Dean Shareski on Techlandia

Dean Shareski was the latest guest on the Techlandia vidcast/podcast. Instead of his usual talks about passion, joy, and silliness, he gets into the things that bother him. It’s not a gripefest, but more of an Andy Rooney type rant that will make you think and question your own beliefs on the topic.

This episode was hosted by Jon Samuelson, Karl Lindgren Streicher, and Victoria Olson.

Find other episodes of Techlandia on Podomatic.


This looks like a worthy project from EdWeek. It takes place on January 7, so join in if you are a school principal or share this link with the principal at your school. Being a school principal is a demanding and rewarding job, so let’s take some time to share all that we do. Post your photos to Twitter or Instagram with the tag #aprincipalsday on January 7.

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Who’s in charge? You, or your email?

I was fortunate to spend some time chatting with the super smart Spike Cook and Jessica Johnson talking about how to handle email. In short, you could take a few small steps to get your email accounts under control to allow you to focus your energy and attention on more meaningful tasks.

My suggestions:

1) Read Getting Things Done by David Allen
2) Have a system for how you will track your tasks and get them done.
3) Realize that email is likely not a good way to spend your time.
4) Do not let your inbox serve as your to do list. See #2.
5) Don’t clutter anyone else’s inbox with your own messages. Keep in mind.
6) This lands at #6 on the list, but maybe it’s the most important point. If you work in a school, don’t even have your work email on your phone. It will only distract you from what’s most important (real live people in your actual physical presence), and if it the message is really that important, people will call/find you. If you are worried you’ll miss an email from a very important person (spouse or supervisor), set up an IFTTT recipe to text you when one of those emails hits your inbox.

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Spike shares his thoughts on the topic here.

Miguel Guhlin was also a viewer of the video cast below and he shares some excellent ideas on how to use Evernote to keep email in check.

Doug Johnson has also been riffing on the topic of email too.

The next time you reach #inboxzero, change the lyrics and then sing along to this epic rock tune.

Learning through play, at a conference

Peter Gray was the keynote speaker at the IntegratED professional development event in San Francisco on October 3 and 4. He’s a professor at Boston College and his research is in the area of how kids learn by play. He has studied this in hunter/gatherer cultures and also in modern settings. His main point is that kids learn through play and that a lot of the compulsory educational activities we “do” to kids isn’t really necessary. If given time, kids will figure things out. Let them deeply explore what they are passionate about, and it will pay big dividends (beyond just economic success) for them later in life.

Like most education PD events, after the workshops and other conference related activities were done for the day, I’d find myself out and about for dinner and drinks with the other attendees. While the event was done, our learning kept going. Without the constraint of the clock of the conference schedule or the constraint of the title topic on the program, our conversations and debates would take us to what we were passionate about. We were “off the clock” and could talk about anything we wanted to, but the conversations kept coming back to teaching and learning. It was our choice to explore (in our conversations) our experiences as educators. Judging by the amount of laughter that was part of these conversations, you could definitely say that it was very playful.

I’ve heard other people say that the best part about conferences are the conversations that happen at lunch, dinner, and during the car ride home. This was definitely the case for me at #isf14. The scheduled learning was top-notch. The follow-up playful learning was extraordinary.

I’m a big fan of the IntegratED learning events that are organized by Darren Hudgins of the OETC. I’ve been to the Portland conference twice and just went to the San Francisco version for the first time. The official sessions during the day certainly lead to excellent conversations that last beyond the conference.

Here’s a photo of me and some “playmates” after the event. I’m thrilled that I can call these educational leaders my friends. (clockwise from me: Kelly Kermode, Rachel Wente-Chaney, Karl Lindgren-Streicher, Kristen Swanson, Kristina Peters)