Showing posts with label Derek Sivers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Derek Sivers. Show all posts

Monday, January 1, 2018

Don't Tell People About Your New Year's Resolution

Happy New Year! I hope that 2018 is a great year for you and that you accomplish all of the goals that you set for yourself in 2018. Just don't tell me or anyone else what those goals are unless you're asking for an accountability partner. It's not that I don't care about your goals, in fact, I do care and that's why I don't want you to tell people about them. Years ago I learned that if you tell someone your goal, you're less likely to accomplish it. Don't take my word for it, watch this three minute TED Talk in which Derek Sivers explains the research on the psychology of keeping goals to yourself until you have reached them.


Applications for Education
If part of your plan when school starts again tomorrow is to have students talk about New Year's resolutions, take a few minutes to watch this video with your students. I did that with my homeroom students seven years ago and one of those students recently mentioned it to me when I ran into her at a local ski resort where she now runs one of the guest services departments at the resort.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Share What's Obvious...It Might Not Be Obvious to Everyone

This afternoon I was talking with someone who said that she wants to write more blog posts but feels like "everything I've written has been said already." I hear that a lot from new bloggers. My response is often based in the advice of Derek Sivers who says that "what's obvious to you, might be amazing to someone else." For a full explanation of this idea, watch the short video embedded below.


Applications for Education
This message needs to be shared with our students too. One of the ways you can do this is by having students write a weekly reflective blog post. They don't have to write complex blog posts, just a short summary of their learning and observations that week will do. In this way students can learn from each other. Even if they don't pick up anything brand new from this process, they will at least be reminding each other of what they have learned that week.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Don't Punish Everyone

Derek Sivers, whose TED Talk How To Start a Movement is still one of my favorites, recently published a new book titled Anything You Want. In that book he makes the point to business owners that they shouldn't make sweeping policy changes based on one customer experience. The video below also animates that point. While the book and video are clearly aimed at the business world, the message of not punishing everyone for one person's mistake also applies to schools.



H/T to Rand Fishkin via Google+

Thursday, August 4, 2011

10 Common Challenges We'll Face This Fall - Challenge #1: Access

One of my most popular presentations, the one that I'm most frequently asked to give, is 10 Common Challenges Facing Educators. When giving this presentation I outline challenges that classroom teachers often face and present some resources and strategies for addressing those challenges. In preparation for the new school year I've created a series of blog posts based on my presentation. Today's blog post addresses the challenge of not having access to the websites that you want your students to use.

I have the good fortune to work in a school that has a progressive policy toward Internet filtering. In my school there is rarely a site that I want my students to use that is blocked. And in the few cases when I do encounter a block, I can have it quickly unblocked by emailing one of the network administrators (generally a response time of less than five minutes). But it wasn't always this way at my school.

A few years ago I returned to school after the summer break to find that all of the sites (VoiceThread, Wikispaces, Blogger, Animoto, and others) that I had planned to use were blocked by our the new filter in place. Frustrated, I emailed the tech department asking for these sites to be unblocked. They replied by saying they'd "look into it" and get back to me. I waited. Then I waited again. Finally, I was told that if I could explain to them how and why I was going to use these sites they might unblock them if they didn't violate CIPA regulations. Up to the tech office I went and sat down with two of the network administrator's assistants to explain to them what VoiceThread did, what Wikispaces was, and how I was going to use them. As I was explaining what VoiceThread did one of the assistants said, "I think unblocking this would violate CIPA." I lost it. Here I was explaining myself to two people who not only had never taught in a classroom, had no background in education, and who clearly did not understand CIPA.

Down to my principal's office I went, bypassing his secretary and anyone else who might have slowed me down, I steamed in and sat down right in front of his desk. I was fuming and he could see it. Here's the truncated version of happened next. "Ted," I said, "we've just made a huge investment in netbooks for every student, but now the tech department is blocking everything that will make 1:1 a success. Furthermore, it's bullshit that I have to explain everything I want to do in my classroom to people who have never taught or even taken education classes." (Yes, for better or worse, Ted actually does let me swear in his office). To my delight, he agreed with me, but he still wanted more information before making a formal decision one way or another. But in the meantime the sites that I wanted unblocked were unblocked.

Fast forward a few months and my principal and superintendent are developing a formal policy regarding Internet access. As is the case with many decisions in my school, my principal solicited feedback from the staff. As you might expect, I flooded the main office with information about Internet filtering. Some of the sources that I used include Wes Fryer's Unmasking the Digital Truth, the Digital Youth Research project at Berkeley, the MacArthur Foundation's Spotlight on Digital Media and Learning, and from MIT Press Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out (at the time it was available as a free download, it's now available for purchase or you can read some parts of it for free online). A number of other teachers besides myself presented examples of the work we and our students were doing with web tools that we wouldn't have access to if a restrictive filtering policy was put in place. When a formal policy was put in place, we were all happy to learn that we would continue to be able to access all of the sites that we wanted to use in our classrooms.

Tactics for getting access to the websites that you want to use.
1. Attitude: don't sit back and complain quietly, don't sit back and complain loudly. Rather you should go to the top with research and a plan.

2. Relationships: if I didn't have a good working relationship with my principal I wouldn't be able to walk into his and have him seriously consider what I ask for.

3. Persistence: changing a school's or a district's policy isn't going to happen overnight.

4. Recruit supporters: if it's just you leading the fight you might be looked at as "that crazy teacher," if there is two of you you might be looked at as "those crazy teachers," but if you can get a third supporter then you've started a grassroots movement. This is an idea that I borrowed from this Ted Talk by Derek Sivers and from Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant.



Come back tomorrow for challenge #2, selecting appropriate tech tools for your classroom.


update: here's another good source of information about filtering. Straight from the DOE: Dispelling Myths About Blocked Sites. Thanks to Wesley Fryer for this one too.