Food for (Christmas) Thought

So, finally the marking of exams is complete, I’m on a reduced teaching load and … I’m long overdue for a blog post. Christmas is my favourite time of year; it has to be when you’re married to a woman with a serious decoration addiction. Our house already has enough flashing lights to cause suburb wide seizures! Yeah, I know, I’m rapidly veering off track. For schools in my home state of Queensland there are only a dozen days of school left. Christmas is also, of course, a great time to recharge (…not just your wine glass!) and think ahead to the 2014 academic year.

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Image Credit:

Earlier this year I came across a great free app called Quotes Folder. It comes with a huge number of famous quotes but also gives you the opportunity to create your own folders of tagged quotes. (It’s easy to copy and paste tweets straight into Quotes Folder too!) This morning I discovered that I had saved 99 quotes; everything from Einstein to W.C.Fields and a whole range of techs-perts. (Is that even  a word?) So now, in true end of year fashion, here in ascending order are the top ten quotes sourced from my Twitter stream in 2013. They are meant to be … Food for (Christmas) Thought.

10. “Beware of geeks bearing GIFs” I’m a great fan of Australian comedian Will Anderson and I teach Ancient History so this one had to make the list … even though it’s “just funny.”

9. “Society no longer cares how many facts we can memorise because facts are free.” Mr. A. Nonymous has always been a great source of inspiration. The ability to ” just Google that” has changed the very face of education. But I can still recite the first 25 emperors of Rome in order, with dates!

8. “I don’t want my son to be limited to learning only what his teacher already knows.” This particular gem is from John Couch, the Apple VP for Education. Surely, letting go of control is a difficult adjustment for teachers of a certain vintage (i.e. the over 50s like me!) but it is necessary. I’m certain that Alan November would just look at some of us and ask … “Well, who owns the learning?”

7. “I’ve yet to have a student tell me they can’t use technology in class because they haven’t had any PD on it.” Anonymous strikes again! I’m a great advocate for teachers adopting a new mindset. It is mindset which sets young people apart from their teachers … they aren’t more naturally, natively gifted at technology; they’re just prepared to try, fail and try again.

6. “One does not simply teach digital citizenship – it needs to be observed, modelled, practiced and lived by all members of a school community.” Alec Couros tells us here where so many schools are going wrong. I know mine is failing; digital citizenship can not be a once a year tokenism. It needs to be embedded deep within the curriculum across all subjects and year levels. And whilst I’m on this particular high horse; it’s time for teachers to be empowered to model the effective use of social media in establishing and maintaining connectedness. (End of rant!)

5. “Why are digital copies still perceived to hold less authority than paper?” This excellent question was posited by Tom Barrett of No Tosh and I sincerely wish I knew the answer. In 2012 my school had a photocopying bill of over $80,000. I simply don’t know how this is possible in our paperless society. We have emails, scanners, Dropbox, Pinterest, Blendspace, Google Apps … and you know I could keep going. Just think of the ways that $80,000 could (and should) have been spent.

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Image Credit:

4. “Homework doesn’t teach kids responsibility. It teaches compliance. A better solution is self-directed, independent, optional learning.” John Spencer (no, not the guy from The West Wing) has, in my opinion, absolutely “nailed it.” Homework has become quite the hot topic on Twitter and elsewhere in recent weeks. I must agree with his belief that all it teaches is compliance! So many great alternatives are emerging; my favourite, the “Homework Menu.”

3. “The underlying assumicide is that schools of the future will be like the schools of today, only with more technology.” This quote from Ian Jukes simply had to make the list for his creation of the term assumicide. It’s surely time for us to stop making a whole range of errant assumptions in the educational field. We have to be creating schools for a future that is envisioned as “a promise fulfilled” not an apocalyptic threat (or a Will Smith film!)

2. “The only difference between a rut and a grave is the dimensions.” If you look around your school … do you see disengaged students who are being “taught by the undead.” The Zombie Apocalypse has already arrived in schools … You’ve been warned!

Do you know this teacher? Image Credit:

Do you know this teacher?
Image Credit:

1. “If you don’t like change, try irrelevance.” Only seven words, but my quote of the year, tweeted by George Couros. If you “just Google that” you’ll find it attributed to various people in various forms. But it says it all … none of us willingly welcomes a change (unless you’re a baby in nappies) but my greatest fear is that schools are rapidly becoming irrelevant.

What do you think? I’d love your feedback on my ramblings and the quotes I’ve chosen. Or, do you have a favourite quote of your own to contribute?


EduTECH Brisbane 2013

OK, so this will be a very short post … in part because I have exams to assess but also because everything I want to say is in an embedded Haiku Deck. Over the past two days I had the opportunity to attend EduTECH Brisbane, 2013. This meant that I had the chance to hear and even meet some genuine “rockstar” educators; Daniel Pink, Stephen Heppell, Alan November, Salman Khan and Sir Ken Robinson. That is not in any way to diminish the contributions of many “local” luminaries.

Fortunately for me (but not the exam marking) this coincided with the release of the latest Haiku Deck update. So, what to do? Well, to me it was obvious … download the update and create a new deck to “curate” the great learning from EduTECH. And here it is, a public deck with notes and explanations (one of the new features) that you are invited to download, use or embed in your own blog.
Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

15 Quotes to Inspire

The ideas of others, encapsulated in a perfectly rendered sentence or two, have always been a great inspiration for me. This list of fifteen quotes, many garnered from my time in the Twitter-verse, might just work for you too! (… and, I promise to frequently update this collection.) They can also be a great starting point for a blog post of your own.

On Leadership

1. “The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sail.”     John C. Maxwell

2. “The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.”  Henry Kissinger  

On Reaching Your Potential

3. “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”  George Eliot

4. “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”  Pablo Picasso

5. “Only those who risk going too far will ever know how far they can go.”  T.S.Eliot

6. “When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.”  Chinese Proverb

7. “It is not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It’s because we dare not venture that they are difficult.”  Anonymous

On Education, Yesterday and Today

8. “Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.”  W.B.Yeats

9. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  Mark Twain

10. “I don’t need to know everything, I just need to know where to find it when I need it.”  Albert Einstein

11. “To be conscious that you are ignorant of the facts is a great step towards knowledge.”  Benjamin Disraeli

12. “Learning any time, any place, any path, any pace.”  ACEC 2012

13. “We’re operating on a 200 year old paradigm in a world that needs an entirely different skill set …”          Madeline Levine

14. “Today, kids can create profound artefacts of their learning that are most times better than what’s in a textbook.”  Chris Lehmann

15. “Banning technology is like grabbing water; it’s not very effective.”  Anonymous