Silly is important for creativity

I’ve never met Dean Shareski, but I think I love him. The video below (Titled “The Stupidest Creative Act”) is another reason to appreciate all that Dean does and shares for the sake of students and educators. Well-intended risk-taking should be on your “to do” list from now on.

Two statements jump out at me from his talk. The first is, “Silly is often a wonderful place for creativity to begin.” The second one, “Adults need to have fun so children will want to grow up.” So true. Fun leads to happiness and positivity. Positive attitudes make us more effective at our work, which leads to better classrooms and success for our students.

Go buy yourself some wild pants, take silly photos, and be a top-notch educator.

It’s a fantastic 5 minutes. Do watch.

You’re invited to change the world by Adam Bellow

Adam Bellow delivered the closing keynote at the ISTE 2013 conference. I did not attend the conference, but heard a lot of positive buzz about the message he shared. The buzz was right on. Adam gives a fantastic, uplifting, and encouraging talk. It is definitely worth 50 minutes of your time. (skip to about minute 23 of the video below)

You are a genius

Scott Boylen shared this tweet from Angela Maiers, and I agree with Angela that this should be posted in every classroom. Not only should it be posted and discussed in classrooms, but I think it should also be displayed in our staff rooms at school. We have amazing teachers in our profession, and they need these reminders about how amazing they are. There’s been a lot of teacher bashing and wage slashing in the past couple years, and it’s our job as school leaders to encourage and support our teachers. This is the time when we need to encourage meaningful contributions from our students and teachers. Carefully toeing the line isn’t going to meet the needs of our kids. Well-intended risk-taking can result in amazing changes for schools and students.

The Time You Have (in jellybeans)

Ze Frank has me thinking again, this time about how we choose to use our time in life. I love what he shares about the amount of time that we work. On average we’ll spend 3202 days of our life working, so hopefully it is doing something that is meaningful and satisfying. He also says, “How much time have you already spent worrying instead of doing something you love?” That is a powerful question that I need to remind myself of. Worrying doesn’t help a lot, so let’s just not do it. His last line, “What are you going to do today?” is a needed reminder that we have control over how we spend this time. No more regretting how we’ve spent time in the past, or worrying about what is coming to us in the future. Do something special with your time today.

Admin Tech Bootcamp

I was fortunate to be able to lead a session at the Mobile Literacy Boot Camp workshop on June 12 and 13 for administrators here in southwest Wisconsin. The school district of Sparta was a great host for the workshop. Thanks to Naomi Harm for organizing the whole thing and asking me to be a presenter/facilitator. I was also fortunate enough to have the almighty Jamie Stoeckly attend my session. Not only is he an enthusiastic educator, he’s also the instructional technologist for Sparta schools. The internet behaved itself quite well under Jamie’s watch.

All of the educators (mostly admins in my group) had just finished school only a few days before the workshop, so I applaud their willingness to attend the conference and the energy they brought with them. We talked a lot about connected learning through technology and how important it is for school leaders to understand it and model it for their staff and students. In addition to the philosophical side of digital learning, we also jumped in to building a PLN through Twitter, sharing positive culture through Facebook and YouTube, and how to be more efficient through the use of Google Docs. I was facilitating the group, but I learned a lot from them. We can’t know everything, but we should have a good idea on who/how to ask when we don’t know.

Aside from my group of attendees, it was also fun to interact with the other presenters. There are a lot of motivated and smart educators in the world, and I’m glad to be able to rub elbows with them at events like this. We learned a lot during the sessions, but I know just as much was gained during breakfast, lunch, and social hour on the first night.

So what’s the big idea from this post? My point is that one can learn a lot by presenting what you know to other professionals. The preparation for the event solidifies your knowledge of what you’ll share, but you’ll also benefit greatly from those fine folks who are attending your presentation. They’ll have new knowledge and skill to share with you, but will also make you think when they have questions you’ve never considered. Don’t wait to become an expert (it’ll never happen) to jump into the world of professional development at conferences. Think about what you know and are passionate about, and then find the right venue to share with others.

Here’s the opening presentation I used with my group to help them understand digital learning.

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

Beck channels Bowie on the Tactilize app

[First off, thanks to the dapper Darren Hudgins for sharing this with me.]

I love great music, Beck, and David Bowie. Combine all of three of those things on a very cool iPad app (Tactilize), and you have the video below. The sound on the video is rich and beautiful so use your GOOD headphones, not the cheap earbuds you swiped off your last Southwest Airlines flight.

I’ve only started to investigate Tactilize, but there is some really great content to see/hear. I especially like the chronologic cover of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” But Tactilize has more than music to offer. You can find photos, news articles, student reports, etc. Tune the content in your feed by adjusting who you follow. There are over 1200 cards in the education category, 1100+ in design, 400+ in design. Plenty of content to keep you informed, amused, and entertained.

Tactilize also allows you to create content to share with others. Think of it as a very cool and easy to use version of HyperCard. You can embed videos, add photos, include text, etc. If you have content that you would like to organize and share in a fun and interesting way, Tactilize looks like a great option for you.

So put Tactilize on your iPad and you’ll feel smarter and cooler. 😉

Designed on Tactilize (view online)

Kyle Pace visits Techlandia podcast

George Couros told us that Kyle was a great guy, and that was absolutely true. Kyle has been an instructional technologist since 2004, and he was kind enough to spend an hour talking about the apps he loves, educators that have his attention, and many other topics in education. We also challenged Kyle to a little Missouri Trivia.

You can find the Techlandia podcast here on iTunes. Techlandia is now also a part of the EdReach network, so find all of the archived episodes there, in additions to plenty of other great education content.

You can find all of the links to the people and resources mentioned in this podcast on our board at Learnist.

Ballpoint pens will be the ruin of education in our country

The quote is from chapter 3, “The Technology Skeptics’ Argument” in the book Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The Digital Revolution and Schooling in America by Allan Collins and Richard Halverson. It’s a concise and compelling read about how technology can transform schooling and learning. If you are looking for worthy summer reading material, this book should be on your list.

Techlandia with Erin Klein

The Fabulous One, Erin Klein, blessed Techlandia with her presence on June 8 (That’s our nickname for her as she is a very modest, but talented, person). She was an excellent guest, but that is no surprise if you see what she shares on Twitter or on her blog. Erin is a dynamic 2nd grade teacher and an incredible member of your PLN on social media. You can find Erin on the Twitters at @kleinerin, and also read her top-notch thoughts on her blog at Her blog post about Aurasma is one you should definitely check out.