warren-buckleitner/
6. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/transitions-transformations-and-transgressions
7. http://www.k12onlineconference.org/
8. http://fieldfindr.ning.com/
9. http://fno.org/nov07/lang.html
10. http://fno.org/nov07/lang.html
11. http://fno.org/nov07/nativism.html
12. http://www.ed421.com/?p=360
13. http://www.ed421.com/?p=360
14. http://mrmak.wikispaces.com/
15. http://nexus.ontarioblogs.com/index.php/2007/10/15/learning-over-their-shoulders/
16. http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/2007/10/ok-so-what-do-we-call-it-if-not.html
17. http://k12onlineconference.org/
18. http://eduspaces.net/dtruss/
19. http://connectivism.ca/blog/2008/03/pedagogy_first_whatever.html
20. http://novemberlearning.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=230&Itemid=135
“Release the Hounds” by Chris Harbeck (2008-05-18 13:12)
You can go to the [1]K12Online page or to [2]Chris’ wiki page.
To put it simply... there is something here for everyone!
This presentation takes participants along my journey into integrating 2.0 applications and “21st Century
Learning” into my pedagogy. The presentation will show how teacher driven assignments and projects
teach students some of the skills they need to use these new technologies to enhance their learning.
[3]Scribe Posts, [4]Growing Posts and [5]E-Portfolios will provide participants with three different activ-
ities to do with their students. The final part of my presentation takes participants into [6]“unprojects”.
Participants will learn how to create “unprojects”. For the veteran teacher who is using 2.0 in their class-
room this is for you. See how students are more creative and show more enthusiasm towards assignments
when they are in charge of their learning.
This is where the future of education should be heading... Kudos to Chris Harbeck!
- - - - -
Unfortunately I will not be participating in the [7]CUEBC Conference with [8]Will Richardson. He
comes all the way to my neighbourhood and I have to miss him! Fortunately I am missing this so that
I can help out at a Student Leadership Retreat with my school. I have run these camps for many years
([9]and have resources to share). This year I am helping out rather than leading. I look forward to this,
and I hope to learn a lot with the advantage of a different (less stressful) perspective. Joni, is a great
leader who truly lives by the mantra I borrowed from Dave Sands, ”I teach leadership not followship”. I
wish I could do both events, but at least I am doing something that I will enjoy and learn from. You can
do the same by heading to one of Chris’ links above.
Originally posted: October 18th, 2006
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
It’s all about empowering students to be responsible for their own
learning... whether teaching them content in a class, having them
explore an area of interest, or having them run a school-wide activity
as part of a leadership program.
Chris’s comment on this post said,
Thanks for visiting the presentation. I hope you can use the tools
with your students. You will find that when students have creative
control over how they present information they rise to new levels
of learning. Have fun. Chris [10]make it interesting
Here is his [11]unprojects presentation:
[12] SlideShare | [13]View | [14]Upload your own
1. http://k12onlineconference.org/?p=167
2. http://releasethehounds.wikispaces.com/
3. http://www.slideshare.net/charbeck1/scribepost-119097/
4. http://www.slideshare.net/charbeck1/growing
5. http://www.slideshare.net/charbeck1/eportfolios
6. http://www.slideshare.net/charbeck1/unprojects-125206
7. http://www.cuebc.ca/conference/
8. http://www.weblogg-ed.com/
9. http://www.davidtruss.com/leadership_lessons.htm
10. http://makeitinteresting.blogspot.com/
11. http://www.slideshare.net/charbeck1/unprojects-125206
12. http://www.slideshare.net/?src=embed
13. http://www.slideshare.net/charbeck1/unprojects-125206?src=embed
14. http://www.slideshare.net/upload?src=embed
Jan Smith (2008-05-18 16:21:43)
Ok, you got me. I am supposed to be doing other things (important things, too). I went through the whole
of Chris’s presentation, then headed off on some great tangents, like the brilliant Warlick post about School
2.0 (complete with diagrams): http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/archives/909 ”Students stop being mirrors, and
instead become amplifiers.” That’ll stick with me. Chris’s slideshare presentation with his students at the Pan-
Canadian Literacy Forum was wonderful, too. I am most impressed by his students awareness of their own learning
journeys. How cool is that? As Chris said, ”they are in charge of their learning”.
tgidinski (2008-05-19 22:40:23)
I’m with Jan - I have to make sure I read your blog when I have ample time to spare! I’m ashamed to say that I
haven’t had the students in my class use powerpoint until two weeks ago, and despite the fact that some students
had never even heard of powerpoint, they took to it like old pros. Upon watching Chris’ presentation and reading
this post, I’ve realized, luckily, that I’m actually not too far off the unproject idea. I do have a bit of anxiety
releasing my control, however - partly because I feel like I’m losing control (but actually I’d be paradoxically
gaining more). I envy you working in a middle school (you do, right?) - I feel I have an extra challenge working
in a k-7 school when it comes to technology. I’ll be following your blog while I do my masters over the next few
years for inspiration. Thanks in advance!
Dave Truss (2008-05-20 00:42:43)
Jan, As I type this I’m taking a break from something important that I need to do (and it is after midnight)... it
seems I’m always taking ’learning breaks’ these days! I’m not sure if I can remember in recent history when I had
”ample time to spare” as Tracy says. Chris’ slideshare has stuck with me for a while now, it was great to go over
it again when reposting this. Also, I love the Warlick quote thanks! Tracy (tgidinski), I think the hardest part of
all this ’new stuff’ is the letting go of control... power teachers have held on to for too long, but also power that
is hard to give up. You hit the nail on the head with the paradox- ”Let go in order to achieve.” (A quote from my
leadership bible: The Tao of Leadership.) If you are interested in what you can do with K-7 students check out
Kim Cofino, in fact I went to here blog for a link and sure enough her most recent post is, ”[1]Students Teaching
Students” a project she is working on with Grade 5 teachers. It seems like you are doing some really neat things
in your class... don’t beat yourself up about not using one or another tool. Powerpoint can be great and it can
be a nightmare as students ’shoot you to death’ with an abundance of ’bullets’. Remember [2]DESIGN Matters.
...and that concludes my break. Thanks for the comments!
1. http://mscofino.edublogs.org/2008/05/20/students-teaching-students/
2. http://k12onlineconference.org/?p=174
Chris Harbeck (2008-10-21 17:51:25)
Thanks for the reviews. Kids when they want to do work create amazing things. Sometimes it is us as teachers
that provide the roadblocks. When I came up with the idea of unprojects it was to step back and let the kids
be the driving force behind the project. I became the project manager, working on time management and tech
support. Even with this role it was the students that ended up helping each other that were the best teachers
in the classroom. Please everyone give yourself permission to let the kids loose and you will be pleased with the
results. Chris
Employability Skills 2000+ or 2000-? (2008-05-18 15:40)
Well, I’ve been at school for just over 14 hours and my mind is officially mush. I’m creating the
paperwork needed for the new [1]Grad Transisions Program so that I can give the Grade 11’s and 12’s
in my school all the new documents for this year. I plan to be paperless for the Grade 10’s but time and
technology constraints won’t allow it right now. A quick post and I’m home to bed!
- - -
This is a pdf I am including in the package going out to the Grade 12’s: [2]Employability Skills
”The skills you need to enter, stay in, and progress in the world of work—whether you work on
your own or as a part of a team.”
Is it just me or is this a very Web1.0 / behind-the-times document? Where is the emphasis on
Collaboration, or Synthesis, or even perhaps Re-mixing Information?
I noticed under Communicate:
• share information using a range of
information and communications technologies
(e.g., voice, e-mail, computers)
...and under Think & Solve Problems:
• readily use science, technology and
mathematics as ways to think, gain and
share knowledge, solve problems and
make decisions
But the document seems lacking... and now my tired eyes see why! In the brochure I just no-
ticed that the print date was May of 2000. No document made for back then is going to hit on many of
the Employability Skills for 2007+... which in turn will be outdated for Employability Skills for 2010+...
However, the document will have to do for next Tuesday. Please point me to an updated re-
source if you can find the time- Thanks.
- - -
Back to work :-)
(A post in under 20 minutes- a record for a [3]slow blogger like me!)
Originally posted: October 30th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
As much as I have enjoyed this process of reflecting and reposting, I
must admit to being terribly slow. I should have been done with this
process weeks ago! However, posts like [4]Two ’stuck’ posts, a
borrowed post with an added rant, and a few questions result in me
spending over 2 hours following links and links on those links,
reading and really reflecting on what I and others have said.
- - - - -
I’m tempted to dig deeper on the subject of this post, but won’t. I
will just say this:
How far away are we from future employers saying in an interview,
"Show me what you have learned recently."
"Show me your network."
"I’ve checked out your network."
Collaboration, Community, Creativity & Communication: All measurable
or at least examinable in some way online, and publicly displayed for
anyone and everyone to see and, if they so choose, judge.
1. http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/graduation/grad-transitions/prog_guide_grad_trans.pdf
2. http://www.workfutures.bc.ca/pdfs/EmpSkills2000.pdf
3. http://mt.middlebury.edu/middblogs/ganley/bgblogging/2006/11/context_transitions_and_tradit.html
4. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/stuck-borrowed-rant-and-questions/
Halloween Scavenger Hunt on Ning (2008-05-19 02:19)
Below is a Halloween Scavenger Hunt I did on a (private) Ning Network that I created for a class [1]Youth
and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) project I am doing in my two Planning 10 classes.
The scavenger hunt does the following:
1. Introduces students to flickr and [2] , and;
2. It teaches them to insert and site a photo appropriately.
3. Points them to my [3]YPI delicious links that I am starting to collect.
4. Has them re-watch an amazing video I linked to in the video section, (Here is the [4]youtube link
for you - I highly recommend that you watch it!)
5. Revisits a [5]meaningful link from yesterday’s lesson.
6. Has students find and quote another student on the site.
7. Has them start looking for charities that they may eventually present on.
8. Looks at a local grassroots shelter.
9. Teaches them more about YPI
10. Some spooky Halloween-ish/PhotoShop kind of fun.
11. Makes them do something silly at the end.
Some fun in the classroom, with a little learning going on in the background. ;-)
Here is the post:
Happy Halloween - Time to go on a scavenger hunt... For treats of course!
Make sure you number all your items!
Create a blog post with the title ”Scavenger Hunt” and answer/do the following...
1. Go to this site:
What does ”by-nc-sa” mean?
2. Find a ”by-nc-sa” photo that you consider spooky/scary and put it on your blog. Link to the ac-
tual photo AND give the photographer credit like I did below (I linked to his profile).
[7]Halloween Moon Over Kamadan by [8]FlipSide3 / Adam Eakins
(You aren’t allowed to use one of his photos for this challenge)
3. Create a link to one of the ”Truss’ YPI del.icio.us links” found on the Main Page.
4. In the World on Fire video, how much did Sarah McLachlan spend on a Mobile Medical Unit
in India?
5. For yesterday’s assignment you looked at Stories in pdf files. Name one story title from each
of the two pdf files that were linked to. (One story title from each file, that’s two story titles.)
6. Find one blog post here on our site about the Spirit of Giving (that is not your own). Quote
something nice/interesting from that post and give the person credit. For example, if my post was about
the Spirit of Giving instead of Empathy, you could have done something like this:
”In the service of others we learn meaningful lessons ourselves. Mark spoke of developing empa-
thy in kids. In so doing, he wondered if standardized testing ’taught’ our kids anything meaningful?
When do they learn about empathy and love?” David Truss
Put the person’s words in quotes and italicize them.
7. Find and link to 5 charity home pages. In one sentence tell me what the charity does. Make
sure that the link is the title of the charity. At least one charity must be local (in the lower mainland).
Your links should look like this:
[9]The Terry Fox Foundation: Raises money for cancer research.
8. Go [10]HERE. What is the title of this page?
Find the link to the ’Tri Cities Mat Program – Port Coquitlam, BC’. (It is not on the first page) Clink
on the link and find out if this caters to Men or Women. Tell me this in a sentence so that I know what
you are talking about.
9. Go to the Toskan Casale Foundation web site. Copy and paste these questions into your blog
with the answers.
How many schools were involved in 2006/2007?
So, how much money was donated?
Find and name one BC school that was involved last year, (besides ours).
What are the Granting Guidelines?
10. Here is a creepy (or is it cute?) photo.
It gives credit right on the image to [11]Worth1000.com and so you don’t need to link to it, as I did
anyway. Go to this link and add a photo of your choice. Tell me the actual title and make one up
This is called ’Spider Squirrel” and my title is ’Chipmunkula’ (I think that this was photoshop-ed with a
chipmunk, not a squirrel).
11. If you have finished all 10 tasks and posted your blog, then all you have to do now is sing the
alphabet backwards and you get a treat.
Originally posted: October 31st, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
The best part of doing this was going around and trouble-shooting for
students. They were all able to embed and credit a Creative Commons
Flicker image properly. Unfortunately a few of them learned the
’save-as-you-go’ mantra the hard way, losing information (and time)
when their work was lost. Overall, students got to play with Ning, a
new tool, and they learned some background information as well as
citation expectations along the way.
Ning, blogs, wikis, flickr, del.icio.us... many students need to learn
how to use the tools as well as get the project done. They are not all
’digital natives’ that know this stuff, some of our students lack the
[12]digital exposure to use these tools effectively without being
- - - - -
Visit Sarah McLachlan’s [13]World on Fire page and see the detailed
[14]donations page. Amazing! Think of what the entire music or movie
industry could do!
1. http://www.toskanfoundation.org/ypi.html
2. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
3. http://del.icio.us/dtruss/ypi
4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzoNInZ2ClQ
5. http://www.hopeforfreedom.org/outadvo2.html
6. http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/by-nc-sa-2.0/
7. http://www.flickr.com/photos/flipside3/346326225/
8. http://www.flickr.com/people/flipside3/
9. http://www.terryfoxrun.org/english/home/default.asp?s=1
10. http://apps.grassroots.org/shelter_links/397_Vancouver.shtml
11. http://www.worth1000.com/cache/contest/contestcache.asp?contest_id=17037&display=photoshop#entries
12. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/digital-competence-a-spectrum/
13. http://www.worldonfire.ca/
14. http://www.worldonfire.ca/donations.html
The Flickering (Never)Mind (2008-05-22 21:27)
A colleague and good friend sent this [1]review of The Flickering Mind to me, wanting to hear my
rebuttal. Here it is!
This outdated book, The Flickering Mind, is based on very poor research, it lacks any meaning-
ful data, and it seeks out the worst of the worst in order to prove a point. How about I come into your
class and very selectively choose lessons/examples to give someone a poor impression of you? It can be
done, but why?
I’ve got better things to do than waste my time on this ”drivel”, however an e-mail of this article
is circulating in different departments within different schools in our district, so I’ll take a moment to
highlight and comment on 4 parts of the article sent to me:
1. a) Note this line in ”About the Author”: ”His lack of exploration of both sides of the issue
does an injustice to the educational technology debate as comparison of both effective and ineffective
examples of technology use in schools might help shed light on the specific stumbling blocks to making
it an appropriate tool for schools.”
b) Later on in the article we find this: ”For as anyone dealing with research in education knows,
quantitative study does not apply itself well to the field, yet qualitative/anecdotal research like Oppen-
heimer’s leaves little room for generalizability and conclusion-drawing—a point which Oppenheimer may
or may not be cognizant of.”
2. From the article again:
”To highlight one, on page 211 Oppenheimer parallels Maslow’s Life Pyramid to education. Maslow’s
pyramid outlined the levels of existence: lower levels being physical needs and relationship, the higher
ones being more superficial, such as exploring curiosities and aesthetic desires). His theory was that
the upper levels could not be achieved until the base levels had been fulfilled. On Oppenheimer’s
education pyramid, the lower levels represent a student’s ability to observe, listen and reflect in a stable
environment, with the upper levels representing learning factual knowledge and using learning tools.”
Forget about [2]BLOOMS we have Oppenheimer measuring ”factual knowledge and using learning
tools” as upper levels of ’existence’ ! I’d call this a load of manure, but manure at least has some
redeeming qualities. Oppenheimer puts education on a scale going from ’needs’ to superficial, aesthetic
desires... and this is supposed to be some sort of educational continuum??? Where is knowledge
construction? Evaluation? Synthesis? Where is there learning how to learn?
3. And I saved the best for last: ”He cites several psychologists who demonstrate how young
children are not developmentally capable of grappling with a complex machine like a computer, and
therefore should not be exposed to it until later in life.”
Tell that to [3]this kid, or to this student in [4]Grade 7 who is writing code to help run an
under- $100-wiimote-controlled-Smartbooard that he built. He has also designed a [5]Pressure Sensitive
Pen for it... Oh, and in 9 days he has had [6]676 visitors from around the globe! You can talk all you
want about writing for an audience... but new tools actually give students an authentic audience!
Here is an [7]alternate review of the book, or just look at the excerpt below. Some people call
this research, some people call it checking source reliability, and I call it using my network. Why?
Because I didn’t find this article with an alternative view, I asked my network of educators for help and
[8]Art Gelwicks, an educator I have never met, sent it to me on Twitter... within minutes of my asking.
He also offers some more insight:
Networked learning... think our students could benefit from it? Hyperlinking? Do you think what I’ve
said has been enriched by the links provided? Again, do you think our students could benefit from this?
My final thoughts are after the review excerpt...
The Flickering Mind:
The False Promise of Technology in the Classroom
Todd Oppenhemier. New York: Random House, 2003. 512 pages.
[9]Review by [10]Steven D. Krause, [11]Eastern Michigan University
Computer and composition folks tend to be an optimistic bunch. The ”techno-evangelism”
common a decade ago has calmed, but I suspect that most of the target audience for
Computers and Composition Online believe that, on the whole, computers and related
technologies are good for teaching. We’re still ”glass half full” kinds of people, and deep down
inside, most computer and composition specialists, optimists that we are, believe that the
real answer to the question ”are computers beneficial in the classroom?” is ”yes.”
Todd Oppenheimer is not an optimist. His glass, if he has one at all, is completely
False Promises
...The Flickering Mind is clearly relevant to computers and writing specialists working
in college classrooms because of its relentless focus on the ways in which computers in the
classroom have failed our students.
...Those of us who know better will spot these omissions, but the majority of Oppen-
heimer’s audience won’t, and these readers will be left with an overwhelmingly one-sided,
negative, and ultimately unfair perspective on the role of technology in schools.
In his first chapter, ”Education’s History of Technotopia,” Oppenheimer reminds us of
a series of failed attempted uses of technology to solve the problems of teaching. Besides
discussing the early history of the personal computer, the early role of the computer industry
in getting computers in the classroom, and the reoccurring nature of the ”digital divide,”
Oppenheimer also describes technological failures such as early film, radio, and even the
telephone. In each case, Oppenheimer reminds us of the all-too common cycle of technological
solutions in the classroom: initial enthusiasm, followed by unmet expectations, followed by
doubt, and concluded with a dismissal of the technology.
...After five years of research and travel to schools all over the country, Oppenheimer
has few good things to say about computers in the classroom. And after reading what’s
wrong for 200 or so pages, I began to doubt Oppenheimer’s impressions because they seem
so completely different from my own experiences with computers in classrooms. Granted,
I was aware first or second hand of all of the problems that Oppenheimer reports; but in
these same settings, I was also aware of at least some successes as well. For me, the effect of
Oppenheimer’s polemic approach and his failure to acknowledge the fact that it is possible
to teach well with computers casts some doubt on his perspective and credibility.
Ultimately, Oppenheimer’s book tells us something most who study the use of tech-
nology in classrooms already know. He concludes that computers are here to stay and
that ”The challenge for schools, therefore, is to be smarter about how and when they use
technology, and how they separate its wheat from its chaff” (393). Oppenheimer does an
admirable job showing us what’s wrong with the way schools use computers in teaching, and
it is a useful book for curbing the enthusiasm for well-intentioned, albeit misguided, uses of
computers in elementary and secondary schools. But that’s the easy part. The hard part is
finding those smarter uses of computers. For that, perhaps Oppenheimer should observe and
interview the optimists among us.
So there is my rant!
The truth is, it is not easy to use technology well in the classroom. It takes good teaching, good
classroom management, and good use of the appropriate tools for the appropriate learning outcomes.
However, when it is used well, in order to teach [12]new things in new ways, technology use offers oppor-
tunities that a pencil and a piece of paper don’t.
I wonder if the same people who sent the first e-mail around are open to this view and willing to pass it
on as well?
1. http://edrev.asu.edu/reviews/rev358.htm
2. http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/Bloom’s%20Digital%20Taxonomy
3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dp4qe3Ishhw
4. http://axisos.wordpress.com/2008/05/15/wiimotewhiteboard-031/
5. http://axisos.wordpress.com/2008/05/16/wiipen-pressure-pen/
6. http://www4.clustrmaps.com/counter/maps.php?url=http://axisos.wordpress.com
7. http://www.bgsu.edu/cconline/reviews/krause_review.html
8. http://www.webedtech.com/
9. http://www.bgsu.edu/cconline/reviews/krause_review.html
10. http://www.bgsu.edu/cconline/reviews/skrause@emich.edu
11. http://www.emich.edu/
12. http://www.edutopia.org/adopt-and-adapt
Raj (2008-05-26 15:40:36)
Now it is 2,815 hits on my website lol, I also designed some new stuff.
The Lowest Common Denominator (No, this isn’t about Math) (2008-05-24 15:44)
In Math, the Lowest Common Denominator (LCD) is a good thing...
it allows you to simplify an equation and usually makes the work easier. (If you were looking for a Math
post go [1]here or [2]here.)
For the sake of this post the LCD is not good.
Here, the LCD is when you reduce things to in order to oversimplify a problem, to avoid it or make it go
away, (rather than to make an effort to resolve it). It is about taking an easy way out instead of choosing
a smart way forward.
They Both Get Dirty
[3] Doug Belshaw does
NOT want you to vote for his blog in the upcoming [4]Edublog Awards. I’m not a regular reader of
Doug, but the size of his audience suggests that he is a noteworthy edublogger. I ended up finding his
[5]Please don’t vote for this blog! post since I read Kelly Christopherson who wrote [6]about it [7]twice,
and so I did venture over there. The worst of the comment spat that ensues comes from Dan Meyer who
I first read when he wrote a brilliant post on [8]How Math Must Asses and then later on [9]Why I don’t
Assign Homework, but he isn’t in my quite limited RSS feed either.
To put my 2 dimes worth into this I will quote [10]my grandfather, ”Never wrestle with a pig, you both
get dirty and the pig likes it!”
What I don’t like about the comments in this post is that they get personal and neither of these two
bloggers have any intent to resolve things, they just want to get the next jab in. I am a fan of [11]healthy
discourse, but this is unhealthy, vindictive, and I would even add cheap. LCD.
My suggestion to [12]Josie Fraser and the Edublog Awards team: After a blog gets nominated, ask
the bog author(s) if they accept the nomination... problem solved.
Easier Isn’t Better
[13] When I took this job as Graduation
Transition Coordinator, I adopted a few other responsibilities too. One such obligation was organizing
the [14]Take Our Kids to Work Day (TOKTWD) event for our Grade 9’s. Apparently our school could
not coordinate the Grade 10’s [15]Junior Achievement event on the National TOKTWD so we held this
Grade 9 event one day early. This saved us from turning our entire schedule up-side-down for 2 days
rather than just one... but this was an LCD solution. I didn’t make this decision, but I dealt with the
upset parents whose work places had created special activities for their children on the National day (one
day later). Our response, let your child miss the next day of school, so teachers had to settle for a number
of absent students the day after our event.
Next year: Either the two dates fall on the same day, (I’m already in the process of booking it), or
we move them completely apart and keep the TOKTWD on the designated National day. If it needs to
turn our timetable upside down on two different days - so be it!
Build it and they will come...
[16] I first blogged about the idea for FieldFindr [17]here.
I created a [18]mock-up wiki for that post which has now been viewed over 2,500 times. Later I [19]wrote
about it in the Ning in Education network:
”...I think that perhaps a social networking site such as Ning could be a great launching point for teachers
to connect with ’resources’ in their, or the global, community. What do others think?”
... and got positive responses from [20]Nancy Bosch and [21]Steve Hargadon. So I launched [22]a Ning
version of FieldFindr. I then asked for help in my other Ning (Educational) Networks, and I also ’nudged’
my [23]Ex.plode.us friends... only to get a very small response. It’s kind of funny that I took this per-
sonally at first. I thought to myself that I had network issues... but I think the main problem is that I
went to the easiest audience I could find... I went to the LCD... the wrong audience! If I really wanted
to make Fieldfindr work, I would need to promote it with potential volunteers, not educators. I did what
was easy, not what was necessary. Build the volunteer network and teachers will come... but we need to
start with the volunteers!
I don’t feel that I personally need to start such a network, but I do believe in the idea. If by this
summer I can’t find a network, or group, or website that does what I think FieldFindr can, then I will
start seeking out networks of potential volunteers to sign up... For now I won’t do that because I can’t
offer the commitment needed to make it work.
Busier Isn’t Better
[24] I shared this quote
with staff in a staff meeting last Monday afternoon.
”The task of organizing and operating a huge and complex educational machinery has left us scant leisure
for calm reflection.”
The quote is by Irving Babbitt, and it seemed very appropriate for me to mention before discussing the
plans for the heavily reflection-based program I was presenting to students the next day. The interesting
thing about this quote is that Irving Babbitt died in 1933, and I think few could disagree that education
has gotten much more complex since then!
In our school there is an [25]International Baccalaureate (IB) program. In order to run the programs in
sync with the rest of the school, our Grade 12 IB students are now doing 5 straight classes in a row for
this semester. They start their day at 8:30 and end at 3:15, eating in classes and not getting more than
a 5 min. break unless a class ends early. They also have to work on their Final IB paper as well. It is
not uncommon to hear a Grade 12 IB student say they have between 3 and 5 hours of homework when
they are leaving the school for the day- this would be ok if they weren’t saying and doing the exact same
thing the next day, and the next day too...
As a new staff member coming in and observing this I have to wonder about subjecting students to this.
I don’t doubt that there are some wonderful learning opportunities that happen in their classes, but how
much is too much? The idea that these kids are bright, and that they can handle this pressure is nothing
more than an acceptance of a LCD.
We are taking some of the brightest students in our district and working them so much that they can’t
think, reflect, or for that matter even care about learning. It is their final year in the public education
system and they are wasting it away being busy-bodies. I’ve learned so much from reflection, from tak-
ing my time to think things through, and from asking myself what I want to learn... we need to give
this students a bit more time to reflect and explore their own interests in their final year... they prove
themselves capable of the busy work enough in Grades 10 & 11.
Is Ping Pong a Sport?
To meet one of the requirements of the [26]Graduation Transitions program, students are required to do
80 hours of physical activity after Grade 10. Last year as part of the Portfolio program the hours had to
be considered either Moderate or Intense for the activity to count, but working definitions of those two
terms were difficult. This year that language has been removed, but many school have kept it. LCD.
I was recently asked in an e-mail, ”Is ping pong a sport?”
This was to figure out if time playing Ping Pong could be ’counted’ towards the 80 required hours. This
is what I had to say:
- - -
Here was my personal response to a similar question about ballroom dancing and yoga... ”It is neither
our intent to direct students into specific sports/activities nor is it our intent to make value judgments
on their choice of activities. The purpose of the 80hrs is to encourage healthy living and to have students
reflect on the importance of physical activity.”
Who are we to judge? I think that the idea last year of saying ’only Moderate to Intense activity counts’
is silly.
To a very overweight or out of shape person a 20 min. walk to our school could be Moderate activity or
if they power-walked it could even be Intense.
As far as I know, we are the only school that has Light as an option and I put a section on the reflection
page where students determine what that means to them, (they put examples of what they think Light,
Moderate, and Intense activity is).
Here is what the Reflection says, as well as the first two questions...
80 hours of physical activity over two years is less than what is
required to be healthy. If you only did 20 min. of activity just three
times a week, that would add up to over 100 hours in two years. So
documenting 80 hours of physical activity in two years is a minimal
requirement to say the least. However, if by recording these hours you
are able to reflect meaningfully on the value of exercise, or if you
can reflect and recognize patterns (or lack of patterns) in your
exercise regiment, then this can be a valuable experience. Please
answer the following questions honestly. They are to provide you with
feedback that we hope will encourage you to improve your overall
fitness level. 1. Personal Definitions of Physical Activity
Intensity: L = Light, M = Moderate, or I = Intense The physical
activity intensity scale refers to the level of effort with which you
exercise. These are only a guide to help you think about the quality
of your exercise regiment. The intensity levels vary depending on the
fitness level of each person, and so it is up to you to determine
examples of each that are right for you! Light: Activity that
requires a minimal increase in your breathing or regular heart rate,
or low muscular exertion. Examples:
Moderate: Either consistent or repeated intervals of increased:
breathing, heart rate and/or muscular exertion. Examples:
Intense: A significant increase in breathing or heart rate for 20+
minutes, or repeated high muscular exertion. Examples:
2. Looking at your 80 hours of physical activity, what patterns or
generalizations do you notice regarding: a) The intensity of your
_ b) The frequency of your activity?
_ c) The length of time of your activity?
_ (Note: 2a is about the quality of your activity, (L, M, or I), 2b
and 2c are about the quantity of activity.)
I’ve spent way too much time thinking about this.
Our judgments and values don’t matter.
Get students active, have them think about that activity, and if it is enough to keep them healthy or
not... that’s the best we can do. Trying to tell students that an activity of their choice does not count
accomplishes nothing. LCD.
(Oh, and Ping Pong is [27]definitely a [28]fun and [29]exciting sport.)
I am a Hypocrite!
Nov. 6th, 2007 was going to be tough for me to get to, and through. I knew that when I accepted this
When someone asked me in August, ”So, is this going to be a good move for you?”
I replied, ”Ask me on Nov. 7th”. Well the 6th has come and gone now. I never want to repeat the hours
that went into this event- sleeping 19 hours in 5 nights the week before. Getting 2 hours sleep before doing
two big presentations, and doing more paperwork that I care to do in any given year... The end result is
that feedback has been very positive from teachers, secretaries, admin., support staff and students. Part
of me wants to talk about this, and part of me wants to be happy with how positive the day was and
just move forward... The fact is that the hard work came from getting all the background paperwork for
the program fully developed to present to students, (such as the section of the 80hr Physical Activity
Reflection seen above).
Three really positive things about that event that I would like to mention:
1. Students understood the value of the day and did not skip the assemblies in droves, which could easily
have happened after their disgruntle attitude for the Portfolio program it replaced. Their feedback to
me was very positive and I’ve had a number of the absent students come in on their own accord, or by
suggestion of their peers, to find out what they missed.
2. My PowerPoint was pretty slick, I broke it up with a few good videos, and kept people’s attention with
great images and subtle transitions. For someone who has used it very little (beyond my [30]presentation
week this year) I have become pretty good at creating engaging PowerPoint presentations.
3. I brought in a Bike Trails Champion, Steve Baia, to do a demonstration for us and promote Healthy
Living. Not only was this a fantastic addition to the presentation, but he and his dad, Mike, were also
wonderful role models of a great father-son relationship. Furthermore Mike watched my presentation and
made sure to reference things that I said while he commentated Steve’s performance... very classy!
- - -
Up until now this section is all about really good stuff. So where is the LCD and why the hypocrite title
of this section?
Well, here I am developing a program for which one third of the outcomes are related to Healthy Living,
and what do I do? I deprive myself of sleep, I completely stop exercising, and I put myself through
tremendous stress... Some role model I am:-(
Whenever I get busy my healthy lifestyle takes a back seat. I turn 40 in a couple weeks and I am, without
a doubt, in the absolute worst shape of my life. For me physical activity is the LCD, the one thing that
I can always drop from my schedule to make more time for other things... and that is wrong.
So here is my plan- and it started yesterday! Three treadmill runs a week and one other activity during
the week- Every Week! I’m also going to sign up for the Vancouver Half Marathon in the spring. I had
students create one Healthy Living SMART Goals this week, and to practice what I preach, I’m going
to create 2 SMART goals to help me live healthier, (one around weekly exercise and one specifically to
build my endurance and speed for the half marathon).
By the way, for you SMART Goal fans: The ’A’ should stand for Action-oriented not Achievable or
Attainable. If you think about it, the ’R’ stands for Realistic and if it is Realistic it is already Achievable
but without Action your goal gets nowhere.
The Greatest Common Factor
None of my LCD’s above are things that can’t be ’fixed’. The common factor in each of the sections
above is that the easiest way of coping with a problem is most definitely not the best way of dealing with
these issues or concerns. Sometimes it is difficult to do what is best. Sometimes big ideas need to be
challenged. Sometimes we need to question what we do, and why we do it... and we need to be willing
to make a difficult change because it is the right thing to do!
[31]ARGUMENT by [32]Shaun.numb/ Shaun Morrison on Flickr
[33]Work in Progress... by [34]Spike 55151 on Flickr
[35]Influence Ning profile image for [36]FieldFindr
[37]Perfect Blue by [38]Netean/ Iain Alexander on Flickr
Steve Baia by Mike Baia
Originally posted: November 12th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
They Both Get Dirty: I was tempted not to republish this as I don’t
like to sling old ’mud’... but I think I want to keep the integrity of
my original posts as I have done so far.
Easier Isn’t Better: Although I’m no longer there, I’ve just recently
confirmed next year’s dates for these events will coincide at my
previous school.
Build it and they will come: We need an educational leader with the
right resources and contacts to do this!
Busier isn’t Better: Read [39]Alfie Kohn on Homework!
Is Ping Pong a Sport: Sometimes we confuse the activity with the goal
we intend by the activity. Do not confuse the pointing finger with the
I am a Hypocrite: I wrote this in November and I’m finally getting
back into shape... it was a bathroom scale that gave me the push I
needed. I’ve often been a person motivated by the stick rather than
the carrot, (moving away from pain rather than towards a reward).
The comments below add to the conversation.
Comments on the original post:
1. Well, after a bit of time off, it seems you’re back with a
flourish. Great title. Great insights. As always, you get to the
point and, as always, you are right on the mark. I’ll not dwell on
your first part except to say you’re right. As for Busier isn’t
better - I agree. It’s amazing how schools look to give students
more work believing that, by doing so, they are making them learn
more. Yet, when we examine what really helps one learn, it isn’t
doing more work but thinking and reflecting on what we are doing
in relation to what we know. "An unexamined life isn’t worth
living" - stands to reason that this would hold true for our
students as well. As for being a hypocrite - I’m not sure that is
true. There are times during our lives when life’s decisions don’t
allow us to always do as we say. Responsibilities that are new
sometimes require us to do things we wouldn’t normally do. I say
this as I turn 42. I’m not in the worst shape I’ve been in but
it’s close. However, as I reflect on my decisions, I realize that
in order to reconstruct that part of my life, I will need to make
certain decisions about other areas. One of them is career. I’ve
finally entered a point in my job where I’m more comfortable with
my work and my respoinsibilities and they don’t take the time they
use to take. This means that I can do some of the other things
that I have put off for some time like exercising, eating right
and spending time with my family on weekends. However, if I do
decide to make the move and enter senior administration, I will
again be required to spend a great deal of time learning which
will probably affect these areas again. Now, I’ve learned a few
things in the last few years so I won’t completely give up these
things but they will be affected. As you say - the easiest way of
coping with a problem is most definitely not the best way of
dealing with these issues or concerns. Sometimes it is difficult
to do what is best. Good luck with your goals. Keep us posted.
Your "reminders" are always welcome. Now, I guess I have an
apology to make. ;-) Wink
[40]Kelly Christopherson on Tuesday, 13 November 2007, 08:29
2. I should add that if an IB student doesn’t take a Language 12
course in grade 11, they’re taking SIX courses in one semester in
grade 12... start around 7:15 am and end at 3:15 pm. But the
second semester of IB 12 has fewer classes, I think some every
second day, and ends a month earlier than regular grade 12
classes. That said, some of my friends in IB 12 right now
actually skip entire days of school just to do their homework from
dawn till dusk, but then again the people in question are just
plain crazy (running 2 clubs this year in addition to IB 12
courseload). It’s not actually that unheard of for IB students to
skip class to do homework for another class; in fact, it’s pretty
[41]Kris on Wednesday, 21 November 2007, 08:49 CET
3. Hi David - if only life were that simple. James and I are both
already working stupid hours on the awards around our paying jobs
- both of us would love the luxury of signing off on all of the
nominations. People are more than welcome to contact us and ask us
to withdraw their blog: we will be quick to take entries down.
Best, J.
[42]Josie Fraser on Monday, 26 November 2007, 11:00 CET
Visible links 1. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/math-conundrums/
2. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/numeracy-and-problem-solving/
3. http://farm1.static.flickr.com/24/63959595_43d7c9c965.jpg?v=0
4. http://edublogawards.com/the-2007-edublog-awards/
5. http://teaching.mrbelshaw.co.uk/index.php/2007/11/03/please-dont-vote-for-this-blog/
6. http://kwhobbes.wordpress.com/2007/11/05/a-blessing-in-disguise/
7. http://kwhobbes.wordpress.com/2007/11/06/i-only-vote-in-elections/
8. http://blog.mrmeyer.com/?p=9
9. http://blog.mrmeyer.com/?p=133
10. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/a-giant-teaches-me-about-success/
11. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/connectivism-conference-healthy-discord-2/
12. http://fraser.typepad.com/
13. http://farm1.static.flickr.com/239/448863832_f1ad226b14.jpg?v=0
14. http://www.takeourkidstowork.ca/
15. http://www.jabc.org/
16. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/wp-admin/File?id=d75khsb_225dtt3r9d8
17. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/fieldfindr-connect-classrooms-to-the-world/
18. http://fieldfindr.wikispaces.com/
19. http://education.ning.com/forum/topic/show?id=1027485%3ATopic%3A45&page=1&commentId=1027485%3AComment%
20. http://anotsodifferentplace.blogspot.com/
21. http://www.stevehargadon.com/
22. http://fieldfindr.ning.com/
23. http://ex.plode.us/
24. http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2216/1592120402_36a7abe542.jpg?v=0
25. http://www.ibo.org/
26. http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/graduation/grad-transitions/
27. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrp-FT51zPE
28. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-443844193359490622
29. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9102140983205856029
30. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/presentation-week/
31. http://flickr.com/photos/shaun_morrison/63959595/
32. http://flickr.com/photos/shaun_morrison/
33. http://flickr.com/photos/spike55151/448863832/
34. http://flickr.com/photos/spike55151/
35. http://fieldfindr.ning.com/photo/photo/show?id=1217534%3APhoto%3A202
36. http://fieldfindr.ning.com/
37. http://flickr.com/photos/iainalexander/1592120402/
38. http://flickr.com/people/iainalexander/
39. http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/rethinkinghomework.htm
40. http://kwhobbes.wordpress.com/
41. http://wanderingink.net/
42. http://fraser.typepad.com/
Jan Smith (2008-05-24 21:39:10)
I’m going to focus on the ”They both get dirty” part of the post. I’ve had my aggregator feeding me posts for only
about two months, and I have only just started commenting on blogs in the last few weeks. I have read posts by
the bloggers you mentioned during that time (as well as older posts) and have been interested and intrigued by a
lot of what they say, and many of their posts have made me go ”hmmm”. But what I am curious about beyond
the stuff on technology and teaching, is the tone they take with colleagues–specific colleagues. There has been
some very public and very nasty slagging going on. I find it embarrassing and depressing. The poison pen doesn’t
move the discussion forward, it just cranks up the intensity and polarizes. Guess it does get lots of hits on a blog,
though. Is the assumption, then, that the blogoshpere gives people carte blanche to launch personal attacks?
Even without the code of ethics (do all teaching communities have one?), I think some discussions (battles) are
best held privately. Not that a blog has to be saccharin. I think debate is positive and necessary. But the ad
hominem attacks...they aren’t persuasive, just an immature form of argument. I think the vitriol would be what
would keep me out of blogging–guess that makes me a chicken. I agree: LCD, cheap, and from what I continue to
read, not about to stop anytime soon.
Dave Truss (2008-05-25 09:53:27)
[1]Jan, I think that like anywhere in life, if you go looking for a fight, you can find one: on the web, and more
specifically on a discussion board or a blog. Teachers, as well as students, could use some good role models online
and from what I’ve seen in your thoughtful comments, you are a positive influence. I’ve only ever had one negative
comment on my blog where the anger was directed mostly on assumptions that were not true. I thanked the person
for pointing out an error in my post, and clarified the mistakes around the assumptions made. The next comment
was someone who ’defended’ me and complimented the way I responded. I would encourage to blog... if you feel
you have something to say. I would guess that with your attempts to integrate technology into the classroom, you
would have a lot of insight to offer. A suggestion would be to start out with the blog in Classroom2.0 since you
already have a presence there, and the audience is really well intentioned. Thanks again for your comments, Dave
1. http://www.classroom20.com/profile/JanSmith
Making a Difference (2008-05-25 02:00)
Here is a great thing to do with your online students: Donate [1]Free Rice to help end world hunger...
(and improve their vocabulary while you are at it!) [2]
Here is [4]a news article about it, in case you would like to use it for current events. [5]
Advertising at the bottom of the screen changes with every question to promote the companies that
donate the rice.
Level 50 is all but impossible to get to without a dictionary, which I encourage... After all, what is
the harm in having students looking up words in the dictionary? This is also a good time to introduce
using Google as a dictionary. [7]
[9] - - - - -
On a similar (Social Responsibility) topic, check this out:
”[10]Make Your Difference is a contest to empower youth to impact the world through creating a new
possibility in their school, community, city and beyond into positively impacting the world.”
- - - - -
We really can make a difference, especially if we help our students recognize that they can make a
Originally posted: November 14th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
Stephen Downes ’burst my bubble’ on this activity with [11]his post
about it... However in the end, I agree with the commenter after me
who said that it is still a worthwhile activity, perhaps with students
doing the math (after the fact) :-)
If you really want to make a difference, check out [12]kiva or do what
I did with my school last year and help [13]Free the Children.
Comments on the original post:
1. Thank you! I’ll have a 7th grade doing this next week before
[15]mrsdurff on Wednesday, 14 November 2007, 12:32 CET
2. Hey Mr. Truss!Having spent the past 5 years looking into youth
empowerment in the field of global humanitarian and social justice
issues, it is truly encouraging to see that teachers are bringing
these important themes into the classroom! I would suggest
challenging the students to look into how FreeRice is helping, and
whether it is a "one-time band-aid" or a sustainable system
(linked to the Socials 11 current events component). cheers,
James Liu on Saturday, 29 December 2007, 01:14 CET
Visible links 1. http://www.freerice.com/index.php
2. http://www.freerice.com/index.php
3. http://www.freerice.com/index.php
4. http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20071109/free_rice_071109/20071111?hub=Specials
5. http://www.freerice.com/index.php
6. http://www.freerice.com/index.php
7. http://datruss.wordpress.com/files/2007/11/google-define.jpg
8. http://datruss.wordpress.com/files/2007/11/google-define.jpg
9. http://datruss.wordpress.com/files/2007/11/google-define.jpg
10. http://www.makeyourdifference.com/
11. http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/page.cgi?post=42395
12. http://kiva.org/
13. http://www.freethechildren.com/index.php
14. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/one-nights-work/
15. http://durffsblog.blogspot.com/
November Podcast Highlights: Pink & Resnick Interviews (2008-05-27 00:28)
I started this post sitting in a waiting room
at the auto shop waiting for my car: No WiFi, pay-for coffee and snacks available. It had an outlet if my
laptop battery didn’t hold out, comfortable seats and, if I was interested, a tv to make the experience a
little more comfortable. But I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I am a fan of [1]Alan November and I
just downloaded, to my iTunes, his [2]November Learning Podcast Series. With ear plugs in and a word
doc open, (I would have preferred Google docs), I began listening to Alan November interview [3]Dan
A little history here…
My first classroom blogging experience was inspired by an [4]Alan November webcast that launched me
into my web2.0 experiences… (My teaching2.0? What do you call this transformation?
…And a question on the side…
What do you call a [5]digital ‘immigrant’ that is fully immersed in a digital world? I am an immigrant to
Canada, but truly consider myself a Canadian, though I will never be a ‘native’. Perhaps I am a Digital
Citizen, or more aptly a Digital Denizen!
den•i•zen noun formal or humorous an inhabitant or occupant of a
particular place : denizens of field and forest. • Brit., historical a
foreigner allowed certain rights in the adopted country.
Here are the highlights of the interviews with my two-dimes worth added in!
Interview 1: With Dan Pink
Pink Re: Standardized Testing as a measure of a school. “What
ultimately I care about is the individual kids, that’s what parents
care about and obviously that what the kids themselves care about…
if I had a magic wand I would do a very serious, very radical
overhaul of the entire education system”.
We have to be willing to measure these: (From Wikipedia on Dan Pink’s [6]A Whole New Mind )
1. Design - Moving beyond function to engage the sense.
2. Story - Narrative added to products and services - not just argument.
3. Symphony - Adding invention and big picture thinking (not just detail focus).
4. Empathy - Going beyond logic and engaging emotion and intuition.
5. Play - Bringing humor and light-heartedness to business and products.
6. Meaning - Immaterial feelings and values of products.
As long as we measure schools and measure students with tests that do not appreciate and include mea-
suring a student’s ability to express these senses, we are measuring the wrong things.
I have an idea: First we will measure a poem with a word count... Then we will measure compas-
sion with a ruler... And finally we will measure the making of a work of art with a stop watch. Then we
will add the numbers together and tell you how well your child is doing in school.
From a [7]previous post , ”there is a dichotomy here: Our ‘educational language’ around standardization
and accountability juxtaposed with differentiation and flexibility… we seem to have two mutually exclu-
sive camps, yet there seems to be a move to embrace both. To embrace both is to accomplish neither.”
Interview 2: Dan Pink
School architects use a 35-year-old formula, with teachers left out
of the conversation… “Appalling that a Starbucks is a more appealing
place to be than a classroom.
It doesn’t have to be more expensive, just smarter. If you built cabinets and shelving units for picture-
tube tv’s or carrying cases for Sony Walkman’s and you didn’t adapt your designs, where would you be
Pink: People are opting out of the public/formal education system…
“Our education establishment, which we pay lip service to as the
most important element of our society, are probably the most out of
sync with the realities of 21 century life than any other
institution in American society.
‘This is important! We need to change… pass the chalk’.
November: Emerging models – Schools… “should be much more embedded in
the community, where kids are adding value and making a difference,
much more action based.”
Interview 3: Dan Pink
(The last podcast ( #2) ended a discussion about Design: Creating things in context, ideally cross-
curricular. This theme continued here.)
Pink: The two most important things in professional success &
personal fulfillment are “intrinsic motivation & persistence.”
I wonder how much schools pay attention to these two things? Even [8]when we praise, we don’t inspire
intrinsic motivation, and although in some ways we promote persistence, we also give students a grade
of ‘C’ and move on.
Interview: [9]Dr. Mitchel Resnick (MIT)
Topics: Creativity and Innovation to the Digital Divide
Research group name: Lifelong Kindergarten Group (kindergarten-like exploration and play)
Many of the best learning opportunities come when people are engaged
in creating and designing things.
Check out [10]http://scratch.mit.edu/ (I’ve been here a few times, but need to explore the possibilities)
Sharing… building on other’s ideas… ‘borrowing’ not copying. Give
proper credit and acknowledgement and then adapt and go further, and
then putting your ideas out there for others to add to.
This reminds me of the [11]Larry Lessig’s TED Video I recently watched on ‘(Re)-creativity’.
If you give credit, it isn’t ’appropriates’ but rather ’appropriate’ !
[12]Randall Munroe ”[13]wikipedian protester ”
Reinforcing the thoughts of Resnick I recently found this post on the blog of none other than [14]Dan
Re: a [15]pop artists exhibit , “The show celebrates the fizzy
remixing typical of Pop Art and is replete with "cut up magazines,
copied comic books, . . trademarked cartoon characters like Minnie
Mouse… But in a bizarre move, the curators have banned photographs
-- not to protect the physical integrity of the works, but to avoid
infringing on the copyright of the creators.”
The irony is not lost on me.
Originally posted: November 20th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
My italicized comments in this post are seeping with sarcasm... which
I note and reflect on in my next post. In truth, I’m not a huge fan of
podcasts, primarily because I am a very visual learner and also
because I have not had a commute longer than 3.5km in the last 9
years. I’m either in the car with others or I’m in the car for 5-7
minutes. So, usually when I’m trying to listen to a podcast is when I
have my computer in front of me, (in which case I tend to start
reading something else and the podcast becomes background noise).
Listening to these podcasts with a word document open for note-taking
made them worthwhile to listen to since I could ’see’ what I was
learning from listening.
1. http://www.novemberlearning.com/
2. http://nlcommunities.com/podcasts/1798/blc06/default.aspx
3. http://www.danpink.com/
4. http://online.sd43.bc.ca/staff_development/webcast.htm
5. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/digital-competence-a-spectrum/
6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Whole_New_Mind
7. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/synthesize-and-add-meaning/
8. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/the-power-and-peril-of-praise/
9. http://web.media.mit.edu/~mres/
10. http://scratch.mit.edu/
11. http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/187
12. http://xkcd.com/
13. http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/wikipedian_protester.png
14. http://www.danpink.com/archives/2007/11/copyright_mania.php
15. http://www.npg.org.uk/popart/popart_home.htm
November Learning (2008-05-27 23:46)
After my last post I went to hear Alan November speak at an afternoon Pro-D session. I then read
[1]Brian Kuhn’s [2]blog post and added a comment, which I have edited slightly and included below. In
the process of writing this comment I realized a valuable lesson, which I will discuss below the comment:
The afternoon session With Alan November was great!
It was wonderful to hear Alan November again. [3]His webcast for the district was one of the things
that lit a fire under me and encouraged my to explore technology as a means for students to learn ’new
things in new ways’.
This weekend I was listening to some of [4]his podcasts and I wrote [5]a blog post about them : Looking
back at it, my reflections were somewhat sarcastic and negative... A product of feeling like things just
haven’t been moving fast enough.
Tuesday afternoon changed that for me. There are a lot of great teachers out there doing wonderful
things, and there are many more teachers out there feeling overwhelmed by how much there is to learn,
who are still willing to take the next step forward. On a more personal note, [6]the world of web2.0 has
given me [7]wings , but I realized that I too have a long way to go before I am doing all the things that
I can to give my students wings too!
Thanks to Jill Reid for the invitation, to all the leaders who helped make a day like today possible,
and to Alan November... I am refueled and ready to continue my journey of learning along with my
Here are some notes about today e-mailed to me from Joni, a true leader in our school. She may
not be tech savvy (yet), but teachers like her who offer their leadership, guidance and support are what
will help ’us’ move forward using technology ’for learning’ rather than just using technology to teach!
Great tool: webcast site ’[8]Jingproject’.
Suggestions: Kid jobs for the class
1) Answer questions from class. This kid needs to answer all questions, if he can’t, he needs to find
the answer on the web, then post the answer.
2) Continuous researcher through class
3) Official scribe: takes notes for the class every day. Post them to the site.
4) Create a Wiki site. Allows children make a contribution to the world. wikipedia, or your own space
like [10]www.wikispaces.com [My attempt - [11]ScienceAlive.]
5) Contributing any source that they find on he web to the class: use a social networking site. eg.
[12]www.diigo.com create a diigo account for the class or every student has their own account and then
”share to group”. [I used [13]delicious and am now moving to diigo]
Reflect and Learn
Here is the sentence from above that has hit home with me over the past few days, ”the world of web2.0
has given me wings , but I realized that I too have a long way to go before I am doing all the things that
I can to give my students wings too!”
I currently have a private Ning network for my students, but it is really driven by me! The blog posts,
the groups, the forums... all initiated by me! Yesterday I read a post by [15]Konrad Glogowski. The
post, ”[16]Conversation with Pre-Service Teachers - The Set Curriculum”, was about just that, ’the set
curriculum’ (something I have written about a few times) but a specific section struck a chord with me:
”It seemed logical to me that my responsibility as an educator was to prepare a collection
of texts, resources, diagnostic and assessment/evaluation tools in order to achieve specific
learning outcomes. I saw myself as a subject expert whose primary responsibility in the
classroom was to teach a very specific set of skills and competencies. I saw myself as someone
who possessed knowledge and perceived my students as individuals who needed to acquire it.”
I am new to teaching planning 10, and I am trying to launch a specific program, [17]YPI , that I am
learning about with the students. So, I did what many teachers do when they are unfamiliar with the
curriculum... I teach to it.
In the last little while my posts have been peppered with negative undertones about things not moving
fast enough and technology limitations that I have found frustrating. Well, although those things are
legitimate concerns, they are things that are for the most part beyond my control. What I can do is
create an engaging classroom environment that actually [18]gives my [19]students wings.
Another thoughtful lesson inspired by [20]Alan November , and realized through my blogging/web2.0
Originally posted: November 23rd, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
After reading Konrad’s post, I went into my classroom and wrote a
forum post for my ning networks titled, "You lead the way", and this
is what it said:
Here is your chance to be the teacher today. What do you want to learn
more about? What questions do you have? What interests you? This can
be about Planning 10 or anything else. It can be questions that you
often wonder about or just a thought in your head. You have 2 choices.
1. Respond to this forum 2. Create your own forum discussion
Feel free to link to other websites. It can be [21]really small ideas
or [22]really big ideas.
Then I would like you to read what others have written and join in the
Some of the student discussion choices were (in my opinion) silly.
Others good, and still others were heated, including a thoughtful
discussion on the Death Penalty, where I had to [23]bite my digital
tongue...and sure enough a student came up with a perspective that I
thought needed to be shared. These ’free’ conversations gave the
students some ownership of the site and encouraged a greater amount of
online conversations afterwards.
1. http://blogs.sd43.bc.ca/personal/bkuhn/Blog/default.aspx
2. http://blogs.sd43.bc.ca/personal/bkuhn/Blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=26
3. http://online.sd43.bc.ca/staff_development/webcast.htm
4. http://nlcommunities.com/podcasts/1798/blc06/default.aspx
5. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/november-podcasts-pink-and-resnick/
6. http://del.icio.us/dtruss/web2.0
7. http://weblogg-ed.com/2006/great-fifth-grade-book-wiki/
8. http://www.jingproject.com/?CMP=KgoogleJhomeTM
9. http://www.jingproject.com/?CMP=KgoogleJhomeTM
10. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/wp-admin/www.wikispaces.com
11. http://sciencealive.wikispaces.com/
12. http://www.diigo.com/
13. http://del.icio.us/
14. http://www.marcofolio.net/other/15_cool_word_illusions.html
15. http://www.teachandlearn.ca/blog/static-page-1/
17. http://www.toskanfoundation.org/ypi.html
18. http://k12onlineconference.org/?p=167
19. http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/2007/04/karl-fischs-keynote-to-horizon-kids.html
20. http://nlcommunities.com/communities/alannovember/default.aspx
21. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vr3x_RRJdd4
22. http://www.pangeaday.org/
23. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/blogging-with-students-requires-biting-your-digital-tongue/
Most Influential (2008-05-31 04:02)
We are influenced by so many things in our lives. Identifying what has a significant influence on us can
be difficult. Here are two things that I believe can be categorized as most influential... and they both
happened Monday.
1. Fifteen year old Kristine wrote a very influential blog post last May. It coincided with a lesson I was
doing in my class for our school’s Renaissance Fair. The post, ”[1]How to Prevent Another Leonardo da
Vinci”, has made the finals for the [2]Edublog Awards ’[3]Most Influential Post ’. She is the only student
to make the finals in this category. Furthermore, the post has had an impact on me, and many teachers
that I have shared it with. Thinking back now, as I write this, I realize that Kris has [4]influenced my
blog [5]posts, [6]time and [7]again. (The student as teacher, or at least as an influential node in my
learning network:-)
As I told Kris in my comment months ago: ”You are, and always will be, a lifelong learner who en-
gages in a quest to meaningfully exploring your world, (dare I say like da Vinci)… I guess one would
argue despite your education rather than because of it… so there is hope, and there is potential for us to
find our next da Vinci… perhaps SHE is within our midst today:-)”
As edubloggers I think that it is great to recognize students like Kris who deserve more recognition
than they usually get at school. We should also recognize that although we strive to give students the
best possible experience in our classrooms, Kris’ message holds more truths than most would like to
admit. May her blog influence many learning discussions in the months to come.
2. Two good friends, Dave Sands and Gary Kern came to my school Monday night and did a presenta-
tion with me on: Technology, Your Child, and You. Twenty seven parents braved the threat of the first
snowfall of the year to participate in the presentation. On a personal note, I felt a little like a rookie
called up to the majors to help out with this presentation. Dave and Gary have given it many times, and
they had a ’flow’ about them that I lacked. Overall I think it was great to be part of the presentation
and it was fun to see my [8]Batman/Borg metaphor being used (though they use the more recognized
Terminator rather than the Borg).
Dave was very impressed with the parent’s involvement and interest. The most vocal of them wanted
answers about what to do about Facebook and all the screen time kids have. This presentation however
was much more about asking questions than giving answers.
The presentation delivers a number of key ideas: Technology feeds student needs. Technology isn’t
going away. Parents need to figure out what they value, and they need to understand and engage with
the technology their kids are using. If parents want influence with their children, they are far more likely
to get it engaging from the inside rather than policing from the outside.
A simple example: a kid that won’t phone a parent from a friend’s house to say they are changing
locations, might not think twice about texting a parent while in the back seat of a car heading to the
new location... if text is a mode of communication that the kid already uses with their parent.
The presentation is very well designed and parent feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with several of
them wishing more parents showed up, ”Parents need to hear this!”
It was a most influential Monday!
Originally posted: November 29th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
A look at some amazing students and teachers.
[9]Kris is now my blog-hosting techie, I provide her with free hosting
([10]Bluehost gives me more space than I’ll ever use), and I get
step-by-step help with things like upgrading to the newest Wordpress
version. She has also been invited to post on [11]Students 2oh,
although she hasn’t done so yet.
Another student, Raj, got wind of the fact that our computer teacher,
Mr. Yuen, and I were going to create a Wiimote smartboard and [12]he
took the idea and ran with it! He also took this programming passion
into his classroom and is [13]co-creating this page in [14]Mr. Mak’s
1-1 room.
Mr. Mak was the second of two teachers at our school to get the
computers for his 1-1 class, so he had to wait until late February to
have them passed on to his students. I arrived at the school in
February, showed Mr. Mak Wikispaces and gave him some suggestions
about how he could use it. Since then he has blown me away with his
Check out Mr. Mak’s [15]Class Novel or his [16]ToonDoo Anti-Bullying
cartoons (note that Raj helped with the instructions), or his
[17]Career Research assignment (where 1 person from each of 3
different classes shares a page). Discussions get posted by students
late at night, and I see students in the computer room at lunch
working on their wikipages. This isn’t a wiki, it is a learning hub!
Also, our computer teacher, [18]Mr. Yuen, jumped onto wikispaces too!
His students aren’t just using wiki’s, they are also using tools like:
Slideshare, Screencast-o-matic, Dvolver, Jing, Flickr and Audacity,
(links to these are on his wiki’s navigation bar). This is a teacher
who asked me "What is a wiki?" when I got to the school! Since then he
has leaped into the world of web2.0 and has not looked back. I’ve had
skype conversations with him well past midnight: I suggest some tools
and links and then he shows me some fantastic things he has tried out.
Next year Mr. Yuen will be our afternoon librarian and we are
revamping the Library’s outdated computer lab. I can’t wait to see how
influential this amazing teacher will be when he starts collaborating
with teachers coming to the library to do projects!
So there you have it: Two amazing students and two amazing teachers
that are lifelong learners. Four ’most influential’ people that
inspire me with their passion for learning and sharing with others.
- - - - -
Comment from the original post:
1. David, what a way to start the week! I just finished reading
Kristine’s post, and I absolutely agree! I think every educator
needs to read and talk about this post. We have young DaVinci’s
sitting in our classrooms ready to be developed. Let’s hope her
well deserved recognition for this post will influence many!
[19]Angela Maiers on Thursday, 29 November 2007, 23:58 CET
Visible links 1. http://wanderingink.net/?p=49
2. http://edublogawards.com/
3. http://edublogawards.com/2007/most-influential-blog-post-2007/
4. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/prevent-another-da-vinci/
5. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/the-power-and-peril-of-praise/
6. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/square-peg-round-hole/
7. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/acceptance-of-mediocrity/
8. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/digital-native-digital-naive-digital-divide/
9. http://wanderingink.net/
10. http://www.bluehost.com/
11. http://students2oh.org/
12. http://axisos.wordpress.com/
13. http://mrmak.wikispaces.com/Computer+Programmer
14. http://mrmak.wikispaces.com/
15. http://mrmak.wikispaces.com/Class+Novel
16. http://mrmak.wikispaces.com/HCE+Home+Page
17. http://mrmak.wikispaces.com/HCE
18. http://syuen.wikispaces.com/
19. http://www.angelamaiers.com/
Facing Facebook | David Truss :: Pair-a-dimes for Your Thoughts (2008-10-05 12:50:25)
[...] I mentioned before, Dave Sands does some parent [...]
1.4 June
Evaluating a Journey (2008-06-02 19:59)
Have you ever spent hours working on something and then looked at the final product only to wonder
where the time and effort went? That’s how I feel about the rubric I have been working on for the
[1]Graduation Transitions Program (for which [2]I am the coordinator at our school).
Last year, under the old program, the ’Final Presentation’ was about showing evidence and meeting
criteria. This year the ’Exit Interview’ is more about the journey...
So how do you create a rubric to give feedback to students about their journey? I decided on a few
things first:
1. Reflection is important and needs to be valued.
2. This is a big transition... some forward planning also needs to be valued.
3. This is NOT a grade! (The program is not graded, you just need to meet the requirements.)
4. It needs to be ’different’ enough that the many different teachers doing the interview won’t fall into
’grading’ mode.
Here is what I came up with... ([3]Link to a larger view)
At this point I can’t decide if this achieves what I want it to, or if I wasted my time... feedback is
really appreciated... I have to present this to students on Monday.
Originally posted: December 6th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
[4]The final rubric
The final rubric included the symbolic metaphor of birds hatching,
(click the image for a larger view). The Phoenix on the left is the
school mascot and an ideal symbol for success.
I did two things that I think made this process rather unique:
1. The rubric progresses from right-to-left rather than left-to-right.
I wanted students to see this in a different light than traditional
rubrics. As I said in the presentation I made to the Grade 12’s, "A
rubric that is for feedback… not a grade!"
2. Because this was not for a grade, (Grad Transitions is a
Pass/Fail), I also decided that students should evaluate themselves on
this rubric.
The people that students present to for their exit interview could
give feedback and suggestions, for example: "I think you are too hard
on yourself," or "perhaps you have more to think about in that area,"
but the end choice would ultimately be the student’s. The only way
that a student could be overridden is if they were "Developing" as an
"Overall Snapshot" in the opinion of the adults being presented to...
(Bottom-right square on the rubric). If the student did not show any
sign of meaningful reflection and they showed very limited or no
thought towards what their future held, then the adults being
presented to could determine that another interview was in order.
I had made every attempt to change all of the required assignments to
make them more meaningful to the student. And so, I also saw it as
fitting that they should ultimately reflect and determine where they
fit on the exit interview rubric... It is more about metacognition
than it is about a measure on some sort of success scale. Is one
student better off than another because they think, at 17 or 18 years
old that they have all the answers about what their future holds? Or
is it more important for them to consider where they are in that
process, and where they need to go, or what they need to think about
- - - - -
It was hard to leave this position when I got promoted in February. I
felt as thought I was abandoning a commitment and was quite honestly
surprised that my district would consider moving me. That said, my
replacement Dino has done an amazing job continuing the program on,
and actually making it better! He held a full day interview session
with every teacher in the school becoming involved... something I
don’t think I could have pulled off! I’m very happy to see the program
evolve and grow.
- - - - -
Comment on the original post:
If I understand this correctly, Mastering is the level they all want
to obtain, but the level they are assigned is how the teacher will be
grading them. So, they may think that they are at the mastering level,
but in reality, and according to the teacher, they are at the learning
level. I like how this goes. It is very interesting, and I think that
students should respond well to the rubric. I think it is great how it
gives them words to use to describe where they are at. If/when they
spend time thinking about it, they will have to start understanding
that "In 5 years I will be..." is much different and more advanced
than "this is my plan...". I don’t know how to critique it to make it
better. I looked at the site you linked to and looked at the PDF that
explains the program. It seems to me that there is a leap the students
will need to make from the two sources that I looked at. I think that
is a good thing...it makes them think about how they will do things to
achieve their requirements. Good luck. [5]Jethro Jones on Friday, 07
December 2007, 03:17 CET
1. http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/graduation/grad-transitions/welcome.htm
2. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/presentation-week/
3. http://datruss.files.wordpress.com/2007/12/exitinterviewrubric.jpg
4. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/rubric-with-birds.jpg
5. http://mrjonesed.blogspot.com/
”I speak digital” :: Digital Exposure (2008-06-03 05:20)
I’ve bounced some digital immigrant/native [1]ideas around a [2]few [3]times. Now I have one more thing
to add.
When I was young my sister had dolls that spoke. This was so amazing! You pulled a string in the
doll’s neck and as it recoiled the doll said, ”Hi Ma-ma” or some other short phrase. Later the dolls would
say a series of phrases, changing with each pull-of-the-string. Now my daughters have My e-Pets and
Webkinz. Next comes [4]this video:
It seems that the ’Immigrant/Native’ argument is moot. I called the digital range in compe-
tency/capability of students [5]a spectrum, not a dichotomy, (I think the correct word should have been
continuum -note the reflection/comments on the post to see why I now think ’spectrum’ is better than
’continuum’). The fact is students can’t be lumped into general categories such as this. George Siemens
summarizes this point better than I can, so [6]read his post, and I’ll move on to the point of this post.
There is an issue of ’digital exposure’ that many (but not all) of today’s kids have that simply wasn’t
available when we were young. Despite my new distaste for the ’digital native’ catch phrase, I am back
to liking my Batman/Borg quote:
”I come from the Batman era, adding items to my utility belt while students today are the Borg from
Star Trek, assimilating technology into their lives.”
[7] [8]
My daughters interact with their toys in ways that I never could. In the same vein, two year old Paige
from the above video will expect her toys to interact with her, to provide her with choices that I never
had. Does it not follow that she will expect the same interaction and engagement in school?
Basically this is about ’exposure to’ and ’integration with’ digital technology at a young age as opposed
to ’adaptation to’ digital technology later on in life.
When Paige is 9, she will have peers that instant meesage each other on their [9]PDA’s... they will
be more likely to communicate online at a younger age... they will be more likely to connect to like-
minded social groups digitally. They will be continually exposed to ’new technology’ that they won’t ever
remember living without. (Technology and tools that [10]we name, and they participate with.)
Meanwhile, I will continue promoting the value of integrating technology into the classroom to teachers
who have ”enough on their plate already”. I will offer out some ’[11]delicious’ tools for their utility belts...
while Paige plays with an iPhone and learns to connect to the world around her in ways many of us are
now learning about... learning side-by-side with a two year old.
Originally posted: December 11th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
In any given Grade 8 class, I have had students at a Grade 4 to Grade
10 competency in Math. The gap has been equally as large in writing
and reading skills... and it follows that I will have similar
competency level issues with students’ abilities in connecting and
communicating digitally.
Digital exposure will lead to greater digital competency, but that
competency can be very focused or limited in scope. For some, (like
the students I highlighted in the reflection on a[12] recent post),
digital exposure has sparked an interest in understanding how
computers, technology, and/or the internet work. These students will
be digitally competent in most, if not all, areas. For others,
competency will be very limited and demonstrated, for example, in the
ability to play games, even ones that they have never played before,
at a competent level very quickly. Yet others will be able to text
messages without needing to look at their phone, and yet find
themselves lost when trying to embed a video onto a blog.
We’ll have both Batman-like and Borg-like students in our classes.
- - - - -
The Digital Immigrant/Digital Native dichotomy is untenable.
Gaps in Digital Exposure and Digital Competence will be no different
than the gaps we see in basic skills or content areas when we enter a
1. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/digital-competence-a-spectrum/
2. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/digital-native-digital-naive-digital-divide/
3. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/november-podcasts-pink-and-resnick/
4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dp4qe3Ishhw
5. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/digital-competence-a-spectrum/
6. http://connectivism.ca/blog/2007/10/digital_natives_and_immigrants.html
7. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/batman.jpg
8. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/borg-7of9.jpg
9. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_digital_assistant
10. http://www.thethinkingstick.com/?p=606
11. http://del.icio.us/
12. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/most-influential/
Rochelle (2008-06-24 14:21:39)
This is a great video. When she gets to school she will have a hard time accepting traditional educational
tools…notebook, paper, pencils and crayons. But what about those kids whose parents do not have an iPhone or
a computer? What will happen if the children who do not have access to technology are her classmates? Who
will it impact the most? Sorry for the fat fingers.
”You can’t go back now, can you?” (2008-06-03 22:35)
It’s the old [1]allegory of the cave.
Last Friday I was leaving the school and I popped into my VP’s office. Among other things, Anthony and
I often talk about technology in the classroom. One thing led to another and I showed him the YouTube
video that was the subject of my [2]last post: [3]iPhone tutorial from a two-year-old. It was shortly after
this, while I was saying something, that Anthony interrupted me:
”You can’t go back now, can you?”
”You could never be able to go back to teaching without technology, could you?
Driving home after our conversation it occurred to me what a transformation my teaching has gone
through in the past couple years. Could I go back to a classroom and teach void of blogs, wikis, & online
networks? Well, of course I could, but I just wouldn’t want to!
Not only do I never want to go back, but I have become [4]an evangelist.
However I’ve noticed a bit of a backlash among teachers. Comments like ”We can do that without tech-
nology” miss the point about what students have the potential to do. ”Every time I get them in the
computer room all they do is Facebook” recognizes that technology is a tool, not an answer, but com-
ments such as these are used as excuses rather than challenges.
In the past few weeks I’ve heard more than one teacher say, ”What is Facebook”, and ”What is a wiki?”.
This I can handle. But then I hear about how technology is evil; about what a distraction it is. Well
here is a little news flash... IT ISN’T GOING ANYWHERE!
There are times I just want to put my head down, improve what I am doing as a teacher, and for-
get that there is ’work to be done’. I can’t. Not only can’t I return to life in Plato’s cave, but I am also
compelled to ’share the true light’. I now realize that at times I am destined to be seen as ’blinded’, such
will be the lot in life for many of us.
Can you go back now?
Originally posted: December 17th, 2007
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
I’ll let the comments on the original post speak for me.
1. No David, we can’t go back. We have come too far along the road
and know too much about what is out there to go back. We are
willing to take the good with the bad and suffer some of the
things that come along with knowing - like sleepless nights,
frustration of things not working, having to re-explain to
students, losing things in cyberspace, etc. We are willing to go
through these because we have experienced the joy and fun and
exhilaration and.... when something happens. It’s so
constructivist that we cannot understand how others don’t see how
great it could be. But, just like Darwin argued for changes in
education over a 100 years ago with little change, we need to
change much more than just the tools we use. We need to change the
way people view learning. Keep up it up! We’ll get there!
[5]Kelly Christopherson on Monday, 17 December 2007, 23:18 CET
2. Hi Dave, your post is very inspiring, and for me in many
dimensions. In the first glance it seems to be the expression of
skeptical view of all ongoing development. The sort of skepticism
we may all know. (Won’t Work, etc.) But this vibes in me in
sustainability. It seems to me now that this should be a good
point growing and going in concrete. Yes - i also would answer,
that i couldn’t go back teaching my university students being
creatively - expressive... poetaster’s group host. Getting
organized - ... And its is the effect of the new technology as an
crystallisation point of all those affords and their solutions.
But - and this has been deeply grown for me now: There is a lot of
work to transport our learning experiences - observations -
effects - because they are complex to observe and more than than
complex to transport - especially to those who want to access it
theoretically. Maybe - and this would be my answer: "I cannot go
back - because I’ve seen the glance in the eyes of the students. I
cannot go back, because they have implemented my top level aim:
They changed the verbing from :"I am podcaster at
University-Koblence" to "I have to do something for my podcast")
This are the points you cannot explain to somebody who hasn’t got
infected Wink . Best greetings from the icy-cold Germany - and
forgive the typos - my English @ school has been a long time ago
[6]Andreas Auwärter on Thursday, 20 December 2007, 10:16 CET
3. Kelly, Constructivist indeed! That’s the challenge for those
looking from the outside trying to understand. Andreas, Thank you
for looking beyond your first glance, and seeing beyond an
expression of the skeptical view. My intent was NOT to say, "Oh
no, I can’t go back!", but rather to identify that what lies ahead
is much too exciting to go back again... and I can tell that you
saw that! The transformation that you see in your students is an
excellent example of why so many of us are, as you say, ’infected’
- (a brilliant choice of words that only arises from a second
language speaker:-) Your students are fortunate to have you guide
them. I am sorry that I do not speak German and the English
translation of your [7]Podcasting for Learning does not do justice
to your writing, as your comment demonstrates. Thank you both for
your comments! Dave.
[8]David Truss on Thursday, 20 December 2007, 18:40 CET
4. David, I love this post! I can’t go back and I don’t think kids
can go back either--and we all need to remember that. It is
discouraging sometimes to feel like the one shouting in the
wilderness. I’m eager for the day when many of the research
studies going on will show the value of what we know/feel to be
true! Thanks for the post!
[9]Carolyn Foote on Tuesday, 08 January 2008, 20:58 CET
Visible links 1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegory_of_the_cave
2. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/digital-exposure/
3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dp4qe3Ishhw
4. http://edtechpower.blogspot.com/2007/11/technology-evangalists-are-we-too.html
5. http://kwhobbes.wordpress.com/
6. http://userpages.uni-koblenz.de/~dkauwaer/blogline/
7. http://www.uni-koblenz.de/%7Edkauwaer/blogline/
8. http://davidtruss.com/
9. http://futura.edublogs.org/
Jan Smith (2008-06-05 06:15:56)
David, I followed your evangelist link and read Liz’s post and the follow-up comments. I too find it hard to
curb my enthusiasm about the benefits of using tech tools and experiences to deepen kid’s learning. But in my
context (an elementary school where teachers have yet to have a computer in their classrooms, with one lab for 450
kids, and no integration support save occasional after school one-off pro-d) I can’t help put a fair portion of the
responsibility for lack of growth at the feet of a system that isn’t responsive to learner needs. The gradual release
model (I do, we do, you do) has had the essential middle piece cut out. Imagine teaching a group of students to
hold a pencil, then walking away, hoping they will figure out how to write a sentence. There are so many invisible
skills in tech use in an educational context. The needs of each teacher learner are unique and complex; the missing
pieces of their comprehension net cause any casual pro d to fall through. Another metaphor: the scaffolding isn’t
there, so this constructivist process hasn’t got a brick to stand on. As I move along the tech road, cheering all the
way, I try to remind myself to look over my shoulder and see who is laying in the ditch. There’s a reason why our
kids have their learner’s permit for a whole year before they get their drivers licenses: so we can be right there
in the car with them, teaching, guiding, building their competence, encouraging, and gradually releasing to them
the wheel, so they can drive away with a strong guarantee of success. If the Department of Motor Vehicles has
figured this out, why haven’t we?
Dave Truss (2008-06-18 21:03:54)
Jan, It has been almost 2 weeks and I’ve actually written a response to you twice and then not published it. I feel
your frustration. You have made me realize that I must change one of my presentations in Boston to talk about
scaffolding with teachers as well as the scaffolding with students that I was already planning to do. Thank You!
Jan, I have two things to say: 1. Mentorship 2. Collaboration We are still at a stage where in many schools these
are not fully supported, but you have a network of people at [1]Classroom2.0, and right here with me, that will
offer help and support in any way that we can... no driver’s permit required! :-) Dave.
1. http://www.classroom20.com/profile/JanSmith
David Truss :: Pair-a-dimes for Your Thoughts » Do not go quietly into your classroom (2010-05-17 01:24:52)
[...] can see the influence my blog has within this [...]
What did I do B.G. - Before Google? (2008-06-07 15:38)
The first time I saw the term ’B.G.’ referring to ’Before Google’ was in [1]Karl Fisch’s ’Did You Know’
presentation. Tonight that term came to life for me.
Here is an eye-opening statistic I discovered about myself today:
Total Google searches: 3633 (Since April 30th, 2006, and only counting when I have been signed into
I did some quick number crunching: On average, I use Google about 450 times a month, which also
averages to about 15 times a day. I really do have to ask, what did I do B.G. - Before Google?
If you have a Google account you can check out your own history here [2]http://www.google.com/history/
[3]Have a look at my Googling trends: (The secret is out... I am a night owl!)
Above and beyond this chart, there is actually quite a lot here that Google knows about me. Add to this
the things I choose to RSS into Google Reader, the things I choose to Star and Share there, the sites I
sign up with on Gmail, the people (and information) I e-mail, and basically Google could start to make
decisions for me.
- - - - -
A.G. - After Google
How far away are we from having Google prioritizing items in our e-mail and RSS feeds for us? Or
providing us with personalized search results? I wonder how far this could go?
Will there be a truly [4]semantic web? Although [5]Stephen Downes says ’no’, and makes a very knowl-
edgeable and compelling argument, I wonder if he isn’t looking at it from a paradigm that will change?
Stephen states:
But the big problem is they believed everyone would work together:
- would agree on web standards (hah!)
- would adopt a common vocabulary (you don’t say)
- would reliably expose their APIs so anyone could use them (as if)
But I think of the sophistication of Language Translators today and wonder if standards and vocabulary
will have to be stringent? Perhaps there will come a time when it will be enough to have a somewhat
common vocabulary (congruent semantics within different languages)... and so ’loose’ standards become
beneficial since if you choose to follow along, you reap greater benefits. Or perhaps the same way
Mashups scrape information from multiple sites a semantic web could be built by information scraping?
How many billions of dollars were spent on laying down fiber cables in the few years before wire-
less access mushroomed?
How many experts thought blogs would fail? Without RSS blogs would never have become so
prolific. Blogs came first, but they might have drifted to the fringe without the ability to have feeds go
to the reader.
Is a semantic web really doomed to fail or is it inevitable? Web4.0 - your webmodality.
- - - - - -
C.E. -Communal Era
I’m not changing my behavior because I have become aware that ’Google is watching’ and track-
ing what I do.
And yet I’m not fully trusting either. How accurately can they pinpoint my interests and focus
Google ads towards me? (With a last name of Truss this would be refreshing... Yahoo always shows me
Roofing and Bra Support ads.) Furthermore, who else can see my information? Who decides this? How
secure is my information? All these things concern me, yet I’m still using Google.
There is an option to ’pause’ the history tracking and also to ’remove’ an item in Google His-
tory, but do these things actually happen or just disappear from my view? (I recall some issues with
Gmail not ’deleting forever’ after such a request was made.) Yet I’m still using Google.
With [6]OpenID and Corporate ID (Youtube is Google, Flickr is Yahoo) I am going to be shar-
ing my information regardless of how much I chose to ’pause’ or ’block’ or ’remove’ information from the
web. My information is communal/shared to a very large extent!
What really concerns me is how this information about me will be used to ”help” me? Will
”smarter” searches force like-minded ideas on me? Will they stifle my creativity? Will I suffer the
’[7]Dumbness of Crowds’ ?
Will a semantic web shield me from an onslaught of unnecessary information or will it insulate
me from possibilities and learning opportunities?
Originally posted: January 8th, 2008
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
When I type something into Google that is misspelled or phrased in an
’uncommon’ way, it asks me, "Did you mean: ______ ?" and provides me
with an alternative, more likely search. I wonder how far away we are
from being asked the same thing regarding HTML or CSS on a web page or
programming code as it is written? I think that we will see a semantic
web, and I think that with it we will see a life-altering shift in how
we [8]interface with computers.
[9]Google asks \
It seems as thought I have coined a new word: webmodality
Wikipedia has an article on [10]Modality (human-computer interaction),
but the intent behind webmodality is less about sense/sensory input or
output and much more about presence: it is the lack of separation
between input and output. Webmodality is the semantic co-relation or
interface between humans and their personal intuitive web. I’m
thinking of this as Web4.0... the semantic web as an extension of us
and our identity, a sensory experience of information that helps to
define us. I’m not sure a term like webmodality will stick for any
reason, but it did permit me to ’think big’ for a while.
1. http://thefischbowl.blogspot.com/2006/08/did-you-know.html
2. http://www.google.com/history/
3. http://www.google.com/history/
4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantic_Web
5. http://halfanhour.blogspot.com/2007/03/why-semantic-web-will-fail.html
6. http://openid.net/
7. http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/2007/01/the_dumbness_of.html
8. http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/industry/4217348.html
9. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/google-did-you-mean.jpg
10. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modality_(human-computer_interaction)
Tecfan (2008-10-28 04:16:40)
cool..! by the way, I had over 10000 google searches since 2006 ˆˆ
David Truss :: Pair-a-dimes for Your Thoughts » Product You (2010-03-13 03:30:57)
Related post: [...] Do you see the shift? Advertising has always been about getting us to buy a product… now
we are the product. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, eBay, Facebook ... are selling US! [...]
Instantaneous (2008-06-07 17:17)
[1]Kim Cofino writes on [2]Twitter:
Join us in our uStream session: http://ustream.tv/channel/isb-edu-stream Conversations about the Fu-
ture of Learning in a Networked World.
I click the link to uStream and find that 12 others have also joined her meeting, later there were 17 of us.
[3]Vance Stevens is talking and a participant in the meeting links to [4]the slide show he is showing.
Vance keeps us up to speed with respect to when to advance the slides.
I bookmark one of the links in the slides to [5]my del.icio.us, a [6]great link for new bloggers to check out.
I chat with some ’familiar’ people, [7]Alec Couros and [8]Kelly Christopherson, and ask them to help me
out with a Pro-D session I’ll be running with student teachers on the 25th. [9]Chrissy says to ’Twitter’
her and she will help out. (She actually says, ”Twitter us and we will help”). I don’t follow Chrissy on
Twitter so I go to my open Twitter window and request to follow her.
I see that I have a new Gmail message in my inbox so I open another window to find out that it
is Kris. She is asking if I had seen her new post, which is titled [10]Web2.0 Compatible.
I’m listening to the meeting, I postpone popping open windows to the links Vance is referring to,
or checking the live chat on uStream so that I can read Kris’ post. I notice a small typo in Kris’s second
paragraph. I also notice a green dot by her name in Google Chat indicating that she is online. I open a
chat box and quote her typo back to her.
Kris replies back minutes later that the typo is fixed, (I hit refresh and it is). Kris’ post is
about how ’her generation’ is totally web2.0 compatible.
I continue following the meeting where a participant is talking about how these new applications
are now ’net’ applications and not ’pay-for’ software. I realize that other than my computer and Internet
connection, all this linking and watching and listening and engaging is free.
The most amazing part to all this: It was almost midnight here and I was ’chatting’ with a stu-
dent, reading her writing, and offering (minor) feedback... while ’sitting in’ on a staff meeting at the
International School Bangkok, Thailand... ’talking’ to Kelly in Saskatchewan and Alec in Regina, as
well as others in Australia and The UK... and ’meeting’ Chrissy, a new connection from New Zealand,
who has offered to Twitter-in and help demonstrate networking/connectivity at my Pro-D session next
week in the suburbs of Vancouver.
All this happened in a shorter time than it took me to write this post!
- - - -
While getting links for this post, I discovered that Chrissy also wrote about this experience. Here is a
great image she uploaded. Click on it to get to her post.
...and back again moments later. Apparently this was not a staff meeting, but a session in an
un-conference. Kim just linked to the [12]conference wiki page via Twitter.
Originally posted: January 16th, 2008
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
This was a very powerful expression of how my learning has shifted
from searching for information to seeking interaction. It also speaks
of ’richness’.
I want students to know this kind of learning... in school. I want
them to be active members in a global learning network. I want them to
follow their own interests, to make choices about what information
they will choose to pay attention to, what to check later, and what to
filter out. I want students to be 21st Century learners.
1. http://mscofino.edublogs.org/2008/01/13/work-with-the-willing-moving-teachers-into-the-21st-century/
2. http://twitter.com/mscofino/statuses/604374892
3. http://advanceducation.blogspot.com/
4. http://www.slideshare.net/vances/reading-and-the-internet-228977/
5. http://del.icio.us/dtruss
6. http://blogging4educators.pbwiki.com/
7. http://educationaltechnology.ca/couros/
8. http://kwhobbes.edublogs.org/
9. http://teachingsagittarian.edublogs.org/
10. http://wanderingink.wordpress.com/2008/01/15/web-20-compatible/
11. http://teachingsagittarian.edublogs.org/2008/01/16/flnw08-thailand/
12. http://flnw.wikispaces.com/
13. http://flnw.wikispaces.com/
And finally, I will leave you with this: (2008-06-07 18:22)
This is the end of my last post on our class Ning network for Planning 10 this term. The first link isn’t
really appropriate but my students get my sense of humour by now, and we just finished talking about
sex-ed, so I put it in anyway. For reasons I cannot express in this venue at this time, I will really miss
these two classes!
- - - - -
And finally, I will leave you with this:
1. Make smart, realistic goals for yourself... [1]it takes effort to follow through with your goals, so
make them SMART and easier to find success with!
2. [2]Figure out who you are and what is important to you. Don’t let [3]media perceptions change
you. Be [4]safe, and if you are going to be a [5]role model for others, be a [6]positive one.
3. Remember that the world is getting [7]smaller, and that we are now [8]global citizens... in a [9]new
global market... [10]connected in new ways... [11]take care of your neighbours!
- - - - -
Originally posted: January 24th, 2008
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
I found out that I was promoted to Vice Principal by cell phone,
driving home on the 23rd and that’s what led to me saying here, a day
later, "For reasons I cannot express in this venue at this time, I
will really miss these two classes!" I took my new position February
1st. It was easy to let go of the responsibility of these classes
since the semester was over, but I had many sleepless nights working
and preparing to let go of my [12]Grad Transitions Coordinator
position. Now that I have been a VP for almost half a year, I do not
regret the opportunity, but still find being out of the classroom
tough. Some [13]great teachers have made this transition easier for
1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1trkBh92bk
2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ncOAJpr3n0
3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fz5IRdFIpvA
4. http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=rvp-kZeoWW0
5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHi2dxSf9hw
6. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vr3x_RRJdd4
7. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvTFKpIaQhM
8. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEwkrnw9g84
9. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHWTLA8WecI
10. http://www.teachertube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=7d86bd7d17b9d3be0aaf
11. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzoNInZ2ClQ
12. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/evaluating-a-journey/
13. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/most-influential/
Do not go quietly into your classroom (2008-06-07 22:29)
I spent Friday morning with 22 student teachers and a couple teachers from my school. My goal was to
introduce them to the world of web2.0, wikis, and del.icio.us. Well 2 out of 3 ain’t bad- I didn’t really get
into delicious beyond an introduction. That aside, I think this group of future teachers really understood
my point that education is changing and our teaching needs to change too!
[1]Brave New World-Wide-Web
View SlideShare [2]presentation (tags: [3]web2.0 [4]technology [5]classroom [6]wikis)
The slideshare was my main introduction, and [7]here is the wiki we used. I gave them each a page to
play with and used video’s to convey many of the ideas I wanted to get across. I’d like to thank SFU
Faculty Advisor and friend John Stockdale for the opportunity.
I’d love to be able to give this message to every student teacher!
Originally posted: January 28th, 2008
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting: I haven’t gone to the
[8]slideshare version of this slide show in a while. I just went there
to get the embed code to repost and saw the stats since uploading this
presentation four months ago:
2264 views | 4 comments | 16 favorites | 74 downloads
| 26 embeds
The stat that surprises me the most is the number of downloads. I
would love to see some of the adaptations made to those downloads and
I’d also love to know how they have been used? I will be creating a
video version of this for [9]my 3rd presentation at Alan November’s
[10]Building Leadership Communities 2008. You can see the
[11]influence my [12]blog has [13]within this presentation.
Video version update: [14]A Brave New World-Wide-Web posted September 14th, 2008
1. http://www.slideshare.net/datruss/brave-new-www?src=embed
2. http://www.slideshare.net/datruss/brave-new-www?src=embed
3. http://slideshare.net/tag/web2-0
4. http://slideshare.net/tag/technology
5. http://slideshare.net/tag/classroom
6. http://slideshare.net/tag/wikis
7. https://sfu-ed405.wikispaces.com/
8. http://www.slideshare.net/datruss/brave-new-www
9. http://novemberlearning.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=230&Itemid=135
10. http://novemberlearning.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=18&Itemid=60
11. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/instantaneous/
12. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/some-assembly-required/
13. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/you-cant-go-back-now/
14. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/a-brave-new-world-wide-web/
Neil Varner (2008-10-24 20:54:19)
Thanks for your reply David, The bravery you speak of is something I feel right now in terms of the apprehension
I feel in starting these conversations - and persisting with them regardless. But that apprehension, I know, is
coming from running up against a way of thinking about learning and teaching that is very slow to change. I’ve
been reading [1]Malcom Gladwell lately and his thoughts on transformative paradigms and tipping points (the
point at which social consciousness changes, and the remarkable speed at which it happens). It’s thinkers like
him, and, more importantly, leaders like you and John Stockdale, who are really inspiring me to think teaching
and learning ”outside of the classroom”, so to speak, and taking into the realm of the connected global learning
community. These are exciting times, indeed.
1. http://gladwell.typepad.com/gladwellcom/
Dave Truss (2008-06-09 14:06:37)
Hello Kathy, You are more than welcome to quote me. Everything I do on this site is under the Creative Commons:
Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ And also the presen-
tation is downloadable from slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/datruss/brave-new-www Please note that some
of the images and quotes on the slideshow are not mine and that I have given credit where credit is due. If you
use these, then please credit the correct person and ’Share Alike’ with your use of their words or images. Just so
you know, I’d love to see how you, or anyone else, uses this presentation. Thanks, Dave.
Kathy Sage (2008-06-09 13:07:50)
Actually, I just wanted to take a moment to thank you. You confirmed my ideas and thoughts and strengthened
me to continue the battle to ”not go quietly into my classroom.” I am a consultant for the Bureau of Education
and Resources. May I have permission to quote you during my sessions?
Sandy Mac (2008-07-15 14:22:49)
Hi Dave, WOW! I have to say first thank you and second, I am so overwhelmed! I thought I was pretty technical,
after 20 yrs. or so in high tech and now teaching: year 2, but there is so much new technology to learn & apply.
Thank you for such great information/insight and resources, now I just have to digest it all! Sandy
Dave Truss (2008-06-24 05:23:24)
Hi Vicky, It is always exciting for me to see a new teacher so enthusiastic about engaging her students with
transformative tools. I must say that your webquest looks very thorough. I did a pro-d session a while back on
how to [1]Start Your Own Blog, (link goes to the presentation wiki). Personally, I’m not a fan of blogs being
used as homework boards simply because I see that as just doing old things in new ways and not truly engaging
students in a meaningful way. See [2]this Prensky article to get a better idea of what I mean. I’ve written quite a
bit about engaging students online and I’ll share a few links here: [3]My Blogging Rules, [4]Sharing and Engaging
with Web2.0, and [5]Biting Your Digital Tongue. You can skip all the links above if you just read [6]this reflection
about using wiki’s in the classroom. (This link is about my [7]Science Alive Wiki that I did, which you may
be interested in checking out.): Also check out Kim Cofino on the same topic: [8]Making Connections: Social
Networking in the Elementary Classroom. And Susan Sedro on [9]Learning from My Online Project Mistakes.
...these will help you with any online project... learn from other’s mistakes and lessons! Tons to check out, so be
selective and follow only the links that interest you. ...and contact me if you ever need some assistance. Regards,
1. http://startyourownblog.wikispaces.com/
2. http://www.edutopia.org/adopt-and-adapt
3. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/blog-rules-respect-inclusion-learning-and-safety/
4. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/sharing-engaging-web-2-0h-yeah/
5. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/blogging-with-students-requires-biting-your-digital-tongue/
6. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/reflection-on-wikis/
7. http://sciencealive.wikispaces.com/
8. http:
9. http://ssedro.blogspot.com/2008/01/reflecting-on-parable-learning-from-my.html
Vicky Gorman (2008-06-23 20:49:32)
Hi Dave, I will start teaching this coming year. I’ve done alternate route certification...this will be a third career
for me! I don’t want to go quietly into the classroom. Especially as a science teacher with 7th graders, the
web and 21st century technology is definitely the way to go. I’ve spent much time trying to become technolog-
ically literate. I’ve recently begun to write (or attempt to:)) WebQuests; here’s the link to my first attempt.
http://teacherweb.com/WQ/MiddleSchool/Me tric System/ I’d love to have any feedback from experienced ed-
ucators. But, I digress! I’ve just learned about Blogs, but I’m still such a neophyte. Can you suggest a ”How
to Blog” 101 site, suitable for a newbie? how to get started, how to include an RSS link, etc. I really want to
incorporate blogging on a daily basis. What a great tool for homework assignments...students could answer a
question or two on the day’s work that would require them to synthesize the information, apply to real world
scenarios, and comment on fellow students responses. In addition, there would be the possibility for students
around the world to comment, as well. Thanks for helping to bring this ”Whole New World” to educators! Vicky
Dave Truss (2008-10-24 08:05:54)
Hi Neil, You can find the [1]video version of this presentation here. John is a fantastic guy, and I actually know
him through coaching water polo in years past. Not only do I wish you luck, but I welcome you to my network!
[2]Contact me, if you think I can help you out! Also I’m dtruss on delicious or datruss on diigo. It is the ”Bravery”
of those new to these transformative technologies, who are starting the [3]Learning Conversations, that inspire
me! Thanks for the inspiration!
1. http://blip.tv/file/1262079/
2. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/contact
3. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/learning-conversations/
Neil Varner (2008-10-23 11:53:25)
David, great introduction! You got me pumped up. Thank you. An aside: John Stockdale was my FA as a student
teacher, say hi to him for me. I’m a 6/7 teacher in the lower mainland trying to start this conversation in my
school. It’s slowly coming along as I coax teachers into the computer lab to learn more. This year I became the
Pro-D chair for the school and have had the Learning Services team from the board office in to work with our
staff on digital storytelling. I’ll have [1]some great student samples up on my (very fledgling) in the coming days.
That First Pro-D day was successful; in November we are joining another school staff to explore some possibilities
and I am definitely going to get them talking about blogging. I am new to this, but very excited about it, so wish
me luck. Neil
1. http://0809div1.edublogs.org/
More cool stuff | Musings on Teaching (with) Information Technology (2008-11-05 22:00:27)
[...] stumbled across a link to Dave Truss’ “Do not go quietly into the classroom” and I LOVE [...]
Claire Adams (2008-11-05 21:48:50)
Wow! That is a POWERFUL slideshow. I really hope to use it next year to empower my colleagues, and maybe
alter it to inspire my students (they may need some help to see the point of changing from the [1]TTWWADI
1. http://web.mac.com/iajukes/thecommittedsardine/Handouts_files/ttwwadi.pdf
Luz Pearson (2009-12-15 07:10:00)
Thanks David for this work! I want to show it to the heads of the school I work with but some don´t speak
English, do you know if someone did the Spanish subtitles?
Dave Truss (2009-12-16 01:08:08)
Greetings Luz, You can [1]download the presentation here, so that you can take it and adapt it or translate it in
any way that you wish. Also, you inspired me to add [2]the video version on dotSUB so that people can translate
it as they wish. Sorry but I do not currently know of any Spanish versions or versions in any other language but
English. If you do an translation, please let me know so that I can share it. Thanks, Dave
1. http://www.slideshare.net/datruss/brave-new-www/download
2. http://dotsub.com/view/e2303814-7103-409d-829f-57deb4f3281a
Neil Becera (2010-05-21 14:59:43)
Meanwhile I’m the exact opposite to most people at commenting and will comment if I have the tiniest little thing
to say, probably cos I started commenting with TwentyMajor’s blog that almost instantly goes off topic.
Donnie Pool (2010-05-24 10:55:35)
Valuable information and excellent design you got here! I would like to thank you for sharing your thoughts and
time into the stuff you post!! Thumbs up!
Ripples and Tidal Waves (2008-06-08 01:19)
There is a saying that ’when it rains it pours’ and I have really felt that over the past couple weeks! I
was given one of a few short-noticed promotions for Feb. 1st., wonderful news that completely surprised
me. I am now a Vice Principal of a Middle School and my two weeks there have been great! But I’ve
spent 1/2 a year developing 3/4’s of a [1]program and it was very hard to let go. I spent this weekend
doing my last duty for the program. I video-taped a few students doing their [2]Exit Interviews and have
put it together for a presentation this Tuesday. I’m glad this lingering obligation is over, and I am happy
about my predecessor, he is someone who will take what I have started and make it better!
I’ve written this post in my head for days now and it just isn’t coming out right so I’m switching
things up a bit:
Wednesday was when I got the phone call offering me the VP position.
Thursday was my last day of school with students in my [3]Planning 10 classes.
Friday was a Pro-D day and I spent it with [4]Student Teachers telling them all about Web2.0 skills.
Monday morning I was in a session with [5]Alan [6]November.(See [7]NovemberLearning.com.)
And that’s when the Tidal Wave started!
It began about an hour into the Alan November presentation. First the announcement for my new po-
sition came out and a flood of congratulation e-mails came flowing in. Then Alan was speaking about
all the neat tools Google has, and then within an hour I was being invited to [8]present at his [9]BLC08
Conference in July!
To call the events leading up to this serendipitous is an understatement. Here is how it evolved:
• Someone from my Learning Team just happened to be sitting at a table that put me within an arm’s
reach of Alan.
• Alan began to expand on what Google can do as a result of a participant’s question.
• I just recently discovered and wrote about [11]Google History.
• Alan walked right by me on the break and I asked him if he knew about Google History, ”No, show
me,” he says...
• I go to my blog to get easy access to the link and Alan happens to catch the title of my blog as I
immediately begin scrolling down to the post, ”You’re Pair-a-Dimes?” [”Yes”, I say, still fixated on finding
the link for him.]
• He asks me again, ”You’re Pair-a-Dimes, you’re that guy? I’ve read you, I’ve seen people link to you,
you’re that guy!” [So now I’m excited!]
• I show Alan Google History and a few things from my presentation I just happened to have done the
Friday before for student teachers.
• Alan asks me to show the group Google History and ”a few other things, whatever you want,” after the
• I go through my [12]Brave New World Wide Web presentation, skipping ’the competition’ and show a
few links from [13]my del.icio.us.
• Alan comes to me afterwards and says he wants to get me to his conference. He asks for 3 presentation
ideas, and as of a couple days ago, I’m going to be [14]presenting all 3 of them at the conference.
So many things had to coincide for this opportunity to open up for me. It has been all so overwhelming!
A new job, an old job that I couldn’t just drop, and a presentation opportunity... all vying for my time
and energy. I fell asleep twice at my computer last week.
Despite this overwhelming Tidal Wave of activity, what excites me equally as much are the tiny Ripples
that I have seen recently too!
• Two teachers from my last school joined my [15]presentation to Student Teachers, one of them started
his first class wiki while in the session. Five of the student teachers have been in contact for some level
of support/guidance since the presentation, (guilty admission here, I have not been going to their wikis
to see how things are progressing).
• Another two teachers, as they offered well-wishes with my new position, thanked me for my guidance-
both of whom I did little more than ’show a few things’.
• At my new school I am amazed at how receptive teachers have been to web2.0 tools. I spent Friday
afternoon until 4pm with two of them.
• Considering how busy I have been, and how new to the school I am, I’ve been awed by the staff’s
receptive welcome and eagerness to try new tools. On more than one occasion I’ve been learning from
them as I suggest a tool and then they suggest an engaging use for the tool that I would never have
• Next week, I’m helping out with a presentation to parents, at my previous (high) school, to help them
navigate MSN, Facebook and other means to connect to their digitally competent children.
• As an added bonus my Brave New World Wide Web presentation has been viewed almost 800 times,
downloaded 25 times and embeded 10 times... more ripples.
I’m totally excited about this Tidal Wave that I caught and have been riding for a couple weeks now, but
it the end, I think the Ripples of change that I have seen recently are what’s really going to make my new
job meaningful to what I blog about in the future. And on this final note, I think that I will be leaving
eduspaces and taking my Pair-a-Dimes somewhere else. I think I’m going to [16]follow Clay’s lead and
host my own Word Press blog. I don’t regret anything about my experience with elgg, then eduspaces, I
just think that I need some things that this wonderful open-source initiative simply isn’t providing me.
My move will be unconventional, (and time consuming), and I hope this approach will be cathartic as
well as inspiring fodder for my upcoming presentations... but more on that later.
Originally posted: February18th, 2008
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
I didn’t mention the main reason that I decided to move my blog... it
was changing addresses again! This was the final straw for me.
Ironically the plans changed after I started this blog and eduspaces
will remain. Still, I have to delete porn and spam advertising links
that people put on my eduspaces blog weekly and sometimes daily-
something I have far more control over with this new blog. I knew the
reading, following links, and reflecting process was going to be time
consuming, but I really didn’t realize how long I would be working on
this! So now I’m at the end of reposting and can finally start looking
forward. I have a draft for my final reflection in this process
already started and should have it completely written in a few days:
it will share the title of one of my favourite children’s stories:-)
- - - - -
Here was the next post on my [17]Eduspaces blog, over a month later,
March 28th, 2008
[18]I’ve MOVED!
You can now find me on [19]http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com I’ll do an
official announcement when all my posts have been. I’m moving them one
at a time and reflecting on them as I go. One down 80+ more to go!
[20]The purpose of a system is what it does. Still a favourite
metaphor of mine! I hope you enjoy my added reflection. Here is my
[21]NEW FEED. If you don’t want to see over 80 new posts in your
reader over the next week, then hold off on subscribing for now, my
official announcement and farewell is coming soon.
1. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/presentation-week
2. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/Evaluating-a-Journey
3. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/and-finally-i-will-leave-you-with-this
4. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/do-not-go-quietly-into-your-classroom
5. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/november-podcasts-pink-and-resnick
6. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/november-learning
7. http://novemberlearning.com/
8. http://novemberlearning.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=119&Itemid=135
9. http://novemberlearning.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=18&Itemid=60
10. http://novemberlearning.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=18&Itemid=115
11. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/what-did-i-do-b-g-before-google/
12. http://www.slideshare.net/datruss/brave-new-www/
13. http://del.icio.us/dtruss
14. http://novemberlearning.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=230&Itemid=135
15. http://sfu-ed405.wikispaces.com/
16. http://beyond-school.org/hosting-wordpress/
17. http://eduspaces.net/dtruss/weblog/
18. http://eduspaces.net/dtruss/weblog/303564.html
19. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/
20. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/the-purpose-of-a-system-is-what-it-does
21. http://feeds.feedburner.com/pairadimes
Harnessing our advantage (2008-06-08 11:50)
Originally posted: March 30th, 2008
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:
This is the last post that I have to move and so I thought I would put
my reflection first.
I actually posted this after I went back to the beginning of my blog
and started the reposting process. There is only [1]one other time
that I interjected a new post during this reflect and repost process,
and I did that because the issue was time sensitive. That said, many
reflections have been posts within posts with new ideas developed and
So here now is my final post reflection in this format... I have now
officially moved my blog completely over to [2]this new feed.
- - - - -
Audience does matter... and so does authority. Even in some of these
reflections I have seen a shift in my tone on this blog. To be honest,
it has been a healthy shift. I still rant, as the first link above
demonstrates, but I think I have found a much more positive spin on
things thanks to my change in position as well as the choice to put
this blog at an address with my name on it.
Every e-mail I send out has the Zoroastrian quote, "Think Good
Thoughts, Say Good Words, Do Good Deeds", and in fact, so do most of
my online profiles. Yet, my frustration with the slow process of
tearing down archaic institutional walls that hinder the use of
transformational technologies in schools has left me frustrated, if
not outright bitter, at times. But who are my audience? What does a
somewhat negative tone tell them about blogging or working with
As I say below:
We need to be empowered learners if we want to lead other learners.
Anger and frustration may spur the desire to learn, but these ’hot’
emotions do not encourage a positive learning environment, they do not
enhance a learning experience, they do not empower us to be leaders.
You’ll still see me rant, and I’ll still show my frustration at times,
but I hope to keep the tone positive and I hope to keep my very own
personal learning environment, my learning hub, a place where my
thoughts, words and deeds are inherently good.
Thanks to inspiration by Alec, I ended up staying up well past my bedtime (again) and writing a Forum
Post in an online Dialogue for our Building Leadership Capacity group. This is a group of teachers
interested in Leadership within the District, they meet for 3 session and the discussion forum is designed
to keep the conversation going between sessions, (it is just getting started). It is interesting being one
of the facilitators after being a teacher-participant for a few years. Regular readers will see that my
comments are tempered with a slightly different tone as I figure out my voice as an Administrator. We
tell students, ”Audience Matters!” But now I am experiencing that first-hand. Here is my discussion
forum post:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Here is an [3]interesting video.Schools as institutions are so slow to change. I think if we really want to
be leaders we must prepare our students with the tools of today and tomorrow, not yesterday!
From Alec Couros’ [4]Letting Go
”...we’ve reached the point in our (disparate) cultural adaptation to computing and communication tech-
nology that the younger technical generations are so empowered they are impatient and ready to jettison
institutions most of the rest of us tend to think of as essential, central, even immortal. They are ready
to dump our schools.”
Harsh words, but as our own district ramps up its’ online learning and districts like West Vancouver do
the same, we must ask ourselves how best to meet the needs of our students in schools? On the topic
of technology use, I created this slideshow to show to SFU Student Teachers at a pro-d session earlier
this year: [5]Brave New World-Wide-Web. Towards the end, it highlights some of the tools that students
used to empower their own learning.
And that brings us back to the idea of leadership. We need to be empowered learners if we want to lead
other learners. We need to create an environment that fosters [6]doing new things in new ways, like many
cutting edge organizations do. However, this isn’t a complaint about what we need and don’t have. I read
a lot of blogs by teachers across the globe. Here in Canada, and in the US, there are countless districts
where not every classroom has a computer, or where draconian online censorship by the district limits
what a teacher can do. Compared to most school districts, we are actually leaders on the technology
integration curve, especially with respect to our ideology of openness and what we have with the My43
So as leaders, how do we harness this advantage? If we want to build capacity and empower the leaders
in our district, what is it that needs to happen to foster a culture that thrives on challenge
and change? What do we need to do to nurture our own learning? How can WE become educational
leaders that prepare our students for an age of prolific technological advancement?
1. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/flickering-never-mind/
2. http://feeds.feedburner.com/pairadimes
3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lm1sCsl2MQY
4. http://educationaltechnology.ca/couros/829
5. http://www.slideshare.net/datruss/brave-new-www
6. http://www.edutopia.org/adopt-and-adapt
Something from Nothing (2008-06-16 06:42)
A Blog from Nothing
I remember when I put a ClustrMap on my blog. I saw one on a novel study wiki and thought it would
be great for student wikis & blogs, to help students see that they have a global audience. It took me
over an hour to figure out how and where to embed the html on the Elgg open source blogging platform.
Then a few dots started to show up on the map and I must admit to getting excited. And now, when
I look at a map of visitors for my first year of blogging, I really feel like something has been built from
The Children’s Book by This Name
If you don’t know the story, as told by Phoebe Gilman, here is [1]Something from Nothing in a nutshell:
A loving grandfather makes a beautiful blanket for his grandson. The boy takes it everywhere with him
until it gets ’tattered and torn’ , and so his grandfather salvages what is left of it by making a beautiful
jacket... which in turn gets ’tattered and torn’ so the boy’s grandfather makes him something from what
is left again, and again, and again... and considering the title, I won’t be giving anything away by saying
eventually something is made from nothing!
A Reflective Move
Elgg, my blog’s host, switched to Eduspaces. Eduspaces was about to change again when I’d had enough.
I decided to move my 80+ posts on my blog to somewhere that I had more control, and so I bought
DavidTruss.com. When I tried to transfer my blog I ended up with about 3/4 of the posts being truncated
and every tag I used transfered as a blank link... all 1,700+ or them. As I painstakingly erased them,
one-by-one, I thought about the opportunity this could be for me to reflect on my blog so far.
On April 26th, 2008 [3]I reposted my very first post with a small box at the end, placed there for my
Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting. It then took me over 2 months to repeat the process for all
my posts! Despite it being a much slower process than I imagined, I must admit that it has been a richly
powerful and wonderful experience. At times my reflections were whimsical; at times they were like whole
posts, adding new insights; and at times they either reinforced or challenged what I’d written. My posts
are a reflection of my growth as an empowered learner who engages in thoughtful reflection.
When I started the paragraph above, I’d intended to pepper it with linked examples of what I was talking
about. I was going to dig through my reflections and demonstrate how I was [4]inventive or [5]contem-
plative or ... However, the purpose of this reflection is not to showcase what I’ve done, but rather to
examine the value of the experience. I’m not sure if I’d want to scrutinize and dissect what I’ve written
like this again, but I’m very glad that I went through this process, (or should I say ordeal?)
Moving Forward
When I moved to the Grad Transitions Coordinator position I sometimes felt that I had to bite my digital
tongue since the things I really wanted to talk about could have sabotaged the program I was running.
Then I got to this Vice Principals’ position and again questioned how this would change what I write
about... how it would force me to bite my digital tongue not just when [6]blogging with students, but
always, as a ’Person with New Responsibilities’.
Now, thanks to this reflection process, I feel like I can go forward and continue to challenge my own and
others’ assumptions. I can question what I, and the proverbial ’we’, do in institutional learning without
hesitation or thinking that I have to watch what I say. This is my blog. This is my learning space. This
is my place to question and challenge my thinking. If that gets me in hot water, I’ll deal with that when
the time comes.
Last October, during an interesting e-mail correspondence with some friends about cell-phone use in
schools, I linked to [7]this blog post. I was asked by our Manager of Information Services, who was one
of the people in this correspondence, why I didn’t use the district’s Mysite for my personal blog. This
was my e-mail response [with updates]:
- - - - -
First of all, I have had this blog for a while now and it is my online ‘home’.
Second, I have a bit of a world audience… specifically a few readers in The US, Argentina, Scotland,
Australia, and England, and so passwords protection is not appealing. (I’m not sure if this is an issue,
can you directly link to the blog without a password? [You can, it has a district/locked face and a public
And also, I already RSS it into my mysite page.
I have considered posting my blog in the Mysite blog section as well (cross-posting in two locations [I’ve
done this sparingly since writing this e-mail]), but there is one other reason…
I tend to be public about my dislike for the current state of education and that is MY opinion, not
one endorsed by the district. I am not sure how well a blog post critical of education (such as this one
[8]http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/square-peg-round-hole/) would sit with some of the people who may
be notified internally on their Mysite that I have a new blog post… and I don’t want the thought of that
causing me to censor my personal views.
I’ve never actually stated the name of my school or my district in my blog, but they are easy enough to
find out.
Perhaps I am just paranoid, but I question the idea of how personal this mysite is?
Do things I put there ‘belong’ to me?
Do I have an obligation or a responsibility to the district?
What if I was critical of the district in my blog? [I have been]
If I left the district how long would I have before ‘my property’ is taken away from me?
Basically my blog is MY BLOG, and I question my rights to do with it as I please within the Mysite
- - - - -
His response was honest,
...Your questions about how you can use your my43 blog are excellent – we haven’t thought
through that at all yet. I will raise those questions with the design team.
All this makes me wonder: How meaningful are some of these learning spaces we create for our students?
Are we giving them a site that is theirs? Who really owns their learning? Who should?
1. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0590472801?ie=UTF8&tag=davidtrcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=
2. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0590472801?ie=UTF8&tag=davidtrcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=
3. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/the-purpose-of-a-system-is-what-it-does/
4. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/what-did-i-do-b-g-before-google/
5. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/stuck-borrowed-rant-and-questions/
6. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/blogging-with-students-requires-biting-your-digital-tongue/
7. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/bringing-tools-to-class/
8. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/square-peg-round-hole/
What comes around (2008-06-17 06:44)
The task was simple: Have your advisory pick an issue in the school and then create a video that promotes
awareness of the problem and/or a solution to the problem. This is what Mr. Williams’ advisory came
up with last year.
I like the use of camera direction to help tell the story. This to me is great storytelling... which is almost
a lost art. Videos like this tell the story more by design than by content. Oh, and like all other Advisory
projects this was not done for marks, yet you can tell the students were enthusiastic about participating.
Storytelling is something we should all spend more time on... as educators and students!
Jan Smith (2008-06-17 16:18:48)
Excellent. Great message. I have stuck it in my VodPod and will use it next year, along with the PSA ”Think
Before You Post”. An terrific example of storytelling, as you say. Such good design doesn’t happen by accident; I
bet careful storyboarding preceded the filming. Thanks for that!
Edupunk or Educational Leader? (2008-06-19 01:24)
Confession #1: I had planned on calling this post, ”Edupunk or edubunk?”
bunk: nonsense- a message that seems to convey no meaning That was before [1]reading this simple, but
very powerful post by Jen D. Jones. Now I need to change my approach. My main point sits under
Confession #3 below. - - - - - Confession #2: I am not an [2]edupunk... I’ve always been too much
of an edunerd to qualify. That said, I’ve always sat ’outside the box’ looking in. I’ve always felt like
[3]a square peg in a round hole. I’m an ’A’ student who went through my first university degree with
a ’C+’ average. I handed almost everything in late (and almost always with no marks off). I ignored
criteria and wrote what I wanted. Sometimes this was rewarded, most times it was punished. When I
was disinterested in an assignment I walked a fine, and I might add brilliant, line next to what would
be considered plagiarism, it was a great strategy that got me through the mundaneness of many useless
assignments. I crammed for exams, and I’d stay awake for 3 days (usually after the due date) writing an
essay. I’d go into the library and end up half an isle away from the resources I needed, reading something
’unnecessary’... my pre-FireFox tabbing. On my transcript there is a ’A’ that I got in a course where
I didn’t do an assignment worth 25 % of my mark (do the math) and there is also a mark of ’Zero’ for
another course. I appealed the ’Zero’ and then refused to follow the terms of the accepted appeal. I felt
the Appeal Board was scolding me with terms I specifically said would make the timeline for completion
difficult for me. I punished myself by refusing to meet their requirements on principle... the irony is not
lost on me here. I spoke up and I spoke out- I never bit my tongue in class. I worked my butt off in a
warehouse the summer before university and decided that I was going to get my money’s worth while at
school. It always amazed me when I’d ask an obvious question or ask for an explanation because ”I’m
lost”, and students would thank me after class... ”I was so lost too, thanks for asking”... Why didn’t
they speak up? What were they afraid of? It didn’t matter if I was in a class of 20 or an auditorium of
200, the professor knew my name by the second or third class... sometimes this was to mutual benefit
and sometimes purely my own... but I was not intentionally disruptive and I certainly never ’sucked up’
though I often had to endure the stares of Marshmallows who thought I was sucking up... I didn’t care.
My favourite learning experience in school was not from a course. I had a Wednesday night class in the
second term of my first year, and after the first class I was invited to join a few people for coffee. (As I
tell this I have to chuckle at the fact that I have no recollection of what the Wednesday night course was.)
We were a motley crew that spent the next 12 Wednesday nights discussing Religion and the Meaning
of Life over a cup of java. Present at these coffee-shop-talks were a third-year student who was Atheist,
his second-year devout Catholic girlfriend, a 35 year old ex-[4]Hare Krishna of 14 years who served as
their head chef for nine of those years, and then there was me. My values and beliefs were challenged
beyond any classroom ever challenged me. We had our own [5]Socrates Cafe where Big Questions were
asked and we all took turns trying to answer them. As for classes, well I excelled at classes such as the
one on Educational Leadership where the [6]The Tao of Leadership was the text, and topics of study
included [7]holistic learning. Meanwhile, I floundered in courses like Environmental Geography where
I was lectured to from class beginning to bitter end. I have a box somewhere in my garage with some
impressive doodles created in that class. I remember taking a Philosophy course on Plato in my first
year. Whenever I made a point contrary to my professor, or asked him a challenging question, he would
respond with, ”Well I think Plato would say...” So, I was no longer disagreeing with him or questioning
his ideas, but rather Plato’s instead! I lost all respect for him after he marked a paper with a comment
that went something like this:
Very well thought out, excellent arguments, too short! C+ I knew the word count quota, but felt I’d said
all that I needed to. So I guess that if I had added about 150 more words of fluff, then and only then
would I have earned an ’A’ or at least a ’B’ on this philosophy paper? To my Plato-Wanna-Be professor
I was no Aristotle. By the end of the term he hated me... that was another fine line that I walked! My
dissent towards criteria was even evident with my [8]Master’s Terminal Paper, (that I finished just two
years ago), which is now used as my advisor’s example of what not to do (...of going too far, and being too
long). At one point she asked me to shorten my paper so I edited one paragraph by about two sentences
and then widened my margins. So, am I an edupunk? To me, the answer is still ’No’. I’m not a rebel,
I didn’t buck the system. I was just a stubborn learner who let my surrounding environment determine
when and if I chose to learn... not a lone wolf as much as a disgruntled sheep. The truth hurts, but I’m a
big boy now and I can take it. - - - - - Confession #3: I don’t like the term Edupunk [9]Stephen Downes
loves the term. Alec finds [10]Meaning and Identity:
...I am going to take [11]Jen’s advice seriously when she says about edupunk “[12]Don’t dissect the
metaphor“. Edupunk, if nothing more, has got many people talking, exploring their beliefs around
education, and in some cases, reminiscing of day’s long past. The educational community is much too
diverse, as it should be, for anyone to cling on to one single metaphor for meaning. Well, it certainly
got me reminiscing, so what’s wrong with the term? These are not Edupunks, they are Educational
Leaders! The reality is that anti-establishment, Do-It-Yourself, transformative, collaborative, networked
teachers doing new things, in new ways, in new wall-less, time-zone-less, textbook-less, standardized-test-
less classrooms are paving the way for a new kind of schooling. I’ll say this again in a different way:
These are not Edupunks, they are Educational Leaders! They are our role models paving a new path to
a more meaningful educational experience in our schools. They may be on the fringe, but they are also
at the forefront. They are leading the way. When I went to [13]ContinUO we read [14]Surfing the Edge
of Chaos. Here we can find the appeal of Edupunks, but we can see that in reality we are speaking of
our new Leaders.
”The fringes are the source of most truly innovative ideas in cultures, economies and organizations.” But
a problem arises in,
”...recognizing when the fringe has created something so important that it no longer deserves to be fringe.”
(Alex Trisoglio, pg.31) Our so-called Edupunks are figuring out a new path as they go... this isn’t about
rogues, it is about adult learners who are trailblazing without a map.
”As a general rule, adults are much more likely to act their way into a new way of thinking than to
think their way into a new way of acting.” (pg. 14) Also in the book, Monsanto’s CEO Robert Shapiro
speaks of Foresight (seeing ahead), Insight (seeing deeply), Speed, and Courage (pgs. 82-85). These
are all things that I see in the educators being called Edupunks. Let’s not put our leaders into fringe
categories. Let’s recognize them as the trailblazers they are. They are Surfing the Edge of Chaos (or
should I say educhaos)... and what they really deserve is our appreciation, thanks, and respect. - - - - -
Footnotes: As a teacher... I guess you could say that at times I too have ’acted my way into a new way of
thinking’. My actions as a learner influenced my actions as a teacher, as these footnotes suggest.  As a
teacher, I don’t take any marks off for something coming in late. It is my job to make sure that students
demonstrate their learning and meet the learning outcomes during the year. All time lines within the
year are arbitrary (and usually teacher determined) and not a requirement worthy of penalty. Exceptions
may be made where either Personal Planning or Goal Setting are part of the outcomes.  As a teacher,
I am very vocal about students needing to speak up and ask questions. ”Don’t be a Marshmallow!” was
a saying that I took from my Grade 10 English teacher Mr. La Point who used it to symbolize placid
students sitting in his class and choosing not to speak up. At first being called Marshmallows in my
class was funny, but soon students would catch on that they were not meeting expectations when they
were being Marshmallows!  As a teacher my response to ’how long does this assignment need to be?’
has always been, ”It needs to be as long as it needs to be.” Students hate this answer, but after a while
they get it. In a nutshell: I’ve read three brilliant sentences that have said more than three long-winded
1. http://injenuity.com/?p=186
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edupunk
3. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/square-peg-round-hole/
4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hare_Krishna
5. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/039332298X?ie=UTF8&tag=davidtrcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=
6. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0893340790?ie=UTF8&tag=davidtrcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=
7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holistic_education
8. http://www.davidtruss.com/leadership_paper.htm
9. http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/page.cgi?topic=2536
10. http://educationaltechnology.ca/couros/859
11. http://injenuity.com/?p=186
12. http://injenuity.com/?p=186
13. http://education.uoregon.edu/field.htm?id=130
14. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0609808834?ie=UTF8&tag=davidtrcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=
Joan Vinall-Cox (2008-06-19 06:39:58)
I feel such kinship, both in your description of your university days and your teaching approach, (although I think
I was sometimes a ”disgruntled sheep” in marshmallow clothing - girls were socialized differently). Thanks you so
much for an invigorating, thought-provoking post.
Ken Allan (2008-06-29 03:25:58)
Kia ora David I’m not an edupunk either, but I read what you say and agree with it. I also agree with Jen
Jones’s metaphor, for I identify with edupunk the same way as she (apparently) does; it takes me back - more
than 20 years! You say ”the student has become the teacher”. I follow this too. [1]I follow the Zen proverb,
’when the student is ready the master appears’. It is often misunderstood and sometimes even ridiculed through
1. http://www.dangerouslyirrelevant.org/2008/05/compare-and-c-1.html#comment-116390866
Darcy (2008-06-24 22:19:21)
An ANSWER Space: A student’s lesson on creativity from a chaotic perspective. Place: A Sandbox, the Sandbox
If you want Art, or some sort of creative endeavour, don’t give someone one of Picaso‘s paintings. Simply give
them a blank piece of paper. The emphasis is on ‘blank“. Blank IS Space. This Space is the room necessary for
Creativity to take root and flourish. Draw Lines for people. Hook up dots. Offer shapes. Prepare questions. Print
out worksheets. Outline guidelines. Create expectations for responses, and participation. Dig deep ditches for
your boundaries, and erect massive walls for your territories. Explain and articulate beautifully to your heart’s
content. But if you want to illicit conversation; if you want to foster creative response to your own creativity, then
save space, or loose face. Because the intellectual sand box of communication that you create in your blogs only
has as much Space for others to play in as you leave them. You could do two things. You could nudge over and
make room for others. This would leave you with less space to explore your ideas, but would leave others joining
in conversation with more space to explore ideas. Or, you could just invite others to play in a larger Sand box
-expanding your intellectual horizons. Either way, or no way, in my mind is best. I do not know. What I find
really interesting is it depends on Why YOU are doing what you are doing. Are you exploring, expressing or are
you guiding? Again, I don not feel I know. Space is the only way we get what’s inside, outside. So, An Answer
I DO have for you Dave is that our worlds of communication are only limited by the “horizons of interpretation“
(Langdon) we experience internally when we erect language as a product of our creativity. Creativity seems to
mysteriously be a journey of becoming that “meaning“ goes through as chaos becomes meaningful. Our creative
impulses ARE NOT answerable to chaos though. But chaos IS answerable to our creative impulses. In fact, ONLY
chaos is answerable to our creative impulse. Chaos IS Space. It is a lacking of meaning, a lacking of certainty or a
lacking of “answers“ that leave room intellectually for people to explore the dynamics being presented. Otherwise
for many, their just isn’t any room in the sand box to comfortably get in, sense what all the ideas could mean to
them, and then create new connections with what ideas they already had handy. Conclusion ? Share a Sandbox
or get a new one ? I am unsure.
Dave Truss (2008-06-24 23:33:56)
I had lunch today with Darcy, He is a friend and former student currently working with a neighbouring community
centre. He works with and connects with many students from my school. I mentioned that my blog seldom gen-
erates many comments... he said he’d check it out and give me ’An ANSWER’... this is noteworthy as I often tell
Darcy that he readily asks questions, but seldom answers them! :-) Well I got an answer that leaves me with many
questions. These quotes will keep me thinking for a while: ...Because the intellectual sand box of communication
that you create in your blogs only has as much Space for others to play in as you leave them. and What I find
really interesting is it depends on Why YOU are doing what you are doing. Are you exploring, expressing or are
you guiding? I have often said that I write this blog for me first... and perhaps I’m really only making the space
open for me? And like Darcy I’m not sure if I’m exploring, expressing or guiding? Maybe because I am unsure, I
create a difficult space for people to make meaningful connections? As has been the case many times before with
Darcy, the student has become the teacher. Thanks for sharing your wisdom!
Eric Brunsell (2008-06-19 07:05:55)
I enjoyed reading this post. I was a lazy sheep as an Undergrad. Your comments resonate with my post undergrad
life (classroom, grad school, and higher ed). I think that as the pedagogy catches up to the technology, the fringe
will need to become the norm! Also, as Plato would say: Very well thought out, excellent arguments, too long!
C+ :)
Jen (2008-06-19 12:18:39)
This is a well-composed, thoughtful and reflective post. What a treat to read! I had a very similar undergrad
experience, but was too shy to gather with others as you did. I ended up with unofficial withdrawals in most of
my courses because I just didn’t go. They didn’t make sense. I wasn’t learning. Maybe those of us who recognized
we weren’t learning, will be the ones to transform the field.
Dave Truss (2008-06-19 17:45:32)
Joan, I wonder how many sheep like us there are in our schools... who want more but sit, smile and fill-in-the
blanks as instructed? I hadn’t thought of male/female differences in experience, thanks for the insight! Eric, I’ll
take the C+ without complaint. I can be wordy at times, and that’s why right at the start of the post I offered up
that my main point was in Confession #3. I’d love to see ’this’ fringe learning be the norm! Jen, Thanks for the
inspiration! It was your brilliant, (and far less wordy), post that helped me find the positive focus in this post.
Betty Gilgoff (2009-03-23 16:27:57)
I think you make the point well when you say:
These are not Edupunks, they are Educational Leaders! They are our role models paving a new
path to a more meaningful educational experience in our schools. They may be on the fringe, but they
are also at the forefront. They are leading the way.
I’m not a fan of the edupunk term either. I think it marginalizes those who definitely need to not be marginalized.
At the same time there is a tension here between those who push against convention and the bureaucracies that
try to constantly establish and maintain that same convention. What’s interesting here is that like in the 1960’s,
many of these so called ”rebels” however they are labeled, are coming from power positions in our universities and
learning institutions. Personally, I see that as a good sign, one that will help to give them the same non-fringe
status that the name is trying perhaps to take away, although that ”status” in itself is a tension. A great post!
Thanks for writing.
Steven Egan (2009-04-01 15:11:13)
I always find these sort of posts interesting. Partially because they do exactly what Jen’s post says not to do; read
too much into the metaphor. Even Jim Groom has his questions about the term, mostly because what happened
was not at all intended. While it is true that I too read too much into the metaphor, it’s in a different way,
sarcastic. Punks are the people who disrupt the system, and are called that by those in charge of the system.
When the system becomes static, good teachers and innovators become punks by system definitions. With the
original plans for edupunk to pull on the zine culture to pull those who the system might call punks together, I
find it fitting. However, I do agree that the term is not suitable for serious use. It’s too tongue in cheek. Truth
is, I think Jim Groom fully agrees with the view that those people are leaders, not punks.
RuthHoward (2009-04-05 17:49:45)
Hi David followed here thru link from Diigo bookmarked by another in reference to previous post-”My blog is my
Phd” In response to this now old post Ill go for it regardless... I think (at the time of your post)you’re naturally
navigating a new zone,tho very familiar to yourself -like putting out feelers to see if there’s any life below. But
in some ways this is truly ’space exploration’...unknown unknowable the space inside each persons head/heart. I
see your head/heart space placed waaay out here and not everyone is comfortable to reciprocate.I suspect your
style demands reciprocity of head/heart encounters just by its very authenticity. I have enjoyed these two posts.
Cheers Ruth
Inaction is action (2008-06-20 07:04)
Someone I know has a child in elementary school. That child came home and complained,
”It’s no fair!”
”What’s not fair?” Her mother asks.
”We were lined up to go to the computer lab and two boys were noisy so we didn’t go.”
”What did you do instead?”
”Extra math sheets.”
And what was done about this? Nothing. No parent complaint or questions of concerns. And so, it
happened at least one other time after that. It will probably happen again.
Obviously it is ok that computers are a reward. Obviously Math makes suitable punishment. Obvi-
ously I’m being sarcastic.
So often we are measured by what we do, but seldom by what we do not do.
Have you challenged yourself this year? Have you gone to the hard places when you needed to? Have you
reflected deeply? Have you written thoughtfully? Have you commented meaningfully? Have you inspired
a desire to learn?
Does your inaction reflect who you are or who you’d rather not be?
- - - - -
”First They Came for the Jews”
By Pastor Niemoller
First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Lim Ee Hai (2008-07-26 22:27:19)
Action or no action is subjective to one’s situation at that point in time. Being able to decide what is proper and
improper is still a better skill that we need to master. It is not simple, though, but no excuse. I like your post as
it cause me to reflect on this issue..
Ken Allan (2008-07-05 00:37:00)
T?n? koe David An interesting post topic and one that I’ve often mused about and debated. You can add to
your list the colleagues who attend the meeting who agree with you and don’t support your point until afterwards
when they say ”I don’t disagree with you - I support what you said”. Hmmm. Ashleigh Brilliant has a beaut one
liner ”I waited and waited and when no message came I knew it must have been from you.” We live in an age
dominated by television - a most unparticipatory means of communication. It’s been said that TV is responsible
for audiences not knowing when and how to show their appreciation when attending concerts and other public
entertainment. Pastor Niemoller’s words are as wise as John Donne’s, ”Do not ask for whom the bell tolls . . .”
Ka kite from Middle-earth
Kids say the darndest things (2008-06-25 03:44)
A light look at some actual Grade 4 & 5 test questions and responses at my wife’s school:
How do you think the Wright brothers felt after the first flight. Why?
Good. They did something good for once.
Do you think jet airplanes have changed our lives for the better? Why?
No. Pollution, hello?
—From Andrew
How do you think the Wright brothers felt after the first flight. Why?
Maybe like birds, cuz birds fly in the air.
—From Austin
How do you think you would feel if a cricket kept you awake? Why?
Annoyed. Because there would be a lot because I live near a Hydro line.
—From Bailey
How do you think the Wright brothers felt after the first flight. Why?
Happy and surprised. Hello?!! They made the first machine that can fly!
—From Ian
What do you think would happen if all the plants died? Why?
We would not have shade from trees. This affects me because with no shade in the summer, I’d boil.
—From Jessica
What do you think would happen if all the plants died? Why?
I think that life would come to a halt because plants feed herbivores, herbivores feed carnivores and we
feed on herbivores/carnivores. Also, plants give us oxygen.
—From James
According to this passage, how long does it take for people to fly around the world?
A few hours. Sometime it take longer to get luggage than to fly.
How do you think the Wright brothers felt after the first flight? Why?
They probably thought, “Wow, we have made the first flying machine everyone who ever flys (sic) will
thank us.”
Do you think jet airplanes have changed our lives for the better? Why?
Yes, because if you wanted to go to Disneyland for a trip if you took a car it would take a cople (sic) of
days. If you flew it only take a cuple (sic) of house and then you don’t have grumpy whinny (sic) kids.
—From Juliana
How do you think you would feel if a cricket kept you awake? Why?
It would feel weird because there’s a bug in my house.
—From Billy
How do you think you would feel if a cricket kept you awake? Why?
I would try to find the cricket and bring it outside cause I like to sleep a lot.
—From April
Dan Callahan (2008-06-25 07:02:25)
Being a Special Ed teacher, I recognize instantly that the test your wife is using is the Jerry Johns Basic Reading
Inventory. Unfortunately, my students don’t give answers as entertaining as this.
This blog has a subtitle: Reflections on Education, Technology and Learning
My other less-frequently used blog, [1]’Practic-All’, is subtitled, Pragmatic tools and ideas for the class-
room. Recently I started using this other blog to provide a digital addition to my Principal’s weekly
e-mail update. I did 9 of these to end the year off. I called them [2]Dave’s Digital Magic, (or school
teams are the Magicians). Recently I’ve done some thinking about education, technology and learning
on my Practic-All blog and so I thought I’d share it here too.
I tried to provide within each ’digital magic’ a few links including some that promoted web2.0 tools,
some that were fun, some that were for different curricular areas... and some that made you think. I put
these ’thinking links’ into a category called, THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMMMMM… and I
ended each post with one of these.
This was a rather passive way to attempt some influence on my staff. I know some of them ignored
the link to my Digital Magic, at least a couple of the staff were very regular visitors, and others waited to
hear about something useful before venturing to a link or two. We are talking about tiny ripples rather
than tidal waves... but, in keeping with the water theme, even the greatest waterfall begins with a single
So now I put a challenge out to you!
Create your own ripples. Pick one of the nine THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMMMMM… and
share it with your staff. Or create your own (and please share it with me as well as others).
Actually here are two links for you!
a) Feel like reading? 15 year old Kris gives her eloquent view about what’s wrong with schools:
[3]How to Prevent Another Leonardo Da Vinci
b) Just want to watch a video? Mr. Winkle Wakes
What do these two links have in common? They both make me ask myself questions.
Do we do what we do because we are used to it? Or, do we do what we do because it has always been
done that way? Are we doing what’s best for our students? What do we do well? And, what can we do
What do you think?
- - - -
[5]How Not to Talk to Your Kids:[6] The Inverse Power of Praise.
A Feature in the The New York Times, By Po Bronson. I will let the article speak for itself:
Dweck sent four female research assistants into New York fifth-grade classrooms. The researchers would
take a single child out of the classroom for a nonverbal IQ test consisting of a series of puzzles—puzzles
easy enough that all the children would do fairly well. Once the child finished the test, the researchers
told each student his score, then gave him a single line of praise. Randomly divided into groups, some
were praised for their intelligence. They were told, “You must be smart at this.” Other students were
praised for their effort: “You must have worked really hard.” Why just a single line of praise? “We
wanted to see how sensitive children were,” Dweck explained. “We had a hunch that one line might be
enough to see an effect.” Then the students were given a choice of test for the second round. One choice
was a test that would be more difficult than the first, but the researchers told the kids that they’d learn
a lot from attempting the puzzles. The other choice, Dweck’s team explained, was an easy test, just like
the first. Of those praised for their effort, 90 percent chose the harder set of puzzles. Of those praised
for their intelligence, a majority chose the easy test. The “smart”kids took the cop-out.
Later, when given a much more difficult test, these results were magnified. It really is worth reading the
whole article, but here is a key point about the research above:
Dweck had suspected that praise could backfire, but even she was surprised by the magnitude of the
effect. “Emphasizing effort gives a child a variable that they can control,” she explains. “They come to
see themselves as in control of their success. Emphasizing natural intelligence takes it out of the child’s
control, and it provides no good recipe for responding to a failure.”
More food for thought from the article:
Psychologist Wulf-Uwe Meyer, a pioneer in the field, conducted a series of studies where children watched
other students receive praise. According to Meyer’s findings, by the age of 12, children believe that earn-
ing praise from a teacher is not a sign you did well—it’s actually a sign you lack ability and the teacher
thinks you need extra encouragement. And teens, Meyer found, discounted praise to such an extent
that they believed it’s a teacher’s criticism—not praise at all—that really conveys a positive belief in a
student’s aptitude. In the opinion of cognitive scientist Daniel T. Willingham, a teacher who praises a
child may be unwittingly sending the message that the student reached the limit of his innate ability,
while a teacher who criticizes a pupil conveys the message that he can improve his performance even
In a nutshell, praise effort rather than intelligence. The article goes on to mention the value this has on
developing persistence when faced with failure, while praising intelligence increases the stress and reduces
the desire to face such challenges. I will be thinking about this a lot over the next few days both at school
with my students and at home with my own kids. - - - - - Po Bronson’s blog, “How Not to Talk to Your
Kids” [7]Part 2, [8]Part 3, [9]Part 4. From Part 4:
“A common praise technique that people use (I know I did it with my tutoring kids… up
til a few weeks ago, that is….) is to use a present success to control future performance. For
example, if a typically-sloppy child writes an essay that’s atypically legible, a parent or teacher
may say, “That’s very neat: you should write all of your papers like this.” Even if it’s meant
as sincere praise and encouragement, the research shows that’s not only an ineffective way to
praise. In fact, like praising for intelligence – it can actually damage a child’s performance.
Here’s [10]what is going on…”
- - - -
Clarence Fisher, a brilliant Canadian teacher and [11]blogger, wrote this short paper (4 easy-to-read
pages), [12]Changing Literacies (PDF).
Being literate is so much more than being able to understand a written text on a piece of paper.
Here is a quote from his section on Access,
“Fast forward to our society and the ability we now have to drown ourselves in
cheap, disposable information from books, television, the internet, radio,
magazines, video, etc. In our time, one of the major skills of being literate is
the ability to access texts in many different forms from many different sources.
Importantly, it is not about searching for texts, it’s about finding them.”
In this article, Clarence describes why I became a ‘technology guy’. Actually, I don’t really care about
technology… I just see how these tools, like wiki’s, can engage students in meaningful ways, where they
create and share what they have learned in new, interesting ways.
- - - -
NOTE ON THE USE OF THIS RUBRIC: [Check out the link before reading this!]
“Habits of Mind are the characteristics of what intelligent people do when they are confronted with prob-
lems, the resolution(s) to which are not immediately apparent. These behaviors are seldom performed in
isolation. Rather, clusters of such behaviors are drawn forth and employed in various situations.”
(Arthur L. Costa and Bena Kallick: 16 Habits of Mind) The purpose of a rubric when assessing student
work is to provide benchmarks of achievement based on these habits which allow a student to understand
their current level of mastery and discipline in order to set goals for future drafts, assessments, or marking
periods. For as long as possible we will refrain from discussing grades, per se, and focus our discussion
on achievement and progress. As long as a student continues to set goals, reflect and evaluate their work
and habits, set new goals and modify their work, habits and effort accordingly, they will realize increasing
success and achievement as the year progresses. Thus, rather than penalizing a student who begins the
year as a believer and ends the year with nothing compared to them by averaging a lower earlier grade
with a later higher one, the student is evaluated according to mastery and achievement as demonstrated
by their ability and mastery by the end of the year. However, a student who may begin the year with
the drive and motivation to knock on heaven’s door, but who then slacks off, loses focus and discipline
and ends up wondering what they did to deserve this, will not be boosted from a D to a C because first
quarter was strong when it is not reflective of the ability or master he or she consistently demonstrated.
Could you use this rubric or parts of it?
How important are these ‘Habits of the Mind’?
What does this rubric look at compared to what our report cards look at?
Do you ‘average’ previous terms or give ’snapshots’ of where students are now?
- - - -
[14]Academe’s Dirty Little Secret
This blog post is written by Darren Kuropatwa, a brilliant high school Math teacher.
Here is an excerpt:
“You can require your students to demonstrate their understanding of what they are learning by having
them apply their knowledge analyzing and evaluating relevant novel situations or problems. Better yet,
get them to create content that educates an interested learner and they will automatically incorporate
all those levels of engagement while they make their learning sticky. I don’t need to tell you that there’s
nothing like having to teach a thing to make you really learn it.
Darren walks the talk! His students will go home and spend hours helping to teach others, when it is
there turn to scribe the class notes and post them on a blog for the other students in their class. You
can see this in his [15]Scribe Hall of Fame… or if you aren’t into Math, just check out the link to the
- - - -
- - - -
Video’s are a great teaching tool! One way to start collecting them is to sign up for a free [17]YouTube
account. When you are signed in, and you find a video you like, just click ‘Favorite’ and you can collect
videos there. Then from any computer you can sign in and find all your favorites.
You can also make Playlists, which lets you create video players, like the one seen [19]on this wiki.
I like this because you can show a number of videos without students seeing the comments under the
videos (which can sometimes be very inappropriate for classrooms). You can also use playlists to separate
your favorites for different uses.
Start with the simple task of signing up for a free YouTube account, and then I’ll be glad to help
- - - -
The purpose of homework…
Is homework an effective practice?
What is it intended to accomplish for student learning?
How do you use it effectively?
How do you deal with homework that isn’t done? Is this the same as others on your team?
What feedback have you had from students? Parents?
What I’ve read recently to get me thinking about homework:
[20]Rethinking Homework by Alfie Kohn
[21]Homework, the tip of the iceberg by Harold Jarche
What do you think?
- - - -
[22]The Three E’s
That brings me to the third E, “Empowerment”.
In this approach students are part of the system itself. They participate in decisions about
what is taught, what they would like to learn, and what strategies and tools they would like
to use in the learning process. Some may decide to work more independently, some in groups;
but they are part of the process of deciding what goes on in their own learning.
I attempted something like this with my [23]ScienceAlive Wiki. I reflected on the project and how I
would improve on it here: [24]Wikis in the classroom: a reflection.
As we head into June, what can we do to help students leave our school feeling like they are empowered
- - - -
Teaching gifted students compared to teaching every student.
No link for this one, instead, here is a reflection Kari did on having a SHARP, gifted cluster, in her class
this year. I thought this was very insightful and also thought about just how much this applied to every
student, not just gifted ones!
Top 10 Lessons I Learned Being Involved in SHARP
1. Different is Good: Strategies for differentiation help all students be successful: Gifted,
LD, ESL, Non-Categorized.
2. Free Birds Soar: Given the freedom to choose how to present their learning, Gifted students
will surpass your, and their own, expectations.
3. Stimulation is Mandatory: Gifted students need to be challenged constantly, or else bore-
dom sets in.
4. Knives and Spoons: Gifted students are not necessarily “gifted” in all areas of the curricu-
5. Fun and Games: Gifted students are still typical kids- they need to have fun and be ac-
cepted by their peers.
6. Be Comfortable with Uncertainty: Gifted students ask lots of questions, but it’s okay if
you, the teacher, don’t have all the answers.
7. Stars Are Part of a Larger Constellation: Gifted students need to be recognized for their
uniqueness, but still fit in with the rest of the class.
8. Heads May Butt: Your cluster may not always get along or work well together all the time!
9. A Watered Flower Grows: Being involved in SHARP helps you to evolve as a teacher.
10. Hear Me Vent and Brag: Having conversations with other SHARP teachers is valuable
and gratifying.
Thanks for your words of wisdom Kari Hotell!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
It’s your turn.
1. http://datruss.wordpress.com/
2. http://datruss.wordpress.com/category/digital-magic/
3. http://wanderingink.net/?p=49
4. http://datruss.wordpress.com/2008/04/06/
5. http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/index.html
6. http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/index.html
7. http://www.pobronson.com/blog/2007/02/how-not-to-talk-to-your-kids-part-2.html
8. http://www.pobronson.com/blog/2007/02/how-not-to-talk-to-your-kids-part-3.html
9. http://www.pobronson.com/blog/2007/02/how-not-to-talk-to-your-kids-part-4.html
10. http://www.pobronson.com/blog/2007/02/how-not-to-talk-to-your-kids-part-4.html
11. http://remoteaccess.typepad.com/
12. http://remoteaccess.typepad.com/remote_access/files/changing_literacies.pdf
13. http://shs.westport.k12.ct.us/jwb/rubrics/achievement.htm
14. http://adifference.blogspot.com/2008/01/academes-dirty-little-secret.html
15. http://thescribepost.pbwiki.com/HallOfFame
16. http://adifference.blogspot.com/2008/01/academes-dirty-little-secret.html
17. http://www.youtube.com/
18. http://datruss.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/youtube-fav-playlist.jpg
19. http://connectandprotect.wikispaces.com/
20. http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/rethinkinghomework.htm
21. http://www.jarche.com/2007/03/homework-the-tip-of-the-iceberg/
22. http://preilly.wordpress.com/2008/05/06/the-three-es/
23. http://sciencealive.wikispaces.com/
24. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/reflection-on-wikis
1.5 July
Presenting... (2008-07-03 03:38)
I missed out on [1]NECC both physically and online. Despite my wonderful network, with [2]@derrallg
Ustreaming, and [3]@durff plurking live links, I just could not find the time. I’ve read a few blog posts
about NECC, but one has caught my attention. Ewan McIntosh is [4](Not) coping with cognitive over-
I feel like the glass that’s got water gushing into it from the tap - despite all that water
this particular glass is always going to be half empty when the tap eventually turns off. Most
of the input will have fallen off down the drain.
I’m feeling that too. It’s past 3am and I’m up writing a post. I am also ’working’ on my presentations
for [5]Alan November’s Building Learning Communities - [6]BLC08. I’ve had some great help with these
presentations recently, but I am requesting a little perspective...
Here are the presentation descriptions:
This, my blog has taught me!
Since keeping a blog I have learned that little lessons can form big ideas, altering what a teacher can and
must do. I’ve recently moved my blog, and in doing so, I have reflected on every post along the way.
Here is an anecdotal look at a few things my blog has taught me:
• I’m a square peg in a round hole. I’m also Batman, not Borg.
• Digital learning environments create diverse thinking opportunities.
• Learning from reflection is more than surface deep.
• Networks do what classrooms cannot.
• I teach, therefore I blog...
Learning Conversations
Guiding principles and guiding questions. This presentation has two distinct sections, the philosophical
and the practical, or simply, the thinking and the doing.
1. Where do our learning conversations need to go? Here are three guiding principles to help us find our
• Not the Knowing, but the Process of Inquiry.
• Not covering the curriculum, but ’uncovering’ the curriculum.
• A focus in innovation, creativity and design.
How do we model this… every day?
2. It is the questions we ask ourselves and our students that help make Project 2.0h’s great. This take-
it-with-you powerpoint presentation will help you provide the scaffolding for engaging digital projects.
”I can do that without technology”- Actually, no you can’t!
There are great teachers who engage and teach students ’without technology’, but that does not justify
the avoidance of technology in the classroom. This lighthearted presentation is subtitled ’The Rant, I
Can’t, The Elephant and the Ant’. It explores arguments to support the need for networked teachers.
• The Rant: Things are moving much to fast to keep up!
• I Can’t: Every student (and teacher) already uses technology- get used to it!
• The Elephant: No students aren’t ’Natives’ but they are digitally exposed.
• The Ant: Networks both teach and engage students.
The presentation ends with the video premiere of ’It’s a Brave New World-Wide-Web’.
So, with ’overload’ on my brain... I will look outward for advice. I think that I’m trying to do too much
in each of these 1-hour presentations. So please take a look at the descriptions and be so kind as to offer
some early input/feedback.
What do you see in the presentations that you like? What could you do without? What do I need
to focus on? What’s missing?
Which one would you most likely go to? Least likely? Why?
What other suggestions do you have?
1. http://center.uoregon.edu/ISTE/NECC2008/
2. http://educalgarden.blogs.com/
3. http://durffsblog.blogspot.com/
4. http://edu.blogs.com/edublogs/2008/06/not-coping-with.html
5. http://novemberlearning.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=18&Itemid=115
6. http://www.scribd.com/full/3490827?access_key=key-26w606fip8sunodryq1d
Dave Truss (2008-07-03 11:53:30)
Thanks Angela, Great advice... Yes I’m using the ’Elephant in the room’ but have not seen that specific version
you mention and I’d love to see what you did with it. ’Less is more’ is exactly why I am soliciting advice... hoping
to pare things down a bit before I get too far.
JackieB (2008-07-04 09:56:38)
If I hadto choose only one, it would be Learning Conversations. I’d also like to see something about putting the
ideas from these conversations into practice.
Angela Maiers (2008-07-03 11:42:25)
Dave, Can I come to all three? These all sound like winners. I would make sure that in each one-hour session that
teachers/learners walk away with one or two concrete ideas or tools. I found this week, during my presentations,
that even though each topic was different, even difficult, that if I gave them one concrete application, they were
ok with the discourse. You have alot to say in each hour, but the big lesson I learned this week is less is more!
There is a great book called the Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young. Nice parable about seeing the ”elephant in the
room that would fit nicely with your ”Rant” session. (I have it in a powerpoint on slideshare if you are interested).
Great topics, great agenda, and great conversation to come!
Jan Smith (2008-07-11 16:03:44)
Hi Dave, I am excited for you–what a great opportunity! My question about each of these presentations is who is
the audience? I looked at the conference site, and it looks like they attract the pointy-end people (tech leaders) as
much as teachers–there will likely be a range of experience and expertise toward the high end of the spectrum. I
would bet participants would want true conversation opportunities planned into the presentation where they can
explore questions around your topics.And part of that needs to be the ”Hi, I’m —- from —” ...and not just straight
turn and talk. This I have learned from reading blogs (and teaching) –and hope to remember in my own blog*–
identity is important to us. I can see already that your presentations are going to be engaging, thought-provoking,
and fun. Good luck, I am looking forward to hearing about the adventure. BTW, thanks for the encouragement.
I’m in!
mrsdurff (2008-07-07 20:27:22)
Thank you for linking to my blog!
Overloaded and Unplugged (2008-07-05 16:53)
How much is too much?
I like to lurk in [1]Twitter, but I’m having full-on conversations with [2]Plurk. I just spent over an
hour putting my Firefox tabs into [3]diigo. After that I started cleaning up my desktop and found a
screen capture I made on twirl over a month ago:
I also bookmarked this [5]Liz Davis post because I could easily have written this introduction... and in
fact have done so several times in my head:
I continue to be amazed by the affect that blogging has on my thinking. Everything I do
and see and experience is filed away as a potential blog post. I make meaning of my world
in ways I never did before. I am constantly composing posts in my head. It makes for some
incredible learning experiences, but can also make it hard to sleep.
So as [6]my three presentations for Alan November’s BLC08 approach, and I’m hours-and-hours away
from being done, I feel overwhelmed and overloaded.
And so, I’m going to be unplugged from my microblogs (Twitter and Plurk) as well as this blog for
a few days. I’m going to bookmark some tabs on my Tablet PC then shut down there too.
It isn’t something I want to do, but rather something I have to do. The problem is that these tools
are great for learning and communicating, but they consume too much time. An hour of work turns
out to be 15min. of work and 45 min. of reading, reacting, conversing and otherwise being engagingly
I’ll surface in a few days, probably starving for the interaction, but for now it is all too much and I
have a few presentations that I want to make meaningful and powerful to what will probably be a very
diverse audience.
So, L8R, TTFN, and So Long and Thanks for All the Fish.
1. http://twitter.com/datruss
2. http://www.plurk.com/user/datruss
3. http://www.diigo.com/user/datruss
4. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/twitter-too-much.jpg
5. http://edtechpower.blogspot.com/2008/06/seeing-world-through-blog-colored.html
6. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/presenting/
Liz Davis (2008-07-05 20:30:17)
We will have to do without you for a bit David. I’m sure it will be worth it. I’m looking forward to your BLC
presentations. Nice to know I’m not the only one so affected by all of these experiences. -Liz
Wesley Fryer (2008-07-05 19:21:47)
I totally resonate with your thoughts and feelings in this post, David. Enjoy your time unplugged!
Alan November’s BLC08 pre-conference (2008-07-15 13:55)
”Leading the Transition”
I’m in the session now... WOW... so I’ll be brief.
Alan asked me to start a Shared Google Document here it is: [1]http://fon.gs/blc08precongdoc/
And here is the Ustream: [2]http://fon.gs/blc08preconustream/
Here is what it looks like from my perspective: (I pulled out my tablet which is on my lap to do
this post)
Special thanks to my new friend [4]Lorraine, who put the camera on her computer, and took care of the
camera operation... tough job as Alan moves around a lot!
Hope you enjoy the Ustream!
As a fun aside: photo of the desk in my hotel room after Dave and I arrived and started recharging
1. http://fon.gs/blc08precongdoc/
2. http://fon.gs/blc08preconustream/
3. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/alan-precon-photo.jpg
4. http://theteachingjourney.blogspot.com/
Wilf Gray (2008-07-23 19:25:11)
Did they ”charge” you extra for the electricity used?? You may have actually saved money.... :)
Lisa Thumann (2008-07-21 13:18:04)
Dave- That picture is priceless. I thought I was bad. But you and The Other Dave are a tech team never to mess
with I tell ya. Lisa
This, my blog has taught me - Presentation 1, BLC08 (2008-07-16 08:28)
Description: Since keeping a blog I have learned that little lessons can form big ideas, altering what a
teacher can and must do. I’ve recently moved my blog, and in doing so, I have reflected on every post
along the way. Here is an anecdotal look at a few things my blog has taught me.
Here is the second part of the presentation where I ask participants to join in on the journey or the
[1] | [2]View | [3]Upload your own
Thanks for being part of my presentation... answers to your one question, thoughts, feedback, and
comments are all welcome. If you blog a response, please add a comment with a link below.
1. http://www.slideshare.net/?src=embed
2. http://www.slideshare.net/datruss/this-my-blog-has-taught-me-part-2?src=embed
3. http://www.slideshare.net/upload?src=embed
Silvana (2008-10-03 00:07:24)
Hi David, I am not a better teacher because I reflect, I am a better teacher when my reflections lead me to chal-
lenge my own prejudices , misconceptions and weaknesses....I work with teachers who are able to reflect but then
do nothing about what they have learnt, because sometimes it is easier to keep on doing what you have always
done, than attempt to challenge yourself and develop a new paradigm of learning....
Jan Smith (2008-07-21 23:13:56)
My favourite line of your presentation was ”I am a better teacher, I’m a better leader because of the reflective
nature of what I do on my blog.” This is key for me, otherwise why blog? Why teach or lead for that matter
either if your not willing to chew on what you do? There are lots of great how-to blogs–which have been essential
to my learning–I need them, but it’s the why that intrigues me. Honest refection and the distilling of what has
most meaning is kind of a lost practice. Blogging forces me to think about what matters and why.
Backchannel Backlash « Thumann Resources (2008-07-22 18:04:19)
[...] Truss This, My Blog Has Taught Me http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/this-my-blog/ (This is just one of
three presentations that Dave did while at [...]
In the beginning… « Adventures in Middle School (2008-07-28 09:53:19)
[...] Even though I’m the one writing, I want to learn the most. Thanks to David Truss and his BLC08 presentation
“This, my blog has taught me.” What an inspiration. [...]
RaiulBaztepo (2009-03-28 15:11:51)
Hello! Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource! PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just
started to learn this language ;) See you! Your, Raiul Baztepo
David Truss :: Pair-a-dimes for Your Thoughts » Blogs as Learning Spaces (2009-09-24 16:05:20)
[...] I basically sliced and diced up a Powerpoint presentation, ‘This my blog has taught me“, and then recorded
my screen as I spoke. The whole process took just over a couple hours and it was a lot of fun to be doing a project
like this again, after creating my POD’s are Coming presentation this summer [...]
Learning Conversations -Presentation 2, BLC08 (2008-07-17 05:51)
This presentation has two parts:
1. Where do our learning conversations need to go? Here are three guiding principles to
help us find our way:
• Not the Knowing, but the Process of Inquiry.
• Not covering the curriculum, but ’uncovering’ the curriculum.
• A focus in innovation, creativity and design.
How do we model this… every day?
Here is a [1]VoiceThread with questions from the presentation... please share your thoughts!
Here is the video [2]Famous Failures that I couldn’t get the sound to play for.
The second part is only shared here... not within the presentation.
2. It is the questions we ask ourselves and our students that help make Project 2.0h’s
great. This take-it-with-you powerpoint presentation will help you provide the scaffolding for
engaging digital projects.
[3] | [4]View | [5]Upload your own
Thanks to everyone who came to this presentation!
Everyone is welcome to comment on the [6]VoiceThread, or this post!
1. http://voicethread.com/share/167846/
2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6hz_s2XIAU
3. http://www.slideshare.net/?src=embed
4. http://www.slideshare.net/datruss/project-2-point-oh-yeah?src=embed
5. http://www.slideshare.net/upload?src=embed
6. http://voicethread.com/share/167846/
Wilf Gray (2008-07-18 14:01:24)
During your third BLC08 presentation; one slide mentioned 4 items to being a 20th century teacher .... Personality,
Curriculum, Pedagogy and Not a test, what was the 4th item and your notes will be posted soon I hope.
Thank you Wilf
Dave Truss (2008-07-18 14:15:14)
Practice: That was in the slideshow and it was
an image taken from Jeff Uteched http://www.thethinkingstick.com/?p=619 Please be sure to give him credit
if you use the images. I won’t have a post up for the 3rd presentation for a while since the ustream didn’t work
properly, so just ask any more questions here... I’m glad to help out! When I get everything together I’ll post
what I can. I’m pretty exhausted from doing 3 different presentationsb here in Boston, and wouldn’t recommend
that for anyone in the future. That said, what a wonderful experince this was- Wow!
The Power of Ed Tech (2008-07-18 20:54:52)
Where’s The Beef?... My brain is buzzing from so much learning. The combination of Edubloggercon East and
BLC is almost too...
defragging my brain after BLC08 | David Truss :: Pair-a-dimes for Your Thoughts (2008-07-22 22:29:19)
[...] Learning Conversations -Presentation 2, BLC08 [...]
Seedlings @ Bit By Bit Podcast: Show 42 | Bit By Bit (2008-10-31 05:43:06)
[...] Learning Conversations -Presentation 2, BLC08 [...]
Canadians... this is scary! (2008-07-20 10:38)
Bill C-61 is a copyright law that is truly scary to anyone that shares what they teach online.
The following is an e-mail I received from Kris at [1]http://wanderingink.net She is 16 years old. Bold
font is mine, for those that only want to skim...
- - - - -
Fair Copyright Montreal (a branch of the same group I participate in) posted a full analysis of Bill C-61,
the proposed Canadian DMCA. But don’t click on the link yet, I want to highlight something first. Read
the link afterwards and shake your head at how much these people are stuck in the 20th century.
The bill has a special section for ”Lessons”, new copyright laws that apply to the classroom. Are they
exemptions? Special permissions? NO. I personally read the text of the bill that applies (section 30) and
decided that Fair Copy Montreal had the best summary, which I’ve posted below.
Here they are, the new copyright laws for education in Canada. Read all of it. Emphasis is mine.
Note: when they mention students, it’s impossible to claim ”everyone is a student” as a loophole. In
fact, they supplied their own greviously outdated definition in the text of the bill: ”a student who is
enrolled in a course of which the lesson forms a part is deemed to be a person on the premises of the
educational institution when the student participates in or receives the lesson by means of communication
by telecommunication.”
Read the following new laws with that exclusive definition of ”student” in your mind:
What educational institutions are allowed to do:
Broadcast lessons if the broadcast recipients are exclusively students (Clause 18, section 30.01, subsection
What educational institutions are not allowed to do:
Print more than one copy of any digital reproduction communicated in a lesson (Clause 18, section 30.02,
subsection 2)
Use a work from the Internet if the website or the work has any form of technical restriction (Clause 18,
section 30.04, subsection 3)
What educational institutions must do:
Destroy lessons 30 days after the final course evaluations have been given out (Clause 18, section 30.01,
subsection 5, paragraph a)
Take measures to ensure that students exclusively may receive lessons (Clause 18, section 30.01, subsec-
tion 5, paragraph b)
Take measures to ensure that students may not copy lessons (Clause 18, section 30.01, subsection 5,
paragraph c)
Take measures to ensure that any digital reproduction cannot be communicated to anyone else outside
the institution (Clause 18, section 30.02, subsection 3, paragraph b)
Take measures to ensure that any digital reproduction cannot be printed more than once per person that
has received the lesson (Clause 18, section 30.02, subsection 3, paragraph c)
Take any measure prescribed by regulations for any copied digital reproduction (Clause 18, section 30.02,
subsection 3, paragraph d)
Can you see what a huge STEP BACKWARDS this is for 21st century education in Canada? It makes ev-
erything that you do illegal. Confining ”copyrighted”learning to people who are on the physical premises...
what a 20th century idea! I don’t think they’ll be able to get away with this unless they at least make
an exception for distance education, but even then, this bill is so counter-productive!
Think about those universities like MIT and Berkeley that broadcast their lessons for free over iTunes or
their own websites to whoever just wants to learn. That is exactly what is going to become illegal, at least
in Canada. How are Canadian universities going to be able to compete for students in a global market
if they can’t let anyone on the outside take a look in? Canada is going to lag behind if our government
can’t adapt its laws for the 21st century.
They’re going to be voting on the bill THIS September when Parliament is back in session. The NDP
is on our side, but the Liberals are so far uncertain. The Conservatives are a lost cause - they’re all
going to be voting YES on this as a party (because it’s a bill introduced by the Government). The Bloc
Quebecois will probably be voting with the Conservatives. The bill could go either way depending on
how much pressure there is from the public.
Anyway, I just wanted to share with you a portion of my concern over this new copyright bill. Read the
rest of the analysis if you like and find the other reasons to be concerned, but I thought I would bring
this one to your attention because it strikes so close to home.
If you think this is appropriate reason to be concerned and if it’s not too much to ask, do you think
you could forward this email to other web 2.0 educators or anyone else in Canada that would be inter-
ested? I want to raise as much awareness as possible about this new bill among the people it would effect.
If you’d like more information then let me know and I can give you some more links or explain it to you
- - - - -
Thanks for sharing Kris! Please share this information with anyone you think might care, or contribute
to preventing this Bill from stiffling education in Canada!
Brian Lamb adds more about this here: [2]Bill C-61 locks us into a closed education model.
Also, you might want to keep an eye out for Michael Geist’s blog until this is settled. Here is his
[3]Bill 61 tag for all his posts on the issue.
1. http://wanderingink.net/
2. http://weblogs.elearning.ubc.ca/brian/archives/046902.php
3. http://http//www.michaelgeist.ca/tags/61+reforms
How copyright reform could change education | Digital copyright reform in Canada (2008-07-21 10:58:31)
[...] Truss has posted a comment on how Bill C-61 could affect [...]
defragging my brain after BLC08 (2008-07-22 22:29)
For a while now, I’ve been using my blog as a learning space to reflect on [1]professional development...
and after BLC08 there still seems to be [2]a lot to talk and think about. But there is a problem: My
brain is full.
Here are some brief ’take-aways’ to jot down before things spill out and away.
1. Never do 3 different presentations at one conference. At the very least repeat one of them.
Enough said.
2. Online networks develop meaningful friendships. I’m blown away by the immediate connec-
tion I made with so many people in my Twitter network.
3. Face-to-face meetings with your network are powerful... very powerful.
4. More learning happens in the halways and at meals/socials than in sessions. Create [3]oppor-
tunities for [4]Learning [5]Conversations.
5. Sessions [6]influence us, and sometimes [7]anger us, but it is our opinions and attempts to
make sense of things that matter.
6. As we reflect and [8]question why we do things, we continue the learning.
7. We [9]don’t need to be there to learn.
8. [10]Ewan made it clear that if we create meaningful spaces for teachers to connect, and if we
make those spaces useful to teachers, they will connect in new and meaningful ways. In my opinion,
usefulness comes out of purpose and design... two things we need to work on.
9. We need to connect with others to meaningfully learn. COLLABORATION time is essential
for learners of all ages.
10. Don’t say more than you need to just to fill the space. ;-)
1. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/category/pro-d/
2. http://www.netvibes.com/datruss#BLC08
3. http://edtechpower.blogspot.com/2008/07/ideas-for-edubloggercon-east.html
4. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/learning-conversations-blc08/
5. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/learning-conversations/
6. http://theteachingjourney.blogspot.com/2008/07/ewan-mcintoshs-keynote.html
7. http://ricktanski.wordpress.com/2008/07/17/blc08-excerpts-tainted-by-digital-racism/
8. http://thumannresources.com/2008/07/22/backchannel-backlash/
9. http://technotuesday.edublogs.org/2008/07/17/my-blc08-day-2/
10. http://edu.blogs.com/edublogs/
Angela Kerns (2008-08-12 17:25:11)
Your points 3 and 4 resonate with me! I just happened upon this blog, and find it most fascinating... as we are
trying to make the leap from a traditional style with computers to more radical e-learning, while at the same time
staying experiential/ relationship based.... I’ll be interested in continued dialogue about how to do this.... Look
forward to reading more of your blog! ARK
The Power of Ed Tech (2008-08-03 08:50:08)
Where’s The Beef?... My brain is buzzing from so much learning. The combination of Edubloggercon East and
BLC is almost too...
Ben Rudd (2008-07-31 07:08:47)
I’m thankful that you did three presentations at BLC08. I was fortunate enough to see both the first and the last,
and a colleague of mine attended the second. You made an impact on people at all three, for what it’s worth. :-)
Anyway, my brain is full as well. I am challenged to bring what I learned at BLC08 into my life and work. I left
BLC08 inspired. I still feel this way, and I am working to put what I’ve learned into action one small step at a
time. Thank you for your sharing your thoughts.
Lisa Thumann (2008-07-23 05:25:27)
Dave, Your points 2 and 3 hit home with me. The people that I click with in my online network I tend to click
with F2F. It’s powerful. Time needs to be set aside for meaningful conversation. I believe someone has echoed
that on Chris Lehmann’s post about at [1]Educon 2.1 that the social time to reflect and discuss together in an
informal setting is just as important if not more important as the structured setting. It was fantastic meeting you
face-to-face. Lisa
1. http://www.practicaltheory.org/serendipity/
Lorraine (2008-07-24 19:56:11)
Hi Dave, I added your blog to my bloglines account and was delighted to find your post there. I too am saturated
and still percolating the new learning. Being in the classroom with students has made it hard to write about but
I have been able to put some of the new ideas to work and it has been powerful. The kids are taking to the tools
and running with authentic learning.(taggalaxy has been a favorite) It was pure chance that you, Rick, Jenny,
and I sat on that shuttle together headed to Alan’s pre-conference. That first meal set the stage for collaboration
that continued the entire week. I miss chatting and processing with you but will continue to follow your path as
I hone my own skills on mine. Thanks for this post, great reminders and the license to wait to say that which is
important as we all continue to make a difference to kids. Peace. Lorraine
1.6 August
hidden pain (2008-08-09 19:45)
I’m back from a wonderful holiday... in 12 days we visited my sister and family in L.A., and went
to San Diego where we visited the Wild Animal Park, Zoo, and SeaWorld (twice). We also went to
Disney/California Adventure for 3 days. My kids had a fantastic time, and I found more joy in their
enjoyment than my own.
A few days ago I got a flu that went to my sinuses. Yesterday during the flight from L.A. to Seat-
tle I realized that my flu was an infection and the flight home was nothing less than painful! I must thank
my wife for doing most of the driving from Seattle to Coquitlam for I was agonizingly useless. Today, I
am on antibiotics, Sinutab, a nasal salt water wash, and as of 20 minutes ago, a home remedy ’tonic’ of
a much stronger nature... I received a concussion in a water polo game 25 years ago when my nose was
broken by an elbow and I think the pain I feel right now is worse... yet I just looked in the mirror in my
washroom and I look no worse for wear than I normally do.
So why am I telling you this?
I wonder how many students come to us with hidden pain... not a sinus infection but pain none-the-less.
How many students hide their broken homes, their emotional or physical abuse? How many students feel
like they don’t fit in, that they don’t belong? How many students have moments where they want to die
or wish they were already dead?
I’ve had students in my class that have dealt with issues I could never imagine. I remember my VP
Gary Kern saying to me once, ”This job has taught me a new respect for the student I’d never want to
be...”, the student whose life experiences make them students of life long before we reach that point.
This is what makes a teacher’s job so tough, we don’t teach ’students’ we teach human beings with
real-life issues. We ’see’ a lot, but we miss a lot too!
How many times have you had a parent interview after which you suddenly change your strategy about
how you deal with a student? How many times have you made an on-the-spot decision that you believed
was great, only to discover later that you should have handled it differently, that you didn’t have enough
information to do what was best for the student?
Sometimes it takes feeling a hidden pain to appreciate that others feel pain too.
I’m sure every teacher reading this could share a story like no other. I’m sure every teacher reading
this understands exactly what I’m talking about. As I sit here in agony, I salute the teachers of this
world who do so much more than teach students the content they are required to teach!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go crawl under a rock until I feel better.
WebTools For Teachers 08/24/2008 « WebTools For Learners (2008-08-24 05:35:45)
“This is what makes a teacher’s job so tough, we don’t teach ’students’ we teach human beings with real-life issues.
We ’see’ a lot, but we miss a lot too!” - IMHO - How all teachers should think!
Heidi Hass Gable (2008-08-12 23:51:13)
Hi Dave, Like others - I’m sorry to hear you’re not feeling well but thanks for sharing your thoughts! I think that we
all have opportunities to ”be there” for the children in our lives - whether that’s our own, our students, our friends,
etc... I don’t mean that kids will just open up about all the stuff going on in their lives just because we decide to
ask. I DO mean that we can stop our own internal chatter, be present, and LISTEN. Ask questions. Simply care
about them without judgement. Respect them, ask for their opinion, listen to their answers. Validate. See beyond
their circumstances or their pain - and mirror what you see, particularly anything that can help them recognize
their own gifts (because we all have gifts!!). I believe that one person can make a difference in another’s life - just
by connecting... @MrsCunningham - that’s my long way of saying ”You think you couldn’t help them - but I think
you did because you cared, you thought about them, it mattered to you! I think you touched lives without even
knowing it!” In fact, I think all teachers have this kind of impact - http://www.thinkingschools.ca/2008/06/06-
/appreciation/ Thank you for thinking & for caring!
Dave Truss (2008-08-11 08:46:51)
I want to thank you all for your wonderful comments! I’m feeling better now, and apologetic about starting the
post off so whiny. Thanks for seeing beyond this and really getting to the heart of what I was trying to say. I
both value and appreciate your contributions!
mrscunningham (2008-08-11 03:08:36)
Hi there, I stumbled across your blog whilst trying to eascape another blog....I was about to x you out due to all
the whiney stuff about infections and anti biotics and how you were suffering....when I actually reached the point
of your blog. I am a teacher in England, in a school which serves a particulary deprived area. Your comments
brought back so many of the things that I have witnessed my children experience this year. The thing which kills
me is how helpless teachers are ultimately. You know there is something wrong but you can’t do a thing except be
there if the child decides to ask for help, or if something happens. Your post made think about things I thought I
had forgotten, they came tumbling back into my mind, funny how a summer vacation lets you switch off from it
all. I remember some of the great kids I have taught, but I remember all the kids that suffered when in my class.
Sometimes they come back and despite it all have made a good life.... and for the others I still wonder 10 20 years
later how they are.....is it the knowledge of their pain that I can’t forget or the knowledge that I could not help
them? during an unthinking summer you made me think...I wish you well =) Silvana
Ken Allan (2008-08-10 00:56:46)
Kia ora David! Welcome to the living! Isn’t it wonderful that you have the opportunity to get a taste of how the
world works? As a teacher, there is no finer sensitiser to the needs of the learner. I find this is one of the most
fundamental issues of the ’classroom’. I have a wonderful family. My children are all loveable. Every time I think
about their lot in life, I thank chance that they are safe in New Zealand, healthy, ’normal’ in mind and all have a
home to return to each day that gives them comfort, food, care, affection and support for all their prittle-prattling
complaints - there aren’t many. I too am confronted with tragedy, dejection, poverty, violence and death when
I tend to my students. I too have made mistakes when giving advice or instruction. I am not religious, but I
understand that we are nevertheless mortal and can only do what we can, being what we are. How many times
have we light-heartedly attempted and failed in a board-game or other pastime. What makes it (LIFE) so different
when we make important decisions? Often the same processes are involved when we are asked to make important
life-determining decisions. Are our minds more capable of making the right decision under life-stress than in a
light-hearted situation? I wonder. I, in my dotage, often reflect on the momentous decisions that I’ve made that
shaped my life. Some of them have been disastrous, some of them have been enriching, some of them have been
stupid and some have been insight. But you can only do what you can, being what you are. My Grandmother
had a rhyme she used to recite to me. I loved my Grandmother. I have this same rhyme pinned to the wall in our
home, for it says it all: ”Do what you can, being what you are, shine like a glow-worm if you can’t be a star.” I
hope your sinus infection is whacked by the antibots! Ka kite from Middle-earth
Derek (2008-08-09 20:05:16)
so sorry to hear that your wonderful vacation ended on such a down note. hope you get better asap and that
those antibiotics kick in fast! you make an excellent point about ”hidden pain” –it’s a topic that often gets left
out of our discussions, especially among ed tech circles. i think we get so caught up in the wonders of education
2.0, that we sometimes forget that it’s not about technology (or math, or history, etc), it’s about people. thanks
again for the reminder. now stop blogging and twittering and get some sleep! cheers!
Claudia Ceraso (2008-08-10 05:30:48)
Even when you are under the weather you make us all reflect on what teaching is all about. I’m starting to believe
you’ll never stop, which makes you a rare kind of teacher. Take good care of yourself.
Lorraine Orenchuk (2008-08-10 20:25:12)
Hi Dave, So sorry that you are still under the weather. Perhaps today you are feeling better and looking forward
to more downtime before school begins. When I saw the title of the blogpost on Twitter I didn’t guess to the
contents. I was touched by the topic and agree on its importance. Our greatest ’tool’ as teachers is our ability
to connect with our kids as individuals. Knowing their hidden pain is essential if we are to help them grow.
Sometimes we do the right thing by instinct, other times not knowing their stories causes us to make errors in our
reactions or assessments. Having compassion throughout can turn these errors into triumphs - working through
the pain to awareness is key. Thanks for the reminder as the year begins.
Are You a Catalyst for Change? (2008-08-14 04:39)
It is now a month after [1]BLC08 and a recent comment has stirred up some thoughts that sent me back
to a blog draft I wrote months ago. On [2]Defragging my brain after BLC08, Angela Kerns mentioned
that of my nine ’take-aways’, #3 and #4 resonated with her:
3. Face-to-face meetings with your network are powerful… very powerful.
4. More learning happens in the halways and at meals/socials than in sessions. Create
[3]opportunities for [4]Learning [5]Conversa tions.
What is most amazing about BLC08 is that these two points are still resonating with me. [6]Liz B.
Davis, [7]Lisa Thumann, and [8]Laura Deisley adopted [9]Dave Sands and I, and took us under [10]their
wings. Many of the discussions we had were of a quality that left me wishing that I had recorded them!
Thanks to these ladies, I connected with many people that were in my network, but had never met, and
I also met amazing people who are now part of my network.
But these learning conversations didn’t happen in the presentations at the conference. It was the
conversations we had outside of the sessions that were really incredible.
[11]Liz lived very near our hotel and so a car ride, or a chat walking her home would become an
in depth conversation about strategies to promote technology integration or a debate about comfort
levels with having students as social networking friends. (O.K., I’ll admit an embarrassing story here
just for a laugh... as Dave and I walked Liz home on the second night, I walked into a pole while texting
my wife... the rim of my baseball cap saved me from potential head trauma. Mental note: don’t walk
and text in the dark!)
The conversations were not all heavy, [12]Lisa and I razzed each other on the issue of ’to [13]Plurk or
not to Plurk’, and [14]Joyce Valenza always made sure everyone was having fun even when [15]sharing
our thoughts on education. But it seemed that very often the conversations, whether light, frivolous or
funny, always went back to education.
Even at the dinner cruise social, (that Dave, [16]Donna DesRoches and I almost missed after an
’Amazing Race’ style route), it seemed that the learning continued:
On the boat: [17]Clarence Fisher wanted to know the name of a fort we cruised by, but no-one
could help him until [18]Alice Barr handed over her iphone. Clarence used this experience in [19]his
presentation the following day to exemplify how information is abundant now and we need to go beyond
rote memorization in what we teach.
On the bus ride back to the hotel: I had an in-depth conversation with [20]Pegggy Sheehy about
[21]avatar gender. I never considered that I would ever choose a female avatar for myself until this
conversation... biases I didn’t even know I had were challenged!
At the hotel restaurant: [22]Darren Kuropatwa, [23]Laura and I took a little idea I had about a
[24]Twitter version of [25]366 Photos and developed it into what would be a great project. Hopefully we
will expand on it in the fall and maybe launch for the month of February.
Everywhere we turned we were having learning conversations. This seems to happen when you
surround yourself with amazing people... people who are catalysts and agents of change.
- - - - -
With each person I mentioned above, I linked to their blogs. Each of those blogs are in their
own way agents of change... they are inspired by teachers and learners wanting more out of ’institutional’
education. They are not the works of dreamers dreaming, but rather the work of catalysts reflecting,
experimenting, learning, questioning, designing, succeeding and failing, and yes dreaming too.
What makes this so meaningful though, is the connections we make to each other, and the learn-
ing we gain from linking, meeting, and creating opportunities for learning conversations to happen.
- - - - -
Are you an agent of change? Are you a catalyst that makes things happen? Do you create op-
portunities for collaboration? Do you initiate and inspire learning conversations?
Keeping education meaningful and relevant is an ongoing process of evolution or emergence. The
process requires us to learn and to change too. We need to evolve. We need to learn, encourage learning,
and allow learning to emerge.
In Science change occurs through hybridization or mutation... ideas go through this too. Institu-
tional education doesn’t do this on its’ own.
In Science catalysts are often used in tandem. Different agents combine to make a chemical reac-
tion happen faster. Catalysts of change work well together too. We learn from each other and interact
more meaningfully from the learning of others. Often we need feedback loops to help us make sure we
are making the right things happen... after all, change can be both for the better or the worse.
But if there is one thing I can be certain of, change needs to happen. Students today are [26]in-
teracting and engaging with the world in ways that would have seemed like science fiction to us.
If we are not agents of change then we are agents of boredom and mediocrity, the keepers of the
status quo.... static... in stasis.
Create [27]opportunities for Learning Conversations.
Be a catalyst that inspires learning.
Be an agent of change!
- - - - -
Photo of Change Agents, after the BLC08 boat cruise
by Joyce Valenza on flickr
1. http://blcconference.ning.com/
2. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/defragging-my-brain-after-blc08/
3. http://edtechpower.blogspot.com/2008/07/ideas-for-edubloggercon-east.html
4. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/learning-conversations-blc08/
5. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/learning-conversations/
6. http://www.edtechpower.blogspot.com/
7. http://thumannresources.com/
8. http://thenetwork.typepad.com/architectureofideas/
9. http://cuebc.ca/2007/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=83&Itemid=35
10. http://www.flickr.com/photos/23350512@N06/2690346432/in/set-72157606297731648/
11. http://www.edtechpower.blogspot.com/
12. http://thumannresources.com/
13. http://www.plurk.com/
14. http://www.sdst.org/shs/library/jvweb.html
15. http://joycevideo.ning.com/video/video/show?id=2155420:Video:122
16. http://classroomtechtips.wordpress.com/
17. http://remoteaccess.typepad.com/
18. http://alicebarr.wordpress.com/
19. http://www.slideshare.net/dkuropatwa/everything-new-is-old-again
20. http://metaversedltd.com/
21. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avatar_(computing)
22. http://adifference.blogspot.com/
23. http://thenetwork.typepad.com/architectureofideas/
24. http://twitter.com/
25. http://www.flickr.com/groups/project366/
26. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/digital-exposure/
27. http://voicethread.com/share/167846/
28. http://www.flickr.com/photos/78154370@N00/2677101311/
Lisa Thumann (2008-08-14 05:19:03)
Dave, Thank you for revisiting what many of us have been trying to express in 140 characters or less. I did
ultimately dive into Plurk (looking for the lost Liz) - very recently - and have expressed the need to experience
the informal conversations that we all had that week on the bus, in downtown Boston, on the dinner cruise, in
the hallways, etc. We can revisit the uStreams, the wikis, the blog posts, but it’s difficult to recapture that
in-the-moment, in depth, REAL conversation about good teaching and learning. Just before I saw your Tweet
about this post, I Tweeted in response to something from @kajarrett that in order for professional development to
be successful it needs to be sustained and include in-class coaching and mentoring. Well - we’re all sustaining it on
Twitter, Plurk, our blogs and Nings and of course on Skype and uStream. How about some in-class coaching and
mentoring - Where’s the next conference - Tweetup - or Twitter Dinner? Lisa BTW - I was walking from the car
to my office on campus one day texting on my Blackberry not realizing that I had walked into a construction zone.
I had to turn around and backtrack in order to bypass the sectioned-off area. Quite-embarrassing considering
there were some construction workers watching me the whole time laughing. ...I try not to text and walk anymore.
Sheryl A. McCoy (2008-08-14 06:32:38)
Encouraging interactions among educators is what your Personal Learning Network is all about, and I agree that
each of us must Whatever way you can interact with your Personal Learning Network is always great. Meeting
in the World of Matter is something deeply embedded in the human psyche which seems to make it so powerful.
While meeting in the World of Electrons may not be the same, it does provide an OPPORTUNITY that never
existed before. It is an evolutionary moment, something new in our relationships as people.
Liz Davis (2008-08-14 19:09:51)
Dave, I laughed out loud remembering you bumping in to that sign. Your wife should feel good about commanding
so much of your attention! It was wonderful to meet you and an honor to show you and Dave around my town.
I miss everyone. I’ve been reading a lot about change lately and am working on pulling together my ideas and
learning on the topic. So far this summer, I’ve read Disrupting Class, How Disruptive Innovation Will Change
the Way the World Learns, Influencer: The Power to Change Anything, and I am now reading Teaching the the
Knowledge Society . They are all good. I am really getting into the last one.
Claudia Ceraso (2008-08-14 08:32:31)
Dave, Thank you so much for the time to write this. The way you detail the many instances of informal learning
makes me wish I had been there. Someday. Learning happens in the interstices of face to face meetings at confer-
Silvana (2008-08-15 02:33:16)
Hi Dave, powerful stuff indeed.....mmmm I like to think I am an agent of change but sometimes I think I am
its victim...in so much as the relenteless pace of government reform is endemic and all pervasive in England.
This is where you argue that change does not merely concern policy, nor does it move in a linear fashion...but
sometimes when you are at the chalk face of teaching that is exactly how it feels. I feel I am constantly trying
to fufil government requirements.....then I can really teach...how sad is that? I am in a class that continues to
use ”high stakes” testing....The government tell me teacher assessment is what is crucial but still make the tests
mandatory!!!! Consequently, I find that the time I could spend actually making a difference is spent on ensuring
that my children are successful in a test that is reported STILL to government, school management and parents.
This has led me to the notion that my role as teacher has been reduced to responsibility for acievement in SATs
through short term objectives ... sometimes I feel like a curriculum deliverer rather than an enabler... After much
discourse with management I find I cannot change what the government have mandated ...no matter what my
beliefs or pedagogy, all I can do is affect the learning that is taking place elsewhere in my classroom. I am a firm
believer in the most powerful programme any school can run is that of good teaching.....technology is a means
to an end and not an end in itself.......change for me is not about fusing the local and global in a communicative
space it is reaching the child in my class who hardly speaks....the child who believes they can’t write or read.....self
belief is the beginning of learning and the biggest change you can help any learner acquire. I do feel I constantly
evolve and believe the world we attempt to change in turn changes us.
Podcasting for Learning » Der Lehrer als Gedankenkatalysator (2008-08-27 11:55:34)
Noch ganz im Eindruck einer Konferenz resümiert Dave Truss hier in wenigen Sätzen eine menge von Ereignissen
und Impulsen. Zum Schluss verweist er auf ein von ihm eingerichtetes Voicethread. [...]
beg for foregiveness (2008-08-16 22:26)
Sometimes it is better to beg for forgiveness
than it is to ask for permission.
We’ve all heard that before, but we can’t all be [1]Gary Stager and do what we want when we want.
[Please see the first two comments for some clarification on this statement.] Sometimes we have to be
political, sometimes we have to follow protocol, and sometimes we have no choice but to ask for permis-
sion. That said there are times when it really is better to just do it... and beg for forgiveness should the
need arise.
If you are going to take this approach in your classroom here are two rules and a suggestion.
- - - - -
Rule 1: You are choosing this path because you believe it is best practice.
Rule 2: Your choice of path is safe for students to take.
Suggestion: Share your idea with someone you believe will support you in the interest of the rules above.
- - - - -
Here now is a brief explanation.
Rule 1: If the goal of your actions is to make your job easier, then this is the wrong approach. You
need to be doing this for your students. Often we get trapped believing that best practice isn’t easier
when actually it can be. For example, we don’t read everything our students write, but we get online and
suddenly we think we have to read everything. Create simple, [2]positive rules online and maintain your
high expectations... your best practice approach might just make your job easier as an added bonus.
Rule 2: Don’t do something stupid that puts a student in danger or your job on the line. I think
this is a self evident rule- the ’don’t be stupid’ reality check.
Suggestion: [3]Learning conversations and collaboration help put you on the right path. There are
other people around you physically or online, [4]who make things happen. Use all the resources available
to you and that especially includes people. This can often include asking permission from the right per-
- - - - -
•Bud the Teacher’s [5]Open Letter to Teachers
•My [6]Learning Conversations presenation at BLC08, my [7]Tribute to teachers, my [8]Edupunk or
Educational Leader? post, and my [9]School 2.0 Participants Manifesto.
•Jennifer D. Jones’ [10]Down In Front
1. http://www.stager.org/blog/
2. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/blog-rules-respect-inclusion-learning-and-safety/
3. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/learning-conversations/
4. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/are-you-a-catalyst-for-change/
5. http://budtheteacher.com/blog/2008/08/16/an-open-letter-to-teachers/
6. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/learning-conversations-blc08/
7. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/tribute/
8. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/edupunk-or-educational-leader/
9. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/school-2oh-participants-manifesto/
10. http://injenuity.com/?p=206
Dave Truss (2008-08-18 02:17:45)
Well, I guess I owe you an apology Gary! I admire your ability to say what needs to be said (and in my eyes)
whenever you want... I didn’t mean for you to be the brunt of anything, but rather meant it more as a compliment.
I recently became a VP and had to consider if this was even a post I should write about... I did anyway, but I
certainly didn’t feel as free to write as I would have liked. I’ve never seen that (outside) filter on with you, and
I respect that. Hopefully this clears things up a bit and you can see the point I was trying to make, although it
came out much more convoluted than I had hoped... again my apologies. Dave. There is an irony to me ’begging
for forgiveness’ in this post.
Gary S. Stager, Ph.D. (2008-08-18 01:52:02)
Thanks for the mention. However when you say,”We’ve all heard that before, but we can’t all be Gary Stager and
do what we want when we want,” I would love to know what you mean? I work within the same system you do.
I am not some crazy anarchist. I may just have a lower tolerance for helplessness than others. I’m not sure why I
was the punchline in your blog.
Great Expectations (2008-08-29 07:59)
Yesterday I had coffee with Heidi Hass Gable, our new District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) Pres-
ident, and blogger at ”[1]I was thinking...”. I suggested to her that she watch Lost Generation while we
were discussing some well thought out ideas she shared with me about nothing less than the purpose of
education. Here is the video:
This morning I thought about a post that I wrote, which keeps coming back to mind.
[2]School 2.0 Participant’s Manifesto
This post looks at the responsibility of the learner to be an active and engaged participant in the class
and in the learning process.
What excites me about web2.0 tools is not the tools themselves, but the ability of these tools to ac-
tively engage students in their learning. Students are often far more capable of leading their own learning
than we give them credit for. Should students come up with their own manifesto? Or a class manifesto?
Also, it is important to remember that the adults in the building are participants too! What are we
going to do this year to model and share our learning journey with our students?
The answers will vary from staff member to staff member... there is no cookie-cutter answer. How-
ever, regardless of the path we choose, we owe it to our students to have high expectations.
With the start of the school year coming next Tuesday, I am excited about the possibilities before
me. Many wonderful opportunities await myself, my staff, and our students. I believe that if we en-
ter our schools as active, engaged learners, then we can have great expectations, and we can create an
environment where we meet those expectations too!
1. http://www.iwasthinking.ca/
2. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/school-2oh-participants-manifesto/
Jan Smith (2008-08-30 08:15:38)
Thanks for the hopeful message, Dave. I like the idea of a statement of intent, a commitment and vision from
and for all learners. I think we are moving into a time of more reflective practice in education, beyond the ”get it
done” mindset, so it’s a time of risk-taking and mistake-making. I will be spending much of my year examining
student engagement and my own motivation and expectations, too. I have lots of questions and am raring to get
started next week. Best wishes to you and your colleagues for a great start to a new year.
Heidi Hass Gable (2008-09-04 22:46:17)
Hi Dave, Thanks for the link love! I wrote a post ([1]http://www.iwasthinking.ca/2007/08/29/about-great-
expectat ions/ ) a while back with the same title - talking about my experience of being the student whose
teacher had great expectations & taught me how to believe in myself. Thank you for believing in our children -
and for advocating on their behalf! Teachers are amazing, passionate people! I look forward to more conversations
over coffee!
1. http://www.iwasthinking.ca/2007/08/29/about-great-expectations/
Lessons from 100 Weddings (2008-08-31 02:07)
Yesterday I photographed my 100th wedding.
Fourteen years ago I photographed a friend’s wedding and my cousin saw the photos. He asked me to
take his wedding pictures and with two wedding under my belt, I had an album to show around. I never
advertised, and got all my referrals from weddings I photographed and by word of mouth. My first paid
wedding probably resulted in about one-third of all my weddings... a hint of what a network can do
for you! In 2005 I had to say ’No’ to six weddings as a result of going to Oregon and working on my
[1]Masters Paper... and things really fell off after that. Now I basically photograph friends and their
friends so this was my second of two weddings this year.
This has always been a hobby, so I give my clients their negatives, and my prices have always been
reasonable. I don’t know if I could have done this any other way and felt good about it, and I don’t think
this could ever have been a career for me. I still enjoy photographing weddings, but I’m happy that I’m
down to just a couple every year now.
So what have I learned after 100 weddings?
• Be prepared: Rain? I bring two umbrellas (one black and one white). Camera fails? I have a back-up.
Above and beyond extra batteries & film, phone on vibrate (or off), extra lenses, camera manual, and
business cards, I also had a clearly explained plan for the photos...
• Be Explicit: I always meet my customers before the wedding and make sure that they knew exactly
what their time with me will look like, how long it will take, and what they can do to help me. I also
make sure that the plan met their needs as well as mine...
• Listen: It is their wedding and their memories, not mine. I once took the family photos and all my
’money’ shots of the bride and groom in 30 minutes. They told me the timeline needed to stay tight.
I told them what they needed to do to help me make it happen. I would have loved at least 20 more
minutes, but I listened and realized the strict timeline was important to them.
• Deliver: Better yet, under-promise and over-deliver. One thing I have always done is give the bride and
groom a few 5x7’s as my gift to them. By doing this, our last interaction would be a generous offering
from me, and I got to highlight what I thought was my best work.
• Be assertive: This is different than ’bossy’ and requires confidence. With a plan in place, I could take
50+ different combinations of family member photos in less than 20 minutes... and have the family feel
like I ran a ’tight ship’ rather than a ’dictatorship’.
• Be brief: I didn’t go to all of the receptions for my 100 weddings, but I went to enough to learn the
value of this lesson! If you are going to speak for longer than 3 minutes, either be entertaining, heartfelt
or captivating. I’ve heard some amazing speeches and I’ve heard some that have made fingernails on a
chalkboard seem like a symphony by comparison.
- - - - -
So there are my lessons learned: Be Prepared, Be Specific, Listen, Deliver, Be Assertive, and Be Brief.
I could rewrite this post and apply these lessons to the classroom, or better yet I’ll just plant that seed
with you and see what blossoms.
1. http://www.davidtruss.com/leadership_paper.htm
2. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/8103313tholdinghandssunset.jpg
3. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/8127863michthekiss.jpg
Dave Truss (2008-09-03 17:05:57)
The top bridge, in black & white, is at the very large Queen Elizabeth Park in Burnaby, BC, Canada. The second
bridge, in colour, is at Glenbrook Amenities Center in New Westminster, BC. It is actually in a very small park,
just above the top of the image there are the tops of houses, and I’m on a path with houses just behind me.
Thanks for the visit and the comment!
Orange Beach wedding (2008-09-03 09:04:56)
All I can say is wow. Beautiful photos and the close ups are fabulous. Thanks for the lessons learned :0) Where
is that picture of the bride and groom on the bridge taken? What a romantic spot.
Destin Florida Weddings (2010-04-11 02:40:18)
i love the stone bridge and the picture of the bride and groom kissing.And the beach wedding pictures are always
a joy to view, thanks for sharing.
1.7 September
By Design: Please keep the toilet seat in the upright position! (2008-09-02 05:23)
[This post is about questioning why we do what we do, so that we can do things in new, better ways. It
specifically looks at design, differentiated instruction and assessment.]
I’m going to flush out an idea here and maybe even start a movement! ;-)
If you want to sit on a dry toilet seat, then please make the upright/raised position the default toi-
let seat position!
By design, toilet seats should be spring loaded to lift slowly after the weight of a seated visitor has
been removed.
Many times I’ve heard about Men’s inability to aim for the center of the toilet bowl, but having cleaned
Women’s bathrooms in a restaurant before, I must say that we at least have an aiming mechanism! If
the seat is not going to be sat on anyway... then why not lift it to make the target bigger? That is a
statement equally valuable to Men and Women! By making the raised position the default position, we
remove the laziness or poor rearing factors from causing unnecessary seat puddles.
I grew up in a house with three sisters and now live with my wife and two daughters... I’m very well
trained to raise the seat, use the toilet and put the seat back down: Operant conditioning at its’ best!
The fact that I’m willing to do it, and the fact that ’it has always been done that way’, in no way
makes it the best or most effective thing to do.
I think that schools are wrought with traditional ways of doing things, not because these are most effec-
tive, and not because of smart design, but simply because that’s what was done before.
This year I really want to look at what we do in schools and ask a lot of questions: Why do we do
it this way? How can we do it better? What is the purpose of this activity? Does our approach meet our
students’ needs? How do we know our students are learning? What results are we expecting to see? Can
we get better results by doing this another way? Are all these steps necessary? Why is this approach
It is time for some positive deviance! If you disturb the contents of a toilet, then you know what you will
be called, but if you disturb or disrupt an ineffective approach or idea then you have the potential to be
a true leader! Here are some ’positive deviance’ guidelines from [2]Surfing the Edge of Chaos:
1. Design, don’t engineer.
2. Discover, don’t dictate.
3. Decipher, don’t presuppose.
I like this ’soft’ approach, but I also thing we need to stir the pot (rather than the bowl) a bit. We need
teachers that [3]do not go quietly into their classrooms and we need our [4]edupunks to be educational
- - - - -
Here are three areas that I will be looking at with ’new eyes’... the eyes of a questioner and a learner
looking to do things more meaningfully and effectively.
• Design: Are we teaching this? Why not? When we say, ”Do a Powerpoint”, or ”Make a video”,
are we expecting students to just know how to design these well? Where do students learn these skills?
We don’t say ”Do an essay”, and expect students to understand how to do this effectively without struc-
tural guidance... why is a powerpoint or movie project any different?
• Differentiated Instruction: How are students demonstrating their learning? Can they demonstrate
it in different ways? Is this a Powerpoint assignment? Or a movie assignment? Or can a student choose
to meet the learning outcomes in a different way? What’s more important, the assignment or the learn-
ing? Is the assignment designed with ’the end in mind’ ? Does the assignment allow for different students,
with different needs, to demonstrate their learning in ways that are meaningful to them?
• Assessment: Are we counting marks or marking what counts? How much does esthetics or design
count for? Is this enough, or is it too much? Does the criteria measure the learning outcomes or what’s
easy to mark? Does the criteria measure what we told students was important about the assignment?
Does the assignment measure what is important about the leaning? Are we adding up the marks or
assessing the learning we see demonstrated?
Those are a lot of questions, but I think they are worth asking! We know very well that ’the right
questions’ help our students learn, and so it would follow that the same would apply to our learning.
My challenge now is to figure out when and where it is best to ask these questions.
I’m not going to be leaving my toilet seat in the upright position at home... there is no need to as
I find it dry all the time, and I’m the only one that needs it up... but don’t be surprised if you are next
after me to use a public washroom and you walk in to find a dry seat waiting for you in the upright
Target Practice: [6]Kandinsky meets [7]Warhol in the Bathroom
1. http://shs1957mi.com/guessing_game.htm
2. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0609808834?ie=UTF8&tag=davidtrcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=
3. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/do-not-go-quietly-into-your-classroom/
4. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/edupunk-or-educational-leader/
5. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/target-practice.jpg
6. http://imagecache2.allposters.com/images/pic/IMPO/ET2736~Kandinsky-Posters.jpg
7. http://www.lostateminor.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/andy-warhol-marilyn.jpg
Ken Allan (2008-09-07 03:10:50)
Kia ora david! All toilet humour aside, what is a meta for? Innovation is not easy, whether positive or not. There
have been some notable innovators in history not too far back. Most of their qualities lay not so much in their
inventiveness as in their ability as entrepreneurs. Many of those elaborated on extant inventions but it was their
ability to sell the idea that made them the originators. Arguably this could be said for Alexander Graham Bell
with his version of the phone, and even John Logie Baird with his televisor, though he could have done with a bit
less mechanical insight and more innovation. Because Baird held the key patents, he became the TV King. Good
on him for recognising the worth of an idea enough to patent it. Ka kite from Middle-earth
Frances Bell (2008-09-02 07:09:19)
When my (now adult) sons were toddlers, I devised a ’trick’ for reminding them to lift the seat. I put a sticker on
the part of the lid that would be covered by the seat, with a picture of an alien, who was saying ”Before you wea,
please hide me”. It was moderately effective. What’s the lesson for e-learning. Deliver timely reminders privately
and with humour.
Silvana (2008-09-04 08:00:51)
Ok so this made me chuckle I mean who makes toilet seat analogies? No matter how I frame it I just can’t make
it work for me.....must be the British in me I guess! For a long time a group of teachers in the UK argue that
assessment should be about the process and not the product...if we are really interested in creating learners for the
21st century then we must teach in a way that helps learners create knowledge, after all it will be the knowledge
of the future which creates energy that is not reliant on fossil fuels, repairs the ozone etc etc....I am embarking on
a journey where I will be teaching as creatively as possible....for me its not whether the tolet seat is up or down
but what I am able to achieve in whatever position it takes.....drat! I used a toilet analogy.Haha
1-to-1 presentation (2008-09-12 03:54)
A year ago I went to see my friends [1]Dave Sands and [2]Brian Kuhn presenting to parents that were
part of a 1-1 (one laptop per child) pilot program at a Middle School. Little did I know that I’d be moved
to that same school as the Vice Principal in February, and that I’d be co-presenting with Brian, to the
parents in the program, one year later.
Brian did a great job preparing the presentation and with similar philosophies it was very easy to con-
tribute meaningfully to what he had prepared.
The key messages we brought up sounded eerily like my [3]3rd presentation at BLC08 in Boston, but I’ll
have more on that later.
As we were giving the presentation it occurred to me that 1-to-1 is about exposing teachers (and parents)
to possibilities as much as it is about doing the same for students. The fact is that not long from now we
won’t need 1-1 classrooms because students will be bringing their own computers/movie cameras/mp3
players/web browsers/instant messengers/calculators/agendas to school with them:
I predict that in about 5 short years almost every Middle School student will own an iPhone or its’ equiv-
alent, and they will be connecting to our wireless network via bluetooth for absolutely free. Students
will be ready, willing and able to use these tools in our classroom... will teachers be ready enough to
maximize the opportunities and learning experiences these tools (coming to our classrooms for free) will
I’ve been hearing a message from a lot from technology-using teachers recently... [4]”I can’t go back”!
Teachers are beginning to see that technology in the classroom is more of a necessity than an opportunity.
One-to-one is not a program that can be sustained across an entire district, it would be too expen-
sive. However this program is ideal to pilot with willing teachers... teachers who recognize that the
classroom of the future will give every learner access to tools that would have costed a fortune just a few
years ago... tools that some students are already bringing to our classrooms... tools that students will
bring to our classrooms of the not-so-distant-future in abundance!
Get the [5]Countdown Clock widget and many other [6]great free widgets at [7]Widgetbox!
1. http://www.classroom20.com/profile/Sandman
2. http://blogs.sd43.bc.ca/personal/bkuhn/Blog/default.aspx
3. http://novemberlearning.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=230&Itemid=135
4. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/wp-admin/%E2%80%9CYoucan%E2%80%99tgobacknow,canyou?%E2%80%9D
5. http://www.widgetbox.com/widget/countdown-clock
6. http://www.widgetbox.com/
7. http://www.widgetbox.com/
Getting My Head Around Mobile Learning | Clarify Me (2008-09-12 11:37:42)
[...] This morning I read a post by David Truss where he talks about the future of technology in education: I
predict that in about 5 short years almost every Middle School student will own an iPhone or its’ equivalent, [...]
[Note from Dave: see comments on this post.]
Brian Kuhn (2008-09-12 09:14:37)
Thanks for being willing to step in and present Dave. Great job - really nice to present with someone who shares
a similar philosophy and view of the future for technology in schools.
A Brave New World-Wide-Web! (The video version) (2008-09-14 09:50)
It is finally done! I had planned on first showing my video version of [1]A Brave New World-Wide-Web
Slideshow in Boston at BLC08. I did it on Mac Powerpoint and it did not convert easily to video... it
wouldn’t even convert to PC Powerpoint without the timing messing up! I spent hours on this! I ended
up showing the powerpoint version and had a number of people ask me for the video version. Well, this
weekend I converted it to pc Powerpoint, then with some $45 software, it is FINALLY done! This is a
personally ’story’ that I tell, but I think it can speak to others and I hope it speaks to you! Be brave!
Do not go quietly into your classroom!
[Scroll down for a better version]
[2]A Brave New World-Wide-Web
I plan to offer a downloadable version that is of a better quality here, but I’m off to spend some family
time on the beach while the weather is still good. It is coming soon!
Update: High quality version below ( & [3]here) and available for download [4]here.
1. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/do-not-go-quietly-into-your-classroom/
2. http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=gyPQ4Qr8xks
3. http://blip.tv/file/1262079/
4. http://www.archive.org/details/ABraveNewWorld-wideWeb
Dave Truss (2008-09-14 21:36:20)
Thanks for the comments! Sue, I used Garageband to put together the music. Every attempt I made to make
an iMovie left me with a horribly poor quality version, including JPEG and PNG files. It was frustrating! The
only solution was to redo the pages within iMovie and I couldn’t get myself to do that after all the hours I had
already spent on the project. Karen, I haven’t shared it with too many in my district, but Dave Matheson who
commented above is in my district. I’m showing it to teachers in a TLITE (2 year technology credit program)
next week, and at a technology conference in a month. So I can respond to your question soon. — Also, it seems
the Internet Archive Play/Download option is actually the slow-to-load, high quality version. Not sure how to get
to the download yet... I’m still a student to all this stuff too:-)
Jabiz Raisdana (2008-09-14 11:04:14)
It seems like every few months there is a new video or slide show, saying the same thing to the same people. I
wanted to thank you for making such a great, fresh clip. I think the fact that it moves as a video with music,
makes it much more effective than a slide show or powerpoint. I am sure this will get a lot of play. Nicely done.
Claudia Ceraso (2008-09-15 05:53:40)
David, You’ve worked very hard on this video and it shows. Images and transitions make a power-
ful impact. Your video, together with my own questions on these issues made me write a short post:
KarenJanowski (2008-09-14 18:26:16)
Dave, As someone who attended your session at BLC 08 and asked if you would make it available, I’m thrilled to
see the fruit of your efforts. It’s a powerful video - thank you for creating it and sharing it. Have you been able
to show it in your district? What has the reaction been?
Sue Waters (2008-09-14 16:18:55)
Well done David! I’m glad you converted it to a video. Probably haven’t mentioned it before much but before I
was a blogger I was a podcaster – and learning the tricks is VERY frustrating – so feel for you. With PowerPoint
- if you click on Save as then change file type to JPEG you can save all slides as an image which you can import
into iMovie or Garageband.
Dave (2008-09-14 13:45:58)
Dave T, Great video...I loved the competition piece! I going to share with our staff. Dave Matheson, Gleneagle
Podcasting for Learning » Brave new World Wide Web - David Truss (2008-09-16 07:54:43)
[...] How can who benefit, if your are teaching and learning with web2.0. Thats the content. So he is getting the
right bow from his personal experience to the benefits of his students. Thank you for creating and for sharing this
work. And he expresses there very well, that you cannot teach traditionally about the technology - without using
it in a sense bringing way.[...]
[Lernen 2.0] Keine Technologie war gestern. Sei Mutig! « mari*us.zierold (2008-09-17 01:20:33)
[...]David Truss ist Lehrer aus Vancouver und fasst im unteren Video seine Erfahrungen, Wünsche und Träume
zum Lernen 2.0 in einem Video zusammen. (Video auf Englisch) Sein Fazit: Sei Mutig![...]
Gail Desler (2008-09-17 05:57:25)
Dave, thank you very much for a great resource. I’m working on updating my district’s technology plan and, as
part of the process, will be meeting with and presenting to a number of stakeholders. Your personal journey will
be a great piece to help make visible the difference between 20th and 21st century teaching and learning. I’m
also glad that you’ve added student voices, who clearly appreciate and benefit from the opportunities to connect,
collaborate, and share. I agree that 21st century learning is ”messy.” I’d like to add another word gleaned from the
Nat’l Council for Teachers of English (NCTE) [1]Definition of 21st Century Literacy - malleable. Thanks again
for sharing your work!
1. http://www.ncte.org/about/over/positions/category/literacy/129762.htm?source=gs
Dave Truss (2008-09-18 10:00:57)
Thanks for the wonderful feedback everyone! Claudia, Your post really made me think a lot about this video and
who it speaks to (as my comment suggests)... I really appreciate that you make me think deeply about things!
Gail, Although I like ’malleable’ in some ways, it bothers me in others as it seems un-empowering... I know that’s
not the context of the word, but that’s the meaning I think of. Patrick, It was great to, briefly, meet you in
Boston! I hope to see you there for BLC09. Just to be clear, those images are from Alec Couros’ dissertation:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/3363/Dissertation-Couros-FINAL-06-WebVersi on ...and yes they are priceless!
Sites to See 09/18/2008 | Finding Common Ground (2008-09-18 14:32:16)
[...] A Brave New World-Wide-Web! (The video version) | David Truss :: Pair-a-dimes for Your Thoughts [...]
Sarah Stewart (2008-09-17 13:39:43)
Loved the video - it ’reminded’ me of why I love the potential of networked learning.
Patrick (2008-09-17 18:59:57)
David, Well done. This brings us much closer to some sort of tipping point with 21st Century teaching and learn-
ing. What I think is most powerful about this is how you showed your personal transformation. That opening
graphic is priceless. Thanks for sharing this with us.
Kyle Brumbaugh (2008-09-21 12:34:39)
David: Great Job! You hit all of the points and make the issues easy to grasp for everyone!
“A Brave New World-Wide-Web”: l’importanza del web 2.0 nella didattica | QuickTips (2008-09-22 08:40:06)
[...] il noto titolo del romanzo di Huxley, l’insegnante ed educatore formativo canadese David Truss ha preparato
un ottimo ed efficace PowerPoint sull’importanza della tecnologia nella [...]
A Brave New World Wide Web « Fusion Finds (2008-09-23 15:01:07)
[...] A Brave New World Wide Web September 23, 2008 — Janetta The YouTube video below won’t be viewable
at school, but is worth watching at home (4.5 minutes long). A Brave New World-Wide-Web is by David Truss.
Vocescuola - A Brave New World-Wide-Web! (The video version) (2008-09-23 22:38:19)
[...] [fonte: davidtruss] [...]
Glenn (2008-09-24 18:35:08)
Dave - It was great talking to you a few weeks back. Thanks again for calling. I may be up your way in the next
month or so. This video’s great. Someone else mentioned that after watching this video people would say ”I don’t
want to be that connected”. As I was thinking this over and thinking to myself ”yeah, that’s where I’m at. I don’t
even plurk” I realized that I spent 45 minutes trying to get a Linux OS working on my cell phone. Although my
pendulum has swung, maybe it’s not as far as I originally thought.
Dave Truss (2008-09-24 22:58:59)
Hi Glenn, That quote was from a [1]Scott McLeod’s post. This was my comment: - - - - - When I first made the
movie it was actually a slide show addressed to a class of student teachers. I added a few slides and made it into
the movie for a BLC08 presentation. In that presentation I spent almost an hour breaking down the rants, and the
”I cant’s”. I then gave a glimpse of the future I see in education and explained the importance of having students
(and teachers) experience a network... and THEN I showed the video. I’m not sure of the reaction this will get
from newbies as a stand-alone video? I can see the fear of ’too much’ sneaking in, and I can see the ’competition’
having negative connotations. Can it also excite people, I would like to think so! However, I have to wonder: Does
this video just ’preach to the converted’ ? In the end, the video is a story of a personal journey, and one
where I started to see truly meaningful differentiated, and empowered learning in my class... that
excited me as both a teacher and a learner. - - - - - As for not Plurking, I tried it briefly, but it requires
too much time. And as for this video... it took hours and hours to convert from ppt to video, something others
would have found simple! Maybe I’m not as far as I originally thought;-) So you see, it isn’t a pendulum, it is a
continuum and WE are moving in the right direction, at the right speed for us... no comparison needed.
1. http://www.dangerouslyirrelevant.org/2008/09/advice-and-a-vi.html
Web 2.0 Teaching « NV Tek Lib (2008-10-04 19:22:32)
[...] 2.0 Teaching Posted October 5, 2008 Filed under: Uncategorized | David Truss has produced a thought
provoking video on teaching in a web 2.0 [...]
Dana Woods (2009-05-22 00:23:53)
Hi Dave. I just landed on this link from a diigo web favorite shared by Michael Wesch. The bookmark was to a
blog post by Alex Courous that highlighting the best videos for 21st century learning. Anyway, just wanted to
thank you for your awesome work and vision. DW
A Brave New World-Wide-Web « Darcy Moore’s Blog (2009-08-01 23:58:36)
[...] 2, 2009 by darcymoore David Truss created this great, inspirational video last [...]
DeeAnna Merz Nagel (2009-11-22 17:00:54)
i just discovered your WWW video and it is awesome! Thank you for creating this!
It’s Worth Taking A Look at this Blog! | Teacher Reboot Camp (2010-05-14 23:47:58)
[...] by David Truss- His posts continuously make me reflect on my pedagogy and instructional practice. Check
out A Brave New World-Wide-Web! (The video version) [...]
real work at home jobs (2010-05-21 19:22:13)
real work at home jobs... From the time the kids wake up in the morning to the time they go to bed, they want
Mom! Non- Stop! But Mom has some good ideas on how to make some extra money by working from home. How
do you balance family and business? Answer: Carefully. For those o...
Stock Market Monitor (2010-05-23 23:46:32)
Just write like you’re talking to your friends. And soon, they will be.
Who are the people in your neighbourhood? (2008-09-16 03:02)
I grew up watching Sesame Street and singing along to ’[1]Who are the people in your neighbourhood’.
Well the concept of neighbourhood has really changed for me. I showed this movie in Powerpoint format
at one of [2]my presentations at BLC08 this summer. Afterwards, I think it was one of 3 people, ([3]Liz
Davis, [4]Laura Deisley, or [5]Maria Knee), that asked me how many people from my network did I think
were in the presentation? I had no idea? Tonight I thought I’d start the search.
See the video on [6]this blip.tv link or click below for it to open in a new window.
- - -
[8]Click to play in this window
- - -
[9]Click To Play Large Version (slow load, in this window)
So, here are some of the people that are in my digital neighbourhood, that as a result found their way
into this video. (In order of appearance).[10] (Networked teacher images)• [11]Alec Couros | (Blog
Comments)• [12]Liz Davis •[13]Wesley Fryer | (Twirl/Twitter) • [14]Martin Pluss •[15]Konrad Gl-
ogowski •[16]Sue [Sujokat] • [17]Helen Otway • [18]Melanie Hughes | (Plurk)• [19]SMeech •[20]Liz
Davis •[21]GingerTPLC •[22]Jeff McCord | (Del.icio.us bookmarks) •[23]Kim Cofino • [24]Angela
Maiers •[25]Chris Lehmann • [26]Jen [injenuity] • [27]Ken Allan | (Google Reader Friend’s shared
items) •[28]Darren Draper •[29]Dean Shareski •[30]Lisa Durff •[31]Liz Davis •[32]Susan C Morgan
•[33]Kris Bradburn | (Google Documents) •[34]Alan November •[35]Kris Bradburn | (Connect and Pro-
tect) •[36]Dave Sands | (Connecting from suburbs) •[37]Kim Cofino • [38]Derrall Garrison •[39]Darren
Draper | (Well rounded teacher images) • [40]Jeff Utecht | (The competition) •[41]Lisa Durff | (Blogging)
• [42]Arthus •[43]Kris Bradburn | (Wikis) • [44]Clay Burell • [45]Vicki Davis • [46]Julie Lindsay
That’s 30 people, some appearing more than once. Other than intentionally using items from Alec
and Jeff, each one of these ’sightings’ are incidental... but significant. Beyond these connections I also
have [47]Jabiz Raisdana, Dave Matheson (one of just 3 local connections from my district), [48]Sue Wa-
ters, [49]Karen Janowski, and [50]Claudia Ceraso commenting on [51]my post introducing the video.
Claudia didn’t just comment on my post, [52]she wrote a response post that has challenged my thinking.
When I’m done here I’m going to her blog to respond... to continue the conversation, and the learning.
Claudia may live and work in Argentina, but she has influence over me. Geography and physical prox-
imity no longer matter. (Case-in-point: Sue’s comment offers me advice from Austrialia.)
My digital neighbourhood spans the globe! But this is more than an issue of geography, it is also about
influence and significance. Some of these connections are ’loose’, like the local bus driver on Sesame
Street, but others have greater meaning to me.
I may never meet some of these people, but they are my teachers, mentors and friends. This is my net-
work, not my neighbourhood... and [53]networks are fundamentally different than groups/(neighbours).
It truly is a brave new world-wide-web, and if we aren’t engaging in the opportunities it provides us then
we are missing out... and the same could be said for our students.
1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cs5kjsaNEL8
2. http://novemberlearning.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=230&Itemid=135
3. http://edtechpower.blogspot.com/
4. http://thenetwork.typepad.com/architectureofideas/
5. http://classblogmeister.com/blog.php?blogger_id=51141
6. http://blip.tv/file/1262079/
7. http://blip.tv/file/get/Datruss-ABraveNewWorldWideWeb274.MP4
8. http://blip.tv/file/get/Datruss-ABraveNewWorldWideWeb274.MP4
9. http://blip.tv/file/get/Datruss-ABraveNewWorldWideWeb274.MP4
10. http://educationaltechnology.ca/couros/
11. http://educationaltechnology.ca/couros/
12. http://edtechpower.blogspot.com/
13. http://www.speedofcreativity.org/
14. http://www.coolrunning.com.au/forums/blog/plu/index.php
15. http://www.teachandlearn.ca/blog/
16. http://www.andanotherthing-sue.blogspot.com/
17. http://helenotway.edublogs.org/
18. http://twitter.com/melanieh
19. http://www.smeech.net/
20. http://edtechpower.blogspot.com/
21. http://gingerl.podomatic.com/
22. http://www.jeffmccord.org/
23. http://mscofino.edublogs.org/
24. http://www.angelamaiers.com/
25. http://practicaltheory.org/serendipity/
26. http://injenuity.com/
27. http://newmiddle-earth.blogspot.com/
28. http://drapestakes.blogspot.com/
29. http://ideasandthoughts.org/
30. http://durffsblog.blogspot.com/
31. http://edtechpower.blogspot.com/
32. http://falconms.typepad.com/
33. http://wanderingink.net/
34. http://nlcommunities.com/communities/alannovember/default.aspx
35. http://wanderingink.net/
36. http://www.classroom20.com/profile/Sandman
37. http://mscofino.edublogs.org/
38. http://educalgarden.blogs.com/
39. http://drapestakes.blogspot.com/
40. http://www.thethinkingstick.com/
41. http://durffsblog.blogspot.com/
42. http://myfla.ws/
43. http://wanderingink.net/
44. http://beyond-school.org/
45. http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/
46. http://123elearning.blogspot.com/
47. http://intrepidteacher.edublogs.org/
48. http://aquaculturepda.edublogs.org/
49. http://teachingeverystudent.blogspot.com/
50. http://eltnotes.blogspot.com/
51. http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/a-brave-new-world-wide-web/#comments
52. http://eltnotes.blogspot.com/2008/09/brave-new-tech.html
53. http://www.slideshare.net/Downes/web-20-elearning-20-and-the-new-learning
Jen (2008-09-16 07:19:08)
Beautifully done with such an important message. I can’t wait to share it!
Mike Sansone (2008-09-16 07:18:53)
Great video! This is a must-see for all professions. (Look forward to seeing you on FriendFeed soon!)
Jeff McCord (2008-09-16 07:07:24)
Such an awesome video and glad I made it in your video! :) Great job! Jeff McCord
Angela Maiers (2008-09-16 07:18:00)
Dave, You have demonstrated in three minutes what I have spent hours trying to articulate for my teachers. What
a wonderful testament to the power we have to live a learning life but to demonstrate that life to our students.
Well done! I am looking forward to sharing this!
Dave Truss (2008-09-16 06:56:01)
The file is 13.7MB’s and saved as an MP4. Alec Couros told me about blip.tv while I was on Facebook. I had put
the video on the Internet Archive before that, but didn’t like the limitations for sharing, although that is a great
place to store large files. Even Facebook saved at a higher quality than YouTube, but again sharing there is an
issue. ...and that would be geographical isolation only... I’m not feeling the distance online:-)
Sue Waters (2008-09-16 03:53:49)
The Blip TV version is definitely better quality and it is loading faster. Curious how big is the file size and which
format did you save it as? Not only from Australia but the second most isolated capital city in the World :)
Advice for Web 2.0 Newbies « Amschool Web 2.0 Resource (2008-09-19 10:22:49)
[...] Dave Truss just posted this video which tells the story of his journey. He is a valuable part of my network
and I wouldn’t know him if I hadn’t first done all of the things I’ve shared above. [...]
Beth Holmes (2008-09-16 18:28:07)
How in the WORLD have I missed your blog? Thanks to Angela Maiers, I have found you! The video is terrific
(understated) - but the comparison of your early Sesame Street neighborhood with your global neighborhood is
priceless. All of this change in one blink...amazing.
Liz Davis (2008-09-16 19:18:31)
Dave, I am so honored to be part of your neighborhood. You know you are an essential part of mine. This is such
a great video. Thanks for sharing it with all of us. -Liz P.S. It wasn’t me who asked the question. I wish it was,
what a great question!
Nadine N (2008-09-16 19:48:23)
This is an amazing video. It demonstrates the place where we all should be as educators - I’m almost there!
Thanks for inspiring me.
The Power of Ed Tech (2008-09-16 20:03:57)
Advice for Web 2.0 Newbies... Angela Maiers, in her latest blog post, asked for some suggestions for people
starting their Web 2.0 journeys. Here are a just a few:...
Ken Allan (2008-09-17 04:53:07)
Kia ora Dave! A great video! I shared the last one when I viewed it - this one will go further. A cool neighbour-
hood! I feel welcomed and proud to be part of that. Thanks Dave Ka kite, Ken
Silvana (2008-09-17 09:42:40)
Awesome is an overworked adjective....so I won’t use it here...I enjoyed the post it is interesting and at the same
time unsettling, maybe because it has made me realise that I deliberately choose not to have a personal blog so
I don’t generate an online network ...the reason....I am not sure of yet....maybe its too time consuming....maybe
what it offers does not replace the time it steals from me....maybe I don’t want to be part of a shadowy world but
want to exsist in real time....maybe maybe maybe maybe...yesterday I never even questioned why I don’t ......today
I want to know why I shouldn’t.......grrrrrrr Let me close with a question a 6 year old asked me in reading club
”will cyber space ever get full ?” Surely the laws of physics demand that eventually if you keep putting stuff in
things reach their limit? I told him to google it.....(eek)
I was thinking… - Learning to be me. (2008-09-19 00:40:59)
[...] second gift came from David Truss at Pair-a-Dimes For Your Thoughts, who recently posted his own fantastic
presentation. He took time out of his extremely busy schedule to sit down with me, talking through what I [...]
Kim Cofino (2008-10-11 02:18:28)
Fantastic video! I will definitely be sharing this during our faculty professional development sessions. So glad to
be part of your neighborhood!
Marie (2008-09-29 00:52:55)
Dave, A great video. I saw it a couple of weeks ago and bookmarked it to show to other teachers.
No Teacher Left Behind | Learning In a Flat World (2008-09-24 18:12:52)
[...] Darren began by noting that he believed the positive message David Truss had posted in “Who Are the People
In Your Neighborhood?“, but then asked [...]
Dave Truss (2008-09-24 23:27:30)
My neighbourhood is growing and it is wonderful... thanks for the comments and the links! Silvana, Don’t force
a blog, but you’ve commented here a few times now, and I’ve seen your comments elsewhere, so I know that what
you have to say will earn you an audience. Perhaps just get involved with [1]Classroom2.0 on Ning and contribute
a blog post or two there to start. A couple months of rich conversation there would tell you if a blog will work for
you... and if it doesn’t, you’ll still generate an online network!
1. http://www.classroom20.com/
A Home-Grown Connection | always learning (2008-12-05 01:55:08)
[...] with individuals outside my day-to-day work environment, the benefits of being able to find a like-minded
colleague without having the fortune of physically sharing a teaching space. But, over the last few years, [...]
What ’we’ want for ’our’ children (2008-09-19 07:28)
[1]Heidi Hass Gable has done something special!
Here is her presentation, What I Want for My Children:
[2]Her post simply says this:
My hope is that it will move you, it will motivate you,
it will make you think and it will inspire you to get involved in your child’s education,
to support your teachers and to be part of creating great schools!
Her subtitle: ’Creating Great Schools — Together’ gets immediately to the heart of the matter.
The power of the message comes from the action she asks from parents...
... and what does she ask of teachers and all other educational partners? The exact same thing!
This comes shortly after the 5 minute mark. This is what changes this video from a parent’s perspective
to an educational partner’s perspective.
”If we want these thi