Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Back From My Thanksgiving Nap

The art of procrastination is the one skill that I have perfected over time. It’s funny how I somehow got very good at devoting time to thought processes that are counter productive to productivity. I find ways to justify the reasons I don’t want to do the things that are good for me. Case in point – this blog.

When I started this blog, I was heavily involved in researching due to a commitment that I had made to speak at an upcoming conference. My mind was aflutter with thoughts about educating boys, pedagogy and technology. What better way to flush some ideas out as they were entering my head than to write a blog about those thoughts. “The Awakening Mind” right?

Once that time had passed, I stopped reading and therefore stopped writing. I had no earth shattering thoughts anymore so why should I post to my blog. I wouldn’t sound intelligent. My due date for my term paper had come and gone and therefore I didn’t need to be awake anymore. I was getting tired… Back to my slumber….. ZZZzzzzzzz…..

After a few wake up calls from a friend, I am back at it for now. I actually woke up this morning with the intent of posting these ideas. Now that I am in my third paragraph, I actually am getting on a roll here…. There is a lesson in this somewhere and I am getting to a point in this post – really I am.

I was sitting in a staff meeting and we were discussing how we as a school could become more involved in the bigger conversation about educating young men. As I always do, I asked myself how technology could help. Pretty nerdy huh? I discussed the fact that our staff is great at sessions devoted to discussion and skilled in the art of verbose interaction. I have been privy to many discussions with my peers that have great content and have generated ideas that are earth shattering (and then I spoke up). The problem that I see is that there really is no record of those conversations ever happening. Enter the blog.

Yes it’s true that most blog writers use this medium as a forum for their ideas and to generate a discussion about a certain topic. Our youthful generations use it as a form of digital diary for the whole world to see. Both are methods of expression. Expression of ideas written on a public platform. Ideas that may be thought provoking, scary, crazy and sometimes downright incoherent. Nonetheless, bloggers post those ideas and for the most part, probably feel as I do – better after those ideas have been disseminated. More importantly, they are in a format that may not be forgotten or lost. For lack of a better metaphor – they are committed to pen and paper and thus – a part of history.

So here I begin (again) being awakened by an idea, a concept, a crazy thought and hoping that:

  1. I get more of these crazy thoughts. (This shouldn't be a problem).
  2. I find the motivation to write about them and .....
  3. I continue to stay mentally awake (at least once a week) to prove to myself that I have a brain.

I’d better stop before the coffee kicks in….

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Kids and Creepy Treehouses

As I was researching information in my quest to become more enlightened, I came across an interesting idea based on fear and entitlement. Sure enough it had to do with technology but more importantly it had to do with my kids. Sorry to be so self involved...

(Shameless self promotion coming...) I am in the process of collecting notes for a presentation I am giving to the Maine Boys Network about the use of technology in helping boys communicate and I came across this concept of a "creepy treehouse".

By definition from Jared Stein it is "any move to integrate or aggregate new institutional tools or systems with new systems or tools already embraced by the community may be seen as creepy treehouses, in as much as it may be construed as institutional infringement upon the social or professional community of its participants." By definition from Dave Lepage - It is basically the use of existing technologies (like Facebook) by teachers and the feeling that students get when we infringe upon something that they believe is their territory. The fallout is that once the adults invade these communities, they are no longer useful to the students.

Case in point - when is the last time you heard about your child posting to their MySpace account? What happened to MySpace?....

I'll tell you - the adult demographic found the site, logged on and took over. Now - MySpace became OurSpace and the kids didn't like it so they jumped ship to Facebook.

This is not new information but what I have been really interested in is that now Facebook has become a destination for the older generation (by older I mean my age range... I must now apologize to my friends...). I have used it to find friends I haven't connected with in years, poke fun at my existing friends, and oh yeah, figure out how our kids create relationships and communicate. The interesting thing is - my kids don't seem to be bothered by this invasion from their parents.

My wife is even more plugged into her Facebook than I am and our kids (who have thier own accounts) do not seem to mind the intrusion at all from either parent. In fact, they seem to quite enjoy it. Here comes the deep philosophical questions....

If Facebook is called something of a creepy treehouse then as parents (and builders of treehousees for years), how can we make these treehouses less creepy?

Is it because our kids see their parents interacting in the same way they do and might even think its cool? (They would never admit it...)

Could the younger age of our kids have something to do with it?? (Age range 7 - 14)

Is this a place where they are getting needed attention when we are not in front of their face?

Considering it is not traditional parent/kid time and we never used the interactions to parent - do they (the kids) appreciate the interactions more?

If we stay in the technology loop and learn with them as opposed to "after" them, is there a sense of team as opposed to a feeling of invasion?

Hmmmm.... - I think parents can once again reclaim the building of treehouses and they can once again be a great place for human interaction as opposed to being creepy...

Great Halloween topic! - Happy Halloween!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Good Morning, Dave

So I have been asleep for the past ten years. I walked through my masters degree program just jumping through the hoops to get the celebrated wall-mounted piece of paper. I have no idea who signed it and I can't even remember what my motivation was to do it. It was supposed to pique my interest because it had to do with technology and education. An extension to my Bachelors.... right??? All the bases covered to turn me into a life long learner.

I think it was the beginning of my ten year nap.

I have the piece of paper that says I am supposedly smarter, sharper, more mentally aware and more mature but I know the real story. I did it because it was the right thing to do, not because I really wanted to get engaged and learn.

A series of decisions in the last few years has caused me to wake up and take notice of my own mental aptitude.

  • I can synthesis other peoples ideas
  • I know a little something about technology
  • I have some of my own ideas about technology
  • I can help teachers start to feel comfortable with technology
  • I can have a conversation and sound intelligent
  • I realize that what I have to offer is important for now and the future

These confessions are based upon two events in my recent life:

  • I started to read books for enjoyment again.
  • I started to believe that I had something to offer.

Neither of which was indicative of my life when I was working on my Masters. So....

Here is where I awake from my intellectual nap. Wish me luck....